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What is CBD oil?

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is one of the major cannabinoids found with marijuana. It is found in fairly high concentrations, only second to THC, the more commonly known cannabinoid. However, unlike THC, CBD is not psychedelic, and is even thought to temper and restrict the potency of THC. Other than its lack of psychedelic effects, science is also showing that CBD has a huge potential for medical application.

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CBD oil is concentrated extract made from marijuana that has been bred to have a high CBD content and a low THC content. This allows the resulting oil to contain potent medicinal value, while all but nullifying the typical “high” effects. Some cannabis breeders have even gone as far as to name these strains of cannabis to comically reflect such a stance, for example, one such strain has been aptly named “Hippie’s Disappointment”.

CBD itself is not a recent discovery; it was first isolated by scientists back in 1940, with its chemical stricter being identified in 1964. The reason it is only now coming to light is down to people beginning to question their conceptions of cannabis. Within the last decade, as people have begun to lose faith in the war on drugs, question the motives behind it, and examine the facts they were given, scientists have begun to conduct more and more actual research into the properties of cannabis. The positive results have led to a snowballing effect, with the rate of new research and positive findings now skyrocketing.

This shift in understanding has drawn the eye of mainstream media, which has only hastened the call for reform. A prime example of this is the work Sanjay Gupta, and the documentary he released in 2013 exploring the truth of cannabis and such forms of medication like CBD oil. This mainstream documentary by a prominent doctor and CNN medical correspondent opened the eyes of many who believed cannabis to simply be a harmful drug.

This knowledge has been further spread by the case of Charlotte Figi. Charlotte is an infant child who suffers from Dravet syndrome, a condition that saw her having in excess of 300 grand mal seizures a week. Dravet syndrome is extremely hard to treat. It was suggested to Charlotte’s parents that they try giving her cannabis, or more specifically, CBD-rich oil created from it. Of course to begin with this was a very controversial idea, giving cannabinoids to a child; but the treatment showed to have ground breaking effects. Now she only has 2-3 seizures a month with no side-effects or harm.

The spread of Charlotte’s story has led parents with children in a similar situation, as well as many other medical patients to flock to states where medical marijuana is legal, such as Colorado. Furthermore, even conservative states who do not want to marijuana to be legalized, such as Tennessee, are looking to legalize CBD oil for medical patients.

CBD oil is not only constrained to the treatment of seizures. Research is constantly being published detailing the possible positive impacts of CBD that have been found. A great example of this a review of recent research published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. This review outlines how CBD appears to have the following medical properties:

The last of this list is one of particular interest. A lot of very recent research has suggested that CBD has huge cancer-fighting effects. Most notably, work by Sean McAllister of California Pacific, and Pierre Desprez, a molecular biologist has found that CBD stopped metastasis in aggressive forms of cancer. Metastasis being the spread of cancer from one organ to another non-adjacent part. It is a budding field of research, with more and more studies coming back to suggest that CBD can have a huge impact on cancer cells.

The possibility of treating cancer has led to a further increase in the prominence of CBD oil; however, there is another type of cannabis based oil also circulating that is thought to have profound effects on cancer. This is known as Rick Simpson Oil. Much like CBD oil, Rick Simpson Oil is a cannabis concentrate made from extremely high quality marijuana. The difference between Rick Simpson Oil and most other forms of CBD oil is that the marijuana used to create Rick Simpson oil is often extremely rich in THC, meaning the resulting oil also has a mild psychedelic effect.

So why would people use Rick Simpson Oil, especially if they may be concerned about getting high? The answer is because THC in itself also has medicinal qualities, and is also thought to have its own positive effects on cancer. Rick Simpson, the creator of the oil is said to have even treated his own skin cancer with it. This is backed up by further anecdotal reports of others who have used it. More clinical research is still needed to back this up, but what research that has been done suggests that THC can perform such actions as reducing tumor growth when used in conjunction with other treatments.

One of the big questions many who look into CBD oil have is why use an oil? Why not smoke it? The answer is one regarding health. As an oil that is ingested, CBD is not thought to have any negative side effects or issues (although research is still ongoing). Smoking cannabis on the other hand is not healthy. The act of combusting this vegetation creates a plethora of toxins, as well as destroying a great deal of the cannabinoids being sought. This makes smoking cannabis not only harmful, but inefficient.

Other reasons that oil is preferable to so many people is that it is discreet and easy to take. It can be added into food, or even consumed by itself without much notice. To those who may need to medicate at work, or when out and about, eating a dose of oil is much more conspicuous then lighting up a joint.

It is medication like CBD oil that is showing the wider masses that marijuana is a good thing that can be harnessed to the benefit of mankind. The non-psychedelic nature of CBD oil, and the move away from typical smoking makes the treatment much more accessible in the minds of many. More research is needed into the nature of CBD, and how it can be fully utilized, but the future is bright. There is a constant flow of research taking place, and pharmaceutical companies are now also beginning clinical trials of their own cannabis based medications (whether this last point is actually good or bad will have to be left for you to decide). What we can say for certain is that thanks to diligent research, active campaigning and mainstream media attention, the way we look at certain drugs, and what can be made from them is changing – for the better.

By Krist Gruijthuijsen