Written by elénzia’s Nutrition Manager, Christie
What it is, the history, what different CBD extracts/products mean:
CBD or cannabidiol was re-discovered in the 1940s as an isolated phytocannabinoid, historically derived from hemp, in formulations ranging from liquid extracts in the form of oil or tincture, to standardised capsules containing a specific milligram of the active ingredient, CBD. Typically, high concentrated products often use an isolated plant derived CBD extract containing less than 0.2% THC, or a pure nature identical CBD with confirmed 0% THC, as the active ingredient.
In contrast, full spectrum products will also consist of trace cannabinoids such as THC, in addition to naturally occurring terpenes and flavonoids which strongly affect the taste, see the flow chart below. These may contribute to an “entourage effect” which is rumoured to increase the effects of the product in a more broad yet synergistic aspect. However, this is not yet fully understood, and neither is there any clinical evidence to support this “entourage effect” claim.
What is the difference?
Full Spectrum: CBD | THCa | CBG | CBN | CBC | THCv | CBDa = Combination of Compounds
Broad Spectrum: CBD | CBG | CBN | CBC | THCv | THCa = Combination of Compounds
Isolate: CBD | CBD | CBD | CBD | THC = 99% Isolate
Nature Identical CBD: CBD | CBD | CBD | CBD | CBD = Pure CBD 100%
Latest scientific evidence:
There is no questioning the holistic wellness sector is experiencing a CBD phenomenon today.
In the UK alone, over 2 million people are estimated to supplement CBD daily, and a further 6 million have thought about joining them. But why?
The reasons for supplementing CBD vary due to its positive influence on health and wellbeing. With its ability to bring the body to an aligned state, CBD’s suggested therapeutic effects on mental and physical health have got those seeking holistic support all reaching out for that meditation in a bottle.
However, for those customers who might be sceptical, or for the nutrition professionals who want to understand how CBD can specifically help their clients, here is the latest clinical evidence to support the therapeutic claims associated with supplementing CBD. This evidence suggests it can help alleviate the conditions of various health issues from generalised anxiety disorder, sleep disorders, pain alleviation and for improving gut health when administered acutely. And the clinical evidence continues to grow.
So, how does CBD work?
The endocannabinoid system is a system within our bodies that influences the central nervous system development. Out of the roughly 100 cannabinoid compounds we know of, CBD is the one that binds with the endocannabinoid system and influences homeostasis. Although use of the cannabis plant to aid health dates back centuries, the understanding that its therapeutic effects are due to its binding with the endocannabinoid system is still new and the evidence is growing. However, more recently researchers have demonstrated both the CB1 and CB2 receptors lined throughout the body’s inner-endocannabinoid receptors are key in influencing such natural rhythms, such as our circadian rhythm. An example is this 2020 review on how widely researched CBD’s influence on supporting a healthy sleep pattern is.
Further toxicological research finds it is well tolerated and safe to supplement, as outlined here in a systematic review and meta-analysis exploring the adverse effects of CBD.
What about regulation and why the need?
This has been a key topic for many CBD brands and consumers since the EFSA confirmed CBD as a novel food. Novel foods are foods that have not been widely consumed by people in the UK or the EU before May 1997. This means that the foods do not have a ‘history of consumption’. If you need help explaining this to your clients, then a more widely understood example are the plant sterols used in Flora ProActiv™ products. They are in the diet, just not in that format, and therefore considered novel.
At first the novel food confirmation brought about controversy. However, after the release of the CBD in the UK report which revealed there were many CBD products not containing what they had stated on the on their packaging in terms of CBD and THC amount, it became more clear that tighter regulation around CBD products was, in fact, in the best interest of both producers and consumers. The report was conducted by the Centre for Medical Cannabis (CMC) and based on a UK market wide analysis on the potency and purity of various CBD products and found there was much inconsistency across product batches, products’ zero THC claims and concerns over dosage information. For example, findings revealed that one UK high street pharmacy product, retailing at £90, contained no CBD at all, 11 contained less than 50% of the stated CBD content, 45% had levels of THC that would make them technically illegal in the UK and one product even qualified as alcoholic beverage due to its ethanol content of 3.8% (3.4% qualifies as alcoholic beverage in the UK).
This news soon put the need for regulation into perspective for those who were sceptical and had producers and consumers applauding the introduction of regulation, which finally comes into force March 31st, 2021.
It means all producers will have to obtain a certificate of third-party analysis (CoA) to confirm their product’s potency and purity. This is neither cheap nor easy and will therefore inevitably increase the price of CBD even further across the UK market, especially for plant derived CBD products which are more likely to be inconsistent due to the fluctuating elements of the natural world in which the plants are cultivated.
What types of CBD extracts will we see stay, launch or disappear?
We estimate the UK market – post March 31st when the regulation fully kicks in – will see a lot of CBD products disappearing. However, it will mean what is left is more reliable and can be trusted by the consumer.
Ultimately, we foresee that nature identical CBD, clinically created through organic chemistry, will become the more consistently available product, due to its transparency and reliability, not to mention its more sustainable production methods, which the market indicates is a top priority of consumers.
Why so much fuss about exact potency?
When it comes to advising people around supplementing CBD, potency and purity are vital. For example, when an individual is introducing CBD to their body’s natural endocannabinoid system they should do so gradually, for example around 25mg a day.
This is because the half-life in CBD is not fully known yet. What is known is body weight plays a role in this and is where you as professionals can help support your clients. The data available is still unfolding but it suggests that once the CBD is introduced to the endocannabinoid system, a safe balance to work towards is generally 1mg of CBD per 1kg of body weight, per day. For example, a 70kg person should take no more than 70mg of CBD a day split across 2 to 3 doses. Therefore, the generic advice from the FSA is 70mg as this can become too confusing for the general consumer and as always when it comes to supplementing, a professional is best to help an individual tailor their supplements to their needs. This is also why an exact potency application used by elénzia PURE CBD through an oral syringe is perfect and makes life easier for both the advisor and the consumer, enabling people to customise their CBD experience across one bottle.
As for purity, sadly, wherever CBD grows, so does THC. This is a risk for some more than others, as if an individual carries the CYP2C9 gene in their DNA, they are more likely to have a negative response to any potential traces of the psychoactive THC. To overcome this uncertainty, a nature identical pure CBD formulation guarantees the exact CBD potency you seek and zero risk of consuming any trace of THC.
So, what makes a perfect CBD product?
Recently, for the 2020 IHCAN the elénzia strategic insights team delivered a CPD webinar on the UK CBD market and demonstrated the ultimate CBD product had to deliver on the following: safety, purity, potency, efficacy, taste, ease of use, and sustainable productions methods.
To find out more about how CBD can help your client, book in for a 121 with me to learn about CBD, its biochemistry and mechanism of action, and discover more about the clinical research history leading to today’s findings.