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CBD & Cannabis Special Episode: How CBD Affects Hormones, Fat Loss, Athletic Performance, Sleep, Recovery & Much More

Ben Greenfield Fitness

Release Date: 06/01/2019

It's cannabis time! The “Kentucky Castle” is a unique destination hotspot with a full biohacking facility, sauna, farm-to-table restaurant, precision medicine arm, hemp farm, horse facilities, and much more. It is owned by one of the physicians who hosts the “Wild Health” podcast, on which I was recently a guest. 

Recently, at the castle, I had the pleasure of giving a talk on how to hack your biology and get the most out of the genetics you were born with.

Afterward, I took part in a Q&A with several of the physicians in attendance at the conference, which you can also listen to here.

But during my time at the castle, I also had a chance to duck away with Dr. Matt Dawson, Dr. Michael Mallin and CBD formulator and researcher Taylor Bright to talk all things cannabis and CBD. We hit record on the mics and recorded the hemp goodness for you on today's episode.

In this episode, you'll discover...

-The chemical effects of using marijuana...

  • Most often referring to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) - the part of the cannabis plant that induces the euphoric state
  • THC levels have steadily risen from 3-5% in the 1960's to as high as 28% today
  • THC fits inside the CB1 receptor in the cerebral cortex of your brain (which causes the "high")
  • Less often known is cannabidiol (CBD)
    • It's one of over 80 cannabinoids in the hemp plant
    • It accounts for up to 40% of the plant's total cannabinoid extract
  • CBD is more often researched for medical purposes than THC
  • How CBD and THC is separated
    • Hemp plants are grown with male plants fertilizing female plants
    • Remove the male plants, and the female plants produce THC (they produce very little THC when pollinated by the male plants)
    • Male and female plants together meet the international standard of <1% THC
    • Female plants contain other cannabinols with efficacious health benefits (CBG, CBGA, CBC, CBCA, CBDA)

-The effects of ingesting CBD with and without the THC cannabinol...

  • CBD serves as an antagonist to CB receptor agonists (a substance which initiates a physiological response when combined with a receptor)
    • In other words, CBD "mutes" the effects of the CB1 or CB2 receptors
  • CBD can elongate the "high" of THC by inhibiting the cytochrome p450 enzymes
  • Also an antagonist to the GPR55 cannabinol; found in the caudate nucleus section of the brain
  • Because CBD does not attach to the CB1 or CB2 receptors, it's not addictive or habit forming
  • CBD acts as an agonist for the 5-HT 1A receptor (for anti-depressant, anti-anxiety effects)
  • It's an allosteric modulator of your opioid receptors (for pain and chronic inflammation reduction)
  • 2010 Article: Key Ingredient Staves Off Marijuana Memory Loss
  • CBD has strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects
  • U.S. Government took out a patent on the antioxidant properties of cannabis (while officially denying it had any medical benefit)
  • It's almost impossible to overdose on CBD (due to low level of toxicity)

-The interesting history of cannabis...

  • 2700 years ago, a Persian teacher named Zoroaster penned a compendium of over 10,000 plants; hemp was at the top
  • Hippocrates also recommended cannabis extracts for their medicinal qualities
  • Ethiopian coptic church used cannabis in a sacrament in AD 45
  • Sir Russell Reynolds prescribed cannabis for Queen Victoria who was suffering from menstrual cramps
  • The father of French psycho pharmacology, Jean-Jacques Moreau (de Tours), advocated for the use of cannabis
  • Hemp was in high demand during the American revolutionary period
  • Anything that can be made from plastic can be made from hemp

-The source of the stigma surrounding the use of CBD...

  • The Boggs Act of 1951 set mandatory sentences for drug users; claimed that cannabis was addictive
    • Voluminous expert testimony to the contrary has been overridden in the court of public opinion by claims that marijuana is a "gateway drug" to more addictive drugs
  • Book: Marihuana Reconsidered by Lester Grinspoon (read for free here)
  • CBD gives nearly the same effect of opioid drugs (such as morphine) without the addictive quality

-The effects of CBD on our pathways...

  • Hormonal:
    • Reduces susceptibility to stress in HPA axis
    • The pancreas secretes glucagon and insulin
    • THC increases glucagon levels; CBD lowers insulin levels
    • Lower rates of obesity and Type 2 diabetes among CBD users
  • Has been shown to modulate acute and chronic inflammation
  • CBD is an excellent recovery compound (but not immediately after working out)
  • How it affects insomnia:
    • Cannabidiol activates the same adenosine receptors as caffeine
    • It can enhance or help sleep if caffeine is not present

-How to know what CBD product to buy in the current unregulated marketplace...

  • Third party test reports are made available; a company doing things the right way isn't afraid of transparency
  • 3 main ways to extract CBD at the moment:
    • Hydrocarbon (through the use of butane)
    • CO2 (in the super critical form)
    • Ethanol (done cryogenically)
  • Ethanol is Taylor's preferred method for CBD extraction
    • Blended with coconut oil; some oil emulsions for topical use

-Ben shares the most common questions asked of him regarding CBD and what is getting the best results...

  • CBD can take some of the edge off of THC, reduce its psychoactivity
  • Decreases cytochrome p450 pathways
  • Most profound use for it is its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory potential
  • Lowers cortisol based on its activity on the HPA axis
  • Sleep, anxiety, stress regulation

-Why Taylor prefers the ethanol mode of CBD extraction over the others...

  • It creates a more natural product
  • CO2 is more efficient but pulls out plant waxes and lipids you want to remain in it
  • All ethanol is pulled off the final product via a rotary evaporator
  • Full cannabinoid profile on all products; shows its efficacy in the various strains of CBD

-Why precision in dosing and THC:CBD ratios is so important...

  • Dosages are highly individualized
  • It affects different people in different ways (sleep, anxiety, etc.)
  • Studies of the effects of CBD need to take these variants into account
  • Endurance athletes are finding that micro doses of THC with CBD is very helpful
    • Legality issues depending on the event
    • Opioid like effects (dulling the pain)
    • Stress reduction

-The specific ways Ben, Mike, Matt and Taylor use CBD...

  • Sleep (when necessary, not all the time)
  • Topical: Muscle spasms and pain, CBD sex lubes, enemas

-How a novice or new user should shop for CBD...

Resources mentioned in this episode:

-The Wild Health CBD discussed in this show (use code Ben10 to get 10% off). They use only pure C8 as the carrier oil and control the process from seed to bottle 100% with our in house team of chemists, farmers, and doctors.

-Articles and podcasts on bengreenfieldfitness.com related to CBD

-Book: Marihuana Reconsidered by Lester Grinspoon (read for free here)

-2010 Article: Key Ingredient Staves Off Marijuana Memory Loss

-My podcast with Drs. Dawson and Mallin

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Got a question for me or the guys at the Kentucky Castle about cannabis, CBD, or anything else we talk about in this episode? Leave a comment below and we'll reply!