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Hemp 105: The rise of cannabidiol (CBD)


In Hemp 105 we discuss the discovery of the human endocannabinoid system, the extraction of cannabidiol (CBD) from industrial hemp, and how CBD is one of medicine’s greatest discoveries.

Hemp high in CBD has been used as a medicine since ancient times.

Hemp has been accepted for its medical uses since ancient times.  Only within the last 30 years has marijuana high in THC been widely promoted for its medical uses although high THC strains of cannabis indica made their way into tinctures that also included heroin or cocaine from just before the Civil War to before World War I.  During the first 4400 years of cannabis medical history, cannabis based medical remedies were mostly made from hemp high in CBD.

Cannabis grown for fiber and seed is cannabis sativa L.  In the 1750's, Swiss botanist Carl Linnaeus invented the method scientists use to classify plants and animals.  Linnaeus assigned the name “cannabis sativa” to hemp plants grown in Europe for their fiber and seed.  Cannabis sativa is usually high in CBD and low in THC.

Swiss botanist Carl Linnaeus invented the method scientists use to classify plants and animals and classified cannabis sativa.  The "L" in cannabis sativa L. stands for Linnaeus.

In the 1780's, French naturalist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck developed the theory of inheritance of acquired characteristics.  Lamarck was the first to classify psychoactive varieties of cannabis grown in India as “cannabis indica.”  Cannabis indica, named after India, is high in THC and low in CBD and is historically grown in India for its psychotropic, euphoric properties.

French naturalist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck developed the theory of inheritance of acquired characteristics and classified cannabis indica.

In India, recreational marijuana, called "ganja," has been grown to perfection since 2000 BCE.  Cannabis indica does not grow as tall as cannabis sativa and has thicker stalks, and its side stalks spread out further requiring more room between plants.  Cannabis indica is not a good species of cannabis from which to harvest fibers or from which to extract CBD.

In India, recreational marijuana called "ganja" has been grown to perfection since 2000 BCE.

Today, the distinction between cannabis sativa and cannabis indica is not as great. Medical marijuana dispensaries sell cannabis sativa strains high in THC, and there are a number of cannabis sativa-indica hybrids.

Legendary Chinese Emperor Shen-Nung wrote of the medical benefits of cannabis.

Hemp is one of the first plants cultivated by man.  Its use dates from the Neolithic Age in China, and its leaves have been pictured on Chinese pottery dating from 5000 BCE.  In 2737 BCE, Legendary Chinese Emperor Shen-Nung wrote of the medical benefits of cannabis in an Assyrian tablet, and traditional Chinese medicine lists cannabis as one of the “50 fundamental herbs."

The above print discovered in China and believed by archaeologists to date from 1234 ADE is believed to have been taken from the original Cheng-Lei Pen-ts'ao (The Herbal) manuscript compiled by Legendary Chinese Emperor Shen-Nung.  Translated, it recommends cannabis for increasing energy, stopping sweats, helping urination, bringing the Yin Yang into balance, and if enough is eaten, seeing God.

Egyptologists believe the Ebers Papyrus dates from 1550 BCE, and its writings prescribe cannabis to ease inflammation.  Examination of Egyptian mummies has revealed the use of hemp suppositories to relieve hemorrhoidal pain.

Sir William Osler developed the medical residency program and prescribed cannabis for treating migraine headaches.

Canadian physician Sir William Osler is one of the four professors who founded Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1889.  Osler has been called the “Father of Modern Medicine” for developing the residency training program.  Osler promoted the medical use of cannabis believing it was an effective treatment for migraine headaches.

Medicines not prescribed by a doctor needed to carry the word "poison" on their label in the early 1900's.  These bottles also say to take orally.

In the United States from the early 1800's to the mid-1930's, there were a number of cannabis based medical remedies one could buy in any drug store.  Many of these remedies mixed hemp oil with alcohol; some added opium or morphine until those narcotics were outlawed by the Harrison Act in 1914.  All cannabis based medical remedies were available over the counter without a prescription, and they were advertised to cure restlessness, spasmodic pains, nausea, coughs, and a variety of medical ailments.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services patented synthetic CBD and then sat on the patent.

In 1999, CBD’s anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotectant properties were cited by the United States Department of Health and Human Services in its patent application for synthetic CBD.  See USPTO US6,630,501.  After receiving its patent, the government conducted no clinical trials and made no attempt to bring CBD to market.  Critics allege the government’s purpose behind patenting synthetic CBD was to discourage CBD research as a favor to big pharmaceutical companies.  For years Big Pharma executives have “retired” and gone to work for the Department of Health and Human Services and its Food and Drug Administration while still benefiting from stock options the values of which depend on how well government policies favor their former drug companies.  CBD extracted from hemp cannot be patented because it is a natural substance.  Technically, pure CBD extracted from industrial hemp and pure CBD synthetically manufactured should be exactly the same, but are they?  The government’s synthetic CBD patent expires on April 21, 2019.  cont.

The United States Food and Drug Administration does not allow CBD to be advertised as a drug or as a dietary supplement.  As a result, CBD must be considered a food which is how PharmaXtracts markets its CBD tinctures meant for oral consumption.

How CBD works and what it does:

For 80 years beginning with the passage of the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, the United States government suppressed all domestic research into the medical benefits of cannabis.  As a result, we know far less than we should about how cannabis remedies work.  What we have discovered is that all mammals have an endogenous cannabinoids system, most often called the “endocannabinoid system.”  The human body’s endocannabinoid system produces some of the same cannabinoids found in cannabis.

The endocannabinoid system is one of the body’s most crucial physiological systems.  It produces enzymes that create and destroy endocannabinoids (cannabinoids made within the body) and has a series of receptor sites to receive those endocannabinoids creating a communications network the body uses to regulate many of its biological responses, especially the functions of its immune system.  A well functioning endocannabinoid system is essential to maintaining good health.

Endocannabinoids produced and released by the endocannabinoid system link with endogenous cannabinoid receptors found throughout the body setting neurons into action triggering a series of cellular responses and affecting the duration and intensity of physiological processes by impeding the flow of information through the presynaptic cells thereby controlling the intensity of the signals being communicated.  cont.

When an injury or disease assaults the body, it upsets what would otherwise be a relatively stable equilibrium, called homeostasis.  By releasing various endocannabinoids in response to injury or disease, the endocannabinoid system triggers receptors to modulate the body’s other systems seeking a return to homeostasis.  Once homeostasis returns to equilibrium in any one of the affected areas and the endocannabinoids are no longer needed, the endocannabinoid system sends out metabolic enzymes to breakdown and degrade the endocannabinoids.  Important parts of the body’s immune system are thereby regulated.  Physically, the endocannabinoid system affects muscle control, metabolism, cell function, and inflammation.  Involuntarily, the endocannabinoid system affects appetite, pain, pleasure, and sleeping patterns.  Mentally, the endocannabinoid system affects memory and mood.

When the assault is chronic, the endocannabinoid system becomes stressed causing it to under treat or over treat the condition.  An example of over treating a condition would be when too many white cells accumulate in one area causing damaging levels of painful inflammation.  Chronic conditions can assault all physiological systems affected by the endocannabinoid system from muscle control to mood control.

CBD primarily interacts with one of the endocannabinoid systems’ receptors and helps the body’s endocannabinoid system function properly.  The chemistry explaining how CBD aids the body’s immune system is not completely understood, but evidence CBD has medical benefits is supported by thousands of patient reports.  Such testimonials are only antidotal evidence.  The data has not been subjected to the scrutiny of clinical trails satisfying all scientific protocols, such as using a carefully selected group of people suffering from the same ailment and then subjecting them to a double blind study where the person distributing the drug does not know if they are giving the patent the drug being tested or a placebo.  The reported results then need to reliably measure whether the medical condition was successfully treated, something not easily done for subjective complaints like pain and anxiety.  Clinical trials must prove a drug treats a specific disease before the Food and Drug Administration will consider licensing the drug to treat that disease.  The FDA is hostile toward natural remedies that are not perfectly consistent.

It is PharmaXtracts' position that CBD is a food similar to an orange.  Eating an orange keeps one from getting scurvy.  Eating CBD has many benefits in comparison.  So long as there is no fruit fly problem, no one would think of saying don't sale or send an orange to someone who requests you mail them an orange regardless of the state in which they live.  No one would say don't eat an orange -- especially since no one has ever heard of anyone dying from eating an orange although maybe someone did.  The law doesn't say we at PharmaXtracts cannot sell CBD.  We just cannot sell CBD for the advertised purpose of diagnosing, treating, curing, or preventing any disease.  See our legal  letter brief (click here).

CBD extracted from industrial hemp now falls outside the Department of Justice's and the FDA’s ability to regulate so long as it is not advertised as a drug.  This freedom to market industrial hemp products partially compensates the public for the government suppressing cannabis medical research for 79 years and the unlawful, discriminatory history behind the government’s criminalization of cannabis.  It also recognizes how safe it is to ingest CBD and CBD’s many benefits.  cont.

Cannabis, especially CBD extracted from industrial hemp, is the safest substance used to treat medical conditions.  Cannabis based medical remedies have been used for 5,000 years, and no deaths or injuries have been reported from consuming too much cannabis.  CBD is extracted from cannabis.  CBD is nontoxic and has been taken in quantities up to 1500 milligrams per day in controlled studies of human subjects without ill effect.  See Bergamaschi MM1, Queiroz RH, Zuardi AW, Crippa JA., “Safety and side effects of cannabidiol, a Cannabis sativa constituent,” Curr Drug Saf. 2011 Sept 1; 6(4): 237-49.

Clinical studies have supported incorporating CBD into a prescription designed to manage seizures.  In April, 2016, GW Pharma, an English company where the laws gave it a head start testing THC and CBD based drugs, had its drug Epidiolex unanimously approved by a 13-member Peripheral and Central Nervous System Drugs Advisory Committee, an expert panel that ruled it safe and efficacious for treating seizures in patients two years and older suffering from Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet syndromes.  The committee referred to Epidiolex as a “Cannabidiol Oral Solution” which it considered safe and efficacious in treating seizures in patients 2 years of age and older suffering from Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome setting.  cont.

On June 25, 2018, the FDA announced,

"The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Epidiolex (cannabidiol) [CBD] oral solution for the treatment of seizures associated with two rare and severe forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, in patients two years of age and older.  This is the first FDA-approved drug that contains a purified drug substance derived from marijuana.  It is also the first FDA approval of a drug for the treatment of patients with Dravet syndrome."

CBD’s beneficial effect on seizure patents has been known to the CBD community for five years since a child with epileptic seizures, Charlotte Figi, had her case discussed in a CNN documentary entitled "Weed."  This documentary showed video footage of Charlotte Figi’s seizures being controlled by her taking CBD and helped shift public attitudes toward the beneficial effects of cannabis-based medical remedies.  With the passage of the Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research section of the Agricultural Act of 2014, no prescription is needed to purchase CBD because the law takes it out of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s ability to control, but if Epidiolex is FDA approved, then it can be prescribed by a doctor, and the price of the prescription can be covered by insurance.

Discovering the endocannabinoid system first required the ability to isolate certain cannabinoids.

In 1895, British researchers T. Barlow Wood, W.T. Newton Spivey, and Thomas Hill Easterfield at the University of Cambridge isolated and identified cannabinol (CBN) in its pure form, but CBN’s chemical structure was not discovered until British chemist Robert Sidney Cahn, a fellow at the Royal Institute of Chemistry, did so in the early 1930's.

A team at the University of Cambridge discovered the first cannabinoid which they named cannabinol or CBN.

In 1940, American organic chemist Dr. Roger Adams and a team of scientists at the University of Illinois discovered and were the first to extract CBD from cannabis, but they were not able to describe its chemical structure.  Adams also initially discovered THC.

Dr. Roger Adams discovered tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).

In 1964, Israeli scientist Raphael Mechoulam identified and isolated THC and was able to describe its chemical formula.  How THC affected the brain remained unknown until 1988 when the first cannabinoid receptor CB1 was discovered by Allyn Howlett and William Devane working with a team of scientists at the St. Louis University Medical School.  In August 1990, Lisa Matsuda working with a team at the National Institute of Mental Health announced they had identified a THC-sensitive receptor in rat brains.

Dr. Raphael Mechoulam and his colleagues, Dr. Yehiel Gaoni and Dr. Haviv Edery at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, were the first to isolate THC and describe its chemical formula.

The discovery of the endocannabinoid system led to a resurgence in cannabis based medical research, especially in Europe and the Middle East.  Ironically, the research at the St. Louis University Medical School leading to the discovery of the endocannabinoid system had been authorized by the Department of Health and Human Services because the government was seeking evidence supporting the criminalization of marijuana and supporting a series of advertisements produced by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America.  The advertisements began being aired in 1987 and were peddled as public service announcements.  They showed an egg frying on a pan with an actor or voice over saying, “this is your brain on drugs, any questions?”  TV Guide listed this advertisement as being one of the 100 most effective of all time.  cont.

We now know all mammals as part of their immune system have an endocannabinoid system that helps modulate and regulate their other physiological systems to keep their body in equilibrium confirming what Legendary Chinese emperor Shen-Nung wrote 4755 years ago describing how eating cannabis would bring the Yin Yang into balance!

Humans and other mammals produce cannabinoids internally through their endocannabinoid system.  We always have a bit of cannabis within us, and those endocannabinoids are as critical to sustaining our lives as is salt.

Endocannabinoids are neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors and cannabinoid receptor proteins found throughout the brain, central nervous system, peripheral nervous system, organs, connective tissues, glands, and white blood cells depending on the type of receptor.  The endocannabinoid system helps regulate a wide variety of physiological and cognitive processes.  Endocannabinoid levels rise in response to various medical assaults and disorders, such as anxiety, inflammation, and pain.

CB1 and CB2 have been identified as the two primary endocannabinoid receptors.  There are probably many other endocannabinoid receptors yet to be discovered.  THC and its primary metabolite attach to CB1 receptors. The CB1 receptors in the brain play a role in maintaining normal brain activity and protecting against seizures.  CBN attaches to CB2 receptors.  CBD shares much of the same chemical structure as CBN allowing CBD to loosely attach to CB2 receptors.  CBD does not attach to CB1 receptors in the brain but, instead, disrupts endocannabinoid attachments to the CB1 receptors.  cont.

CB1 receptors are predominately found on nerve cells in the brain and central nervous system.  Stimulation of the CB1 receptor produces a euphoric high and can increase circulation.  CB2 receptors are predominately found on the peripheral nerves, organs, connective tissues, glands, and blood cells.  CBD will loosely attach to white blood cells through a CB2 receptor and be transported to the site of inflammation.  The theory is CBD treats inflammation by disrupting the buildup of white blood cells and causing a release of other immune system chemicals.

CBD attaching to CB2 receptors in the liver explains why CBD serves as an antidote for marijuana users who are high from consuming Delta-9 THC.

For Delta-9 THC to get one high, it must be metabolized by the liver and turned into 11-Hydroxy-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (11-OH-THC) which is the primary metabolite of THC.  The 11-OH-THC binding to CB1 receptors in the brain is what produces a euphoric high.  When the 11-OH-THC is fully metabolized by the liver and becomes 11-nor-9-carboxy-delta-9- tetrahydrocannabinol (11-THC-COOH), the main secondary metabolite of THC, the euphoric high ends, and the person is no longer under the influence of marijuana.  CBD attaching to CB2 receptors in the liver acts to slow down the liver’s metabolizing Delta-9 THC into 11-OH-THC and, therefore, helps bring a person down from a Delta-9 THC induced high by causing the liver to metabolize the Delta-9 THC into 11-OH-THC at a slower rate over a longer period of time.

Ironically, most states test for 11-THC-COOH to determine if someone is under the influence of marijuana.  11-THC-COOH remains in a person's bloodstream long after they are no longer under the influence and after the Delta-9 THC once in their system is no longer being metabolizing into 11-OH-THC.  If the question sought to be answered is whether a person was high at work or at the time of the accident or when driving a car, the accurate procedure would be to test for 11-OH-THC which is only present when a person is under the influence.

Neither THC, CBD, nor any other cannabinoid identified as being present in cannabis affect those regions of the brain that control the body’s heart and lung functions.  This accounts for there being no recorded fatal overdoses as a result of ingesting too much cannabis.  cont.

Intercellular communications through the endocannabinoid system result in the release of cytokines, a broad category of small proteins important in cell signaling that when released affect the behavior of cells around them.  Two cytokines are interleukin and interferon; they help regulate the immune system's response to inflammation and infection.  The endocannabinoid system also results in the release of glutamate, an excitatory α-amino acid that works as a neurotransmitter; anandamide, a fatty acid neurotransmitter responsible for anti-inflammatory effects; and, adenosine, a neurotransmitter responsible for energy creation and sleep regulation.

CBD acts on the serotonin receptors.  Serotonin is a compound found in the blood’s platelets and serum that controls the constriction of the blood vessels and acts as a neurotransmitter.  CBD’s interaction with serotonin receptors decreases anxiety and protects brain cells.  This neuroprotectant property is referenced by the Department of Health and Human Services in its synthetic CBD patent application which says CBD anti-oxidant properties have been shown to protect the brain from damage by relieving oxidative stress and by decreasing brain inflammation.  Serotonin levels regulate one’s mood.  Failure of the serotonin levels to be in equilibrium can result in depression.

CBD also affects calcium levels within the cells by acting upon a group of ion channels located mostly on the plasma cell membranes referred to as the transient receptor potential channels.

It is very likely cannabis-based medical remedies will define the advancement of medicine for the next thirty years

In Hemp 106 we discuss how CBD may help maintain one's health by body part based on the latest scientific data. (Good reading for those unfamiliar with CBD’s many benefits) (click here).


PharmaXtracts sells the finest, purest CBD products at the lowest prices you will find anywhere.  With over three decades of combined experience in the CBD industry, PharmaXtracts is a Band of Brothers who decided the CBD market needed a serious intervention.  No longer could we stand by and let false information be perpetuated and insignificant dosages be taken by people in need of CBD’s many benefits.  It was time for us to bring clarity to a once shady world.

With the exception of our PharmaXtracts logos for which we claim trademarks, PharmaXtracts claims no copyright for the pictures and photographs used in this post but considers them within the public domain.  Please notify PharmaXtracts of any copyright infringement for immediate credit or deletion.  PharmaXtracts claims a copyright for the text used herein.  © 2018 PharmaXtracts

These statements have not been evaluated by the United States Food and Drug Administration.  PharmaXtracts CBD products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.  A doctor’s advise should be sought before using PharmaXtracts CBD products or any other cannabis extract especially if you have a serious medical condition, use prescription medications, are pregnant, or are nursing a child.  Not for sale to those under the age of 21 years.  Keep PharmaXtracts CBD products out of the reach of children.

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