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November 10, 2022 59 mins

CBD has exploded in popularity over the past decade. I talked about the power and promise of this cannabinoid with one of the world’s leading experts on the subject: Martin Lee, author of two highly acclaimed books, Acid Dreams and Smoke Signals, and co-founder and director of We covered topics including what is CBD and how does it work, what is its relationship to THC and what’s the evidence for its medical and health benefits, what role is the FDA playing in regulating hemp and what’s going on outside the United States? 

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:00):
Hi, I'm Ethan Natalman, and this is Psychoactive, a production
of My Heart Radio and Protozoa Pictures. Psychoactive is the
show where we talk about all things drugs. But any
of view is expressed here do not represent those of
my Heart Media, Protozoa Pictures, or their executives and employees. Indeed, heed,

as an inveterate contrarian, I can tell you they may
not even represent my own And nothing contained in this
show should be used as medical advice or encouragement to
use any type of drugs. Hello, Psychoactive listeners. So today

we're gonna talk about c b D everything you ever
wanted to know, and maybe we're afraid to ask or
I'm sure you're getting good answers about now. My guest
is a real expert on CBD who I have enormous
respect for. His name's Barton Lee, and I first heard
about Martin Lee when he wrote a book in the
mid eighties called Acid Dreams, The Complete Social History of LSD,

the c I of the Sixties and Beyond, which was
you know, really became one of the sort of classic
books in the field. And then about ten years ago
he did another book, an award winning book called Smoke Signals,
A Social History of Marijuana, Medical, recreational and scientific um Now,
Martin in recent years create an organization called Project cb D.

It's a fantastic website chock full of tons of information.
He's been my go to person whenever I have questions
about this. So Martin, thanks so much for joining me
on Psychoactive. My pleasure. He's I've been looking forward to
this actually, So could you just explain what is c
B D well. CBD is short for cannaba dial that's

the scientific name, and cb D and T and C
are both components of the cannabis plant, part of a
group of compounds called abinoids. T, C and CBD are
the most prominent and well known cannabinoids in the cannabis plant.
If you look at the molecules, you know, the structure
side by side, you'd be hard trested to notice the difference.

It's it's very, very minor. They they have the same
atoms basically in history, and you look at the original
strains of cannabis, the so called land race strains. Before
UH cannabis became popular in the United States in the
nineteen sixties, it was often the case that a variety
of cannabis would have relatively equal amounts of th C

and c b D, and these plants were exquisite in
terms of the the psychoactive effects they conferred, much loved
by people today even still if you can get hold
of them, names like Acapulco Gold come to mind. Uh.
These are the original land race strains, um. But over time,
what happened in in the late sixties early seventies when

people started to I'm amateur corticulture started breeding cannabis strains,
they made an effort, uh, not consciously to breed the
cb D out of the strains, but to give a
kind of accentuated high, the perfect high they were looking for,
and they kind of inadvertently pushed the cb D into
kind of a recessive genetic mode. So we ended up

with a lot of THHC dominant cannabis, which has significant
medical medical properties. But we kind of lost the access
to CBD over time, and these the CBD was rediscovered,
you might say, um in around and then began to
be reintroduced into the supply. But CBD is not intoxicating,

unlike t C, which is an intoxicating compound. But I
think it's misleading and incorrect to describe c b D
as non psychoactive. That became kind of a marketing slogan.
I think for the emerging CBD industry they want to
distinguish it from th HC So the CBD is non psychoactive,

t C is psychoactive. But actually CBD is shown to
have anti anxiety properties, antidepressant properties UM and if you
consume a compound that can change one's mood and make
one less anxious or less oppressive, it's clearly then having
a psychoactive impact. It's just not an intoxicating impact. And

I think that's an important distinction, because there's been an
effort or emphasis on trying to bifurcate CBD. It's separated
from T T H c UH, and I think that's misleading.
I think one of the problems there is that you know,
initially again that the marketing pitches will CBD it's not psychoactive,
it will eliminate the high. And originally when we were

involved at Project CBD and reintroducing CBD into the medical
cannabis supply in California, the emphasis was not so much
as that CBD UM didn't get you high. It's that
CBD helped manage this psychoactivity, uh, that it can lessen
the psychoactivity um, but not necessarily eliminate all of it,
and that that was the point. To manage the psychoactivity

of cannabis, which is really the the first challenge for
a person using cannabis for therapeutic use um to limit
the intoxicating effects so it's tolerable. If indeed that's important
to the person. If one's taken straight c b D,
is it possible to get high intoxicated in that sense
like marijuana hire or something resembling that. With just straight

cb D, even a large amount with no th h D,
one shouldn't have an intoxicating effect if you take a
straight CBD or pure cbd um. There's a little caveat
to that, but maybe we'll get into later in that
when CBD is extracted from the plant, whether it's hamp
or cannabis, again, it shouldn't If it's just pure CBD,

no intoxication. But if it's made synthetically in a lab,
which I think is the coming wave in the future
for CBD isolets um. Depending how it's made, it actually
could have an intoxicating effect. Because not to get too
far deep into the science right now, you know there's
a certain um natural form of t C that exists

in the plant, all same within CBD, N, T A
C both, but when you create it synthetically, it can
create versions of c B, d N t h C
that are non natural versions of the plant. And what
happens in the lab when you synthesize it, it creates
what's called a racemic mixture. Um So, just to step
back for a moment, you know, the CBD and the

t C molecule have like left handed and right handed versions,
and in nature it only curs in one way. But
if you have the non natural version, that can actually
have a very powerful effect on on the receptors that
gets you high. Now are those things out on the
market today? I mean, I thought I was at a
part of the night and some woman I met with claiming,

oh I get high c CBD. Was that just kind
of imagined on her parts of the placebo effect? Or
was there are there actually things in the market that
could be doing that Now, I would say it's most
likely imagined, but it's possible again if it's a synthetically
created molecule. You have not only actually left handed and
right handed versions of the molecule which sort of fit

in differently into the receptor and could do different things.
And in fact, one of the metabolites, it's been shown
in a laboratory of these alternative versions of CBD, non
natural versions, has a more powerful effect than thh C
on the receptor. So it's conceivable that, uh, that that
will make you feel high. And I've heard from people

that they purchase a CBD product. It's advertised as being
on a whole plant spectrum, meaning other components of the
kind of canvas plant, and they're not just the CBD.
Yet when we tested some of these, they only had
CBD in them um and the person claimed that they
got high from it and made them uncomfortable. That this
is a person that was and particularly fond of th HC.

Not everybody is, So I don't know. I think this
is something that has to be looked at very carefully
and regulated very carefully because it could be dangerous. So
just going back to the the innovation that was happening,
you know among horticultural is trying to get stronger marijuana.
Back in the seventies, eighties when they were trying to
kick up the th HC, did that sort of inevitably

lower Remember hearing this, I don't know as a rumor
or not, that when you try to kick up the
TC and the plant, it's going to be knocking down
the cbd um And was that originally true and no
longer true or is that sort of an edible part
of that process of trying to increase th HC potency.
It's kind of an either or thing. I mean, genetically,
when when the plant is developing, you know, there's only

a certain amount of cannabinoids that can be in the plant.
Generally we think of it as maybe you can push
it up to thirty, but you can't have both. So
you have certain strains that are kind of half and
half to fly equal amounts of CBD and t C.
But I remember hearing at some point years ago that

there were more and more of the very high th
HC plants and that was knocking down the cb D.
If it was an either or factor that was resulting
in people becoming more anxious and things like that when
they smoked marijuana, that sort that was that was that?
Was there some truth to that? Yeah, I think that's
essentially correct with what happened, And it wasn't that it
was the people were intending to knock out the CBD.

Um It's more, you know, the the breeding in those
days before we had access to analytical labs that can
tell us actually what's in the plant was a lot
of it was this as much art, if not more so,
than science, you know, and people were creating different versions
of the plant and testing it and see what they like.
They they picked and choose, and they sort of inadvertently

bred the cb D into very low amounts Genetically. You
could think of it this way, if if the th
C dominant plants or the brown eyes and the CBD
plants the blue eyes, they kind of bread the blue
eyes out of it, except those genes were recessive. So
when you have all this kind of crazy intermixing of

so many different strains of being bred, inevitably a few
blue eye plants would pop up. And that's what happened
in two thousand nine two ten when we identified a
few plants that had a significant amount of CBD in them.
And these were plants that were generally what we call
the type two's of the plants that had roughly equal

amounts of CB D N t C. Type ones I
t C low CBD. Type two is mix of each
type three's high CBD low t C. When once once
the hemp entered the picture, uh, in some ways there
was less focus on marijuana plants quote unquote with significant
amounts of CBD that kind of fell off the radar

and got short shrifted a bit, although I think that
will come back in the future. I think because I mean,
you know, al and hemp. I always thought, you know,
hemp was basically to my mind, it was low you know,
low th HC marijuana growing wild all over the place
and being cultivated in many parts of the world, but
banned in the US until you know, I guess with
the farm bill um and often it's being used for

industrial and agricultural purposes. But it wasn't the industrial hemp.
Was it that was being associated with CBD or was
it originally or was it incorrectly associated with that? What's
the story about that hemp plant and CBD relationship when
you think about it before, when I'm referring to as
the rediscovery of CBD, industrial hemp around the world, wasn't

grown for cannabinoid content. It was grown for fiber, for
the best heard and also in some cases for the
seed oil. But this was not uh, this isn't really
little to do with CBD or t a C. This
was not the focus of of industrial hemp. But what
happened is when you consider the different categories of him

they were basically two the hemp grown for fiber and
hemp grown for seed oil. Hemp grown for fiber is
really useless in terms of extracting for CBD or th
HC or any cannabinoid. These are plants that sort of
look like bamboo almost shoots with with just a little
bit of foliage. Um. Then you also have the seed

oil plants. They're a little bit different. They're a little
bit bushier. And if you actually analyze the content if
the cannabinoids and the seed oil plants, the plants that's
grown for extracting oil used for soap or paint or
also nutritional purposes, they have a little more CBD than
the fiber plants, maybe three three and a half percent

if you measured it in an analytical lab. But there's
always a few outlayers uh that would would pop up
a little bit higher with the cb D maybe up
to six or seven percent that kind of a little
bit wild in the field, and that's what became the
cb D from hamp uh those type of plants kind

of the offshoots of enola or seed other seed oil
varietals um and that's what became UM Charlotte's web initially
and some of the more well known that was the
most well known strain of of hemp early on, you know,
you know, when it first burst into national consciousness in

and those same plants had th C in them as well,
added comparable amounts or what not much. You know, in
hemp in general, there's not much resin in there compared
to a marijuana plant, and that's where the cb D,
n t C lives in the plant. In the resin
hemp is low resin cannabis. Marijuana quote unquote is high

resin cannabis. That's how I distinguished them. Resin is in
the flower tops of cannabis. You know, that's where the
magic is. That's where the cannabinoids are um. If you're
getting cb D or thh C from cannabis, it's coming
from the resin in the plant. When you go back
and look get the actual definition of marijuana within age
from the Marijuana Tacks Act of seven and the exact

two sentenced definition was poured it over to the Control
Substance Act in nineteen seventy. It mentions resin three times
in the definition of marijuana. And it's very clear that
anything to do with the resin was considered illegal. That
was prohibited if there was part of the cannabis plant

um it was just the stalk and no resin. And
if it came from a plant that that was low
resin plant, that anything in the plant that had nothing
to do with the resin that was considered legal according
to the Marijuanattacks Act. Essentially, it means that CBD was
made illegal in nineteen thirty seven according to the Marijuana

Tacks Act, but it's peculiar because CBD actually hadn't been
discovered yet. It was only discovered in nineteen forty by
Roger Adams, the chemist at University of Illinois. So CBD
was made illegal before it was discovered, simply because of
the banning of resident. That Marijuana Tax Act banned anything
to do with the resin of the plant, any derivative

from the resident and the resident itself. But the resident
is where ccbd lives in the plant, in residents where
th C is in the plant. So anything to do
with the resin was considered illegal. Um. And the way
that the distinction between hemp and marijuana plays out legally
now you have an artificial wine drawn across the plant,

so that any plant was zero point three t C
or less is considered hemp, where if it has more
than that amount of t C, it's considered marijuana. But Mark,
I thought the entire hemp plant was actually banned for
many decades. Welln't because it produced resin, even if it
was a tiny amount. I se. So nobody had figured

out how to produce hemp plants and hemp stocks or
industrial purposes that would consistently be below point three percent.
The law didn't say anything to do. It didn't have
anything to do with Europe with that only comes later
with the farm bill. Um. You know, the law was
all about resident Anything to do with residon is illegal

now because the way things played out politically with the
Federal Bureau of Narcotics and then in its successors, they
went whole log and they basically banned hemp even though
parts of hemp had no residented UM and which is
also why people could you know, import hemp products which
were totally sort of you know, cleansed of any th

C that was legal, right, Yes, and then when, of course,
I guess that was a little historical period during World
War Two when he was government encouraged farmers to briefly
grow hemp because it was part of the war effort,
but then rebanded thereafter, and I guess it essentially stayed
on banned until just a few years ago, except for
maybe some state authorized research programs that age. With that

farm Farm Bill from that year, it became legal to
grow hemp um, particularly for CBD H extraction, and that's
really what motivated the interest in the CBD that that's
what led to the Farm Bill, that the explosion of
popular interest in the CBD. But but the Farm Bill
is inherently flawed really because I compare it to like

a software patch that's created two improve or or remedy
defective software. In this case, that the fact of software
is the Control Substances Act, except you can't really fix it. Yeah,
you can't really fix that with a software patch because
it leads to other problems and then you have to
have another patch that fixed the software patch and add infinitum.

What it's done is create a situation where people who
wanted to grow hemp to extract cannabinoids, in particularly CBD UM,
they have a lot of problems they had to face.
I mean, if you have a robust plant, a cannabis plant,
they don't like. It doesn't really conform very easily to
this politically correct zero point three limit. You know that

it is an artificial limit. You know, in in European
Union it's zero point two c only that's allowed. In
Switzerland they allowed one percent. It's it's it's an arbitrary
number that doesn't have a scientific basis. UM. That's really
imposed in US law, I think to keep quote unquote
marijuana illegal, to distinguish hemp from marijuana that way, when

originally it was about resent content, not about th C content. UM.
And this has caused a lot of problems in terms
of UM, the industry getting off the ground, UM and
just how it's really how we relate to it legally.
We'll be talking more after we hear this. You say,

there were two farm bills one and one, but you
have this explosion right of hemp production happening. I think
all sorts of people trying to get into it for
industrial purposes, but also I guess CBD purposes. And then
a few years ago you have this explosion of CBD.
So are they linked Because most of the CBD then

or even now was coming from hemp plants or what
plans that were still that were legal under federal law
or not. I think that the the the momentum, the
popular momentum for CBD had been building for some time.
It really ever since the CNN broadcasts that showed children

with severe epilepsy or helped by CBD, almost in a
miraculous way, and every since that time the CBD pierced
national and international consciousness. Prior to then, very few people
have heard about CBD at all. So um, it had
been building and and and it's really what led to
the passage of the Farm Bills, in which is quite

limited what you could do with growing hemp at that point,
and then which legalized the growing of hemp both for
cannabinoid content and the classic industrial purposes. The problem is
uh that the kind of hemp that they were allowed
people to grow was not the optimal source for extracting CBD.

You know it again, when you look back to those
original noteworthy strains like Charlotte's Webb, you're talking six seven
cb D content by Dryway at most. When you compare
that to a marijuana quote unquote plant with the high
cb D content um you were talking about, and CBD

by Drywaight with about one and one at one t C,
which is over the limits for hemp, but still it's
it's still very low to h C and it's the
best source of CBD. So what you had was people
growing hemp um but not optimal to extract, so they

always were trying to push the plant for higher cb
D content, and eventually what what happened is that they
took these um high CBD marijuana strains um and try
to breed them in such a way as to draw
down the THHC levels, and it's very difficult to do that.

So farmers were growing these plants and they had to
play cat and mouse with the authorities because the plants
tended to go hot. You know, hemp plants like that.
They don't want to stay at the point three percent
t C. They want to go up to that one
percent tight C level um. That's the natural form of
cannabis for these types of varietals, and um, it really

made it difficult for growers. Uh. They would grow plants
they go that would go beyond the th h C
limit and they'd have to destroy them, and you know,
it became kind of a mess. And so so they
would actually try to cheat the regulators to to keep
them in the ground, um, just as long as they
could to maximize the cb D content. But then it

pushed the THHC too high and uh, and they would
try to evade the Agriculture department representatives that would test
the the plants, and it became very very difficult. Is
it's still going on now, yes, so to uh, yes
it is going on. There was a study published by
the University of Minnesota scientists working there that concluded that

the genetics of the so called high CBD hem plants
were actually marijuana genetics. UM. And when you're when you're
playing with these type of plants, you you can't grow
them to full turn. Otherwise again, you you exceed the
the th AC limits. The longer the plants staying ground,
the more cannabinoids that are in their more cbdn let's

take a break on this, but let's go to the evidence,
because my understanding is that the only f d A
approved CBD product, right is the thing that GW pharmaceutical
started working on twenty five years ago. Right, it's the statotacts,
I guess and and epidolens um, which is found you know,
helpful in terms of dealing with children's epileptic conditions. Is

that right? Is that still the basically the only one
that's approved. Correct. That is a pharmaceutical version of CBD
that's approved by the f d A specifically to treat
children with three types of severe forms of epilepsy, and
it can only be used for that purpose. Um. And
I think that's a positive development to the extent that

this can really help children with these terrible diseases. It's
proven to that they went through all the rigorous tests
that you have to to be proved by the FDA
as a as a pharmaceutical. I don't think that the
g W Pharmaceuticals, which was formed in the late nineties
and nineties, was focusing initially on this kind of CBD isolate,

which is what epidialects of the pharmaceutical you just mentioned,
That's what it is. Initially they were focused on a
tincture that had roughly equal amounts of cb D and
t C. It's called sat Effects, and it is approved
as a pharmaceutical in over a couple of dozen countries,
but not in the United States. It's proved for use

in neuropathic pain, in um, multiple sclerosis, cancer, and other
conditions like that, but it's not available for use in
the United States. And it's not your CBD. Sata x
is mainly cb D n t C with with a
smidgeon of everything else. And you know, frankly, I don't
think epidialects is a particularly good medicine in terms of

its cannabinot content. It's basically just pure CBD, but also
has supralose in it, which is an artificial sweetener which
disrupts the microbiome, you know, has adverse health effects. So
when they're giving this to children, um, whatever it's doing
for the epilepsy, it's also doing other things that aren't
so great. And there was a very interesting study UM

done out of Brazil. Scientists in Brazil did a meta analysis,
which is considered a very you know, kind of a
gold standard scientific type of study, and they compare it
epidialects its effectiveness to full spectrum c B D rich
oil meaning hemp oil that was hemp derived oil presumably
from hemp UH that was mainly CBD, very little th C,

but a little bit of everything else that's in the plant.
And they found that when they compared the full spectrum
CBD oil to the isolate, that both were effective in
dealing with these catastrophic epileptic conditions remarkably so. And you
were talking about children from nothing else helped um, but

these isolate required five times the amount of CBD compared
to what was in the full spectrum products UH to
be effective. So when you talk about CBD as an isolate,
which is what epidialec says, it might pass muster easily
with regulate laters. It might be something that the f
d A is won't frown upon that's coming from a

cannabis plant or a hemp plant. But it's not necessarily
the most effective or the best means of using CBD,
even for epilepsy. And I think it's important to to
highlight because the CBD industry itself in some ways is
lobbying for these isolates, particularly in Europe, which is an unfortunate,

but it's a game that's played and that's still being
played whenever you're dealing with cannabinoids. Well, it's I guess
that's part of the regulatory challenge, right, because if there's
reason to believe that it's the entourage effect of the
multiple of TCCBD and their elements in the cannabis plant
is probably something that FDA and other regulatory agencies just
aren't they good at figuring out how to you know, regulate,

how to evaluate. I mean, let's face that the FDA
was not established to regulate plant medicine. It was that's
not what it's about, UM And interestingly, I don't think
it should be in the business of regulating plant medicines.
Probably need another kind of agency or something UM. But yes,
the problem with the FDA now and CBD is that

the f d A privileges the isolate over these more
complex or what they call the the full spectrum or
the raw plant that has a lot of different components
in it. This presents problems, you know, for people working
in pharmaceutical drug development. They don't generally like carnabinoids. They're
messy cannabinoids, and particularly CBD does so many different things

in the body that you know, and and pharmaceutical development
likes to take one compound and harness it to have
one particular effect. With CBD, you're having dozens and dozens
of effects within the body, you know, even pure CBD.
So it just it's it's messier, it's more problematic from
the pharmaceutical point of view. I personally am not against

pharmaceutical versions of cannabinoids. What I find troubling is how
they are privileged by the regulatory apparatus to the detriment
of natural forms of the city. Well, by both the
regulatory apparatus and by the fact that it's easier for
researchers to focus on individual elements as opposed to looking
at entourage as the combinations. Right, It's it's on both sides,

so you know, I mean the earlier today, Martin, I
was kind of as I'm looking through your website and
I looked at clinical Trials dot gov online, which lists
studies underway or studies completed. I just popped in CBD
and it's at nine. When these six studies around the world,
I mean US, Europe, but also Israel, China, a whole

range of places going on. So there's obviously a huge
amount of research going. But meanwhile, I guess there are
no there are a number of other controlled double blind
studies and human beings which have shown interesting results. There's
a bigger number of studies with animals, other animals, UM,
that have shown promising results. And then a whole bunch
of stuff that's in vitro right, a test tube stuff

which is you know, looking promising, but where it's a
long ways to go before we have the kind of
controlled double blind studies that we get approved by the
f d A. So when we look at the various conditions,
right that are out there, the childhood epileptic conditions are
the ones that we know about and they have gotten
most of the attention, UM. But when we look at
the other areas where CBD has proven most or CBD

CBD in combo, what THHC has proven most promising, UM,
And where the human you know, control double blind studies, UM,
you know have produced positive results. What's stands out right now?
What stands out in general is we're at this precipice,
as you mentioned, is over nine hundred clinical trials now
in effect with CBD. Most of those trials involved just
CBD isolates. There's a massive amount of preclinical data, both

in vitro and vitro and in live animals and just
test tubes UM and that's very very compelling data that
just begs for clinical trials. So we're finally seeing that
starting to take place. In terms of results from clinical experiments.
The verdict is out, but I expect that it's quite
likely given what we're hearing anecdotally from people who are

using CBD products, whether isolates or full spectrum or broad
spectrum as it's called, there's enough anecdotal data that's quite
compelling and shouldn't be ignored UM that suggests that cb
D shows utility and effectiveness and significant benefits in a

number of areas for neurological diseases, most definitely UM for
certain mood disorders like anxiety I mentioned, also depression for pain.
Also it's it's clear that those are the big three pain, anxiety,
and depression. So Marty, you mentioned in neurological diseases, but
that means like Alzheimer's, dementia, Parkinson's MS, all of those

things that's showing some promise in either in vivo or
in vitro, and either you know, uh, you know, lab
tests or an animal So far, you know, all in
terms of pre clinical work, we all have shown very
very interesting possibilities. And again when you match that with
anecdotal reports from people who are actually using CBD in
one form or another, now it's compelling. But we've been

largely missing the clinical trials that would prove one way
or another if the anecdotal accounts are in fact correct.
But we're on the precipice where we're going to get
more information and that's exciting. But again, most of these
studies are with isolates c the islets, which generally are
not as effective when you're talking about a full spectrum

CBD product and the people playing around with dose, I
mean it often helps. It may just be there finding
no result if they're just using levels that are too
low on CBD. Yes, that's true. Uh, CBD is shown
to it's a pretty broad range in terms of dosage.
Sometimes very low doses do seem to be effective, not always.
Sometimes higher, much higher dosis are required. And the things

like disorders of the stomach of the gut I mean,
collitis or Crohn's disease. That's once again it's it's essentially
anecdotal evidence with a little bit of labor animal stuff,
with a lot of lab animal stuff actually, and a
lot of anecdotal evidence again, but that the missing piece
is the clinical side, so that that's uh, and obviously
it's a very very important piece, but without it doesn't

mean we should ignore the anecdotal accounts, which are voluminous
and impressive, right right. Diabetes and obesity the same. That's
a very very interesting area because you know, when you
talk about medical metabolic disorders like diabetes and obesity, you're
talking about a condition that that the World Health Organization

has identified as basically almost of a huge crisis, of
global crisis. And uh, diabetes, I mean, I think actually
a lot years of life lost, maybe greater now involving
diabetes and obesity than even from smoking cigarettes, or at
least it's neck and neck. I'm not surprised to hear that. Again,

it's the same situation anecdotally, what we hear from people
using CBD relatively small arounds forty to sixty milligrams a day.
When they compare the blood sugar levels before and after
a four weeks of using CBD, um it improves the
readings afterwards. So I think that's going to be an

area in the future that could be a major use
for CBD rich products. I also saw on your website
to mention of skin diseases like acne, dermatitis, and psoriasis. Yes, yeah,
again pre clinical that that's what we're seeing also for
some skin diseases UM in Italy. I believe there's CBD

rich creams that are available UM that are part of
a you know, within a frame of pharmaceutical framework. But
one of the thing I just need to fla understand.
So we talk about the benefits of CBD. We also
time time talked about the benefits of merril water at
large with all its constituent elements. We talk about the
benefits of th HC, But when we're talking about CBD,
how much of this medical stuff is about CBD entirely

isolated from th h D and other elements. How much
of it is about the combination of the two. If
we were to ask you which is more medically beneficial,
could you say, well, one is more than the other,
or that in fact was most beneficial most of the
time is the combo of the two. I would think
the latter is correct. It's the combination of CBD and
t it C that it will have most therapeutic benefits.

And the more th HC one can include in that product, um,
the more helpful it will be in the CBD rich product.
The problem being that the th HC is going to
be getting you high untless you develop a substantial tolerance
to the intoxicating effective t well. This is when it
comes down to again managing the psychoactivity of th HC.

A cb D can be very or the psychoactivity of cannabis.
That's where CBD comes in and can be very very helpful.
And you can get versions of cannabis now that are
not intoxicating, but that's not the point of CBD. The
point is not to ablate or eliminates uh the intoxicating effects.
It's to manage it because those of the intox because

th HC is has very powerful therapeutic attributes, and you
want as much as of th HC as possible and
your and your product if you're going to use it
medicinally issues that some people don't tolerate TC very well,
so they have now options. How does this relate to
what's going on with with with psychedellings, right, I mean,
I think where was I reading that? Is that the

CBD binds to the same serotonin receptor the five H
T two A is LSD, mescalin and uh soloson without
triggering a psychedelic trip. And you now have in the
psychedelic research field, you know, all sorts of for profit
enterprises and maybe some not for profit ones as well,
that are trying to figure out how to take the trip,
how to take the high out of the psychedelic and

isolate out, you know, the elements that can be therapeutic
without people going through the big you know, you know,
large dose psychedelic trip. Now is there something analogous without
respect to t HC going on. It's almost to repeat.
You know, CBD was hyped as you get the medical
benefits of cannabis without the high. Now you have so

called versions of psychedelic compounds that are being created um
that confer benefits without the trip. So it's a very
similar type of approach UM with CBD. It's even more
interesting because CBD it binds too many different type of receptors.
Not it doesn't just interact with cannabinoid receptors, and it

does so actually in a different way that th H
C does UM. Cbd actually has a very powerful affinity
for various serotonin receptors, including the serotonin to A receptor,
which is the so called psychedelic receptor. It's the receptor
when LSD binds to it, or mescaline or metabolites of psilocybin,

it produces the trip, a full blown trip if you
have it and you know enough enough of quantity that
you're consuming UM and and CBD binds that same receptor
as the psychedelic receptor as l s D binds two.
And the question is with why doesn't CBD cause a
trip UM. It's its a whole interesting area again to that,

there's actually a study out of China of crystallography study
within the last year where UM scientists from the Chinese
Academy of Science were playing around with different psychedelic compounds
to create versions of them that don't confer the trip,
and they created a crystallized version of this five H

two t A the serotonin to a receptor, and they
found that it was actually two points, two binding points
where UH a compound combined with that receptor, and depending
which point is being affected, UH, it might induce a
full bone trip, or it might not. But whatever happens
when you bind to a serotonin receptor, what whatever point

of that receptor you're bind to, it does induce um
neuroplasticity and neurogenesis, which CBD does. CBD is a psychoplastogen,
but not a hallucinogen. And that's just the type of
compound that the scientists are now who are working in
the so called psychedelic field, are trying to create. They're

trying to create so called psychedelic compounds um without the trip.
I call those pseudodelic compounds. That's a phrase that David Luke,
a professor in the UK and the University of Credit,
he had that phrase to describe that class of compounds
that are being developed by scientists from a psychedelic scaffold,

but without the hallucinogenic properties. Let's take a break here
and go to an ad. Let's go to the question

that is really my starting point, and I would imagine
as a starting point for most of our listeners. So
all this hype with the with the topicals and the
lozenges and this and that, and it seems that when
you look, I don't see any controlled double blind studies
or anything like that. I have no idea how much
is placebo on on this sort of thing. And I
also assumed that most of the folks manufacturing this stuff

don't really have an interest in having these control studies
and double blind studies happening because they're making money off
of the hype. And if they control double blind studies
turn out to be, you know, show just nothing better
than placebo. You know, there's stuff can go down the drain.
What is the story with that stuff? What do you know?
What can you tell us? You know, I think we

should take seriously reports from that are anecdotal in nature. Yes,
I do think there is a lot of placebo effect
going on here. People. If you spend money on a product,
you want to believe it's gonna work. The things did
get kind of crazy with CBD when there was this
huge explosion finally in twenty eighteen UM where it seemed

to become almost intergalactic. CBD became one of the most
popular health supplements on the planet all of a sudden,
you know, really just exploded. Where you did find CBD
in practically everything. We had a piece we rank we
call it on the Project CBD website called the CBD
Silly Season. Well, you're just ridiculous. Obviously, it was just

used for marketing purposes. If you're putting it in in
vodka or in clothing, you know, claiming it's going to
somehow be absorbed with this skin. Uh. And there's a
you know a lot of situations where it's just didn't
seem any apparent reason to include CBD. One example is coffee. Um.

You know, caffeine and CBD have opposite effects in terms
of what they do in the body, and it doesn't
really make sense to put them together, really. Uh. Caffeine
works by blocking a dnascine receptor. A CBD indirectly triggers
the dentasceine receptor dnasceine involved in sleep regulation and so forth.

So if you block it, you get more you feel stimulated,
you feel more energy. That's how coffee works. Well. CBD
is what you'd call it an end a dentiscene reuptake inhibitor.
It delays the breakdown of the DNA scene in the body,
so there's more of it to bind to their dnascine

receptors a way that's activating it. But but again, caffeine
blocks it, So why would you put CBD together with
caffeine coffee? It doesn't make any sense. Are there any
studies at all looking at topical application to deal with
everything from muscle ache to arthritis too, other types of

you know, problems. There are studies, again pre clinical mainly
maybe some now are in process clinical, very interesting research
out of hungry UH CBD for acne, which again showed
a great deal of promise. But um, you know, herbal
use of topical remedies UH has been, you know, something

that people have been doing for for centuries and typically
what you see in the products today where CBD is
part of it a topical application, there are many other
herbs in there that combine, so it's hard to know
really what's working and what's not. Is it's the CBD
or is it the other herbs. One thing we do

know in this regard is that CBD is absorbed easily,
more easily transdermally than t C. There's been studies, again
pre clinical studies that indicate that it's about ten times
easier to absorb CBD through the skin than compared to
t C. So it would make sense in terms of
cannabinoids in a topical that CBD would be a good candidate,

and there are cannabinoid receptors in this skin which CBD
doesn't bind too directly, but it does increase the amounts
of endogenous cannabinoids in the skin, which again could have
a therapeutic effect. The scientific basis for understanding how it
could work is there. The pre clinical evidence is there,

but anecdotal evidence is there. But again we're waiting for
the clinical studies. And in terms of taking it orally
where you're having it, you know, just going through your stomach.
I think even even as CBD infused chocolate bars. Oh yeah,
by all means. You know, it's shown that with CBD,
with other cannabinoids there are more effective if taken in
an edible form of taken orally, if they're combined with

some kind of a healthy fat like a coconut choice
or something like that, there's more CBD that's absorbed that way.
Oh so that's better than vaping it, for example, you know,
vaping it. You know, each of these administration routes that
have their own benefits, our own you know, their own
pluses and minuses. You might say, you know, vaping very

quick the effect and you don't have smokes and that's
an advantage as well. UM, but I caution people it's
in terms of using vape products CBD v products. Uh.
I would caution people to steer clear of anybody regulating
them at this point and not and it's unregulated. And

there's a lot of crap in these products. That's what's
found because there's always a carrier age. It's some kind
of oil or something in there that CBD, which is
generally in Iceland, that's put it added on a dollop
of CBD to some kind of carrier agent. Um. It's
pretty funky what can be in these products. So so
someone let me ask you this, you know. So the

one product that I've been you know, consuming for years,
and our listener should know, I don't get paid anything
for saying this. I've been used this product for a
million years is the Kiva chocolate bars that come out
of the Bay Area in California. I think they've got
this great chocolate. They have a reliable effect. I like
the way they do it. I actually went over and
visited the factory and at the owners some years ago. Um.
But sometimes I'll use a bar that's th HC and sometimes, Um,

it's split, you know, fifty fift THHC and cb D.
I don't know that I'm noticing that much difference. I mean,
should the difference be fairly perceptible to me? Or is
it only gonna be perceptible to some people? You know,
when you have a roughly equal amounts of CBD and
th HC, assuming that it's a sufficient quantity, it will

be intoxicating. It's not just well though they're definitely equal,
I mean they seem to me roughly equally intoxicating. That's
what I'm wondering, because when you combine the two, right,
the CBD is supposed to lessen the high a little
bit in addition to lessening any potential anxiety or inflammation.
That's my understanding, right, but I haven't noticed a big

just overall difference in terms of the high the feeling. Um,
is it this I'm not paying it close enough attention
or it's a good question. Might have something to do
with how the product made, And I agree, I think
Kiva products are very good. Uh. I found that when
I smoke a CBD rich variety of cannabis that is

roughly equal amounts of CBD and t it c It
does feel like that that the ceiling of the high
is lowered a bit, and you don't get that kind
of antsy feeling you sometimes get from very high high
th C of cannabis um As for edibles, you know,
we don't know what's going on here. If they just

simply added at cbd isolate to the chocolate, that's probably
what they did. Okay, and listen, there's another isolate kiva.
I think had another candy, but there's another drug that
has cb N in it. What's the CBN thing about?
Is that like in third place after th HC and
cbd is being a prominent and promising substance. Um Is
it the one that people use for sleep or other things?

This is an example of a kind of folklore in
the cannabis world where cbd N has which is stands
for cannabinol. It's really a breakdown product of t c UH.
You know, when the cannabis is old in your closet
or something that's exposed to light, um it breaks down
into CBN UM and which to me is an indication

of it's sort of an old product not as good really.
CBN has been associated with treatments for sleep. But I
think there's really no scientific basis for this at all, really,
and it's it's so I think it's a marketing ploy
because the folklore has it the oh CBN good for sleep,

even though there's no science showing this. UM it's become
a thing in the cannabis world, so a lot of
products you know, have this in it. And I think
it's basically just I don't think it has any There
shouldn't be any risk, and there's just a kind of
a bit of a scam or nothing. But it's not
gonna hurt yet. I don't think it would hurt. No,

it may, you know, a very very mild version of
thh C. You can think of it that way, but
in terms of getting to sleep, I don't. I don't
think it has really help. And what's the whole thing
about cb D and pets, Well, there's a whole area
are about certain veterinarians they are looking into using cannabis
as part of a veterinarian therapy. UM are very very

excited about CBD. UH. Th HC is a little bit
more problematic for dogs, for example, they react very strongly
to th HC. So the the emphasis on you know,
not getting your animal intoxicated. Um. So there's a natural
leaning towards CBD, and I think it's the promising area

for veterinary science, veterinary medicine. Now, Mart going back to
the industry here, so I see that on your web
Frie example, you don't promote any brand, but you have sponsors, right,
and you have I think one or two dozen companies.
Now do you vet these companies before they can become
a sponsor? I mean to make sure that they are
really doing the whole plant thing that they're you know,

I mean that basically their products are safe and good.
How do you handle that stuff? You know, it's tricky. Yes,
we do vet them, and we look for certain things,
um about the product themselves. Uh. Some of it just
makes sense. You know if if the products that include
a lot of sugar, corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, then we
steer clear of those brands. Um. If the brands are

interested in other forms of therapy with functional mushrooms or
things like that, it tends to indicate a brought a
perspective about healing that would be complementary for for what
we're looking for in terms of of a CBD brand. Uh.
If the CBD brands involved with some of these new
fangled Delta ten and Delta eight and these uh kind

of th C knockoffs, we steer clear of them because
these products are not regulated, and again, the the way
they're made, it really raises the likelihood that there's going
to be contaminants in these products. Um, if there are
helps CBD brand at selling vape products, that's a bit

of a red flag for us as well. Vape products
and CBD rich vape products sold in cannabis dispensaries. We're
okay with that because again, they go through a testing
regiment that the hand products don't go through. And generally speaking,
I mean when I talk to people who say, you know,
I mean marijuana problem with it makes me paranoid. It
makes me anxious. I sometimes find myself saying, well, why

don't you try doing something with a high CBD low
th HC content In addition to changing the set and
setting and paying attention to that may be the most
important variable I'm in doing with people you're comfortable with
and you know, and all this sort of thing. But
I mean, does that make sense that people have had
negative reactions in the past that maybe switching that ratio
might be the thing that enables them to learn how

to enjoy marijuana. Yeah, exactly. Um, that's that's the whole
point of different ratios of CBD and th HC. If
you have a lot of CBD and very little th HC,
it shouldn't be intoxicating. You know, studies have shown there's
a genetic basis for how people tolerate t C. There

is certain people who just cannot tolerate t C. We
can be talking about six ft five in sky who's
two fifty pounds, who will wilt. You don't have to
even near t C. You know. Uh, it doesn't have
to do with body type or anything like that. But genetically,
about twenty of Caucasians have what's called a polymorphism, or

you can call it a mutation, but it's a little
bit too strong a word, where the enzymes, the proteins
that would normally metabolize THHC and break it down. Um,
they're different in those people. So it results in his
ability to break down the thh C in a quote
unquote normal way, and for such a person, they'll have

bad experiences on th HC. So Martin just go back
and we're gonna wrap this up shortly. UM. So the
f d A put out something, I mean, I think
they're being asked to regulate cb D. I think there's
many people in city who would like it to be
regul related. I think consumers would like to have greater
assurance out there. But the f d A, I think,
to the extent it stepped into it, has said some
pretty negative things. And we talked before about how they're

not really cut out to be evaluating, you know, things
that involve an entourage effect that were's evaluating plans. But
what is going on with this f d A now
and what do we expect to see happening with them
in coming years? These a VCBD. Well, FDA is the
foot dragging administration really, and they're dragging their feet on
this issue. You know, it goes back to the Dietary

Supplement Health and that that Act that specifically that there
is a provision called the exclusionary Provision which states that
if a compound is approved as a pharmaceutical, it can't
be included in in dietary supplements. Well, that's really the
hold up with the FDA because they're sticking to that rule.

UM as a way of saying, well, we don't move
on this because because of the exclusionary principle. And and
I think that there's a counter push coming that even
within Congress, even coming from the Red state senators and
representatives who represents states that are hemp growing states, that
they want to see the FDA move past this. And

I think, you know, the CBD has scrambled the prohibitionist
narrative in a lot of different ways, and it's sort
of it's forcing this f D a I think, to
you know, to change the way it approaches this issue.
In this particular instance, there's just too much popular pressure
on this. There's just too much of a need um

to have a seriously regulated market here for CBD rather
than the wild West that we're seeing with him CBD.
And I would like to see the standards raised so
that the way that the cannabis industry, of the legal
cannabis industry is regulating um its products, including CBD rich products,
that everything else rise to that level of safety, which

that would be I think a positive development, But I
think I'm not sure if that's what the CBD industry
wants to hear. And do you think that as we
move towards synthetics, Will they become better at doing not
just the cb D and TC, but all the other
minor elements of the cannabis plant. Will that will they'll
be producing synthetically sort of synthetic entourage drugs from the front.

I mean, there's getting the entourage effects through synthetics. I
don't know about entourage through synthetics, and I don't think
you can really create recreate a real entourage effect or
a full entourage effect just by you know, adding a
bunch of putting a bunch of synthetics together. But I
think the potential positive side of this move towards synthetics

is that minor cannabinoids with with great therapeutic potential which
would not be possible to to access from the plant
itself in any significant quantity um, could be made in
efficient quantities to do clinical trials with understanding that that's
that's the pharmaceutical approach, a reductive approach, that's focusing on

single molecules. I'm not against single molecules. When I'm against
is privileging pharmaceutical signal molecules over a full plant. And
then uh, you know, which is what you're saying, will
inevitably happen as we move to synthetics. Um. Yes, but
it's a matter of you know, we have to stand

up for artisanal, full spectrum cannabis products. That's it should
be part of the mix. It's just that the regulatory
apparatus doesn't favor that type of thing. And that's the problem.
It's not the intrinsically um single molecule pharmaceuticals are quote
unquote bad um. They can actually work and help people.

Epidialects works well. So it sounds like though, as mariana
is increasingly legalized, though, it's really going to ease the
way for the therapeutic values of CBD. And since you're
basically saying that anytime you're taking CBD, you're better off
take in it where it's got some sidly small amount
of th HC or even other um elements of the
cannabis plant in it, I mean that's going to be

all for the good in terms of making CBD as
useful as it can be UM for people living here
or wherever. That's what we would hope. Okay, Well, listen, Martin,
thank you very much for sharing your insights and wisdom
about CBD with me. And my Psychoactive audience. Thank you.

If you're enjoying Psychoactive, please tell your friends about it,
or you can write us a review at Apple Podcasts
or wherever you get your podcasts. We love to hear
from our listeners. If you'd like to share your own stories,
comments and ideas, then leave us a message at one
eight three three seven seven nine sixty that's eight three

three psycho zero, or you can email us at Psychoactive
at protozoa dot com or find me on Twitter at
Ethan Natalman. You can also find contact information in our
show notes. Psychoactive is a production of I Heart Radio
and Protozoa Pictures. It's hosted by me Ethan Nadelman. It's
produced by Noham Osband and Josh Stain. The executive producers

are Dylan Golden, Ari Handel, Elizabeth Geesus and Darren Aronovsky
from Protozoa Pictures, Alex Williams and Matt Frederick from My
Heart Radio and me Ethan Nadelman. Our music is by
Ari Blucien and a special thanks to ab Ario s
f Bianca Grimshaw and Robert Deep. Next week's episode will

be all about I Began I'll be talking with Hattie Wells,
one of the leading experts in the uses of this
remarkable psychedelic substance. The piece that I think might make
ibergain seem somewhat daunting. You are sort of immobilized, so
you'll be lying down on a bed for at least
sort of sixteen eighteen hours without moving, and you can't move,

and that that is definitely an intense experience. Subscribe to
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