Ever since the legalization of CBD (cannabidiol) post the Farm Bill in December 2018, CBD enthusiasts have got up a lot in their bags to cheer for. They are now more free & their constant efforts & prayers have finally been answered. The biggest beneficiary in true sense is the Research & Development sector. This is because, compared to a time when there was extremely limited scope on studying & finding the various shades of CBD & exploring it till its depth, the caged bird with wide wings has finally been let alone to fly & explore things from a wider view. Thus, the future of CBD can be finally asserted to be positive after the end of all ruckus on its legalisation & problems.
It would be right to say that CBD medication is a new thing for modern mankind & owing to the limited knowledge, there are things that make people think deep before arriving at the decision making part on whether to choose CBD or not. As a normal human being, choosing any cure for your troubles needs a bit of enquiry & insight. There are many questions which need to be answered before making a choice as it is our health which is under the scanner & our trust that we are putting at stake. Under such cases, a very important question which is pretty natural one & can’t also be blamed for but rather needs to be stressed upon & have proper knowledge on is – Are CBD products safe? Let’s find out…
What is CBD?
CBD is an extract from the cannabis sativa plant (more popularly known as Marijuana or Cannabis) occupying the second highest composition in it. It is one of the 100+ phytocannabinoids of the plant & was accidentally discovered by Dr. Roger Adams followed by the actual discovery by Dr. Raphael Mechoulam from Israel with proper details on its atomic structure. Since then, it was under studies which gradually led to discoveries that it is full of medical benefits ranging across a wide category. However, given its descent from the cannabis family, people have doubted it too often for being a partner in crime like cannabis & posing risks of addiction, intoxication, etc.
As time passed by, the for & the against parties for CBD increased leaps & bounds & finally the fight had a decision firstly in England & next in America where it was legalised one by one towards the end of 2018. CBD has been seen as a cure of the following problems:
- Anxiety & Depression
- Pain Relief
- Seizures & Epilepsy
- Acne Reduction & Skin Enrichment
- Neural Regeneration & Disorders
- Nausea & Vomiting
- Anti-cancerous (research under way)
- Cardiovascular Health
One major plus point in all these cures is the ability of CBD to work on humans & animals alike. Thus, it has been adopted by the users more easily due to its multiple benefits as well as equity balance in treating humans & animals alike.
CBD & ECS – The Team Game
When we get an idea about CBD, its benefits, what is it & where does it come from, we should have a fair idea on its working. This includes a peep inside the way it enters the system, goes through in it & then disseminates & starts its working in the system.
Before knowing about the working, the first step is knowing the type of cannabinoids. Yes, of course Cannabidiol is a cannabinoid from the cannabis plant but it is just like humans in the universe – not alone.
There are basically three main types of cannabinoids namely:
- Phytocannabinoid – These are found in the plants & include the likes of CBD, THC, CBC, CBG,CBGV, etc. The word ‘phyto’ means ‘related to plants’ & there are over 100 phytocannabinoids in the cannabis plants.
- Endocannabinoids – The ones found inside the body of mammals. ‘Endo’ is the abbreviation for ‘endogenous’ means ‘within the body’ & hence endocannabinoids are those found within the body of mammals generated by the Endocannabinoid System or the ECS. Anandamide & 2-arachidonoylglycerol are the two most endocannabinoids.
- Synthetic Cannabinoids – As the name speaks for itself, these are artificially made cannabinoids in the laboratory.
Our body has its own system of fulfilling cannabinoid requirements. This system is called the Endocannabinoid System or ECS & is responsible for the following:
- Appetite & Digestion
- Immune System Response
These functions are indeed a lot for the system & the working requires tandem of the eCBs or endocannabinoids & the receptors in our system. The main receptors of the ECS are CB1 & CB2 receptors. The working of these receptors with the eCBs determines the various roles & the balanced maintenance of these roles. However, the body doesn’t produce enough cannabinoids & hence the need for introduction of cannabinoids externally comes into picture. These externally introduced cannabinoids don’t interact or bind with any receptors in the ECS but they influence & improve the binding mechanism thus ensuring the action.
It is important to note that while THC exerts its charm on the CB1 receptors, CBD has its dealing with the CB2 receptors. This is how the workload is separated between the two. The CB1 receptors, when influenced by THC gets the system high or stoned, thus making the person feel inactive & painless. It makes the person forget about the pain at that instance & takes him to a world of trance. However, this is a deviation from the issue. On the other hand, CB1 receptors get to act on the main source of problem by reducing inflammation or maintaining the level of serotonin hormone that affects mood, thereby working with the problem & giving a solution. This is the major line of difference between the working of THC & CBD. The Teamwork between the ECS & CBD is indeed the one that should be credited & lauded.
Inarguably, both THC & CBD have their own roles bifurcated & both are beneficial in their own terms & areas of operation. However, the convenience of not getting high when using CBD makes the road a lot easier for the users as their daily life doesn’t get paused for some time. Hence, though new, CBD is emerging as a more preferred option among users. Also, being tested for CBD doesn’t get people into trouble as compared to when testing for THC. these factors make it an effective & smart choice.
The Question On Safety – THC Vs CBD
Yes CBD is full of benefits & houses the ability to handle all troubles with side effects that are neither common nor serious. However, the problem still lies as CBD is descendant of the cannabis family, the same family from where we get THC. Hence, people are often doubtful not regarding the power of CBD in true sense but the fear of the side-effects of the high feeling associated with it.
This, as explained earlier is because of the name that THC carries. THC has definitely shown relief & has its name as a medicine. But, the only problem which the users don’t want it for is the effect of high or intoxication it causes. As a consumer, the common perception regarding CBD will be same as that it would be same as THC being its sister compound. Thus, the confusion begins & people try not to go with the route of CBD.
On the contrary, CBD doesn’t have any high or trance effect on consumption simply because CBD impacts the CB2 receptors & not the CB1 receptors. CB1 receptors are actually the one which produce a high when they get affected & since CBD has no link with them so there’s no high associated with CBD usage. Thus, from psychoacitvity point of view, CBD is completely safe.
Quality Check & Choice Of CBD
CBD is basically believed to be safe. With studies so far, there have been no such reported perils or cautionary measures of high magnitude. As a matter of fact, CBD has been seen well-tolerated in humans at levels of up to 1500 mg which is way beyond the usual quantity of CBD intake in any form. However, since we are talking about the safety of CBD products, it is necessary to have a fair idea on the following to make sure that the CBD product being used by you is safe & sound:
- Third party lab certification
When buying CBD products, one should look for certification of products by a third-party laboratory. If the seller claims to have certified products, then the certification is surely going to be there on the website somewhere. This would mean a detailed report on not just the purity of the product but also the product being free from any sort of contaminants. If lab reports are found, it’s good. Certain brands provide certificates on request once you buy their products. So, if a company provides Certificate of Analysis from a third party lab once you buy then that’s good as well. In case they don’t, then things are fishy.
- Amount of THC
The Farm Bill approved of CBD that’s grown from hemp having less than 0.3% THC content. It is both legally & physically safe. The THC content is necessary to be known since higher THC would mean that the product would induce psychoactive impact.
A lab report just doesn’t help in knowing the purity but also ingredients as mentioned earlier. It must be seen if the ingredients are safe or not. A bit of google search on the ingredients can make things clear. Also, many good companies mix CBD with beneficial ingredients for specific conditions like Vitamin B12 for pain related CBD balms & creams. So knowing the ingredients helps.
- Type of CBD & Its Extraction Process
CBD extracts are of three main types. One if CBD Isolate which consists of pure CBD derived from hemp & was obtained after separating all other cannabinoids from it. The second one is Full Spectrum CBD which contains CBD along with all other cannabinoids in the plant from which it was extracted. Broad Spectrum CBD is the one where THC is subtracted from the extract while all other cannabinoids remain with CBD. This largely depends on the type of extraction process as extraction processes determine the purity & constituents of the final CBD extract. CBD extracted from CO2 extraction process is the best & most preferred method for the best brands. Thus, knowing the type of CBD extract is necessary before consuming CBD products.
- Medical History
A person’s medical history is also a factor that determines the CBD usage. Also, if a person is under medication, CBD usage should be only proceeded with after a green signal by the physician. This is because of CBD inhibiting Cytochrome P450 enzyme which is involved in metabolising many drugs. Thus, the effect of certain drugs may get increased or decreased due to CBD in liver. In addition, CBD might increase liver enzyme levels which could damage it.
- Cost of The CBD Product & Brand
It is equally necessary to keep monetary considerations into view as well. When you go for a costly CBD product, it is necessary to know if its costly because of some extra benefits & quality or is it just costly because of celebrity face & fancy packaging. A smart choice here helps considerably. It should also be compared with other brands’ similar products to find out where does the exact difference lie. If the difference is minimal based on brands then the better brand is surely a smarter choice.
Many people have ended up ordering CBD products online & then finding the product being seized by the customs since it’s illegal. Usage of illegal products can get users into some serious trouble & hence, before venturing out with ordering your CBD, make sure that it’s legal in your country.
Talking about the safety of CBD products, it is important to talk about the side-effects as well. The various side-effects of CBD are as follows:
CBD’s effect has been reported by many users as something that calms them down & gets them relieved. However, in high doses, there might be some drowsiness for the user.
- Dry Mouth
CBD inhibits the secretion of saliva & so, dry mouth might be an effect in many. This shouldn’t be worried about & can be handled with some water or juice.
- Low Blood Pressure & Light Headedness
High doses of CBD can cause a drop in pressure & this in turn can cause light-headedness for users.
- Liver Drug Metabolism
As mentioned earlier, CBD does its trick in the liver which can interfere with the functioning of the many drugs. Also, this way, the breakdown of CBD also becomes slow & hece it’s a loss from both ends. So, a physician’s advice always helps.
While one study showed a benefit to those affected with Parkinson’s, in other case, it was found to make things negative for the patient with increased problem in movement & increased stiffness. Thus, without a physician’s advice who knows CBD well, it is advisable not to consume it.
The Final Word
With a wide variety of CBD products available in the market like oils, tinctures, gummies, cookies, ointments, shampoos, soaps, capsules, etc, the scenario for CBD products can be seen as ever-expanding in the right direction.as an audience, there’s a lot of options to get tempted by especially when you’ve now realised that CBD products are completely safe to use. Yes, there are things that must be kept in mind & certain things are unsure, but, in those cases, it can be avoided from being used. In entirety, as far as the studies & researches point, CBD products are safe to use. With just the right guidance by a physician & the right use of the consumer sense, you can save yourself from any sort of harm that bad CBD products might cause. Also, it is to be noted that we all have different bodies & hence our height, weight, metabolism, medical history, allergies play a role together in the way the body would respond to CBD products. Also, since CBD products come combined with other substances, allergic reactions might be there. Knowing your product is hence an essential step towards a happy & effective CBD medication. The side-effects have also been talked about but one thing that is within the limits of rationality is the narrow line of side-effects it has compared to other forms of medications like anxiolytics or allopathic medicines which are so deep in chemical formulations that there side-effects can be fatal in case of overdose unlike CBD. Thus, when we question on the safety of CBD & say aloud “It is still unsafe in some regards”, it is imperative to consider it in light of other form of medications too as the reality wouldn’t get better than that.
The important thing here is also to know the legal status of CBD in your country lest you want to face any legal issues or your product being seized at the airport by the customs department. It has recently been legalised in developed countries of UK & USA but that doesn’t mean it will legal in your zone too.
All in all, CBD products seem safe to be used. Barring certain side-effects & a bit of consultation with the physician as well as the usage of some bit of alertness, the trouble of any sort of safety errors can be avoided.