There’s a quiet revolution happening in the world of herbal medicine and pharmacology, and its name is CBD / MEOKO speaks to Herbalist Haskel to find out all you ever wanted to know about legendary CBD oil
- Published on Thursday, 08 February 2018 12:43
There’s a quiet revolution happening in the world of herbal medicine and pharmacology, and its name is CBD. More and more people are using CBD oil to relax without the psychoactive effects that sometimes come with smoking Cannabis use. But more importantly, CBD is starting to become recognised within government organisations and the people public as having a large number of potential health benefits.
MEOKO has recently formed a partnership with a distinguished figure in herbal medicine known as Haskel Adamson, who prescribes and blends extremely high quality CBD oil based on a wealth of knowledge and clinical experience. Everywhere I go, people are asking after the oil hence we have put together this feature to give you as medicinal information as possible.
We spoke to the venerable Medical Herbalist to find out more about the CBD phenomenon on a biochemical and practical level, and are very excited to share the results of this in-depth interview with you.
How did you start working with CBD? Did you have a moment of realisation where you decided that giving this substance to the people was an important endeavour for you?
Yes, I first found out about CBD or cannabidiol after a couple of my patients asked for my advice about using cannabis oil in their protocols for cancer treatments. One had secondary brain cancer, and everything I read suggested the importance of using a CBD-rich strain of cannabis.
So, I came across CBD initially as a component of cannabis oil to calm the psychoactive side effects of THC rich cannabis oil, and also with its own anti-proliferative effects in cancer.
Then I came across its benefits for epilepsy. It was this medical benefit that promoted CBD to mainstream medicine, and allowed it to be legalised throughout the States. I saw first hand the benefits of CBD to the epilepsy patient, and realised the importance of promoting this herb.
What past training and experience do you have?
I studied Herbal Medicine at university - firstly Chinese medicine at Middlesex. I love the holistic energetic practical philosophy of Chinese medicine. Then I did a BSc degree in Western Herbal medicine at Westminster University. This combined for me the scientific basis of herbal medicine with medical sciences.
I was also lucky to have Christopher Hedley as my teacher, a legend amongst modern Western herbalists. He combined the science and art of Herbal medicine, and encouraged us to connect with plants out in the field, as well as in the lab and the clinic.
Other than that I’ve always been fascinated with manufacturing my own remedies. The way a cook will refine a dish over many attempts, improving it each time.
Testomonial from client this week..
"just wanted to send you a quick email to share the amazing results I have had from CBD. When it arrived I was on a bad week and ended up having a week off work with my ME.
I started taking a drop 3 times per day initially . No obvious signs of improvement the first coupe of days. I was taking maximum dose of pain relief and low dose amitriptyline.
Must have been Thursday so 4 days when I realised I hadn’t taken pain relief . Leg pain had reduced massively. I have not taken Amitrip since and am virtually pain free at the moment.
When back at work last week I reduced to 2 drops per day and found towards end of the week I had forgotten on a few occasions to take in morning so maybe 1 drop per day .
It feels like it has reset me if that makes any sense !!
I wouldn’t have classed before that I was depressed but constant pain and anxiety as to whether you are going to be able to do the next day what you need to must have taken it’s toll.
The inner buzz of happiness I now have is euphoric!!
I have just started sharing my oil this weekend with my husband who I hope will be able to come off his anti depressants which he has taken for many years!!
Could you explain what exactly a cannabinoid is? When was CBD as a molecule and effective substance first discovered?
CBD was first discovered in 1940 at the University of Illinois, but seen as a toxin and not studied further there.
In 1963, a chemist at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Raphael Mechoulam - determined its exact structure. The following year his research group also isolated THC for the first time, and managed to synthesise both cannabinoid compounds. In 1993 they also discovered the endogenous cannabinoid that humans produce themselves ,and called this anandamide after the Indian word ‘ananda’ meaning bliss.
A cannabinoid is any substance either biological or manmade that interacts with cannabinoid receptors found in animals to alter neurotransmitter release in the brain or body. There are two main receptors in the body - CB1 and CB2 - which some cannabinoids interact with.
CBD and THC are strictly speaking phytocannabinoids (phyto=plant), and are the two most prolific phytocannabinoids found in the Cannabis plant. There are over one hundred different phytocannabinoids which have been identified from Cannabis sativa. Cannabinoids are also found in other plants such as Echinacea, tea, and chocolate.
CB receptors are found all over the body and brain, and in startlingly huge amounts (more than any other G protein-coupled receptor). This had led to some speculating that as humans had an evolutionary relationship with cannabis, grazing on it as a food and medicine throughout our evolution, to the extent that we may suffer from not occasionally ingesting cannabinoids.
What was your first personal experience with CBD like?
My first conscious experience of CBD was from the Californian ACDC strain of cannabis. I found it incredibly relaxing with no psychoactivity, and decided that this is the kind of cannabis I like. CBD relaxes me whch helps me sleep more deeply and for longer, which sometimes I find really useful. I wake up refreshed and clear headed as well.
My first ever experience of CBD (what I would call unconsciously) was when I was 17. Not being a smoker, I used to eat pieces of hashish, which was the only cannabis available in the late 80s where I lived.
Of course, I didn’t know I was experiencing CBD and I was more interested at the time in experiencing the psychoactivity of THC. Many strains of hash contain CBD as well as THC, particularly old strains that haven’t been bred with modern hybrids. Sadly many hashish growers have bred with modern hybrids to increase the THC levels of their plants.
Why do you think CBD generates such a positive, popular response amongst the people who use it?
Firstly, my experience that I described in the last answer is quite often the case for first time users. People often feel the relaxed state it brings immediately, and of course this feeling is something many of us seek amidst the frenetic pace of our lives. Knowing that a substance can relax us as well as having neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory benefits for body and brain makes us feel even better about taking it.
The fact that it was made famous for its use in treating childhood epilepsy, makes people trust it a safe plant to use.
Thirdly for cannabis smokers it’s a form of recognition for the herb they use, as being recognised for its medicinal qualities. They see how these benefits will eventually lead to the legalisation of all forms of cannabis in the future.
A very recent WHO report supported CBD as a safe substance. What do you think the main barriers are to fully regulated CBD being offered to the public?
Well CBD is actually perfectly legal in the UK. The rumours of it being made illegal stemmed from the medicine control agency MHRA clamping down on some of the medical claims that CBD oil sellers were making on their websites. CBD isn’t classified as a medicine. It hasn’t gone through clinical trials costing millions, and so medical claims are not allowed. It won’t be long before it’s prescribed on the NHS.
How far are we from a legalisation policy like Colorado or California, and what are the current European laws on CBD that you take into account?
We are still 20 years behind California, believe it or not. In 1998, they voted in California to allow the public to buy cannabis for a wide range of medical conditions including anxiety and depression, so anyone who wanted it could get a prescription. This year they voted to make recreational Cannabis legal, and the same is true in Colorado, Oregon, and Alaska.
European countries all allow CBD to be sold, but we are still behind US states such as Colorado and California. They have been the states pushing the technology of CBD extraction forward, and their laws allow for Cannabis strains high in CBD to be bred, rather than hemp strains.
What’s the medicinal difference between THC and CBD for people who aren’t familiar with the different compounds associated with cannabis?
THC is a psychoactive compound. It’s the bit that gets you stoned, high, and a thousand other words to describe a range of feelings that include, euphoria, relaxation, heightened sensory perceptions to sound and touch. It relaxes some and stimulates others, calms some and puts others into paralysing anxiety.
Medicinally there is sufficient evidence to state clearly that it relieves neurological pain, kills cancer cells, helps reduce nausea and loss of appetite in those with serious diseases such as cancer and HIV. It is used on a daily basis by millions to relax and aid sleep. Its side effects include: anxiety, abstract or philosophical thinking, disruption of linear memory, paranoia, dry mouth, auditory and visual hallucinations at high doses.
These side effects are usually greatly reduced, if not obliterated completely, by the inclusion of CBD in THC rich cannabis. CBD is the yin to THC’s yang.
CBD is mood-altering, but in a much more predictable way than THC. It’s generally calming, so much so that it is being studied for its anti-psychotic effects. One study in Sweden showed that it compared favourably to conventional anti-psychotic medicines. This is ironic as Cannabis (usually high THC and low CBD strains, commonly sold in the UK) is considered a major trigger of psychosis. If more UK recreational growers would grow strains with at least 10% CBD in them, I believe it would help reduce cases of cannabis psychosis. CBD is known for its pain-relieving qualities, but more for inflammatory pain than neuropathic pain.
What is the difference between cannabis and hemp?
Both Cannabis and hemp are the same plant, Cannabis sativa. The difference is the same as you see in tomatoes. Some are tiny and some are huge. Selective breeding over millennia and in different geographical locations resulted in these differences. Hemp has traditionally been bred for its fibre for making cloth, rope and building materials, and also seed. Growing it for CBD is a new thing.
There’s also Cannabis that grows in warmer climates and is grown for its flowers, which contain variable amounts of THC/CBD and other cannabinoids and many various flavonoid and terpenoid essential oils. This was traditionally grown for medicine and recreational or spiritual use.
Hemp has relatively small amounts of CBD in it, so the CBD is extracted from the whole plant (and fields of it) rather than just the flowers. Cannabis plants have been bred (varieties such as ACDC and Charlotte’s Web) with flowers that have really low levels of THC and really high levels of CBD.
Something we discovered in our research is that the receptors for CBD are found all throughout the brain and body. Could you explain this for us in a little more detail?
CBD is much more complicated to explain its action than THC. THC interacts with CB receptors, but CBD has very weak affinity for these receptors. Its actions come from reacting to many different non-cannabinoid receptors and ion channels. These include serotonin receptors, known for producing a range of effects that can help in the areas of anxiety, addiction, appetite, sleep, pain perception, nausea and vomiting.
CBD also reacts with the vanilloid receptor TRPV1, known to help regulate pain perception, inflammation and body temperature.
CBD acts as an antagonist against GPR55, meaning it blocks its action in the body. GPR55 when triggered can induce rheumatoid arthritis and metastasis in cancer. CBD has been shown to block these effects. CBD also exerts an anti-cancer effect by activating PPARs [peroxisome proliferator activated receptors] that are situated on the surface of the cell’s nucleus.
PPAR-gamma activation also degrades amyloid-beta plaque, a key molecule linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. This is one of the reasons why Cannabidiol, a PPAR-gamma agonist, may be a useful remedy for Alzheimer’s patients. It seems to have many neuroprotective qualities. As you can see there are many varied ways CBD works throughout the body, and an overall theory for the wide-ranging benefits of CBD has not been discovered yet
What kind of health benefits can you get from CBD by using it as a food supplement? And what are your recommended ways to get it into your food?
Well one of the theories for the wide-ranging health benefits from cannabis, both THC and CBD, and other cannabinoids, is that we have evolved as humans eating this plant through the seeds. It is such an easy plant to grow that it spread throughout the world millennia ago.
By using the seed as a grain and making a kind of porridge with it, it would have been a staple in our diet. So much so, that we have developed this incredibly widespread endocannabinoid receptor system throughout our bodies. We have 10X more endocannabinoid receptors in our body than opioid receptors. By not eating Hemp on a regular basis we deprive this system of crucial nutrients (cannabinoids) and this can trigger many neurological and inflammatory disease processes.
By eating hemp oil and taking CBD oil regularly (or occasionally), we reduce the likelihood of the diseases listed in the answers from the previous question.
Apparently, CBD is great for inflammation as a main cause of aches and pains - how does CBD work to make this better?
CBD reacts with many neurotransmitters that reduce inflammation, such as the Vanilloid receptor TRPV1. It also reduces our sensation of feeling pain.
What kind of doses and methods of ingestion would you normally advise? Also, how quickly does CBD take effect in the average person?
Well I sell two different strengths of CBD, so that depends on if you are using the Normal or the Plus strength. Dosing is such an individual thing and as a medical practitioner I know that what will work for one person won’t work for another. So, the best I can do is suggest a dose range, and recommend that people start small and build up to a dose that they find effective. I’d say that the normal range is designed for people in fairly good health, who are looking for a CBD oil to help boost their health. Dosage is between 5-50 mg per day (2-20 drops).
I start at such a low dose as some people are sensitive to lots of medicines. Most people though will need 4-10 drops before they notice a relaxing feeling, which is the most likely the first change to be noticed. For pain, it may take a week to start noticing pain reduction. I notice the relaxing effect of CBD immediately, and I’m a pretty average person. The Plus range of CBD oil is four times more concentrated, and designed for those recovering from more serious health issues, or those who know they need a stronger concentration.
Are there any good sites you can suggest as reference for people wanting to read up more about CBD and its medicinal purposes?
My favourite dedicated CBD info website is https://www.projectcbd.org.
Granny stormcrows list is also an amazing medical resource made by a retired nurse, collating all the medical studies done on Cannabis.
Can it be used with conventional medicine?
There have been few studies that have found problems with people using CBD and taking prescribed medicines. But theoretically it could slow down the metabolism of medicines through the body, as CBD and other plant cannabinoids can potentially interact with many pharmaceuticals by inhibiting the activity of cytochrome P450, a family of liver enzymes. This key enzyme group metabolizes most of the drugs we consume, including CBD, and more than 60% of prescribed medicines.
One study of patients taking 40 mg daily of CBD showed no interaction with liver enzymes. Another study involving epilepsy patients found that on taking 25mg per day, this slowed the metabolism of the patients other anti-epileptic medicines so that they had to reduce the amount they needed. In a way this was a win, as they reduced their pharmaceutical dose. So patients on other prescribed medicines should perhaps tell their GP that they are taking CBD, so that their GP can monitor if it is affecting the metabolism of the other drugs they are taking.
I have heard that CBD can help one with all types of addictions including smoking. Could you explain a little bit how this works?
This effect is likely to be related to CBD’s action on the neurotransmitter serotonin. At high concentrations CBD directly activates the 5-HT1A (hydroxytryptamine) serotonin receptor, directly causing an anti-anxiety effect. The serotonin receptor is implicated in many biological and neurological processes relating to anxiety, addiction, appetite, pain perception, nausea and vomiting. CBDa is known to have a particularly high affinity for the 5HT1A serotonin receptor.
Talk us briefly through the manufacturing process. Which part of a cannabis plant does CBD come from?
The manufacturing process of CBD is very different depending on what plant material is used. Both types of CBD I sell are extracted in carbon dioxide (CO2). This is considered the gold standard of cannabinoid extraction. It uses low temperatures and no solvents to extract the cannabinoids from the plant material. The CO2 is put under incredibly high pressure and low temperatures, which turn it temporarily into a liquid. This liquid is forced through a chamber containing the plant material, and CO2 acting as a non-polar solvent extracts just the oil soluble constituents of the herb. This is ideal, as these parts are the most therapeutically active.
CBD from hemp involves collecting from huge fields of hemp and extracting a paste from the whole plant, stalks, leaves and flowers. The oil usually contains around 8% CBD and CBDa. This is how my “Raw and organic CBD” is made. It’s crucial that hemp CBD is grown organically as the plant is a bio-accumulator, and would absorb any chemicals used to grow it.
Modern CBD from specifically bred strains high in CBD and low in THC is made from just the flowers. These flowers also contain a huge concentration of essential oils, and the level of CBD in the resulting oil contains around 85% CBD and 15% essential oils. This is how my CBD oil “Colorado Gold” is made. The essential oils are an important part of therapeutic effect of the plant. CBD made from flowers will have a greater number of essential oils in it, as well as higher concentrations.
What are the most common misconceptions about CBD that you would like to see cleared up?
One is that its illegal. It most definitely is not! The medicine control agency (MRHA) said in a statement that it’s a medicine, implying that it should only be sold if its licenced as a medicine. This was 16 months ago and they haven’t done anything about stopping people selling CBD. This does leave sellers and people who find it so useful in an awkward place of not knowing, but I conclude that the MHRA know they can’t really ban it now as too many people find it useful, and they know they can’t go against the will of the people on such a big scale.
What are the benefits of buying quality assured CBD oil from manufacturers such as yourself in comparison to what you can get over the internet? Is there a differing quality for different CBD oils?
There are huge differences between companies selling CBD. It’s a new market, and business people always jump onto new markets when there is money to be made. So, buying from a reputable company is important. I’m not a big company but I have been working with this medicine with my patients for the past four years, and turned myself into an expert over that time. I take a personal pride in selling the best and using the best ingredients in whatever I make for my patients or customers.
It has taken me quite a while to find suppliers that are big enough to have the technology to supply the consistent quality and quantity I need.
I find that companies advertising CBD by percentages very confusing and in many cases, they are using percentages to baffle customers and it is not an accurate or easy to use way to describe the concentration of the CBD in the bottle. Much simpler to accurately state the amount of CBD in the bottle in mg.
What do you hope people will experience with CBD, and in what ways do you hope they will use it?
The benefits of CBD can be very wide ranging. The relaxing effect is one that I would expect people to notice most obviously. It’s not in a sleepy way, but it’s a relaxation that brings a calmness allowing you to get more done as the distractions of the wandering and worrying mind slip away. I find it gives me a deeper and longer sleep. Yet I wake alert and positive, unlike some other sleeping medicines and herbs.
Knowing that it is being studied for serious neurological and degenerative diseases also gives credence to its neuroprotective healing potential.
I hope people will find relief from pain with CBD oil, and that those with serious illnesses will find relief and a greatly reduced severity of symptoms, and I hope people will find profound healing.
Finally, what do you think CBD could offer the world/humanity if quality was regulated and use was freely available?
Man I cant answer that question. It will catalyse the dawn of the age of aquarious and there will be universal love explosion and unicorns will rule the world peacefully and dolphins will rule the seas.
CBD Colorado Gold
Is, we believe, the best CBD oil available anywhere. ❣️
Grown organically under the Colorado sun, the oil is extracted from the carefully bred flowers, using Carbon dioxide by a process that preserves all the phytocannabinoids, terpenes and plant lipids, while eliminating unwanted waxes and chlorophyll.
This produces an pure oil with 85% cannabinoids and 15% essential oils of Cannabis.
Interview by Nicole Venter and Anna Herbs