CBD oil for sleep

Can CBD Help With Sleep Problems?

So, does CBD help with sleep problems? It all depends on why you can’t sleep in the first place. That said, CBD oil is known to help with a wide variety of sleep issues from anxiety to jet lag. The odds are good that it can help you too! Read on to find out how CBD oil might be able to help you get a good night’s sleep.

CBD Oil Promotes Deep NREM sleep

CBD oil can help you fall asleep quickly and it can help you sleep more deeply as well. The action of CBD in the body affects many different functions and the reason people seem to fall asleep quickly is unknown, but perhaps due to its calming effect.

The reason people report a longer, deeper sleep is likely due to CBD’s multi-pronged effect in the body as well. Some of it may have to do with its anti-anxiety effect, and some may have to do with its effect on REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. REM sleep is when we dream and make sense of our experiences. CBD seems to shift the sleep cycle to spending less time in REM sleep and more in NREM (No Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. The deeper stages of NREM sleep is when the body repairs itself, builds bone, tissue and muscle and strengthens the immune system.

While both these stages are absolutely necessary for well-being and health, some people have trouble arising from REM sleep. For people suffering from REM sleep disorder (RBD), characterized by restlessness and nightmares, CBD’s ability to regulate the REM/NREM sleep cycle can help reduce these unpleasant and sometimes debilitating symptoms.

Circadian Rhythm Sleep

CBD Oil Regulates the Circadian Rhythm

CBD oil works by interacting with the endocannabinoid system . The endocannabinoid system regulates and maintains balance in certain body systems including our circadian rhythm. The endocannabinoid is a network of receptors in our brain and nervous system, and researchers believe that CBD interacts with specific receptors to affect the sleep/wake cycle.

The circadian rhythm can get out of whack for a number of reasons: age and decreasing melatonin production, not enough bright sunlight, shift work, jet lag, and an irregular schedule to name a few.

Because CBD oil helps regulate the circadian rhythm, it can also help dispel feelings of grogginess in the daytime too, making you more alert — all of which naturally leads to better sleep at night.

Reduces Cortisol and Regulates Serotonin Response

CBD oil is known to reduce anxiety, which is characterized by high cortisol levels, and if that is what’s keeping you awake, CBD oil is certainly worth a try. This 2019 clinical study found that CBD decreased anxiety in 79.2 % of the participants and improved sleep scores in 66.7% within the first month.

CBD reduces cortisol as well, and can help the body attain a more efficient and positive response to its supply of serotonin. Not only is serotonin directly implicated in the circadian rhythm and therefore sleep, it is also a factor in depression. A healthy response to serotonin packs a double punch for mental health, directly through assisting with a healthy serotonin response and indirectly since healthy sleep can only make everything better.

CBD is Anti-inflammatory and Pain-relieving

If chronic or acute pain is keeping you awake, CBD can help through its anti inflammatory and pain-relieving effects. This is due to CBD’s interaction with the endocannabinoid receptors that help your cells respond to stimuli and can dampen inflammatory and neuropathic pain.

Natural Muscle Relaxer

Muscle Relaxer

CBD is a natural muscle relaxer. CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid receptors within the muscles, influencing smooth muscle contraction. As a result it can calm spasms and tremors. It is also a vascular relaxant, increasing blood flow to the area which helps to reduce pain.

For patients with muscle spasms or tremors such as those dealing with Parkinson’s or Huntington’s disease, a muscle relaxer can make all the different in the quest for a decent night’s sleep.

Sedative Effect

Myrcene is a terpene found in high amounts in CBD that has been found to have a sedative effect. It is also found in hops, which is one of the reasons beer also can induce sleep.

A Few Considerations Before Using CBD Oil for Sleep

As mentioned throughout this article, CBD works on many fronts, and it may be a combined action rather than any one effect that helps people sleep. It all depends on why you aren’t sleeping in the first place.

Researchers have noticed that dosage is important, finding that lower dosages may have a stimulating effect whereas higher doses act as a sedative. CBD oil may also take a little while to positively affect sleep — sometimes up to a month. While research into CBD is picking up, there is still much we don’t know. Reports so far do suggest that CBD oil can have a positive effect on many sleep disorders. And for those suffering from a lack of sleep, that is certainly welcome news!

CBD oil

CBD Isolate vs Full Spectrum CBD vs Broad Spectrum CBD

In this post we explain the difference between CBD isolate, full-spectrum CBD and broad spectrum CBD , and list the pros and cons for each. No CBD product is inherently better than another. It all depends on your individual body chemistry and what you would like to achieve. For example, while a full-spectrum CBD product might be especially beneficial for people with severe or complex symptoms, full spectrum CBD is absolutely not suitable for your pets . Why? Read on.

All the Different Cannabinoids

A cannabis plant contains many different cannabinoids. So far, researchers have identified 113 of them, with CBD and THC being the most heavily researched. Each cannabinoid interacts differently with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and many of them work in synergy to produce their beneficial action in the body.

Because the ECS is an elaborate network of receptors and neurotransmitters that maintain important functions such as homeostasis in the body, the effect of single or combined cannabinoids on the body can be far-reaching and complex. What might work for one person, could be terrible for another. For example, THC is highly effective for pain relief, but it can also cause side effects in some people, with anxiety and memory problems being the most common. There is even some suggestion that it can cause atrophy in the brain’s hippocampus.

THC is also the cannabinoid that produces the psychoactive effect. There are a number of reasons somebody might not want to get high, including needing to drive or operate equipment or pass a drug test. Animals are extremely sensitive to THC; at the very least it causes them extreme discomfit and could in some cases be dangerous to their health.

The negative side effects of THC are more pronounced with pure THC. When it is in its natural combination with other cannabinoids, terpenes and phenolics, the possibility of negative effects are mitigated to some degree and its benefits are heightened. This is the synergy or “entourage” effect. Different cannabinoids, terpenes and phenolics each target different neurotransmitters to achieve the same effect; they support each other, so a lower dose of the substance is needed.

Cat with cannabis leaf

The Different Levels of THC in CBD Products

All CBD products are extracted from the leaves and flowers of the hemp plant using solvents such as C02. CBD products are extracted from hemp plants and not marijuana by law in order to control the level of THC in the final product. Both hemp and marijuana are classified as cannabis, but hemp is an industrial product rich in most cannabinoids — CBD in particular — but low in THC, up to .3%. Accordingly, the initial extract from the hemp plant can contain up to .3% THC. But as we explain below, this can be processed further to reduce the THC content.

Full-spectrum CBD

The first extract delivers what is called “full-spectrum CBD”. It contains the full range of cannabinoids, terpenes, and phenolics including up to .3% THC. Full-spectrum delivers a wide range of powerful benefits because of the entourage effect — how the different cannabinoids and other components work together and with the ECS to boost the effects of the individual cannabinoids.

The initial extract, the full-spectrum CBD, can be further processed to yield two progressively more refined products: a broad spectrum CBD and a CBD Isolate.

Broad Spectrum CBD

A broad spectrum CBD contains all the cannabinoids except THC. All the other components of the hemp plant are also left intact. Theoretically, you still get most of the entourage effect without any risk of a high.

CBD Isolate

CBD Isolate crystals

CBD isolate is just that — pure CBD, with no other cannabinoids. The CBD content is much more concentrated than for either the full-spectrum or broad spectrum CBD product. For example, here at Pi CBD our isolate is 99.6% pure. CBD isolate is usually a powder or crystals. Pi CBD’s CBD isolate is mixed into premium coconut oil, which contributes to its benefits.

Because there is no THC, there are also none of the negative effects of THC. However, purified CBD has its own set of issues to be aware of. At low doses it is highly effective at relieving anxiety, at high doses it can trigger anxiety. This is because of which neurotransmitters are being affected with different dosages. Pure CBD might also be metabolized quicker without the entourage of cannabis components and so its effectiveness might be shorter lived.

From the descriptions above, you can see that each CBD product has its pros and cons. Which product is right for you, would depend on your particular make-up and what you are using it for. Below we provide a snapshot of some common benefits and concerns for each type.

The Pros and Cons of Full Spectrum CBD

Pros

  • Entourage effect
  • Less processed, more natural

Cons

  • May show up on drug screening because of the THC content
  • The THC could be a problem for some people, and definitely for pets
  • Has a strong taste and aroma


The Pros and Cons of Broad Spectrum CBD

Pros

  • Entourage effect
  • No THC

Cons

  • Less research on its effects and benefits
  • Strong taste and aroma

The Pros and Cons of CBD Isolate

Pros

  • Concentrate form of CBD
  • No THC
  • Safe for Pets and other sensitive individuals
  • Safe for drug tests
  • Odorless and flavourless
  • Versatile

Cons

  • No entourage effect
  • Dosage

Order Your CBD Oil Products from Pi CBD

If you’re ready to place an order, go for it. The Pi CBD Shop https://pi-cbd.com/shop/ offers a number of high quality CBD Oil products for you and your pets as well. We ship anywhere in Canada. If you have any questions, check out our FAQs page, or submit your question through our contact form. We are always glad to help.

Dog and cat in grass, CBD Oil for Pets

How to Find the Right CBD Oil for Pets Large and Small

An increasing number of pet owners worldwide are looking to CBD oil to relieve their pet’s pain and anxiety. After all, it works for people, and there are plenty of anecdotal reports that it works for animals too. These anecdotal reports of the benefits of CBD oil for pets are compelling. Let’s take a look.

Reported CBD Benefits for Pets

While there aren’t any scientific studies just yet on CBD benefits when it comes to your pet, dog and cat owners, as well as horse owners tell us the benefits include:

  • Relief of arthritis pain
  • Control of seizures
  • Relief of anxiety and stress
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Possible cardiac benefits
  • Stimulates appetite

There are currently no approved cannabis products for medicinal use for pets in Canada. Veterinarians cannot legally prescribe or even recommend any cannabis products for your pets. They can, however, answer any questions you might bring up with them. Initial research suggests that CBD oil is safe for dogs and cats and provides many benefits, with a few exceptions:

  • THC has toxic effects in dogs and cats. If the CBD oil has any THC at all it could cause distress for your pet.
  • CBD oil may interact with other medications or supplements your pet is taking. For example, high doses of CBD oil will inhibit enzymes that metabolize drugs in the liver.
  • Dogs and cats metabolize substances differently; what is okay for a dog might not be okay for a cat.

Talk to your veterinarian about CBD effects

Veterinarian with Dog, CBD Oil for Pets

While veterinarians cannot yet legally prescribe or recommend CBD oil for your pet’s pain, they are the most qualified to provide advice. They are aware of any scientific studies and they also know your pet’s specific situation: their health concerns, their existing conditions, and current medications. They can discuss CBD effects and how your pet might benefit.

Many vets support the use of CBD oil in pets. In fact, Canadian veterinarians recently lobbied MPs in Ottawa to expand the use of medical cannabis to their pet patients.

Make sure the CBD oil for pets does not contain any THC

THC is the psychoactive component of cannabis and is toxic to dogs and cats. Different pets react more or less strongly, but it is still, at best, distressing for all of them, if not outright dangerous. You can rest assured that Pi CBD oil products do not contain any THC, so our CBD tinctures are safe for your pets. We have tinctures for small breeds, large breeds, and equine.

Look for high-quality, organic CBD Oil for Pets

If the CBD oil is not organic, make sure at least that it does not contain pesticides, fungicides, or solvents which may harm your pet..Pi CBD products are sourced from pesticide-free non-GMO North American Hemp and contain THC. Only premium Canadian made hemp seed oil is used as a carrier.

Make sure the packaging has clear instructions on dosage

CBD Oil Tincture for Pets

Because not all CBD oils are the same, it isn’t advisable to rely on general instructions found on the internet. Your CBD oil should provide very specific instructions on dosage for the size and type of pet.

As a general rule, however, start with the lowest dosage possible, if there is a range of recommended dosages, and monitor effects. CBD oil and tincture allows for more precise dosing (over treats). With an oil or tincture, you can adjust the dose drop by drop if need be.

Be aware of possible negative CBD effects

Although it’s unlikely, your pet may not respond well to CBD oil. Watch for signs of distress, and call your veterinarian if your pet exhibits any of the following:

  • Dribbling urine
  • Walking as if they’re drunk
  • Wobbling while standing still
  • Wide, dilated pupils
  • Easily startled by sudden sounds
  • Drowsiness
  • Tremors
  • Stomach upset
  • Increased intake of water (signifying a dry mouth)

Now it’s possible these symptoms may not be related to CBD oil at all, but it’s best to be on the safe side.

Order CBD Oil for Pets Easily with Pi CBD

If you’re ready to help your pet with arthritis pain or anxiety, you may want to explore the world of CBD oil for pets. Do your research, and we’re confident you’ll agree that CBD oil treatment is a safe and effective treatment option. Pi CBD offers a number of pure CBD oils for pets large and small. If you have any questions, check out our FAQs page, or submit your question through our contact form. We are always glad to help.

Young woman looking wistfully out the window.

How to Use CBD for Anxiety Relief

Many of us are glued to the Internet, radio, or TV for updates on the covid 19 virus . We all want to stay informed on how it is spreading, what we can each do to keep ourselves, and the community safe and what measures the government is taking to contain it and relieve the ensuing financial crisis. Each update seems more dire than the last. With the threat to our health and our economy, anxiety is a normal state of being.

Yes, it is still possible to get outside in many places, and with appropriate social distancing, do some form of exercise, which is a great anxiety buster. And while meeting with friends, and exchanging comforting hugs, is out of the question, we can still talk to each other. Humorous videos are circulating the Internet, and laughing at some of the irksome new realities such as toilet paper shortages really can help alleviate the anxiety for a while anyway. Eating properly is also important, but what about CBD?

CBD Oil can help relieve anxiety

According to preliminary research, CBD oil can offer relief from a variety of forms of anxiety in a substantial number of people. A portion of participants in some studies did experience a heightening of anxiety, however. We will go into how to proceed cautiously below.

CBD oil interacts with receptors in the nervous system and the brain and, from what can be determined from early research, seems to alter serotonin signals. Serotonin is the feel-good chemical in our brain that regulates mood among many other important functions. Low levels are associated with depression.

How to use CBD Oil for Anxiety

For anxiety, CBD oils and tinctures, taken via a dropper under the tongue, are the best way to go. Taken this way you can precisely regulate the dosage and the effects are fast-acting. When a drop is placed under the tongue, the cannabinoid quickly enters the bloodstream. Effects can be felt in as little as 10 minutes and can last three to four hours.

CBD oil also can be added to edibles or smoked, but dosage is less reliable.

Start low, go slow

The best way to start with CBD is with a low dose, increasing slowly over time, and paying attention to your response at each dosage. Keeping a journal of effects might help you determine the optimal dosage for your unique needs. Pi CBD recommends starting with 1/2 a dropper once or twice daily and increasing slowly as required.

Pi CBD offers two great flavours, blueberry and lemon, of 99.6% CBD isolate, sourced from pesticide free non-gm North American Hemp. It contains no THC, which is perfect for anxiety, since THC can sometimes heighten anxiety.

Take care everyone. We’ll get through this together. If you have any questions about our products don’t hesitate to contact us.

CBD oil samples

The 3 Most Important Facts Scientists Now Know About CBD

Recent years have brought revolutionary changes for cannabis users and scientists who promote marijuana’s medical benefits. The acceptance of cannabis’ use is growing, -likely bolstered by its recent legalization in Canada and other nations. 

Numerous medical benefits of cannabis have been revealed with the help of modern technology. More specifically, the therapeutic potential of Cannabidiol, aka CBD, an active component of the cannabis plant, is proving to be impressively valuable.

Researchers have learned a great deal about how CBD can be beneficial to a person’s health and wellness. What scientists now know about CBD’s health benefits is leading many in the medical community to embrace what this ancient medicine has to offer. 

That’s great news! Right? Yes. However, are you wondering what exactly it is that scientists now know that make this natural remedy so appealing? It’s a good question, and the answer is threefold: 

  1. CBD is non-habit forming.
  2. CBD is non-psychoactive.
  3. CBD is therapeutically beneficial to multiple medical conditions. 

Additionally, the three most important properties listed above are proven facts; they’re backed by an international body of medical experts, the World Health Organization.

Okay, so what does that mean, and how can the average Canadian reap benefits? At Pi-CBD, we’re here to help you understand. We feel it’s important to educate our clients on the value of cannabis, in addition to providing you access to high-quality CBD oil products.

To help further your understanding of CBD’s three most notable scientific facts, continue reading. We have an in-depth and relatable explanation below.

Cannabidiol is Non-Habit Forming 

CBD is non-habit forming, meaning the risk of becoming addicted to it is not a concern. This particular fact about the natural product is significant. The non-habit forming quality helps to clear a visible path for the development of non-addictive medical treatment options. This is information that’s invaluable to pain sufferers and their care practitioners.

Pain relief without the risks or consequences of addiction could be a reality with CBD. And, with the current opioid crisis, it could be cause for celebration. Cannabidiol may finally present a feasible pain relief option to those who are prone to, or suffering from addiction.

Let’s not forget: this information isn’t new to the scores who already rely on the effects of CBD for pain control. Those who select quality CBD oils as part of their pain management plan have long been aware of how gently and effectively it works in the body.  

Cannabidiol is Without Psychoactive Effects

CBD’s non-psychoactive properties mean people can consume it without the risk of intoxication – a fact that many people often don’t accept readily. Let’s clear the air.

daily routines can work with responsible CBD use

CBD is a natural component of the cannabis plant with properties that are very different from marijuana’s stimulating ones, like Tetrahydrocannabinol, aka THC. CBD, unlike THC, doesn’t create sensations of being “high,” “stoned,” or other psychoactive effects in the mind or body. 

Why is that? Well, why cannabidiol has a calming effect is unclear. However, it is considered by many to be the yin to THC’s yang. Where THC is stimulating and intense, CBD is calming and subtle. THC is understood to cause marijuana’s “stoned” sensations, while CBD, the moderator, keeps THC’s psychoactive effects in check. 

People that take cannabidiol do so without the risk of becoming intoxicated, which means that users of quality CBD products can enjoy the relief it brings with minimal disruption to everyday life. Instead of relying on harsh pharmaceutical options that can cause adverse side effects, people have a safe, low-risk option. In doing so, they can experience the benefits of a natural treatment without having to adjust their daily routine.

Cannabidiol has Several Therapeutic Uses

The list of proven and potential therapeutic uses for CBD is already long and continues to grow. The massive potential for hemp’s calming compound to improve the health and wellness of many is impressive. As positive research results about CBD continue to come forward, we can only hope that more people will gain access to it.

What we know now is that CBD is FDA-approved to effectively treat forms of epilepsy and other seizure disorders. Other early studies show it may have considerable therapeutic benefits to the following conditions: 

  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Chronic Pain
  • Depression
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • Inflammatory Diseases
  • Nausea

While this list is impressive, it’s not conclusive. As of 2017, the WHO had listed a total of 18 conditions that studies strongly suggest CBD may have therapeutic effects on. 

The evolution of cannabis use has seen profound changes over the past 100 years. From a state of complete prohibition and vilification of cannabis in the early 1920s, to the current mood of curiosity and acceptance in 2020, the Hemp industry has seen it all. At Pi-CBD, we’re excited to be part of the ride. For quality CBD products that you can rely on, visit our online shop.

Close up of hemp seeds

Growing Hemp for CBD

With legalization of cannabis, we can expect to see hemp agriculture incorporate strains that are more suited to the production of CBD. Until now, the industry has focused on food seed. In this article we examine the state of hemp agriculture in Canada and the United States, and look at how cultivating hemp for CBD production might require new techniques.

Genetics

Since the US Farm Bill and the Canadian Cannabis Act, both in 2018, the Hemp industry has experienced unprecedented interest and momentum. However, since hemp became legal about 20 years ago in Canada, the industry has been driven by the demand for food seed which has been the most viable market.  Grain production easily dominates the crop use for industrial cannabis in Canada. Because of this primary focus, almost all the pre-approved cultivars from Health Canada are strains that produce higher grain or fibre yields with little to no genetic focus on the cannabidiol production. Prior to the Cannabis Act, Canadian farmers were not even  allowed to harvest the leaves or flowers of their crop. 

 In many aspects, the legislation has over restricted the Hemp industry in Canada compared to the US markets. In the US genetic diversity and breeding of high CBD strains is more prolific. Moving forward we will see more high CBD strains being approved in Canada. The 2020 cultivar list is expected to be released in February 2020. 

Having a genetic pool of high CBD producing plants could mean the difference between yields of a 15-25% return versus our current strains which can get up to 7-10% in perfect conditions and with extensive crop management.  This is a huge difference in profit margin for growers and will take a few years to work itself out.

 Some of the notable medical CBD hemp strains are: Cherry Wine, Charlotte’s Webb, Electra and Lifter, none of which have been allowed in Canada yet. In the US, farmers can grow hemp, extract the CBD and make products to sell directly to consumers. This makes the micro-grow opportunities a lot more viable in those states allowing extraction on hemp stands of less than 10 acres. In Canada, farmers must sell their flower crop to a licensed producer or acquire a few expensive licenses making this vertical integration prohibitive and selling directly to consumers almost impossible.

Cultivation Techniques 

Growing quality flower poses many challenges on the industrial scale and is quite a different process than growing grain or fibre. To grow a high yielding flower crop, the female plants which produce the CBD must not come into proximity to pollinating male plants. In this aspect, growing a flower crop of hemp is very similar to growing THC containing strains of cannabis. If the flowering females are pollinated, they will spend energy making seeds and cannabinoid production is greatly reduced. 

Cannabis growing in a greenhouse

On farms across Canada, the hemp industry has been using conventional farming techniques which don’t work as well for flower production. Many producers in the US are moving to cloning female mother plants or buying expensive feminized seeds. This reduces the chance of wasting time and energy growing a male plant which will need to be removed during the vegetative cycle.  By planting clones or feminized seeds the farmer can ensure a drastic reduction in male plants. Standard seeds on grain and fibre operations can contain as much as 50% males. The removal of male plants is labour intensive and can take a lot of attention and time on large scale farms.

In the US three states are leading the charge in CBD production; Colorado, Kentucky and Oregon all have strong hemp farming programs and state-wide legislation allowing the extraction from flower. In Colorado, which is arguably the center of the country as well as its legal cannabis epicenter, almost 400 registered growers are focusing on hemp flower with more than 2 million square feet of indoor production as well as 12,000 acres of outdoor. 

Many quality flower operations in the States have moved away from the conventional cash crop format that we have in Canada and are growing smaller well-maintained plots or indoor gardens. This allows producers control over the environment,  preventing the pollen contamination that is common in areas with nearby hemp crops or wild varieties of cannabis.

 Irrigation plays a big part on these farms. Some plants are grown in the ground, but many are planted in bagged rows or in pots. In more northern latitudes, starting the plants in a greenhouse is a great way to increase yield and extend the growing season. Most hemp is planted in early June and begins to flower some time in August when the daytime photoperiod gets to 12hrs or less.

Hanging Cannabis plants to dry

Harvesting

On most hemp farms in Canada, the harvest is done with combines that shake the grain out of their crop.  On grain production farms only the seed is harvested and the rest of the plant is ploughed back into the field. When flower is harvested, a  grower can hand cut their plants down but larger operations use a swather or stripper. Although some equipment can strip just the flowers, it is most common for the full plant to remain intact and left hanging indoors for a few weeks to allow for drying. Plants are hung upside down and spaced to encourage even circulation. Adding fans to the drying area is critical to prevent any mold from developing. Mold can spread quickly and would diminish the quality and value of the crop. Some farms have drying equipment to speed up the process and prevent spoilage. These specialized drying units have been designed from or repurposed from the tobacco industry. Once the flowers are dry, they can be stored or sent to the extraction facility where the CBD can be separated from the biomass.

This is an exciting time in hemp agriculture. Hemp is a versatile plant and the industry is set to explode with all the interest in new the hemp products that are becoming available to consumers.

lab equipment and a cannabis leaf

The Effects of CBD Oil on the Endocannabinoid System | Pi CBD

Our clinical understanding of all the possible therapeutic applications of hemp sourced cannabidiol is limited because of its close relationship to cannabis and its prohibition for close to a hundred years. The government’s persecution of all those who were involved in the illegal production and trade has been a limiting factor on the amount of research that is currently available.

Medical societies and governments world-wide have come to accept the fact that the Schedule 1, highly dangerous rating of cannabis during prohibition was wrong and there are, in fact, hundreds of medicinal benefits to cannabis use.

The Cannabis Act in Canada and the Farm Bill in the US have greatly increased the availability of funding to further study cannabinoids. In actual fact, we have known about the medical benefits for almost 5,000 years and modern science is only now catching up. For instance, science has recently discovered that cannabis promotes well being and homeostasis through its effect on something called the endocannabinoid system in the human body.

What is The Endocannabinoid System?

The Endocannabinoid System was first identified by researchers at the University of Jerusalem in 1992. All animals including vertebrates and invertebrates have an Endocannabinoid System, also known by the abbreviation ECS. The ECS is responsible for communication signals between the body’s cells, organs, central nervous system and even the brain. Its main function, according to recent research, is to help preserve homeostasis between the different systems of the body.

The body produces endocannabinoids, which are similar in structure to cannabinoids. The body produces them as needed to maintain balance in the face of destabilizing forces, whether from the exterior or interior.

The endocannabinoid molecules bind to endocannabinoid receptors in the body to activate the processes of creating balance in the body. There are two types of receptors, one which is mostly located in the central nervous system and the other mostly in immune cells. Once the endocannabinoids are finished their function, enzymes break them down for elimination.

The Endocannabinoid System Has Far-Reaching Effects

The ECS is complex and much more research needs to be done. So far, researchers have discovered that the effects of the ECS are far-reaching, playing a role in:

  • chronic pain
  • metabolism
  • inflammation
  • immune system
  • motor control
  • sleep
  • mood
  • learning and memory
  • cardiovascular health
  • building muscle
  • bone health
  • liver function
  • reproduction
  • stress
  • skin and nerve health

How Cannabis Interacts with the Endocannabinoid System

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and CBD interact with the ECS differently. THC can bind directly with either of the two types of receptors, while CBD appears to inhibit the break-down of naturally produced endocannabinoids. More research needs to be done however; it is also possible that there are, as yet, undiscovered receptors that CBD binds to.

Bright Future for Research

This is an exciting time for research into the health effects of cannabis. With many of the taboos and restrictions regarding cannabis being lifted, and more funding available, we can expect to see more and more discoveries rolling out over the next few years.

No smoking sign with a cannabis joint

The Prohibition Period for Cannabis | Pi CBD

Cannabis has had a  long and respectable history of use world-wide. So what gave rise to the international sweep of cannabis prohibition in the early 20th century? The answer starts with opium and a war on the international problem of addiction. Cannabis was lumped into the response because of politics, deep-seated myths and prejudice.

Opium Addiction in the 19th Century

Poppy flower

Addiction to opiates was a serious concern in the 19th century, particularly in Asia where European colonial powers held opium trade monopolies and encouraged opiate addiction for their own profit. The problem, however, was not limited to Asia; in North America, for example, laudanum and morphine were seen as miracle drugs and were heavily used by doctors for all sorts of ailments from pain relief to the (perceived) hysteria of women. The opium dens that opened in North America with Chinese immigration only exacerbated the problem, but in popular opinion, drug use became linked with immigration.

The first international drug control treaty, enacted in 1912, was limited to opium, but was revised in 1925 to include cannabis.  Why exactly cannabis was included is unclear, but seems to be multi-faceted and related to myths that cannabis caused violence and insanity, prejudice against the lower classes who used cannabis more often, as well as prejudice against immigrants and their use of various drugs. 

Cannabis Prohibition In Canada

As part of the League of Nations, prohibition in Canada followed the lead of the international community, starting with the Opium and Narcotic Drug Act of 1920. Cannabis, except for medical and scientific use, was included in the Act to Prohibit the Improper Use of Opium and other Drugs in 1923, even though recreational cannabis use was not common in the Canadian population.

Cannabis Prohibition In the United States

While cannabis had been used as a medicine in the United States for many years, attitudes began to change in the early 1900s in response to the Mexican revolution (1910) and the subsequent influx of Mexican immigrants to the US bringing with them their tradition of smoking cannabis.  Prejudice and negative attitudes towards Mexican immigration became associated with cannabis, fueled by the American media that ran stories of disruptive behavior of Mexican immigrants. The news stories blamed the bad behavior on marijuana. 

The adoption of the Mexican word “marijuana”, instead of cannabis, in the U.S. was part of a campaign to denounce cannabis by the  Federal Bureau of narcotics (FBN), by piggybacking on the popular dislike of Mexican immigration. The FBN was newly created in 1930, and its policies at the time were heavily influenced by the personal, highly puritanical views of it’s director, Harry J. Anslinger. The efforts culminated in the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 which set heavy taxes on cannabis products as well as other penalties on cannabis handlers.

The 1960s 

Cannabis use increased exponentially in the 60s in North America. That fact, along with the perceived need to control the student population in the 60s, instigated a political reaction in the form of more aggressive laws against cannabis. Nixon’s 1970 Controlled Substances Act categorized cannabis of any sort as a highly dangerous substance and its use or possession carried high penalties. This act is still in place federally today in the States. However, most states now allow its medical use, with several legalizing recreational use.

Promising Future

Global decriminalization or legalization movements have been gaining ground and there are now at least 22 countries where medicinal cannabis is legal. These countries include: Canada, New Zealand, Netherlands, Australia, Greece, Norway, Chile, Switzerland, Argentina, Israel, Poland, Croatia, Peru, Jamaica, Columbia, Thailand, Germany, North Macedonia, Cyprus, Italy, Lithuania and Luxembourg. Other countries that are likely to legalize in some capacity include: Brazil, Mexico, Ecuador, Venezuela, Spain, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Zimbabwe and Lesotho.

Canada legalized the cultivation, acquisition, distribution and use of cannabis, for any use in 2018, being only the second country to do so after Uruguay (2014).

Although cannabis is federally illegal in the United States about 33 individual States allow its medical use and 11 States allow its recreational use. A majority of the American population believe in full legalization and it is a matter of time more than anything.

With all of these countries opening their doors to legalization and new research opportunities, the future looks very bright for phytocannabinoid treatments and applications.

Next up we look at some recent research, focusing on the Endocannabinoid System.

Ancient medicinal supplies

Ancient Medicine: The History of CBD Oil Use | Pi CBD

Since the beginning of agriculture at least 10,000 yrs ago, we have been producing and consuming hemp products. In this post we outline some of the highlights of our long association with cannabis from ancient times up to prohibition in the 1920s. This is the first in a series of posts; the second will delve into the reasons for the prohibition of cannabis and the third will look at some  the current research on cannabis, focusing on the discovery of the Endocannaboid System.

Sumerian Birth 3000 BC

Our first ancestors to develop a written form of language is widely believed to be in Sumer which was an ancient civilization in southern Mesopotamia circa 3000 BC. This first record of human language and culture is known as Cuneiform. Tablets found from this time period have been translated. They mention the medical use of cannabis in past tense. Because our earliest records only date back to this time it is the logical beginning for the story of the history of cannabis use.

Chinese Ma 2500 BC

It is widely speculated that the use of the Hemp plant dates back as far as 10,000BC as a textile crop in ancient China. The earliest records of Chinese Medicine come from their pharmacological book, “The Herbal” or “Pen Ts’ao” written by Shen Nung, who was also known as the Red Emperor around 2500 BC. No copies of the original text remain, but the modern version is believed to be very similar. This text, which is still in use today, makes a multitude of references to the use of cannabis sativa for many conditions. Many different parts of the plant are mentioned, including the root, stem, leaves, flower and seed. In China it was recognized that the cannabis plant had a male and female traits relating to Yin and Yang.

Indian Bhang 2000 BC

Cannabis has been used as medicine in India for a very long time and is still legal today. Because our earliest written records of ancient India come from after 1000BC, we don’t know exactly when Bhang was introduced. It is generally agreed that the medicinal, religious and recreational use has been ongoing and widespread for more than 3,000yrs. The favourite food of the Hindu god Shiva is said to be cannabis. Popular preparations include the plants resin, flower, seed and leaves which are made into Charas (hashish), as well as a Bhang Lassi which is a traditional drink made from yogurt.

Ancient Egypt 1700 BC

Egyptologists widely agree that medical cannabis was recognized and used in ancient Egypt. One of the earliest medical documents that makes reference to cannabis is, “The Ramesseum III Papyrus”, circa 1700 BC. There are many references in other medical scrolls but the “Ebers Papyrus” (1500 BC) is the oldest, most complete medical textbook in known existence today. The “Ebers Papyrus” is thought to be based on a much older scroll, but that is merely speculation. There is no real evidence except for the general complexity of the ancient Egyptian’s understanding of using plants for medicine. Some of the oldest uses of hemp were for topical ointments used for inflammation and pain. 

Assyro-Babylonians 1000 BC

The Middle-East is one of the cradles of civilization and the language, culture and medicine of ancient Mesopotamia developed gradually over thousands of years. The Assyrian Empires flourished for nearly 2,000 years beginning in the 25th century BC. Just as the previous Sumerian people of that area, their development of a written language allows us a good understanding of their lives and technologies. We have discovered more than half a million cuniform clay tablets, of which many have yet to be transcribed. Thousands of them are classified as medical tablets, and refer to the use of cannabis for its medicinal properties.

Roman-Greco 50 AD

The Greek and the Roman texts on medicine were used in the western world until the 1700’s. One of the earliest Greek physicians that traveled with the Roman army throughout the civilized world, collected and wrote the first draft of “De Materia Medica”.  Pedanius Dioscorides recorded much of the ancient knowledge of plants and their medicinal uses, including references to hemp. Claudius Galen is another important Greek-born Roman physician who contributed volumes of medical texts. In Roman times, hemp’s textile and medical uses spread across the known world. Trade with the far east introduced the cannabis indica variety which had more intoxicating effects and stronger medicinal viability.

Arabic Medicine 1000 AD

With the fall of Rome in 400 AD, much of the west fell into the dark ages. However, the middle east experienced a golden age of Arabic medicine. Probably the most important and famous Persian physician is Avicenna who wrote the “Cannon of Medicine” based on the work of Galen, Diocordes and incorporating knowledge from the Far East.  This contribution was comprised of 5 volumes and was the most advanced medical textbook for 700 years. Translations into European languages led to the development and understanding of medicine in the west, helping to bring an end to the dark ages. The books make many references to cannabis, including chapters on its medical uses.

British Medicine 1800

A major turning point in the world of medical cannabis came from an Irish researcher and scientist named W.B. O’Shaughnessy. On his travels with the British Army in India he became aware of the popular intoxicant and many of the benefits of the cannabis indica strain. He released his first 40 page paper on the topic, presenting it to students and colleagues at the Medical and Physical Society of Calcutta in 1839. He was the first person to perform clinical trials for various ailments and contributed many more papers and books on his research. His findings invigorated the use of hemp  in the western world and led to the first marketed and copyright protected brand of cannabis tincture in 1840. 

Golden Age of Medical Cannabis

From 1840-1937 more than 20,000 cannabis products were protected with trademarks and were marketed as medicine. Countless tinctures, salves, capsules and extracts were sold around the world. This period is known as the golden age of medical cannabis and refers to a time when our knowledge and use flourished.  Every doctor prescribed it for hundreds of conditions and diseases. Unfortunately, widespread use came to an end with the prohibition period commencing in the 1920s and coming into full force in 1937. The prohibition period was characterized by mass propaganda and misleading messages.

Next up: The Prohibition Period of Cannabis.