HOW CBD WORKS

There is a lot of information available online, but we have gathered the useful and relevant information for you here. This will help you understand what we are selling and how it can be used.

About CBD (Cannabidiol)

CBD is the second most prominent compound in cannabis. The cannabis plant contains many different cannabinoids, we have seen over 80 different and it seems there are many more. Most people have heard of a cannabinoid called THC, which is the ingredient in cannabis that gets users high.

Unlike THC, CBD (cannabidiol) is non-psychoactive cannabinoid and does not cause a high. CBD has antipsychotic effects which means CBD works completely the opposite way of THC. Numerous studies suggest that CBD also acts to reduce the intoxicating effects of THC.

What is Cannabidiol (CBD)?

So how did it come about ….. It was at the Noyes Chemical Laboratory at the University of Illinois in 1940 where chemists Roger Adams, Madison Hunt and J.H. Clark first isolated cannabidiol (CBD). Prior to their experiments, cannabinol (CBN) was the only cannabinoid which had been characterized from the cannabis plant. The scientists characterized CBN from samples of hashish sourced from India, and this was the compound they were looking for in wild hemp grown in Minnesota.

The flower tops of hemp were extracted with ethanol and distilled in the lab to give an oil which was red in appearance. The scientists were shocked when they didn’t find any CBN, however qualitative tests indicated that there were other similar compounds (phenols) in the red oil. Furthermore, a long list of qualitative tests was further performed to define the structure of CBD – as analytical chemistry was not as advanced in 1940 as it is today. Adams et al. theorized that there would be many structurally related compounds to CBN and CBD present in cannabis. This turned out to be true as many other compounds, including THC, were later extracted and characterized from the cannabis plant. According to the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) nomenclature of organic chemistry, the chemical name for cannabidiol is 2-[(1R,6R)-3-methyl-6-prop-1-en-2-ylcyclohex-2-en-1-yl]-5-pentylbenzene-1,3-diol. This name (even if it is a bit of a mouthful) describes the precise chemical structure of cannabidiol, naming all the functional groups that are present in the cannabidiol structure.

Biosynthesis of CBD

Cannabinoids are produced from the convergence of two pathways; the polyketide pathway (the origin of olivetolic acid) and the plastidic MEP pathway (the origin of geranyl pyrophosphate). An enzyme called geranylpyrophosphate:olivetolate geranyltransferase catalyses the reaction between geranyl pyrophosphate and olivetolic acid to give rise to cannabigerolic acid (CBGA). An oxidocyclase called CBDA synthase performs a stereospecific oxidative cyclization on CBGA to form CBDA. CBDA is then decarboxylated to form CBD. This occurs partially in the plant, as well as part of the manufacturing step in the production of CBD. 

The importance of genetics

The genetics of the cannabis plant used is very important or both regulatory and manufacturing purposes equally. As hemp farmers have to make sure that THC levels in the plant are kept very low. It is essential that they keep track of their genetics strains and make sure that they are growing plants with good genes for CBDa synthesis. Similarly CBD manufacturers also need to make sure that they are sourcing or growing botanical raw material with good genetics for their CBD production, and bad genetics for THC and THCa production. This is so that there is very low chance of contamination of their CBD products with THC; thus any psychoactive side effects in their products.

But why is a plant either abundant in THC or CBD?

It’s all down to the genetic detail that governs whether a cannabis plant will produce the psychoactive molecule THC or not. This is because these genetics decide which enzymes will be expressed and whether active forms of the enzyme are expressed. The integral enzyme involved in the production of CBDa (Cannabidiolic acid) is called CBDa synthase. It is the key piece of ‘plant machinery’ which creates the magical molecule of CBDa, which eventually turns into CBD (cannabidiol).

The precursor of CBDa (Cannabidiolic acid) is CBGa (Cannabigerolic acid). CBGa (Cannabigerolic acid) is formed by a reaction between the precursors geranyl pyrophosphate and olivetolic acid, and catalyzed by the enzyme CBGa (Cannabigerolic acid) synthase. CBDa (Cannabidiolic acid) synthase then takes a proton from the terminal methyl group of CBGa (Cannabigerolic acid).

After the proton is eliminated, there is stereoselective ring closure to form CBDa (Cannabidiolic acid). In the language of chemistry, this reaction is a stereospecific oxidative cyclization of the geranyl group of CBGa (Cannabigerolic acid). CBDa synthase is very similar to the enzyme THCa (Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) synthase (83.9% identity in a 544-amino acid overlap), which catalyses the production of THCa from CBGa. In the reaction for the production of THCa (Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid), a proton is removed from the hydroxyl group of the substrate.

Only a difference in a small number of amino acid residues modulates the other surrounding molecules. Interestingly, the similarity in the enzymes CBDa synthase and THCa (Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) synthase demonstrates that they are both derived from a common ancestor, and a similar enzyme is also present in the Humulus genus (hops) which another member of the Cannabaceae. These reactions occur in the trichomes, which are most densely located on the flowers of the plants. Trichomes are the ‘cannabinoid microfactories’ of the cannabis plant. The two types of trichomes which produce cannabinoids are the capitate sessile and capitate stalked trichomes. The essential oils produced by these trichomes (which contain the cannabinoids and terpenes) are housed in the resin head with a waxy cuticle.

What is Endocannabinoid System?

The endocannabinoid system is a key homeostatic regulator in the body, playing a role in almost every physiological system in the body. For a long period of time it was overlooked as a possible therapeutic target, particularly because there was not much known about disease implications of the system. However, with the incredible success stories reported from the use of medicinal cannabis and hemp products, particularly cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), many medical scientists are shifting their focus onto the endocannabinoid system.

More conclusive evidence is coming to light supporting the theory of clinical endocannabinoid deficiency posited by Dr Ethan Russo, particularly for disease such as migraine, fibromyalgia, and irritable bowel syndrome. Given the large number of diseases which have shown endocannabinoid abnormalities such as epilepsy, cancer and a wide array of neurodegenerative diseases: it is an area which will undoubtedly be explored further in the future.

Apart from cannabis derived compounds, it has recently come to light that a wide array of natural compounds interact with the system. Nonetheless, CBD and CBDA are still considered the key compounds (or ones that have shown the most efficacy till date), and their therapeutic evidence and value is growing daily. Research on CBD and CBDA is accumulating fast, and a vast number of pharmacological targets have been revealed. The precise mechanism of action for both of these compounds still remains a mystery, but their pharmacological characteristics provide interesting clues as to how they work.

Cannabidiol: How does it work?

The pharmacological action of CBD is very interesting, as it directly has very little action at the CB1 and CB2 receptors. However it is able to block the actions of compounds which activate these receptors, such as THC. This property of CBD is important as it can suppress that psychoactivity of THC, which can be useful for those who are using THC for treating conditions such as pain and spasticity. Reducing the psychoactivity would reduce the ‘side effects’ of THC and medicinal cannabis, and this balance can be controlled by administering CBD with THC.

The enzyme fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) is the enzyme responsible for the intracellular degradation of anandamide, and CBD has been shown to inhibit this enzyme. This way CBD restores the anandamide levels (by stopping its breakdown), thus restoring the clinical endocannabinoid deficiency seen in many diseases. A clinical trial performed with CBD for schizophrenia showed that it caused a significant increase in serum anandamide levels, and this was thought to be the cause of the marked clinical improvement.

CBD shows affinity with non-endocannabinoid receptors

CBD is an enantiomeric compound, and the (−)-enantiomer was shown to be significantly more potent than the (+)-enantiomer in inhibiting FAAH. On the contrary, the (+)-enantiomer showed more affinity for the CB1 and CB2 receptors than the (-)-enantiomer. Henceforth the (+)-CBD would probably serve better in combination with THC, whereas (-)-CBD could be better served to treat endocannabinoid deficiency. Studies have revealed that CBD has affinity at certain Transient receptor potential (TRP) cation channels, which widens the scope of the diseases which CBD can target. CBD has shown to desensitize (dampen the receptor’s activity) TRPV1, TRPV2, TRPV3, TRPV4 and TRPA1 channels.

These receptors are highly active in pain states in a wide array of diseases. CBD also showed to be an antagonist of the TRPM8 receptor, which is another interesting receptor target for the treatment of pain – particularly allodynia. Outside of the endocannabinoid system, CBD also targets key neural signalling receptors such as 5-HT1a and 5-HT3a . Although not much is known about the disease implications of these receptors, they are thought to be heavily implicated in disease such as epilepsy and numerous anxiety disorders.

HERE is a recap of benefits of CBD usage: anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, antioxidant, antiemetic, anxiolytic and antipsychotic agent, and is therefore a potential medicine for the treatment of neuroinflammation, epilepsy, oxidative injury, vomiting and nausea, anxiety and schizophrenia.

Now that you have done the reading and decided it’s time to give CBD a try.

Let’s go ahead and look further into the products we have available and keep an eye out for the upcoming different CBD products by Aztec.

The other factors now to consider are: the type of product, CBD concentration, dosage requirement, extraction method used, brand (obviously our own AZTEC) and above all, your very own needs.

Product Types

Nowadays CBD comes in numerous types of shapes, sizes and forms. The three most common types are:

  • Tinctures, also known as droppers are by far the most popular CBD products consumed today. Tinctures trump all other types of CBD products when it comes to dosage precision. As all tinctures come with a precise dropper, one can easily increase or decrease the serving size by the drop. Tincture is the fastest absorption method. It is absorbed sublingually (under the tongue), which means that it acts faster than most other forms of CBD products.
  • Capsules, also known as CBD Tablets or CBD Pills are quickly gaining popularity. As capsules are odourless and tasteless, it makes them the perfect choice for anyone who doesn’t like that hemp taste.
  • Extract, also known as CBD Paste is the most popular choice for those looking for the purest and strongest CBD products out there. Extracts are the ones with the highest CBD concentration.

 

CBD Concentration

While hemp oil has beneficial properties of its own, when buying CBD products you should really look specifically for the quantity of CBD that is present in a particular product.

Usually the CBD content is declared as a percentage of the total volume, but it can also be shown as the total mg of CBD.

The CBD concentration in Tinctures and Capsules are usually between 3% – 20%, while the Extracts are typically at 20% or above.

The best choice for you depends on you and your required dosage.

Dosage

No exact dosage of CBD has been established yet. We recommend starting of with 3-5mg taking daily for a week. If you don’t feel any benefit after that, double the dose and repeat for another week until you find your required dose.

Also, worth mentioning is that CBD has maximum efficiency when used consistently, much like a daily multivitamin supplement. This effect is due to the fact that it takes a while for your body to adjust to the chemical compounds found in CBD. As there are no psychoactive or dangerous components present in our CBD, you can safely increase your serving size to find the optimal concentration for you. And don’t worry about taking too much CBD. It is impossible to overdose on CBD or to ‘take too much’.

  • If you need 1mg – 20mg CBD per day go for a low strength Tinctures or Capsules.
  • If you need 20mg – 100mg CBD per day go for a high strength Tinctures or Capsules.
  • If you need more than 100mg of CBD per day go for an Extract.

Extraction Methods

To extract Cannabidiol (CBD), one must start with CBD-rich plant material. There are many ways to extract oil from the cannabis plant, each has its pros and cons.

CBD oil is extracted using the following methods:

  • The super critical CO² method is considered the most scientific method and is also among the cleanest techniques of extraction. It uses carbon dioxide under high pressure and extremely low temperatures to extract the CBD in its purest form. CBD oil extracted in this way has a cleaner taste, but is also the most expensive method. The advantage of this technique is that the end product is the purest form of CBD oil which is highly potent and free of chlorophyll.
  • High grade grain alcohol can be used to create high quality hemp oil appropriate for vape pen cartridges and other CBD products. But this extraction method destroys the plant waxes, which may have health benefits that are favoured by some product-makers.
  • This method of how to make CBD oil is growing in popularity. The method involves extraction using a carrier oil. Olive oil is most commonly used in this process. The rise in popularity of this method is due to the added benefits of the nutrients in the oil used and the fact that it is safe and free of unwanted residues.

Purity

This might be the most important point to consider when choosing the right CBD product for you and your family.

CBD is derived from industrial hemp – stalk, leaf and seeds. Farming methods vary widely, and regulations differ from country to country.

For a safe product for you and your family, chose a CBD product that has been derived from Non-GMO organic hemp, grown without the use of pesticide, herbicide or chemical fertilizer.

Legal CBD

Cannabidiol (CBD) is not considered a controlled substance in the UK, and is therefore 100% legal.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the psychoactive chemical responsible for causing the marijuana high, and is illegal.

Hemp contains no, or very little THC, the psychoactive chemical. Marijuana on the other hand contains high levels of the psychoactive chemical. This single difference is what the lawmakers relies on to distinguish between hemp and marijuana.

The UK has set the maximum THC content of hemp at 0.2%. Therefore, any Hemp oil with higher THC than 0.2% is considered medical marijuana instead, and is therefore illegal under current UK law.