Cannabidiol (CBD) is a compound found in the cannabis plant
with enormous medicinal and therapeutic potential.

Cannabidiol is one of over 100 compounds or cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. THC is another. Cannabinoids are the class of chemicals in which CBD and THC belong.

CBD has emerged as the shining star of all these
cannabinoids, primarily due to its non-psychoactive nature and potential health
benefits. When extracted and isolated from the cannabis plant, the oil retains
the many potential health benefits without the intoxicating or “high” feeling like
that associated with the cannabinoid THC.

CBD can be sourced from either hemp or marijuana. Which option is available to you is highly dependent on your states legal status of marijuana. Hemp-derived CBD contains only trace amounts of THC, less than 0.03% – an appealing option for those seeking the benefits without THC.

What is the Endocannabinoid System?

Cannabis can have a variety of medical applications due to its interaction with the human Endocannabinoid System (ECS). In order to understand how the cannabis plant interacts with our body and can affect medical conditions, one must first have a general understanding of the ECS.

The human ECS was a recent discovery, the majority of which was led by a team of Israeli scientists in the early 1990’s. The term endocannabinoid is derived from the words endo (meaning from within) and cannabinoid (meaning the receptors of the ECS interact with the plant cannabinoids). It is an internal signaling system found within every organ system of our body whose main purpose is to provide homeostasis. Homeostasis is the way our bodies ensure that our internal systems are regulated to maintain a healthy state even during times of stress, illness, and injury. For example, inflammation is a normal response to injury and is a requirement for healing. However too little or too much inflammation can be problematic as is the case with arthritis. The ECS plays an important role in ensuring that inflammation is at an appropriate (homeostatic) level.

The ECS influences multiple physiological processes and plays a role in the protection of our nerves (neuroprotection), modulation of our immune system, protection of our healthy cells against injury (cytoprotection) and plays a role in our protective mechanisms against cancer. This intricate system also regulates metabolism through the modulation of energy intake, nutrient transport, lipid metabolism, and energy storage.

Similar to most of the cellular signaling mechanisms within our body, the ECS is composed of 3 main components: Neuromodulators (signaling molecules, in this case, endocannabinoids), Receptors (which are activated by neuromodulators), and Enzymes (responsible for both the synthesis and break down of the neuromodulators).

Neuromodulators – Endocannabinoids are considered a type of neuromodulator meaning they influence the function of nerve cells. While several have been discovered, the 2 most abundant and naturally occurring endocannabinoids which serve as neuromodulators include anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoyl-glycerol (2-AG). These endocannabinoids bind to a variety of receptors causing a physiological response. The compounds found within the cannabis plant known as cannabinoids or phytocannabinoids act in many similar ways as our naturally occurring endocannabinoids.

Receptors – The endocannabinoids interact with a host of receptors including cannabinoid-type 1(CB1), cannabinoid type-2 (CB2), serotonin
receptors (5-HT), vanilloid receptors (TRPV), and peroxisome proliferator activated receptors (PPARS). The most extensively studied receptors include the CB1 and CB2 receptors. The CB1 receptor are primarily located in the brain and nervous system. They are found at the end of nerve cells and play a role in cellular signaling (for example, nerve firing during injury and pain). It is for this reason that the CB1 receptor plays an important role in the homeostasis of our nervous system. CB1 is also of particular medicinal interest. Research continues to emerge looking at targeted therapy from plantbased cannabinoids showing potential applications for a variety of neurologic conditions including: multiple sclerosis, dementia, spinal cord injury, Parkinson’s disease, neuropathies, and epilepsy. CB2 receptors, which are found to a lesser degree in the nervous system, are densely distributed throughout our immune system. They are found in abundance within the cells of the spleen, tonsils, and thymus gland. CB2 receptors are found on white blood cells where they are involved in the homeostasis and health of our immune system. In our gastrointestinal system activation of the CB2 receptor performs many functions including modulation of intestinal inflammation. There should be no surprise why cannabis therapeutics targeted at the CB2 receptors are showing promising results for the treatment of several inflammatory conditions including arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, Alzheimer’s disease, as well as other autoimmune conditions.

Enzymes – The endocannabinoids AEA and 2-AG are synthesized by unique enzymes during times of stress, illness, or injury. AEA is subsequently broken down by Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolase (FAAH) while 2-AG is degraded by Mono-AcylGlycerol Lipase (MAGL). Plant-based cannabinoids can interact with these enzymes. For example, CBD has been shown to inhibit FAAH which will result in increased levels of our natural endocannabinoid AEA.

The cannabinoids found within the cannabis plant work by interacting directly with our ECS. There are currently over 100 different cannabinoids as well as other compounds within the cannabis plant known as terpenes which all interact directly and/or indirectly with our cannabinoid receptors. Additionally, they can also interact with the enzymes responsible for synthesizing and degrading our natural endocannabinoids (AEA and 2-AG). The cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant can also interact with our endocannabinoid receptors in ways that alter their function (known as allosteric modulation) as well as their interaction with our natural endocannabinoids. Future therapies will focus on a better understanding of how the numerous different cannabinoids, terpenes and other natural compounds found within the cannabis plant interact with our ECS. Adam Abodeely MD, MBA, FACS, FASCRS
Chief Executive Officer/Founder ReserveMD
Associate Chief Medical Officer Adirondack Health
Adirondack GI & Colorectal Surgery, PLLC
Assistant Professor SUNY Upstate Medical University

Different Types of CBD Oils:

Full Spectrum CBD- Full spectrum CBD is an extract that contains all compounds found naturally occurring in the plant, including terpenes, essential oils, and other cannabinoids. The full spectrum of cannabinoids, terpenes, and essential oils extracted from the plant work together to magnify the therapeutic benefits of each individual cannabinoid. This is commonly referred to as the “entourage effect“. Other molecules found in Full Spectrum are CBG, CBC, and CBN.

Broad Spectrum CBD- Broad Spectrum CBD is a bit of a mix between Full Spectrum CBD and CBD Isolate. Like Full Spectrum CBD, the other compounds found within the plant are preserved in the extract; however, like CBD Isolate, THC is completely removed. Because Broad Spectrum CBD contains multiple cannabinoids, it can deliver the enhanced benefits of the “entourage effect,” without the risk of psychoactive effects of THC. Other molecules found in Broad Spectrum are CBG, CBC, and CBN.

CBD Isolate- In scientific terms, an isolate is the purest form of a compound, which is produced by singularly extracting that compound from its environment and isolating it from all other compounds. With that being said, CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD, which is produced by removing all other compounds found in the plant including terpenes, flavonoids, plant parts, and other cannabinoids. CBD Isolate is typically extracted from Hemp, due to its low to non-existent THC-content.

What are CBG, CBC, and CBN good for?

CBG has been shown to:

  • helps relieve chronic pain
  • slow bacterial growth
  • reduce seizures and convulsions
  • reduce inflammation systemically
  • induce sleep
  • inhibits cancer growth
  • stimulate growth of new brain cells
  • helps protect neurons
  • stimulates appetite

CBC has been shown to:

  • fights bacteria and fungi
  • anti-inflammatory
  • helps relieve chronic pain
  • fights depression
  • stimulates brain growth

CBN has been shown to:

  • relieves pain
  • aids with sleep
  • promotes bone growth
  • slows bacterial growth
  • reduces inflammation
  • reduces seizures and convulsions
  • appetite stimulant
  • reduces vomiting and nausea
  • inhibits cancer cell growth
  • reduces blood pressure
  • helps with skin conditions

CBD Delivery Methods:

Ongoing research of cannabidiol and how it affects numerous conditions shows its offerings could be many. The future of CBD as a safe and effective treatment is promising. Positive results for common conditions such as anxiety, pain relief, sleeplessness, and inflammation have boosted CBD’s popularity.

Topical Ointment: salves, lotions, and moisturizers for absorption through the skin. A great application for local pain relief without ingesting CBD oil.

Inhalants: full flowers and oils can be smoked or vaporized for an immediate release. The fastest application could be effective in treating some symptoms of anxiety and stress.

Capsules: a slower delivery method with a passive release. A great option for incorporating into a daily routine.

Tinctures (Dropper): the most versatile application with a wide range of uses. A quick drop under the tongue or a few in a beverage, easily control the dosage and delivery.

Edibles: CBD infused foods and beverages. A simple and easy way to utilize CBD in a normal everyday routine.