Scientific and clinical studies indicate that CBD could be effective in easing symptoms of a wide range of difficult-to-control conditions, including: rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, alcoholism, PTSD, epilepsy, antibiotic-resistant infections and neurological disorders. CBD has demonstrated neuroprotective effects, and its anti-cancer potential is currently being explored at several academic research centers in the U.S. and other countries.
CBD is derived by growing cannabis, drying it out, pulverizing it, and then, often, using a rotary evaporator filled with an ethanol solvent to extract the CBD. (There are some other methods, but the ethanol one is common.) It’s a pretty old and fairly low-tech technique, but it’s effective. What you end up with is, hopefully, about 99 percent pure CBD in the form of white powder, which is called CBD isolate. (Some CBD is billed as “full spectrum,” which means it contains other things from the cannabis plant, like a bunch of other cannabinoids, but there’s no formal definition for full spectrum.)
Carson, too, speculates that CBD might be able to reduce some of the jitteriness associated with caffeine intake, thus complementing it rather than canceling it out. “I can’t say I’ve spent much time in New York, but when I was thinking about talking to you, I got this vision in my head of a stereotypical taxi driver drinking a huge cup of coffee and being really alert but irritable,” he says. “And now if you add in a little CBD, they’re really alert but maybe a little more calm, and not as apt to honk the horn. I think that’s a potential area where there could be something good that comes from adding CBD to the coffee.”
Cannabidiol, or CBD for short, is a natural phyto-cannabinoid (or plant-based chemical compound) found in cannabis plants, including hemp and marijuana. Unlike other cannabinoids — namely tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC — CBD does not produce any psychoactive effects, and will actually counteract these effects to a degree. CBD will induce feelings of sleepiness; for this reason, it can be an effective soporific for people who struggle to fall and/or remain asleep due to insomnia and other sleep disorders.
Right now, there’s a good chance that you don’t really know what you’re getting from any source. Testing and labeling rules vary by state, but many states that allow legal cannabis also require some kind of testing to verify that the THC and CBD levels listed on the label are accurate. However, this testing is controversial, and results can vary widely between labs, Jikomes said. A study published in March found measurable variations in test results, with some labs consistently reporting higher or lower levels of cannabinoids than others. There are no guarantees that the label accurately reflects what’s in the product. For a 2015 study published in JAMA, researchers tested 75 products purchased in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle and found that only 17 percent were accurately labeled. More than half of the products contained significantly lower levels of cannabinoids than the label promised, and some of them contained only negligible amounts of the compounds. “We need to come up with ways to confidently verify the composition of cannabis products and make this information available to consumers,” Jikomes said.
In short, Cannabidiol – or CBD – is a cannabis compound that has many therapeutic benefits. Usually extracted from the leaves and flowers of hemp plants – though marijuana can also be a source – CBD oil is then incorporated into an array of marketable products. These products vary from the most common, like sublingual oils and topical lotions, to the less common (think CBD lattes). Basically, if you can dream it, you can buy it.