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According to a 2012 study in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, rats injected with inflammatory chemicals in their hind feet experienced less inflammation and neuropathic pain when treated with an oral dose and spinal injection of CBD.  

Part of this response could be explained by the way that CBD acts in the brain. In low doses, CBD may act as an agonist to several receptor sites, meaning it acts similarly to surrounding molecules that normally bind to the receptor, enhancing the signalling of those receptor sites. At higher doses, however, too much activity at the receptor site can lead to an opposite effect, negating the beneficial effects of CBD.

Heart Health

CBD oil is an extract of Cannabis indica or Cannabis sativa—the same plants that, when dried, make marijuana. CBD oil is believed by some to treat pain, reduce anxiety, and stimulate appetite in the same way that marijuana does, but without its psychoactive effects. CBD has also shown promise in treating certain types of seizures.

For this study, nine healthy men took either 600 mg of CBD or the same dose of a placebo. According to the researcher, those treated with CBD had lower blood pressure before and after exposure to stressful stimuli (including exercise or extreme cold).

According to a 2017 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, only 30.95% of CBD products sold online were correctly labeled. Most contained less CBD than advertised, while 21.43% had significant amounts of THC.

An excellent example is the use of CBD (and also THC) products for the self-medicating of cancer, with the intention of fully curing it [15]. This is based on an increasing body of preclinical evidence showing cannabinoids to be capable, under some conditions, of inhibiting the development of cancer cells in vitro or in vivo by various mechanisms of action, including induction of apoptosis, inhibition of angiogenesis, and arresting the cell cycle [16]. This is certainly exciting news, and research is ongoing around the world, but there is no solid clinical evidence yet to support that cannabinoids – whether natural or synthetic – can effectively and safely treat cancer in actual humans [17]. In fact, there are indications that certain types of cancer may even accelerate when exposed to cannabinoids [18]. This becomes problematic when patients choose to refuse chemotherapy treatment because they firmly believe in the rumored curative properties of cannabinoids. As a result, recommendation of cannabinoids for treating cancer should be done with great care, and with distinction as to the type of cancer being treated [19].

Although a range of analytical methods have been published in recent years [48], there is no general agreement on which analytical method is most suitable and accurate. Additionally, there are currently no generally accepted guidelines or certifications to determine the qualifications of cannabis labs. As a result, cannabinoid analysis can differ significantly between labs [49], even when the exact same sample is analyzed multiple times [50]. This not only poses a risk to consumers (who do not know how trust the label on their product) but may also lead to business-to-business conflicts about the quality or value of intermediate products. Additionally, inaccurate analytical results may lead to legal problems if the THC content of a CBD product unexpectedly turns out to be higher than the maximally allowed limit. It seems clear that a better agreement on the conditions for lab testing of cannabinoids is urgently needed.

Therapeutic Effects of CBD

Given the many restrictions and conditions, it can be difficult to set up a fully legal and functional pipeline for the production and sale of CBD oil. Because different countries allow different activities with regards to cultivation, processing, extracting, etc., of hemp, entrepreneurs have often set up production pipelines that span multiple countries, where hemp is cultivated in one country, while extraction takes place in another, lab testing in a third, and sales take place in yet another country. This obviously makes it harder to determine exactly where a CBD product comes from, who is responsible for its final quality, and what standards were followed. For that reason, thorough analytical testing of final products by certified third-party labs is an essential tool to guarantee the safety and composition of CBD oils.

Although contaminants come in various shapes and forms, most are relatively easy to detect, because many professional analytical labs exist that routinely screen for such contaminants in, for example, food crops, imported medicinal plants, or edible oils. The standard lab methods, as described in Pharmacopoeia monographs (e.g., USP, EP) or food regulations, could simply be applied to CBD oils, after some minor validation studies. For example, the detection of heavy metals or pesticides present in CBD oil does not significantly differ from the same analysis in, say, a shipment of olive oil. The only analysis that is not yet standard procedure in most analytical labs is the quantification of cannabinoids. Because cannabinoids are only found (with few exceptions [47]) in the cannabis plant, specific analytical methodology must be developed to properly determine the cannabinoid composition of the many CBD products available.

Additionally, as many as 26/46 samples (57%) had a THC content > 1%, with one sample peaking at 57.5%. In 18/46 samples (39%) the oil contained virtually only THC (with CBD < 0.1%). Although many of the samples analyzed were purposely made to contain a high THC content, it is unclear whether oil consumers are always aware they are consuming THC, and thereby exposing themselves to the adverse effects of this psychotropic compound, such as intoxication, panic attacks, or disorientation. It should be noted that although the exact legal status of CBD may be debatable, THC-rich extracts are strictly prohibited in virtually all countries.