CBD and the Brain

CBD and the Brain

Cannabidiol (CBD) is gaining popularity for its potential to assist many conditions, both chronic and short-term. CBD is a cannabinoid molecule produced by the cannabis plant. It can be consumed naturally in marijuana or hemp products, or removed through a process of extraction and made into a variety of CBD products like oil, edibles, or salves. 

One area that researchers are interested in is the potential of CBD to help neurological conditions. With research compounding and new studies being conducted regularly, scientists are finding more and more interesting benefits of CBD and the way it interacts with the brain. However, understanding how CBD and other cannabinoids interact with the brain is a complicated undertaking. The brain itself is incredibly complex and contains a wide variety of receptors, conducting a multitude of interactions every second. As complex as the research is, it’s already showing positive results and many are hopeful for what more years and more research can bring to the problem. 

The Endocannabinoid System

The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is responsible for maintaining the body’s state of homeostasis. If a disturbance happens in the body, the ECS will work to make sure everything remains at a stable and optimal level, correcting whatever imbalance first triggered its response. This is an important function of the human body because all internal systems need to be in a state of equilibrium to work effectively.  

There are three primary elements that make up the endocannabinoid system: 

  1. The endocannabinoids are chemical compounds the body naturally produces but are structurally similar to endocannabinoids, the chemical compounds found in cannabis.

  2. The cannabinoid receptors, which are found on the surface of cells throughout the body. Endocannabinoids and cannabinoids are both able to attach to these receptors allowing them to communicate with a variety of systems inside the body. This communication is what enables the ECS to detect and correct instability.

  3. Enzymes work to break down the cannabinoids and endocannabinoids after they’ve attached themselves to the receptors and after homeostasis has been achieved. At the core, enzymes are there to make sure the cannabinoids do not create an overcorrection once the risk has been effectively corrected. 

How CBD Interacts with the Brain

Inside the brain are highly specialized cells called neurons which connect to other neurons through structures called synapses. By releasing chemicals known as neurotransmitters, neurons are able to communicate with each other. These neurons have their own receptors. The receptors respond to chemicals produced by the brain (dopamine, serotonin) as well as chemicals produced outside the body, like cannabinoids. 

Since cannabinoids from cannabis plants are so similar to naturally produced chemical compounds within the body, it’s possible for the CBD compound to attach itself to the receptors in the same way as endocannabinoids. CBD has the ability to bind to both the CB1 and CB2 receptors. Once attached, CBD acts as an antagonist, or blocker, binding to receptors and dampening their signals. 

For example, CBD works to inhibit the FAAH enzyme which breaks down the anandamide endocannabinoid the body produces. Anandamide produces a calming feeling, so by keeping the enzymes from destroying this compound a naturally therapeutic effect should be felt immediately [1]. 

Benefits of CBD


Many neurological disorders have one thing in common: neuroinflammation. Researchers have linked inflammation to neurodegenerative diseases like depression, anxiety, Alzheimer’s, stroke, and epilepsy [2]. Recent studies on mice have suggested that CBD slows down an overactive inflammatory response, even reducing neuroinflammation after a stroke [3]. With the possibility of reduced inflammation in the brain, CBD may have the potential to alleviate some devastating symptoms of many neurological conditions. 

Brain Cells

Just like the rest of the body, keeping the brain healthy is essential to living a long life. As humans age, memory or learning abilities may slow down. That’s a natural part of life. However sometimes the brain degenerates at a more rapid rate than expected. This can be due to genetics or lifestyle habits, but it’s also linked to a decrease in neuroplasticity where memory and learning take place, and neurogenesis, the process that creates new brain cells. One study has found that CBD works to increase neurogenesis and neuroplasticity in mice [4], a promising result for the future of brain science and aging brains. 

Oxidative Protection

Oxidative stress and free radicals can be causes of age-related brain decline. Free radicals are part of everyday life and a consequence of living. Humans make free radicals when they eat, breath, and sleep. Production of these molecules can increase due to exposure to stress, pollution, and a poor diet. The best defense against free radicals is antioxidants [5]. Research has shown that CBD may have powerful antioxidant properties, possibly comparable to those of vitamin C and vitamin E [6], hinting at its potential to be an essential part of the battle against free radicals.     


As mentioned earlier, neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that communicate signals between the brain and body. They are used to instruct a variety of systems on the steps needed to function in a healthy way. They direct the lungs to breathe and the stomach to digest. Healthy neurotransmission is essential to a functional human body. If an imbalance does happen there are any number of effects that can be felt. Mood changes, appetite changes, and the disruption of sleep can all be caused by unhealthy neurotransmitters. Stress, diet, toxins, and even medications can all throw neurotransmitters out of balance. Studies on animals have shown that CBD increased serotonin levels and glutamate in depressed test subjects [7]. Serotonin is responsible for controlling mood and personality, while glutamate is a transmitter released by nerve cells and plays an important role in memory and learning. Both are important factors for mental health. 


Currently the only FDA approved CBD medication is for the treatment of epilepsy, a chronic disorder that causes often debilitating seizures. The drug, called Epidiolex, is made from a CBD isolate and is used in the treatment of two specific forms of epilepsy. Clinical studies on humans have shown CBD to be very effective at reducing seizures, although it is currently unknown if this is directly due to CBD or because of CBD’s ability to work effectively with other medications to enhance their benefits [8]. Since the effect of CBD as an anticonvulsant is one of the most researched in cannabis studies, society will continue to see further studies and evidence about these properties and how they relate to CBD. 

Mental Health

CBD is quickly becoming a popular supplement in the United States. Due to its supposed neurological benefits, people are adding it to their daily lives to help with a variety of mental concerns. CBD has been studied for its assistance in easing anxiety, particularly general and social anxieties. The study showed that CBD may have helped those with anxiety feel more at ease when faced with a normally stressful circumstance: public speaking [9]. 

Along with its apparent anti-anxiety properties, CBD has also shown potential to help with depression. Studies on mice have shown that CBD exhibited both anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects in the animals [10]. Research is still very new and more studies on humans need to be conducted, however early research shows its potential, as do anecdotal reports from users around the globe. 


Dementia-related conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, Vascular Dementia, Dementia with Lewy bodies, Parkinon’s disease, Frontotemporal dementia, and Huntington’s disease all have the potential to be helped by CBD. Research conducted at the Salk Institute in California suggests that cannabinoids such as CBD have the potential to remove the toxic protein associated with dementia from the connections between the brain cells while also increasing those same connections to assist in cognitive stability. Research has shown this particular toxin to cause inflammation in the brain and higher rates of neuron death. Scientists were able to conclude that introducing cannabinoids reduced the levels of this toxin, thus eliminating the inflammatory response which allowed the nerve cells to survive [11]. 

These types of studies are still very new and evolving, but the potential is there and researchers are working as fast as they can to see how CBD and other cannabinoids can help treat the terrible disorders associated with dementia and other brain dysfunctions. 

CBD for the Digestive Tract

CBD for the Digestive Tract

Researchers continue to be intrigued by the potential medicinal benefits of the cannabinoid CBD. They’ve found it effective for treating inflammation, pain, anxiety, and even certain bacterial infections [1]. They’ve recently turned their attention to its usefulness in treating gastrointestinal diseases. In the United States, roughly 60-70 million people are affected by a variety of digestive diseases [2]. There’s a good change that if you aren’t personally affected, you know someone who is. Those who suffer from digestive tract disorders often battle with their quality of life because these diseases can be very disruptive to daily routines. The possibility of using CBD to help ease some of that discomfort drives researchers to learn more about CBD and how it can be used to treat GI problems.

How the Endocannabinoid System Works

The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is an important part of human physiology. It’s responsible for maintaining the body’s state of homeostasis. If some sort of disruption is introduced in the body, the ECS will start working to make sure everything in the body remains at a stable and optimal level. This is an important function of the human body. All the internal systems need to be in a state of equilibrium to work effectively.  

There are three primary elements that make up the endocannabinoid system:

  • Endocannabinoids: These are compounds that are naturally produced by the body, but are very similar to the chemical compounds in cannabis, like CBD. The two main endocannabinoids in the ECS are called anandamide and 2-AG.
  • Cannabinoid Receptors: These receptors are found on the surface of cells throughout the body. The endocannabinoids the body produces, and any cannabinoids ingested will bind to these receptors. The action of binding allows them to communicate with different systems in the body, helping the ECS maintain an equilibrium in each of the specific systems. The two main types of cannabinoid receptors are CB1 and CB2.
  • Enzymes: After the endocannabinoids attach themselves to the cannabinoid receptors and the ECS has achieved stabilization in the body, enzymes start breaking down the endocannabinoids to avoid a possible overcorrection. Each type of endocannabinoid has a specific enzyme that works at breaking it down effectively. The two enzyme types are called FAAH and MAGL and each is specific to a particular endocannabinoid.

The endocannabinoid system is responsible for regulating several of the most important bodily functions, including appetite and digestion. The ECS regulates digestive functions by communicating with the digestive system using the cannabinoid receptors. Specifically the CB2 receptors, which reside in the digestive and immune systems. When the receptors notice an imbalance in one of these systems, the ECS acts with precision to pinpoint the issue and works to stabilize the problem and get back to homeostasis. 

Endocannabinoid System and CBD

Since endocannabinoids and cannabinoids from cannabis plants are so similar chemically, it’s possible for cannabinoids like CBD to attach themselves to the receptors in the same way the naturally occurring endocannabinoids do. CBD has the ability to bind to both the CB1 and CB2 receptors. Once attached, CBD acts as an antagonist, or blocker, binding to receptors and dampening their signals. 

For example, CBD works to inhibit the FAAH enzyme which breaks down the anandamide endocannabinoid the body produces. Anandamide produces a calming feeling, so by keeping the enzymes from destroying this compound a naturally therapeutic effect should be felt immediately [3]

Researchers have found that CB1 and CB2 receptors are found in immune cells, which indicates they are both used in regulating inflammation and immune response [4]. Because CBD can attach itself to both these receptors, it could prove to be effective for treating those with gastrointestinal issues. 

Common Gastrointestinal Disorders

The digestive system is made up of the gastrointestinal tract, the liver, the pancreas, and the gallbladder. This system helps break down and digest food. Effective digestion means the proper breakdown of food into nutrients and absorption of those nutrients to your body, where it’s used for energy, growth, and cell repair. There are many different kinds of digestive disorders, but the most common GI issues are listed below. 

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

There are two types of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) and in the United States a little over 1% of adults suffer from one or the other [5]:

  • Crohn’s Disease: This disease causes inflammation of the digestive tract. With symptoms including abdominal pain, cramping, fatigue, severe diarrhea, reduced appetite, and weight loss, it is a disorder that can be completely debilitating to those who have it. There is currently no cure for Crohn’s disease and the recommended treatments usually include a combination of dietary changes and a prescription for anti-inflammatory drugs or antibiotics.
  • Ulcerative Colitis: This disease causes inflammation and ulcers in the digestive tract. While technically considered the same type of inflammatory bowel disease as Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis differs in that it only affects the colon and the rectum. It does, however, have all the same symptoms as Crohn’s disease and is also without a cure. Treatment is typically a combination of immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory drugs, with additional prescriptions for pain relievers to manage any symptoms.


Gastritis is marked by inflammation of the stomach lining, and can be caused by a bacterial infection or overuse of pain medication or alcohol. It can also be caused by Crohn’s disease. Symptoms of gastritis include pain of the upper abdomen, nausea, vomiting, and a sense of fullness in the upper abdomen. If untreated, gastritis can cause stomach ulcers which can then lead to stomach cancer. 2 out of every 10,000 people suffer from chronic gastritis [6], however it is a very treatable condition with a combination of antibiotics, antacids, and histamine blockers. 

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) causes inflammation in the large intestine. Its symptoms include abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and weight loss. One of the most common GI issues, it affects 10% to 15% of people in the world [7]. IBS is found to be more common in women than men worldwide. Like other GI disorders, IBS is a chronic condition and has no cure. Most people manage their symptoms with a combination of diet, lifestyle, and supplements. Stress is a trigger for IBS, so often therapy or antidepressants are also recommended. 

How CBD Can Help

Benefits of CBD

Cannabidiol (CBD) comes from the cannabis plant and is one of more than 100 chemical compounds found within the plant that are called cannabinoids. CBD is usually extracted from the hemp plant as it naturally has higher concentrations of CBD, whereas the marijuana plant has higher concentrations of THC. Both plants produce CBD, but it’s often easier to extract from the hemp plant when the psychoactive effects of THC are not required or preferred. CBD does not contain any psychoactive elements and therefore the user won’t feel any sort of intoxication from consuming CBD. It should also be noted that unlike THC, CBD is legal in the United States. 

CBD can be a powerful tool against digestive tract discomfort. Because it’s able to interact with the cannabinoid receptors in the digestive tract and immune system, it can help reduce inflammation and improve how the immune system responds to digestive disorders. It can also be a great option when it comes to reducing stress and anxiety which can be caused by digestive issues, or act as a trigger for them. 

  • Pain and inflammation relief: Studies have shown that CBD can be a powerful pain reliever and is especially beneficial when managing chronic pain [8]. Studies on mice have revealed that CBD works to manage pain by adjusting the way the brain reacts to pain. It is able to release neurotransmitters which in turn act as antidepressants [9]. CBD is also able to attach itself to the CB2 receptors in the immune system which work to suppress inflammation [10].

A recent study of mice who suffered from intestinal inflammation found that they had abnormal levels of endocannabinoid turnover [11]. This means the ECS might not be able to regulate inflammation effectively. To test CBD in cases like this, researchers gave the mice CBD oil and it relieved their inflamed intestines and effectively reduced their pain.   

The combined power of CBD against pain and inflammation makes it a great alternative to traditional prescription medications or treatments that aren’t seeing success in treating uncomfortable or painful gastrointestinal diseases.

  • Anxiety relief: Research is still on-going, but already studies on animals have found that CBD is helpful in reducing a range of anxiety and stress issues [12]. By using the ECS to manage situations that cause our bodies to feel discomfort or distress, CBD can be a great option for those who either experience anxiety or stress from their uncomfortable digestive disorders, or for those who suffer from something like IBS and need to maintain a calm lifestyle or risk upsetting their condition.
  • Nausea relief: There has been considerable research done suggesting the benefits of cannabinoids — including CBD — on easing nausea and vomiting [13]. As these are two very common symptoms of gastritis, being able to use CBD to assist in managing these is incredibly important.

CBD in Your Life

If you or someone you love suffers from a digestive disease, you know it can be frustrating to get the help needed. With many of these diseases currently incurable, it comes down to an effective and tolerable treatment plan. The symptoms of these diseases are life-altering enough, so adding further medications that could themselves come with side effects is not often a desirable choice for many people trying to find relief. For those people, CBD can be a great option. Using its powerful relation to the endocannabinoid system and its ease of use and gentle effect on the body, it can be a life-changing treatment. 

Always talk to your doctor before adding any new treatments and make sure that any CBD you purchase comes from a reputable source with proper certifications and analysis reports. 



Understanding the difference between hemp and marijuana can be confusing, and even more confusing is understanding the difference between CBD and THC. If you’re new to the world of cannabis and have found the terminology confusing, this guide is for you. It should help you better understand some of the differences in these plants and products.


Hemp and marijuana are, in fact, just different names for the same plant genus called cannabis. Cannabis is a flowering annual herb in the Cannabaceae family that originated in Asia and has been used for centuries for a variety of needs, from industrial to medicinal. There are three main species of plants within this family: cannabis sativa, cannabis indica, and cannabis ruderalis. All three are treated as subspecies of a single species called C. sativa. Cannabis plants produce a group of chemical compounds known as cannabinoids that can produce mental and physical effects when ingested. These cannabinoids are also responsible for deciding if a particular cannabis plant will be called hemp or marijuana. 


Hemp is a term that is used to classify the varieties of cannabis that contain 0.3% or less of the cannabinoid called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Hemp has historically been used for its fiber, seeds, oils, and leaves. It’s most commonly used for industrial purposes and products. Hemp is refined into various commercial items like paper, textiles, clothings, biodegradable plastics, paint, insulation, biofuel, food, and animal feed. 

Commonly believed to be one of oldest cultivated plants in the world, hemp was such a staple of 17th century America that farmers were mandated to grow it and allowed to use it to pay their taxes. It’s even believed that the early drafts of the Declaration of Independence were created on hemp paper. However, the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 and the popularity of synthetic fibers in the following years saw the industry suffer a decrease in popularity. In 1970 when the Controlled Substances Act categorized marijuana as an illegal drug, hemp was assigned in the same category and cultivation of it was outlawed in the United States. It wasn’t until 2018 when the Agricultural Act removed hemp from that list. This allowed an opportunity for hemp to make a comeback as an industrial crop and opened the doors to create large scale hemp farms across the country. 


Marijuana contains more than 0.3% THC, the cannabinoid responsible for the psychotropic and euphoric effects. Marijuana buds come from the dried flowers, leaves, stems, and seeds of the cannabis plant. It’s known for its medicinal and recreational purposes and as a psychoactive drug and has been a highly regulated product since the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act. It became an even more restricted drug after the 1970 Controlled Substances Act categorized it as a Schedule 1 drug. In recent years, many states have slowly loosened their restrictive laws on marijuana use, with many moving from legalized use for medicinal purposes to legal recreational use, with restrictions comparable to alcohol. 

Differences Between Hemp and Marijuana

Hemp and marijuana are sometimes referred to as different species of cannabis, which is not correct. The only difference between the hemp and marijuana cannabis plants is the amount of THC found in each plant. Hemp is cultivated for non-drug use while marijuana is celebrated for its THC levels. Since hemp and marijuana come from the same plant, they look and smell the same. The only real difference between the two is the THC levels found within. Simply put, they are the same plant, but certain cannabis plants are cultivated to contain less than 0.3% THC. Those plants are called hemp and will not get you high. Cannabis plants cultivated with more than 0.3% THC are called marijuana and will get you high. 

While they are the same plant, over the years selective breeding has altered the physical characteristics of hemp and marijuana. Since marijuana plants are used primarily for their cannabis flower, marijuana plants have been bred to be shorter and bushier, while hemp plants are prized primarily for their fiber which is found in the stalks. Hemp plants are generally bred to be taller and skinnier than marijuana plants.


Cannabinoids are the chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant. There are at least 113 different cannabinoids within cannabis, but the most commonly extracted are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). While these two compounds are the most well known, there is ongoing research exploring the benefits of other cannabinoids including tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), tetrahydrocannabivarian (THCV), cannabigerol (CBG), cannabichromene (CBC), cannabinol (CBN), and cannabicyclol (CBL). While all 113 cannabinoids have varied effects, it is CBD and THC that are most frequently used because they are found in the highest concentrations. These are also the cannabinoids that determine the difference between a hemp plant and a marijuana plant.


Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the 113 identified cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. When these compounds are extracted from the cannabis plant, CBD is the most prominent cannabinoid in the extraction. It produces no psychoactive results and is used primarily for therapeutic purposes. CBD is currently undergoing a lot of scientific research for its abilities to provide its users with relaxing, pain relieving, and anti-anxiety benefits. Since CBD doesn’t have euphoric effects like THC, it is a safe option for those who don’t enjoy feeling intoxicated or who cannot because of legal restrictions. 

Currently there is only one FDA-approved CBD medication that’s used for the treatment of certain types of epilepsy, but different varieties of CBD are available over-the-counter and are popular with users for what they believe to be beneficial properties that help treat their ailments. 


Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is another one of the 113 cannabinoids extracted from the cannabis plant. THC is the primary cannabinoid that accounts for the psychoactive properties of marijuana. It attaches to cannabinoid receptors that are concentrated in areas of the brain, stimulating the cells in the brain to release dopamine, which creates the feeling of euphoria.  

Differences Between CBD and THC

Both CBD and THC can be extracted from a marijuana plant, however a hemp plant will not have THC compounds and will only produce CBD. CBD and THC have the same molecular structure of 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and 2 oxygen atoms. The difference in how those atoms are arranged, however, is what accounts for the different effects on the body. Both CBD and THC are similar to the endocannabinoids our bodies create naturally, giving them the ability to interact with our cannabinoid receptors more easily. The interactions that happen affect the release of neurotransmitters in our brains. These neurotransmitters are responsible for relaying messages between cells about things like pain, stress, and relaxation. THC only binds with the cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptors in the brain, which is why it produces a feeling of being high. CBD binds very weakly, and sometimes not at all, to the CB1 receptors. CBD can actually interfere with the binding of THC to the CB1 receptors, causing the feelings of euphoria to be lessened. 

THC is only extracted from marijuana plants, but CBD can come from either marijuana or hemp. Generally CBD with less than 0.3% THC is derived from hemp plants since CBD can be extracted directly from hemp without needing to remove the THC, a necessary step if the CBD comes from a marijuana plant.

Why it’s Important to Know the Difference

Knowing the difference between the plant varieties and compounds within them is not only helpful when researching which product would work best for you, it’s also important if you live in a state where marijuana is not yet legal. Federally, marijuana and THC are still considered illegal. There are currently only a handful of states that have legalized marijuana for recreational or medicinal use. Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp and CBD are now legal federally, however some states have added their own restrictions on these substances. Certain states have made it illegal to possess hemp flowers or certain types of CBD. Make sure to check your state laws before purchasing any cannabis product. 

The popularity of cannabis is on the rise, and is often very confusing for those who are new to the world of hemp and marijuana. This can make it very intimidating when someone is looking for answers to questions about what could work for them. We hope this guide was helpful in differentiating these terms.

CBD for Pain Relief: What We Know

CBD for Pain Relief: What We Know

What is Pain?

Pain and pain relief have been tied to human history for centuries. It hasn’t always been a harmonious union, and there have been failures along the way, but humans have continued to strive for a better way to manage their pain. 

How do our bodies manage pain? By using the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a cell-signaling process in the human body that regulates different processes, including mood, appetite, and pain levels. This system is made up of molecules that are produced as needed, receptors that bind the molecules, and enzymes that break down the molecules once they are no longer needed. While experts are still researching how exactly CBD interacts with the ECS system, it does suggest that CBD has a beneficial effect on pain. Because CBD doesn’t bind to the ECS receptors, it is believed this allows it to have more of an effect on the body, speeding up the process of homeostasis after pain is introduced [1]

CBD for Chronic Pain

Arthritis Pain

In the United States, 23% of all adults have arthritis, a staggering statistic that means more than 54 million people struggle with this painful disease [2]. An inflammation of a single joint or several, arthritis can cause debilitating pain to its victims. It’s most commonly seen in people over the age of 65, but has been known to develop in people in any age group [3]. This means you will see questions related to arthritis in a very diverse group of people.

The customers approaching your company with arthritis are likely coming from more traditional types of treatment, some of those treatments may have troubling side effects making them less than desirable as a treatment for arthritis pain. Remind these customers that CBD might offer an option for pain management without the dangerous side effects tied to prescription drugs. 

Researchers have been studying the benefits of CBD on arthritis pain and the results are positive. Their studies have shown that CBD actually helps reduce inflammatory pain by changing the way pain receptors react to stimuli [4]. It also works to reduce joint inflammation and protect the nerves [5]

Back Pain

Lower back pain is the leading cause of disability around the world [6]. It is expected that 80% of the population will experience back pain at some point in the future [7]. With so many suffering from back pain, expect that your company will get questions about pain management and CBD for back pain.

Hot and cold packs continue to be an effective treatment, but often the pain is more severe and medication is needed. Depending on the severity of the pain, this can be a dangerous world to wander into. Your customers may already know the dangers of opioids for pain, especially back pain, but there’s a chance they won’t know all the risks associated with them versus the benefits of using CBD. Prescription opioids are addictive, and as many as 1 in 4 patients have reported struggling with prescription opioid addiction [8]

Instead of taking dangerous drugs, many patients are turning to CBD for pain management. CBD does not appear to have dangerous side effects and in clinical research has been effective at managing inflammatory pain [9]. Researchers have also discovered that combining CBD with prescription pain medication may help cut down on the required drug dosage, risk of dependency, and harmful side effects from the prescription medication [10]. As always, remind your customers to check with their doctors before combining CBD with any medications or starting any new treatment plan.

Neuropathic Pain

Chronic neuropathic pain comes from damaged nerves. The treatment for nerve pain is different than that for tissue pain. However CBD could be a beneficial treatment option for both, including localized nerve trauma and widespread nerve damage [11]

Neuropathic pain is one of the most difficult to treat, so your customers might be especially frustrated by the time they reach out to you. It should relieve them to hear that research studies have revealed cannabis and CBD to be effective for those patients who have not responded well to pharmaceutical treatments [12]

Cancer Pain

While there are some studies about how CBD can actually help shrink cancerous melanoma [13], most cancer patients turn to CBD to help manage the pain related to cancer and its treatment. Chemotherapy can cause vomiting, lack of appetite, and pain. These side effects all may be reduced or controlled by cannabinoids such as CBD [14].

As with other types of treatment for pain, studies have found that CBD may be used effectively alone or in combination with opioids to heighten their usefulness and reduce the required dosage needed to get the benefits [15]. Again, remind any customers looking to begin a new treatment plan or add CBD to an existing plan to talk to their doctor first. 

CBD for Other Types of Pain

Sports Injury

Just as CBD has been found to be effective at reducing chronic pain, it also may be effective in easing musculoskeletal pain from exercise [16]. Many people turn to anti-inflammatory drugs like Ibuprofen after a sports injury, but those drugs can have side effects such as renal damage and increased risk of heart attack and stroke after prolonged use [17]. CBD has not been found to have those side effects and may be just as effective at easing pain related to sports injuries. 

If your customers are athletes and concerned about how CBD is perceived in the competitive field of athletics, you can remind them that the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) removed CBD from their lists of prohibited substances in 2018. 

Sore Muscles

Besides its anti-inflammatory benefits, it is believed CBD’s analgesic effect makes it useful for sore or tired muscles. It may help relax the muscles to immediately ease discomfort. Added to the natural pain relief of CBD products, many people say they feel relief in sore or overworked muscles [18]

Many athletes like to use CBD before and after a workout, believing this helps ease their muscles into and out of anaerobic mode. Combined with proper stretching and massage, some notice a discernible difference in recovery [19]

Skin Conditions

Skin is the body’s largest organ and comes with the risk of pain. Almost 40 million people in the United States have some form of psoriasis or eczema [20] [21]. While incurable, there are treatments available to those who suffer. Because of its anti-inflammatory benefits and natural pain relief it offers, CBD has become popular as an option for people who suffer from these painful skin conditions [22]

Your clients may also approach you with questions about acne and how CBD can help. While most people think of acne as a cosmetic issue, it can actually be a very painful condition, especially if someone is suffering from cystic acne. Current research indicates that CBD may help reduce the formation of sebum in sebaceous tissue, therefore reducing the likelihood of acne or the severity of an outbreak [23]

If your customers have a history of skin conditions, it’s likely they have been prescribed strong topical creams or steroids for treatment at some point. Neither of these are good long term solutions. Steroids have severe side effects, including hemorrhages, scars, and prematurely aged skin [24]

Is CBD Right for You

Your customers know their bodies better than anyone else and know what is right for them. As a relatively new treatment still being researched, CBD has been making excellent progress as an alternative treatment. It has offered relief to people who had previously given up hope or those who have histories or aversions to the often chaotic world of prescription drugs. CBD may help your customers and their pain, and they will be thankful for any knowledge about CBD you can pass on to them. 

They may approach you nervous and excited about the possibility of CBD, so treat each customer individually and listen to their questions and concerns. Find out which type of CBD would be right for them. Some may prefer a tincture, while others might prefer to smoke or use a salve. If you have personal experience with a product, share it with them. They will be thankful for your honesty and insight. 

Finally, you should always remind them to check with their doctor before taking CBD. 

Full Spectrum CBD vs Broad Spectrum CBD

Full Spectrum CBD vs Broad Spectrum CBD

Benefits of CBD Oil

Researchers have been studying CBD for years, with each new study providing exciting possibilities for the enrichment of our lives. Current research shows CBD oil may be able to help reduce inflammation, restrict the growth of cancer cells, improve sleep quality, promote bone growth, inhibit the growth of bacteria, relieve pain, treat fungal infections, reduce muscle spasms, reduce seizures, relieve nausea and vomiting, reduce blood sugar levels, treat psoriasis, and calm anxiety and stress [1]. From one special plant comes a natural treatment for conditions that have plagued us for centuries. How does one obtain these benefits, though? There are a number of options out there and each option has different formulas available. So which one is right for you? Let’s discuss the difference between two of the most popular options: full and broad spectrum CBD oil.

CBD Extraction

Extracting CBD means extracting all the cannabinoids available in the hemp plant. Along with CBD, this includes CBDA, CBG, CBGA, CBC, CBCA, THCA, THCV, and other terpenes and flavonoids. This does mean that trace amounts of THC are also extracted in the process, but the amount that can be extracted is limited to 0.3%, which is not enough to activate any of the psychoactive risks in most people. If the THC in the extraction exceeds that level, the CBD is considered illegal in some states. 

CBD can be extracted using a few different methods. One of the most common is CO2 extraction, which uses carbon dioxide under high pressure and low temperature to maintain the purity of the oil. Another extraction method uses a similar process, but instead of CO2, it uses food grade ethanol to create the oil. This oil is generally used in vape pen cartridges or other similar products. Extracting with ethanol can destroy some of the plant waxes, which could potentially mean the loss of some beneficial compounds in CBD oil. 

In both processes, the plant will come in contact with a reactant, causing the hair on the plant to open. Inside these hairs (called trichomes) are cannabinoids. Once the cannabinoids are released, their molecules will bind to the carbon and later be distilled to remove any solid plant material. 

After the extraction process, the CBD can be refined further to only include certain cannabinoids or plant parts. This involves removing the solvents and leaving only the cannabinoids, terpenes, and phytochemicals. Once these compounds are able to be identified, specialists can select which ones to remove to finalize the product. This process of refining is what determines if the CBD will be considered full spectrum or broad spectrum. When all of the cannabinoids, terpenes and essential oils naturally found in the plant are included, the CBD is considered full spectrum. Broad spectrum CBD occurs when all of the same cannabinoids and essential oils are left in the extract, but the THC is completely removed. 

Full Spectrum CBD

Sometimes referred to as “whole plant CBD’, full spectrum is the extraction process that includes the entire hemp plant, including the leaf, stalk, and seeds. After extraction and refinement, full spectrum CBD contains all naturally present cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and fatty acids. Full spectrum CBD also contains trace amounts of THC.

Entourage Effect

Because all the cannabinoids, terpenes, and essential oils are working together in full spectrum CBD, something called the Entourage Effect occurs. The Entourage Effect means hundreds of compounds in the plant all work together synergistically to amplify the combined therapeutic benefits more than any one compound could do on its own. Research has shown that removing even one of these compounds may reduce the effectiveness of the CBD [2].    

Pros of Full Spectrum CBD

Full spectrum CBD is popular for its health and restorative needs, especially when compared to isolate CBD, which has removed all other cannabinoids and left only the CBD, therefore disrupting the Entourage Effect and dulling the product’s potency. Because of the included THC, it may be especially effective in the treatment of eating disorders, pain management, PTSD and other severe forms of anxiety, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s [3].  

Cons of Full Spectrum CBD

Since THC is present in full spectrum CBD, it could mean that if taken in large enough quantities or for long enough, THC may build up in the system and show up on drug tests [4]. Full spectrum CBD is also known to have a strong odor and flavor. While these are naturally occurring odors and flavors, some people with sensitivities might find them unpleasant. 

Best Uses for Full Spectrum CBD

Some treatment recommendations might include taking CBD with a specific ratio of THC. In those cases, full spectrum is the best choice. The included THC may mean full spectrum is a great option for those seeking treatment of more severe or painful medical conditions that CBD formulas with fewer compounds may not be powerful enough to help. Finally, if cannabis is legal in a particular state, it might be someone’s preference to have a product that includes THC since there are no legal complications. 

Note About Full Spectrum CBD

While many full spectrum products are derived from hemp plants, in states where recreational cannabis is legal, it can be extracted from a marijuana plant. If you live in a state where cannabis is legal, either option shouldn’t be an issue for you. However, if you live in a state where cannabis is not legal recreationally and you happen to purchase full spectrum CBD from a marijuana plant extract, you could run into issues getting it to your state. Always read the label to find out the plant source.

Broad Spectrum CBD

While broad spectrum CBD contains all the same beneficial cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and fatty acids, it lacks the THC. During the extraction process THC is either removed from the full spectrum product or sometimes a CBD isolate will be combined with other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids that have also been isolated during a separate extraction process. Because it contains the same compounds as full spectrum, broad spectrum CBD still includes the beneficial Entourage Effect. Even though THC has been removed, all the other compounds are still combined in the oil and working together synergistically.  

Pros of Broad Spectrum CBD

Broad spectrum CBD offers the full benefits of full spectrum, but without the trace amounts of THC in the full spectrum formula, removing the risk of potentially having a positive result on a drug test.

Cons of Broad Spectrum CBD

Like full spectrum, it does have a strong natural odor and flavor which some more sensitive people may find offensive or difficult to manage.

Best Uses for Broad Spectrum CBD

Broad spectrum may be a great solution for those looking for the full benefits of full spectrum CBD, but without the added THC. It may provide the same therapeutic benefits as full spectrum CBD for the management of stress, anxiety, pain, sleep, and a multitude of other issues. There may be new CBD users or those just beginning their research of cannabis products who are nervous to try a product containing THC. Broad spectrum CBD can be a safe and effective introduction to the world of CBD.

Which is Right for You?

Simply put, if you prefer the THC compound and live in a state where THC is legal, full spectrum may be the right choice for you. If you have a severe condition you’re trying to treat and want to start with the oil containing the most cannabinoids, give full spectrum a try. However, if you don’t have a particularly severe condition and the idea of trace amounts of THC causes you concern, perhaps because you work for the federal government and can’t risk a positive drug test, start with broad spectrum and see how that works for you. 

Additionally, keep in mind that the first product you use may not work the way you like, but there are other options available that may work better with your physiology. Just like any other CBD treatment option, you should always consult your doctor before adding it to your treatment plan or into your daily routine.