Worldwide, the NCBI estimates that one in five adults (17.6%) within the past year have struggled with a mood disorder (that is, any mental illness defined by the inability to regulate one's mood, such that it impacts one’s ability to function throughout the day), while 300 million (roughly 4.4%) individuals worldwide suffer from depression alone (1). The World Health Organization ranks depression as the single largest contributor to global disability, with anxiety disorders ranked as 6th.
The sobering takeaway is that thousands of individuals struggle with mood disorders every single day, including anxiety, depression, PTSD, bipolar, and more. Chances are you have friends or family battling with some form of mental health disorder, or have struggled with one yourself. Even if you have had little to no exposure to mood disorders, the fact remains that you have still experienced anxiety, severe sadness, stress, and other difficult-to-manage emotions.
In this post, we’ll explore CBD’s potential in aiding those with mood disorders.
CBD and mood disorders
Remember last week's post about the Endocannabinoid system? It’s laregly by virtue of this system that CBD and other endocannabinoids have such potential in treating some of the underlying causes of mood disorders. This is because CBD works through multiple pathways, affecting specific pathways in the brain associated with mood regulation.
How it works
*it’s important to know that most of the studies referenced below are animal studies, meaning that we still do not entirely know the effects of CBD on the human brain. That being said, the research is promising, and the potential for CBD in treating mental disorders is vast. The animal studies below strongly suggest multiple ways in which CBD may be effective in treating neuropsychiatric illnesses.
Depression is an immensely complex condition. There is no single underlying cause, and we have much to learn in the way of treating it. According to the Institut Pasteur, 30% of patients are resistant to conventional treatment, including pharmaceutical SSRIs and MAOIs (2).
In recent years, our understanding of neuroinflammation and its connection to depression has grown immensely. Neuroinflammation, inflammation of nervous tissue in the brain, is now considered to be one of the major underlying causes of depression- paving the way for new and potentially more effective methods of treatment.
CBD has been shown to reduce neuroinflammation substantially (3), making it a potentially highly viable treatment for depressive disorder.
Moreover, CBD has been shown to increase the health and function of the hippocampus (4), a part of the human brain responsible for mood regulation. Studies have shown that individuals suffering from mood disorders often have damage in the hippocampus region of the brain. One common cause of structural degeneration and impaired functioning in the hippocampus is chronic stress and anxiety, which may lead to an increase in susceptibility to neuropsychiatric disorders.
While more longitudinal research is needed, studies suggest that treatments reversing stress-induced degeneration of the hippocampus may be viable for addressing mood disorders.
CBD has also been shown to affect receptors in our brain responsible for regulating the uptake of serotonin and potentially increasing the amount of serotonin in our brains, combating depression and anxiety caused by depleted levels of serotonin. (5)
CBD versus Pharmaceutical Medications
*CBD is not a replacement for prescribed medications. If you are currently taking a pharmaceutical medication, talk to your doctor before taking CBD or any health supplement which may interact with your medication. Quitting pharmaceutical medications without the support and advice of your doctor may have severe adverse effects.
Pharmaceutical medications have come a long way in treating mental health. That being said, there is a lot left to be desired. It’s like opening the hood of your car and pouring steering fluid everywhere, in the hopes that some of the fluid falls where it needs to go. Some of it may end up in the right place and your car may continue to function regularly, but it’s not exactly efficient. Not to mention the fact that pouring steering fluid in places that aren’t meant to be covered in steering fluid may have some seriously adverse effects.
Medications act in a similar way- they treat the whole brain, only sometimes affecting and addressing specific pathways. They are largely inefficient methods of treatments, often causing a number of negative side effects, including Insomnia, sexual dysfunction, mood swings, and agitation (not to mention long-term side effects- a subject that we know very little about). CBD has not been shown to produce any such effects.
One animal study found that while antidepressants often took weeks to work, CBD had ‘fast and sustained’ antidepressant effects (6). This can be immensely helpful for those unable to wait weeks before feeling the affects of treatment.
Multiple other studies have found that CBD significantly reduced levels of anxiety in individuals suffering from anxiety disorders such as SAD (7).
The bottom line
There is still much to learn about the potential effects of CBD on mood disorders. As mentioned above, most of the studies referenced throughout this blog are animal studies, meaning that the findings in regards to effects on the human brain are merely preliminary. That being said, the research strongly suggests that CBD may be viable for treating mood disorders.
As always, talk to your doctor before taking CBD or any health supplement.
With the massive and sudden boom of the CBD industry it seems as if CBD is everywhere. We see it infused in products ranging from tinctures, creams, to toothpaste and beer, all boasting a wide array of benefits. It can be hard to believe that one single product can be effective in treating so many different conditions.
In an age of consumerism and misinformation, being a skeptical and discerning consumer is crucial. Understanding what your buying and why is necessary for keeping yourself safe and spending your money wisely. So, is CBD snake-oil? Just another health industry fad, destined to blow over once the next trendy thing takes its place?
In short, no!
In this blog, we’ll go over what makes CBD such a powerful and wide-ranging product, demystifying one of the most significant medical discoveries of this century- the endocannabinoid system.
Of course, it’s important to still be a discerning consumer. Check out this three part series about the drawbacks of the CBD boom, the benefits of CBD, and how to navigate through it all. Or jump straight to part 3, where I provide a quick and easy guide to buying CBD!
*At the end of this post you can find a short and informative video by Dr. Kellie Raydon, ALLAY'S science advisor, briefly explaining the endocannabinoid system.*
The Endocannabinoid System
It all begins with the endocannabinoid system.
The endocannabinoid system, also known as the ECS, is a complex molecular system found in the human body that works to maintain balance and homeostasis. It is composed of three main parts:
Endocannabinoids are molecules made endogenously in the human body, discovered by a group of scientists researching THC in the 1990s.
The two main endocannabinoids produced in the body are anandamide and 2-AG. While most other molecules in our bodies are produced, packaged, and then stored for later usage, endocannabinoids are produced on demand- meaning that they are immediately used to address specific needs, and then broken down by metabolic enzymes.
Cannabinoid receptors are found all over the human body. They are masters of transmitting information, relaying data to our body's cells and stimulating the correct cellular responses (Jikomes 2019).
The two main receptors are CB1 and CB2.
The majority of CB1 receptors are found in nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, although some CB1 receptors can be found in other spots throughout the body. CB1 receptors can be found specifically in the cerebellum, basal ganglia, hippocampus and dorsal primary afferent spinal cord regions (cite)- parts of the brain which are responsible for coordination and voluntary movement, memory, pain regulation, cognitive function, and mood regulation (Glass, Faull, & Dragunow 1997).
CB2 receptors are found in the immune system on white blood cells, in the tonsils, and in the spleen (Mayfeild Clinic). One key function of CB2 receptors in the immune system is the regulation of cytokine release, which plays a crucial role in inflammation. The regulation of this system is the reason CBD is such an effective and celebrated anti inflammatory!
Once the endocannabinoids carry out their function in our body, they are quickly broken down by metabolic enzymes. Enzymes play an important role in regulating our use of endocannabinoids- they ensure that these molecules don’t linger for much longer than they’re needed.
So, what does it do?
The ECS can be found in nearly every system in our body, including our central nervous system, our GI system, our bones, reproductive organs, hormones, immune system, metabolism, and muscles (link). It plays a vast and crucial role in maintaining homeostasis throughout our bodies.
Homeostasis: The Goldilocks Zone
Often referred to as the ‘Goldilocks Zone,’ homeostasis is that state of being ‘just right'. The human body has a relatively narrow range of conditions under which it is able to thrive. Any system that works to maintain homeostasis helps our bodies maintain balance in response to external conditions which may threaten to throw off this balance. It keeps things just right- not too hot and not too cold. For our bodies to function at peak performance- to stay healthy and feel good- we have to remain as close to homeostatic balance as possible.
The endocannabinoid system plays a crucial role in keeping the various systems of our bodies balanced. It is responsible for regulating organ function and maintaining homeostasis throughout the body.
How Cannabis interacts with the ECS
You may still be wondering what this all has to do with cannabis. How exactly does cannabis interact with this system?
While endocannabinoids are endogenous cannabinoids produced by our bodies, cannabinoids such as THC and CBD are simply non-endogenous cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. The reason we feel any effects from THC and CBD is because these cannabinoids interact with out ECS. THC, for example, binds to and activates CB1 receptors, producing a ‘high.’
The fact that cannabinoids interact with our own endocannabinoid system is the reason why the effects and benefits of cannabinoids such as CBD are so wide ranging. To be sure, THC and CBD interact with a number of receptors throughout our bodies- not just the receptors in our ECS. However- their ability to work in congruence with and support the ECS is the primary reason CBD has so many different, profoundly beneficial effects.
There’s still a lot we don’t know about the ECS, but the current research is promising. The role of the ECS is vast, and the potential of cannabinoids such as CBD is great.
Current research suggests that CBD may be effective in treating:
The list goes on and on. While more research is needed, countless studies have been published strongly suggesting the healing capabilities of CBD.
The discovery of the ECS has the potential to change the medical landscape as we know it, and the team at ALLAY is excited to be at the forefront of this change- educating consumers, spreading the word about holistic health, and providing conscious and transparent CBD products!
Glass, M, et al. “Cannabinoid Receptors in the Human Brain: a Detailed Anatomical and Quantitative Autoradiographic Study in the Fetal, Neonatal and Adult Human Brain.” Neuroscience, vol. 77, no. 2, Mar. 1997, pp. 299–318., doi:10.1016/s0306-4522(96)00428-9.
Grinspoon, Peter. “Cannabidiol (CBD) - What We Know and What We Don't.” Harvard Health Blog, 27 Aug. 2019, https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/cannabidiol-cbd-what-we-know-and-what-we-dont-2018082414476.
Jikomes, Nick. “What Is the Endocannabinoid System and What Is Its Role?” Leafly, 1 Oct. 2019, https://www.leafly.com/news/science-tech/what-is-the-endocannabinoid-system.
Mayfield Clinic. “Brain Anatomy, Anatomy of the Human Brain.” Mayfieldclinic.com, https://mayfieldclinic.com/pe-anatbrain.htm.
Last month, some of the team at Allay set up shop at the Body Mind Spirit Expo in Portland, Oregon, an event dedicated to promoting businesses working in natural and alternative health all across the States.
Inspired by BMSE’s ethos- their commitment to promoting personal growth through holistic medicine, metaphysics, and alternative health all while benefiting small businesses (like ALLAY☺)- we wanted to write something about the body-mind-spirit connection. What is it, and why does it matter?
In this post, we’ll go over some of the fundamental problems with Western Medicine (or allopathic medicine), and the importance of understanding the unity of mind & body.
First, a little history
In the 17th century, Descartes theorized that the mind and body are two entirely separate and independent entities, capable of existing apart from one another.
This theory, commonly called ‘mind-body dualism’ was immensely influential- we see mind-body dualism in every-day popular thought, religion, as well as modern science and medicine.
Being a Philosophy graduate, I have to add that the story is a little more complicated than this (if you have time, read Descrates’ letters to Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia). The takeaway, however, remains the same- that the Western model of medicine adopted mind-body dualism.
Our scientific and medical model has staked itself on a faulty and largely questionable philosophical point of view. The mind, as the seat of our reason and thought, is thought of as the thing which differentiates us humans from the rest of the animal world. We live now in the age of reason- where truth and the validity of an idea is determined by rationality and thought, while other means of knowledge (i.e. bodily knowledge, emotional knowledge, or observation) are considered unreliable, invalid, and inferior. Reason is king- for now.
The effect that this mindset has had on our healthcare (not to mention countless other aspects of our lives) is profound. Modern medicine has been structured in a way that denies, or at best ignores, the interrelation between mind and body, while bodily and emotional forms of knowledge are often disregarded or undervalued.
Of course, a lot of this is changing. Alternative medicine is on the rise, and the team at ALLAY is doing what we can to be at the forefront, educating consumers, helping other businesses grow, and offering conscious products for holistic health.
Allopathic medicine, or modern medicine, is an evidence-based model which treats or suppresses the patient's symptoms or pathophysiological processes. It treats diseases and patients in parts- looking at symptoms and individual diseases and things which can be treated on their own, without looking at the holistic whole of the individual.
I want to be clear that I’m not condemning modern medicine. We have made incredible strides in our ability to treat serious diseases and conditions, and our current model of medicine has tremendous benefits.
The problem arises when people turn to modern medicine without looking at whatever else might be out there. We turn to pharmaceutical and symptom-based treatment without ever considering that there may be better options. And there often are.
Holistic, ‘whole-person’ medicine
Holistic medicine, on the other hand, strives to treat the whole patient. This means not only treating the specific disease, but the underlying factors which may be causing, catalyzing, or worsening the condition.
It treats the person instead of the disease.
Holistic medicine not only considers physical causes and symptoms, but also social, mental, and spiritual causes. The foundational belief is that all of these factors are profoundly and unequivocally interrelated- if one part of your psyche (be it physical, mental, spiritual, or social) is off balance, it can affect your entire system.
One fascinating example of the way the social and mental can affect the physical is the condition of nostalgia, or homesickness. A severe bout of Nostalgia in the Union Army during the Civil War caused a handful of soldiers to die of gruesome symptoms, including strange sores, fever, and intense fatigue- all because they were feeling homesick. The social standards of the time (which valued family connections and community) along with the added stress of war gave rise to a condition where people could actually die of homesickness.
This type of psychosomatic experience, although strange to us today, is not rare. Psychosomatic illnesses caused by stress or other emotional factors can range anywhere from IBS, to migraines, to fever.
Moreover, The levels of specific hormones in our bodies, caused by our emotional and mental responses to stimuli, can also work to effect our immune system, the function of vital organs, and more.
Countless studies demonstrating the inter-relatedness of one’s mind, social setting, and physical health have been published, but large systems (like the modern health system) can be slow to change.
Mind over Matter- Rationalism vs Bodily Knowledge
Another consequence of Cartesian mind-body dualism is the idea of rationalism, mentioned earlier in this post. Rationalism is the idea that the mind, being not only separate from the body, but also truer and purer in essence, can control the body. Rationalism argues that what separates humans from animals is our ability to reason, to act and think with our mind alone.
The tragedy here is that it ignores other ways of thinking and knowing within our bodies. It poses the mind and reason over other more corporeal forms of knowledge.
There are other non-lingual, non-rational ways of understanding the world. We understand and know through emotion, through visceral feeling. This may sound overly esoteric. And yet studies are cropping up showing the countless ways we know and understand the world through our bodies, not just our brains. The ‘master-slave’ relationship between mind and body promoted by Cartesian rationalism is false.
Take, for example, your gut. Your gut has it’s very own neural network, called the enteric nervous system (ENS). The ENS plays a large role in regulating, producing, and receiving neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin. So the common colloquialisms, ‘gut-feeling,’ ‘gut-wrenching,’ or having ‘butterflies’ are more than just metaphors. We feel, perceive, and understand things through our gut. We feel what is going on in our bodies, sometimes more accurately than we are able to think it.
You may know something is wrong in your body- not because you have any specific set symptoms or rational cause for belief- but because you can feel it. You sense that things aren't quite right. In the same way, you can often sense what treatment might be needed to get better. Our bodies know how to heal themselves, we just have to learn how to listen.
When we learn to listen to our body- to lean on our inherent corporeal and emotional knowledge, as well as our reason- we get a more complete, holistic picture of the problems that might be ailing us.
When we treat diseases and conditions, we cannot limit ourselves to the scope of rationalism and dualism. Understanding the unity of our mind and body is essential to seeing (and treating) the whole picture.
The team at ALLAY is proud to be part of a community striving for better, holistic, conscious health. Keep reading our blogs to learn more about holistic health and the power of CBD, and check out our own CBD Infused Body Butter.
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In last week’s blog readers learned how to avoid buying CBD with false or misleading labels, choosing the safest and most effective CBD product. But the question still stands; what type of CBD should I buy?
CBD products range anywhere from bath bombs, to smokable oils, to CBD capsules. Choosing the right product and method of administration plays a direct and important role in its effectiveness.
In this post, we’ll go over the four most common methods of administration, and how to know which one is best for you. In the end, the choice is up to you. If one product hasn't been working the way you’d like it to, switch it up! Try out different products with different extraction methods and methods of administration. Just make sure to always check for a CofA, and make sure what you’re buying is extracted from USDA certified organic hemp.
Understanding the endocannabinoid system
To understand exactly why the method of administration matters, we first have to understand how CBD works within our bodies.
It all starts with the endocannabinoid system…
The endocannabinoid system is a molecular system within the human body that works to maintain balance and homeostasis. This system includes endocannabinoids (these are naturally occurring cannabinoids within our bodies), enzymes, and receptors that cannabinoids bind to.
We have much to learn about the exact function of the endocannabinoid system- what we do know is that it’s responsible for regulating and protecting the function of many important systems. The endocannabinoid system affects our cognitive processes, appetite, memory, fertility, and more.
This system is the whole reason we experience any psychological and medicinal effects of CBD and THC.
So, what happens when you use CBD?
To take affect, CBD molecules must enter the bloodstream and bind to receptors within your endocannabinoid system (CB1 and CB2 receptors), as well as other non cannabinoid receptors- like your serotonin receptor.
The ease with which your CBD product transfers from the site of application into your bloodstream is known as the product's bioavailability. The easier it is for a product to enter your bloodstream and bind to it’s relevant receptors, the more effective it will be.
Now that we have a grasp on the way in which CBD interacts with our bodies, let’s go over some of the main methods of administration!
Oral ingestion of CBD includes CBD capsules and edibles.
Before being absorbed into our bloodstream, CBD molecules must pass through our digestive system and into the liver, where they are then broken down and metabolized. This process is known as first-pass metabolism, or the first pass effect.
During this process, enzymes in the liver break down CBD, greatly reducing its concentration before entering the bloodstream. For this reason, orally ingested CBD typically has very low bioavailability.
Many companies have taken measures to counteract this problem. Namely, companies have begun to make water soluble CBD.
CBD is typically hydrophobic, meaning that it doesn't mix with water. During the production of water-soluble CBD, however, CBD molecules are broken up (and I mean really broken up- into less than 100 nanometers) and suspended in water. This allows for the CBD molecules to be more easily absorbed into our bloodstream, thereby increasing bioavailability and effectiveness.
Even so, orally administered CBD generally has
Sublingual CBD is anything administered under the tongue. This includes tinctures, concentrates and oral sprays.
When sublingually administered, some of the CBD is absorbed directly into the bloodstream through the membrane under the tongue, while some is swallowed (and undergoes first-pass metabolism).
Because some of the CBD is able to bypass first-pass metabolism, sublingual CBD has a much higher biovailability than orally administered CBD, making it significantly more effective. Like orally administered CBD, you can find water soluble sublingual CBD with an even higher bioavailability.
The downside to water-soluble, sublingual CBD is that production costs are high, meaning that products are generally more expensive.
Inhalation involves any CBD product which is consumed by vaporizing or smoking CBD.
The membrane of our lungs is highly permeable, allowing CBD molecules pass into the bloodstream with ease. This means that inhalation boasts a high level of availability, and a very quick onset.
There are, however, risks associated with smoking or vaporizing of any product- including CBD. For one, companies can use artificial and harmful thinning agents to vape oils- namely, polyethylene glycol and propylene glycol. When smoked at high temperatures, these compounds may break down into harmful carcinogens.
Many companies claim that propylene glycol is harmless, but research backing this assertion is limited. In one study conducted on mice, researchers found that the propylene glycol and glycerol have negative and unsuspected effects on our circadian rhythm, directly affecting the onset of various psychiatric and metabolic diseases. Other studies have linked propylene glycol to an increase in asthmatic symptoms and other respiratory conditions.
One way to avoid this problem is to look for products made with vegetable glycerin, or simply smoke CBD 'flower,' or CBD plant matter. Even so, inhalation is not advisable for everyone. If you do choose to buy CBD concentrate, vape, juice, or flower make sure to consult your doctor before hand.
Topical CBD includes CBD administered directly onto the skin using any sort of lotion, balm, or salve.
There are cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) all throughout our skin, making CBD lotions and balms a viable and effective method of administration. When applied directly to the skin CBD molecules are able to bypass the liver and bind directly to the receptors in our skin, avoiding the first-pass effect.
The benefits of CBD lotion are localized- meaning that rubbing CBD lotion on your knee may not help manage anxiety or increase memory. That being said, CBD lotion is the best option for local ailments (such as back pain, arthritis, wrinkles, acne, wounds, and more).
Numerous studies have found that topically applied CBD is effective in treating localized ailments and serious skin conditions. One study conducted by La Clinica Terapeutica concludes that “the topical administration of CBD ointment [...] is a safe and effective non-invasive alternative to improve the quality of life in patients with some skin disorders, especially of inflammatory background” (B. Palmieri et. al). In an article about the clinical benefits of CBD, Dr. Anup Mulakaluri, ND, discusses the advantages of topically applied CBD on his patients, stating “many of my clients who use cannabis for medicinal purposes, use it topically. They gain great benefit for their mobility, balance, and pain management with topical applications of salve and oils."
Because the lotion has to permeate the skin to reach it’s relevant receptors, it’s important to use enough product- really lather it on. This can be a downside with some CBD products, which tend to make your skin a little oily, especially if you use a lot.
But no worries, ALLAY has your back- our lotion glides on beautifully and soaks right in, letting you feel the benefits of CBD without sticky or greasy skin.
So, what does all this mean? How do you know which CBD product is really right for you?
It depends on what you’re using it for.
If you’re looking for something to help improve your memory, manage mood disorders, or effect any non-localized ailments, water-soluble sublingual CBD is probably best. It has some of the highest bioavailability, quickest onset, and most long-lasting effects.
If you’re looking for something to treat a localized ailment or any sort of skin condition, look no further than topical CBD.
Allay creates potent, highly effective CBD topicals that soak right through your skin, effectively treating whatever ails you while leaving you with soft, happy skin!
Lechasseur, Ariane, et al. “Exposure to Electronic Cigarette Vapors Affects Pulmonary and Systemic Expression of Circadian Molecular Clock Genes.” Physiological Reports, vol. 5, no. 19, 5 Oct. 2019, doi:10.14814/phy2.13440.
Mulakaluri, Anup. “Clinical Application of Cannabis, Cannabiniods (CBD).” Natural Rhythms Integrative Medicine, 11 Dec. 2017, https://nrimseattle.com/blog/2017/11/27/clinical-application-cannabis-cbd/.
PALMIERI, B.; LAURINO, C.; VADALÀ, M.. A therapeutic effect of cbd-enriched ointment in inflammatory skin diseases and cutaneous scars. La Clinica Terapeutica, [S.l.], v. 170, n. 2, p. e93 - e99, apr. 2019. ISSN 1972-6007.
Pond, SM, and TM Tozer. “First-Pass Elimination. Basic Concepts and Clinical Consequences.” PubMed, National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), Jan. 1984, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6362950.
CBD’s antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and moisturizing properties help effectively combat wrinkles as well as other signs of aging.
Although there are many factors that may increase the prominence and onset of wrinkles, those creases in your skin are a natural sign of aging. A side effect of living a full life on this earth. If, however, you are bothered by your wrinkles, here’s what you need to know:
As people age, our skin becomes less elastic, losing its ability to heal, fight inflammation, and retain moisture. Meanwhile, a decreased production of natural oils dries out skin. This is where CBD comes in. In this post, we are going to look at three main properties, all of which directly address and combat the root causes of aging skin.
All of these factors play an important role in combating the production and appearance of wrinkles- but it doesn’t stop there.
A lot of CBD’s effectiveness for treating skin has to do with our own endocannabinoid system. This system, which is present in our skin, works in harmony with the cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant (including CBD). By introducing compounds such as CBD, we are able to aid and maintain the homeostatic balance supported by the skin’s endocannabinoid system.
Not convinced? See for yourself! Check out Allay’s own luxurious, potent, and ethically sourced CBD body butter, or read what our clients are saying.
Age beautifully- your way.
Is CBD lotion safe to use for arthritis symptoms?
The most common question people have when it comes to CBD lotions or cream for pain management or its anti-inflammatory properties is whether or not it is safe to use for arthritis symptoms.
Many or ALLAY consumers have concerns with additional potential and side effects (as they should be).
According to our own Chief Science Officer, Dr. Kellie Raydon and some top health experts and agencies, the answer is yes. It is safe to use. *See our video Dr. Kellie Raydon Chief Science officer.
For instance, Medscape shares that while cannabinoid medicine is still in its early stages, “unlike marijuana and THC, the risks associated with CBD are extremely low, with not a single case report of CBD overdose in the literature. The National Institute on Drug Abuse agrees and states that “CBD appears to be a safe drug with no addictive effects.” *See video below
In the future, it is likely that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will also begin to regulate CBD products, providing an additional safety net, as this agency indicates that “increasing public interest” in this substance increases the importance of establishing regulatory procedures.
We at Allay strive to bring the best product to our consumers, we are also committed to bringing answers to your questions, leave a comment and ask questions we are here to share and educate. Be sure to shop at our online shop www.allaytopical.com for our product and to gain more information about our product on our education page.
In my last two posts, I talked about the downfalls of the CBD boom and the necessity of product transparency. Readers learned what to look for when buying CBD, and how to stay safe in an age of misinformation.
SO! If you're crunched on time, too lazy to read the last two blogs (hey, no judgment!), or if you simply want a brief recap, here’s what you need to know:
(1) Make sure it's USDA certified organic and ethically sourced
The first thing you need to do is make sure your CBD product is derived from certified organic hemp.
Remember what I said about hemp being a bioaccumulator? That means it absorbs everything in the soil, including pesticides and toxins, at a faster rate that it is able to release or use them. If you’re concerned about pesticides, heavy metals, and other toxins, make sure that the oil you are buying is extracted from an organic plant.
It's also important to make sure your hemp is ethically grown, on US soil. Buying local, USDA certified hemp ensures that your product is pure and safe, while also supporting the local economy.
(2) Check the extraction method
Most of what you need to know will be covered in step three, finding a CofA. But if you aren't able to get your hands on one, or are crunched on time, you should at least check the extraction method. There are benefits and drawbacks to each method. For more information, check out my last blog.
(3) Get the lab results (aka the Certificate of Analysis (CofA))
Because of the gross lack of regulation in the CBD industry, companies are able to put whatever they’d like on the label. Remember the statistics from part 1 of this blog series? Out of 84 products from 31 different companies, nearly 70% were mislabeled (Bonn-Miller, et al. 2017).
A CofA ensures that the product was third-party tested, and is a great way to avoid fraudulent claims about potency and purity. Just look for the batch number of the product you’re looking to buy! At the end of this post, I've attached an example of Allay's most recent CofA- annotated to show exactly what to look for.
With a CofA, you’ll be able to find the following:
A CofA will show you exactly what pesticides, heavy metals, and toxic residue may still exist in the final product. CBD products that were extracted using butane, for example, can have toxic residue that may increase one’s risk of cancer. A CofA will also show you if there is any mold or bacteria in your product- just look for the “Microbiological Testing.”
Is what your buying really going to be effective? Is the money your spending really worth it, or will it be wasted on a weak product? You can find the total count of CBD, CBDa, CBN, and THC under “cannabinoid summary.” By looking at the full cannabinoid summary you can ensure that the product you are buying is truly full-spectrum, whole plant medicine.
And yep, that’s it. Just three steps! Buy organic, check the extraction method, and look for a CofA. All of this will ensure that your product is safe, accurately labeled, and potent.
Part 2: The importance of transparency
(and why Allay rocks☺)
On Monday I introduced Sanjay Gupta’s ‘Weed 5: The CBD Craze,’ which investigated the benefits and drawbacks of the new and booming CBD industry.
The problem, Gupta argues, is a lack of proper regulation leading to mislabeled, and occasionally harmful CBD products. There is, in other words, a blatant lack of transparency and honesty in the CBD market.
So, what can the consumer do to combat this?
How it’s made: Extraction, explained
First, it’s important to understand a little about how CBD oil is made. This is because the extraction process has everything to do with producing a clean and toxin-free final product. Not all CBD is created equal! When buying CBD it is crucial that the consumer pay attention to the specific method of extraction used to ensure that their product is clean, safe, and potent.
It all starts with the plant. The first thing to pay attention to is whether your CBD product is derived from certified organic hemp. Hemp is a bioaccumulator- this means that is absorbs all of the chemicals, pesticides, and toxins in the soil at a faster rate than it is able to use or release them. If a CBD product is extracted from non-organic hemp, it's going to carry all of those toxins, heavy metals, and pesticides with it. Yuck.
“As far as we’re concerned, there is only one way to grow anything: organically and sustainably. Because our soil is some of the richest, most fertile in the west, and because our climate is ideal for growing compelling cannabis, we let nature do her job. Every cultivation choice is based on bringing forth the perfection that is already inherent in the plants and on our farm” -Siskiyou Sungrown, Allay’s source of high quality CBD oil
There are two main extraction methods that consumers should look out for; CO2 extraction and Solvent extraction.
Simply put, supercritical CO2 extraction uses cooled and pressurized CO2 to draw out CBD and other phytochemicals.
At certain temperatures, CO2 becomes what is known as a 'supercritical liquid.' This means that it has the properties of both a gas and a liquid. In this state, CO2 acts as a solvent passing through porous solids and dissolving materials. Producers are able to fine tune which phytochemicals and compounds are extracted by controlling the pressure and temperature of the CO2.
This method is generally safe and clean, although it does have a few drawbacks. Namely, if the cannabis plant isn't dried adequately before hand, the final product may contain carcinogens and rancid fats. This method is also costly, and requires a lot of energy.
CO2 extracted products also lack a number of helpful phytochemicals (or active compounds). Because this method can only extract oil soluble compounds, the range of phytochemicals it is able to extract is limited. But more on this later...
Ethanol extraction typically involves decarbonating the plant (i.e. heating the plant to remove carbon atoms), and then soaking the plant in solvent- usually ethanol or butane- to extract its active compounds.
This method has its disadvantages. For one, using a solvent such as butane can leave behind toxic and harmful residue if the solvent isn't completely evaporated. Ethanol, on the other hand, is a natural solvent which works just as effectively as butane without the risk of toxins.
Because this process extracts both water soluble and oil soluble phytochemicals, the final product carries a wider range of helpful compounds. This includes compounds such as polyphenols, which can prevent degenerative disease, boost brain function and digestion, and more! The final product is truly full-spectrum, containing in it more helpful compounds than its CO2 derived counterpart.
Extracting with a solvent also creates ‘esters.’ These are water-soluble organic compounds, which replace hydrogen with a hydrocarbon group (Clark 2004). Because these compounds are water soluble, they have much higher bioavailability (that is- they are easier for our bodies to break down and digest!). Oil-soluble compounds, on the other hand, need to be broken down by our bodies acids and enzymes, making them difficult to digest. Reduced bioavailability means reduced potency!
Allay believes that ethanol extraction is the best method to ensure a clean, potent, and pure product. Siskiyou Sungrown uses only USP grade organic cane oil as a solvent, creating a product that is truly full-spectrum!
“ [...] Ethanol extracts both water soluble and oil soluble plant constituents very effectively. Consequently, hemp oil extracted with ethanol is truly full spectrum, exhibiting the synergy of all available beneficial phytochemicals. The ethanol that Siskiyou Sungrown uses for extraction is strictly USP grade, certified organic cane alcohol”
Remember Jay Jenkins from the last blog? The young man who almost died after consuming entirely synthetic, mislabeled CBD?
Companies aren’t always required to include all of the ingredients they put into their CBD. Manufacturers can add a number of different things to increase profit, including preservatives, non-cannabis derived terpenes, various food colorings, thinning agents, and more. A lot of this stuff can be harmful to your health. If a company isn’t transparent about what goes in to their final product, don’t buy it! A great way to make sure you’re being safe is to ask for the lab results of the final CBD product.
Radical. Transparency. That’s what we’re after here at Allay medicinals.
In my next post, I’ll give you all a quick recap of what this all means, and provide a succinct and easy-to-follow guide on how to buy CBD!
“CBD Oil Extraction Technique - Ethanol vs. Supercritical CO2.” CBD Oil Review, 2018, https://cbdoilreview.org/cbd-cannabidiol/ethanol-vs-supercritical-co2-extraction/#What-Is-Supercritical-CO2-Extraction?
Clark, Jim. “An Introduction to Esters.” Chem Guide, Sept. 2004, https://www.chemguide.co.uk/organicprops/esters/background.html.
Siskiyou Sungrown. “Ethanol extraction vs. CO2." Instagram, 27 Sept. 2019, https://www.instagram.com/p/B27OHaaFP3j/
A three part series on Sanjay Gupta,
CBD product transparency,
and how to navigate through it all.
Last week, Dr. Sanjay Gupta released his latest addition to "Weed," a documentary about cannabis's potential as medicine from the perspective of medical professionals, patients, and first hand accounts. The newest episode, "Weed 5: The CBD craze," breaks down everything you need to know about the new and booming industry of CBD. Gupta, in his trademark resolute style, looks at the story in its entirety- we see the miracles as well as the downfalls.
I want to offer a three part series, inspired by Sanjay Gupta’s latest documentary, about the wild world of CBD; the advantages and drawbacks of a rapidly booming industry, the necessity of transparency, and how to navigate through it all.
And yep, it's a little complicated. But have no fear! Companies like Allay are here to walk you through the process. This isn't about plugging a certain product. This about informing people, keeping people safe, and demonstrating the immense potential of cannabis as medicine when done correctly.
You can look forward to two follow-up blogs, 'Transparency' and ‘How to buy CBD,' on Wednesday 9th and Friday 11th respectively.
So, Who is Sanjay Gupta?
Sanjay Gupta is chief medical correspondent for CNN, and an avid supporter of the medical potential of cannabis. But it hasn’t always been that way- before airing the first installment of ‘Weed,’ Sanjay was skeptical. It was his steadfast commitment to science, regardless of personal or political leanings, regardless of faith or belief, which lead him to see its potential. In ‘Weed 5’ Sanjay pushes back against the term ‘advocate.’ This is because, for Sanjay, CBD is more than its accompanying political narrative. It is more than something to rally behind so long as it adheres to your personal philosophy. The fact that CBD and Cannabis have immense medical potential is a scientific truth.
“Make no mistake” Sanjay states in an Op-ed accompanying the series, “Cannabis is a medicine.”
The Wild West of CBD
Since 2013, when the first episode of ‘Weed’ aired, we have seen a massive growth in popularity concerning medical marijuana and CBD products. CBD will soon be a $22 billion dollar industry, with CBD products being sold in coffee shops, grocery stores, bars, and more (Dorbian 2019).
This stuff is everywhere. But is this really a good thing?
Thanks to the rising popularity of cannabis as medicine, there have been countless success stories.
In “Weed: 5,” Gupta got an exclusive look at GW pharmaceuticals’ own cannabis greenhouses, where they are extracting and selling CBDV (another non-psychoactive cannabidiol found in cannabis plants) as a treatment for epilepsy, and potentially autism. In an earlier op-ed, titled “Why I Changed My Mind on Weed,” Gupta tells the story of Charlotte Figi- a young girl whose seizures were reduced significantly after consuming a high-CBD cannabis oil (Rashidian 2019). Individual accounts of CBD helping with anything from seizures, to anxiety, to muscle pain are innumerable.
But the stories aren’t always so bright.
Gupta also interviewed a young man named Jay Jenkins. Within seconds of consuming what he thought was CBD oil Jenkins started severely hallucinating, eventually losing consciousness. At the hospital Jenkins scored a 3 on the Glasgow Coma Scale- he was in critical condition.
It turns out that what Jenkins had tried was not CBD at all, but an entirely synthetic product marketed and sold as CBD.
This is where the problem lies. Without adequate regulation in most states, there is nothing requiring these products to be tested, safe, and authentic. One study found that out of 84 CBD products from 31 different companies, 69% were mislabeled (Bonn-Miller, et al. 2017). Although this study was conducted in 2017, recent studies show that not much has changed (Grubb 2019). Other studies found that some CBD products contain dangerous synthetics.
“CBD has been hijacked by unscrupulous actors peddling crooked, corrupt, and
Consumers are lost in a wild, unregulated world. Finding a trustworthy product- knowing what goes in to it, feeling confident that you are making a healthy choice, knowing what to look for when buying CBD, has become increasingly difficult. It is, as Gupta says,
“a bold promise, hijacked.”
Stayed tuned for more blogs about the importance of transparency in an age of confusion and misinformation. Allay is dedicated to providing clients sustainably sourced, full spectrum cbd that is guaranteed to work.
No empty promises,
no snake-juice cure-alls,
just pure, consciously derived, effective cbd products.
Bonn-Miller, Marcel O, et al. “Labeling Accuracy of Cannabidiol Extracts Sold Online.” JAMA, American Medical Association, 7 Nov. 2017, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5818782/.
Dorbian, Iris. “CBD Market Could Reach $20 Billion By 2024, Says New Study.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 20 May 2019, https://www.forbes.com/sites/irisdorbian/2019/05/20/cbd-market-could-reach-20-billion-by-2024-says-new-study/#7a6b09cc49d0.
Grubb, Bill. “Noramco Cannabidiol FDA Presentation.” US Food and Drug Administration , 31 May 2019, pp. 4–10 . Noramco.
Gupta, Sanjay. “CNN Health.” CNN Health, WarnerMedia, 27 Sept. 2019, https://edition.cnn.com/2019/09/27/health/weed-5-cbd-craze-gupta/index.html.
Rashidian, Nushin. “Q&A: Three Questions for Sanjay Gupta on CBD.” Cannabis Wire, 27 Sept. 2019, https://cannabiswire.com/2019/09/27/qa-three-questions-for-sanjay-gupta-on-cbd/.