CBD was discovered in 1940, but has only become commercially available within the past few years.
As a relatively new compound, scientists are still actively researching the many possible benefits of CBD and working hard to separate the facts from the myths.
This is a process which Gregor Zorn knows only too well.
Gregor Zorn studied Biology at the Biotechnical University of Ljubljana in Slovenia and lectures for the Medicinal Cannabis postgraduate course at the University of Padua Medical School in Italy. He is also now Cannaray’s Chief Science Officer.
We spoke to Gregor to discuss CBD’s many medical properties in more detail, and to understand why it’s getting a lot of attention right now.
What do CBD and THC stand for?
CBD is short for cannabidiol. CBD is a plant-based cannabinoid or a phytocannabinoid, produced by the plant Cannabis sativa, which is the most common of all the cannabis plants.
THC is short for tetrahydrocannabinol. THC is also found in the plant Cannabis sativa. THC is responsible for the psychoactive states that are associated with taking cannabis. CBD is not psychoactive. There are around 480 compounds in cannabis, out of which at least 113 are cannabinoids. CBD is the most prominent of all the plant cannabinoids, and makes up around 40% of the plant’s resin.
Why is CBD getting a lot of attention?
“CBD is getting a lot of attention right now because unlike THC, it is not intoxicating,” explains Gregor. “It doesn't produce the high that is associated with THC, but it is known to have similar therapeutic effects as THC. However, the ways that CBD and THC actually work in our body are very different.”
What does taking CBD feel like?
CBD doesn’t cause the “high” that is more usually associated with taking cannabis. “Taking CBD doesn't change your consciousness,” continues Gregor. “You can still function fully and totally normally. But the feelings of anxiety, such as butterflies in the stomach, can feel like they are melting away.”
There have been plenty of other drugs available on the market before to help treat anxiety and depression. The most well-known is Prozac. These drugs often come with unwanted side effects, such as headaches, nausea, lethargy and lowered libido. Drugs such as Prozac also show some addictive properties, and those taking them can find they develop a physical dependence. Unlike these prescription drugs, CBD does not come with any of these unwanted side effects or addictions.
“This is one of the areas where CBD is helping patients to have such amazing results,” continues Gregor. “They find that CBD helps alleviate their anxiety and depression without any unwanted side effects. A patient with severe anxiety and depression may suddenly feel normal and like they can function again after taking CBD. They can start to get their lives back to normal. Some patients are afraid to go out of the house. Their symptoms can be very severe. Now they can take their children to school. Other pharmaceutical drugs often have the unwanted side effects of making you feel a little nonresponsive and zombie-like. CBD doesn't have these side effects, so it's really fascinating to hear what patients who are using CBD are reporting.”(1)
What therapeutic conditions can CBD be useful for?
CBD can also be used to treat many other therapeutic conditions, such as pain relief. “CBD is an analgesic, meaning that it is very useful for pain relief, especially when there is pain due to inflammation.” Gregor continues, “We can categorise inflammation into two types: acute, which lasts for a short time; and chronic, which lasts for a longer period of time. Chronic inflammation often also causes chronic pain, which can affect long-term health. CBD is both an anti-inflammatory and an analgesic.”
“Inflammation is a part of the reaction of the immune system that's extremely important in the healing process. That's why it's a good idea to have something to mitigate the inflammation. CBD is a very potent anti-inflammatory, especially in cases where pain arises from some sort of inflammatory process. CBD can help reduce inflammation when the blood flow is reduced, and help reduce the pain.”(2)
In other words, when the body is exposed to something harmful such as a poison, your immune system deliberately inflames that part of the body to help the body repair itself. This is why mosquito bites can swell up – your body is trying to shield the poison from the mosquito’s saliva so that it can repair the tissue. But in some cases, the body overcompensates and excess swelling can cause additional problems. CBD can help control this swelling.
Is CBD an antioxidant?
Yes, CBD is a potent antioxidant. Our bodies are constantly making and absorbing free radicals. Free radicals occur when the oxygen in our body splits into single atoms that partner with unpaired electrons. Electrons like to be in pairs, so these atoms scavenge the body to seek out other electrons so they can become a pair. This can cause damage to cells, proteins and DNA, and lead to cancer, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. The best way to conquer these free radicals is by making sure we have a varied intake of antioxidants in our diet, such as Vitamin C and Vitamin E.(3)
“It’s very good to have antioxidants in our diets and our lives to help our immune system fight these free radicals,” says Gregor. “Again, CBD does a great job of helping to eradicate these free radicals which are so harmful to the body. CBD has more potent antioxidant effects than Vitamin C and Vitamin E.”(4)
What else can CBD help with?
“CBD may also help with a lot of other less detrimental problems,” says Gregor. “Some skin conditions can be very problematic and more than just a nuisance. CBD is known to be incredible for skin conditions because of its anti-inflammatory properties, and inflammation is present in the majority of skin conditions. As an analgesic, CBD can help to prevent the pain, but it is also antipyretic, which means that it acts against the itchiness of many types of skin conditions. It can also be very useful in the treatment of acne. It prevents the over-stimulated production of sebum, which is one of the major causes of acne. So CBD can be very useful with helping people with acne, and more severe skin conditions such as psoriasis and dermatitis.”
So, from anxiety to epilepsy to acne, CBD can help patients with all manners of mental and physical complications.(5)
Here at Cannarary, we look forward to helping you out soon with one of our many CBD products.
Know your CBDs from your THCs - Our Glossary should help with any tricky terminology