Currently located in the UK, tech junkie, journalist, advocate, and bird lover.
CBD is a new acronym listed on the packaging of many products you might’ve seen recently. There are CBD facial masks, gummy bears, sparkling water, tea, oils and even hair gel, but why does this ingredient justify a spinoff for products that already work as intended? More than a mere ingredient, CBD—or Cannabidiol—is advertised with such gusto because it appears to have great potential, and for so long has been peculiarly unattainable.
For those with a bit of familiarity (or a knack for recognizing prefixes) cannabidiol draws parallels with cannabis, the plant that can grow to be marijuana. However, just this much knowledge about CBD does more to obscure than inform. In reality, CBD is just a single tiny compound among the hundreds that naturally occur in the cannabis plant, but one that has an astounding variety of purposes that can help an equally impressive number of people. The hype is justified, but it’s vital to know more.
Currently, the vast majority of edible CBD is delivered to the human body in an ineffective manner, with most of the CBD escaping through urine. Current products utilize delivery methods such as MCTs (medium-chain triglyceride) - an industry standard - like coconut oil or butter. MCTs are a straightforward approach, offering a rich texture, but promising only limited delivery of CBD. Companies such as Lexaria Bioscience Corp have developed patented formulations with massive potential amid the ongoing CBD boom, with recent studies showing a clear advantage over aforementioned industry standards, especially in terms of how cannabinoids enter the bloodstream.
Water and Oil
New advances in technology have enabled water-soluble CBD. These new water-compatible products have salient features that make them more efficient while reducing costs, especially when compared to traditional CBD oil products in the market. A growing number of vendors are adding such products, consequently replacing oil-based offerings altogether. As an example, when oil-based CBD is consumed, some studies claim that as little as 4% actually makes it to the bloodstream. That said, many companies are working on solutions that focus on bioavailability, which simply tells us how much of a substance that enters the bloodstream is able to have an active effect.
Because CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system—a highly complex full-body system that touches on both the physical and mental side of the self—CBD’s effects are equally varietal. Appetite, mood, pain, memory, and more come into play, so for people with problems that relate to any of these areas, CBD is a purpose-built remedy right from Mother Nature. Stimulating the endocannabinoid system by applying CBD oil to the skin has helped people temporarily relieve pain and tension in muscles or joints, for instance.
Product lines like Abacus’ CBDMedic provide pain relievers, offering consumers a natural, non-opiate, synthetic-free treatment. These creams, lotion and oils have helped many address the complaints and conditions common to us all—things like backache, joint pain from arthritis, and mere muscle tension. Professional athletes are also starting to use such products to treat pain and inflammation. However, CBD is far beyond a remedy for aches and pain: it’s also proving a robust tool in the fight against PTSD, epilepsy, addiction and anxiety.
Serving the Health and Wellness Space
The $4.2 trillion wellness industry is a veritable money printer for products that catch public interest, but it takes more than a clever marketing campaign to break into this sector. Wellness products should have some medical weight behind their claims, and CBD has so many scientists and doctors commending its benefits that advertising dollars are almost a waste. Studies have come at rapid-fire pace in recent years, delving deeply into CBD and eventually extolling it for many uses, enhancing its credibility as a wellness product.
One of the more groundbreaking discoveries about CBD was also its most public—that it was the only treatment which significantly helped epilepsy patient Charlotte Figi—who from a young age tolerated hundreds of mini-seizures each day. From this highly publicized and infuriating case came the universal recognition that the Cannabis plant has some undeniable benefits, and after sliding some key legislation into place, the rest is history.
Scientists and medical professionals, newly freed from red tape, have since shown CBD to be quite a versatile cannabinoid. According to the most stringent studies, CBD not only has an “anticonvulsant profile… largely devoid of adverse side effects” for epileptics, but it is also “associated with PTSD symptom reduction in adults” (from a study on CBD for PTSD patients), and “significantly reduce(s) both craving and anxiety induced by the presentation of salient drug cues” to recovering opiate addicts. As it turns out, aches and pains are merely one piece of a much larger puzzle.
A Promising Future
Still a newer concept in the largest jurisdictions, CBD is treated differently depending on where it’s found. In the EU, for example, the European Commission recently updated its ‘novel foods’ category to include food and drink items containing CBD, which means that unlike the US, you’ll see something like strawberry CBD soda on shelves. The US contrasts heavily, with its Food and Drug Administration (FDA) having only approved a single CBD treatment to-date: Epidiolex for epileptics. However disparate the laws may be in these two areas, they have a universal standard in common: that non-food CBD products are legal if their THC content is controlled.
Scientific and technological developments continue to bring about shifts in the cannabis and CBD sectors meaning that more ailments can be treated in an ever-increasing number of patients. While the breakthrough in isolating CBD from the psychoactive THC compound occurred decades ago, thanks to new advances, we are finally reaching a point where CBD can become mainstream.