A 2019 study has found that CBD’s effect may not be restricted to it’s effect on the endocannabinoid system. CBD also acts on receptors that bind the neurotransmitter serotonin (5-HT1A) that is involved in anxiety and on receptors that bind vanilloid (TRPV1) that is involved in pain. The researchers found dose ranges that prevented anxiety-like behaviors and pain behaviors in rats. The study is complex, but they reported that a range of 5-10 mg/kg had some effect on pain and anxiety. This is described as a low dose, but it amounts to 340-680mg for a 150 lb human, much higher than the dose that most people take of hemp-based CBD. You would need to drink a bottle of CBD oil every 1-3 days to get the effect that they found in this study. Smoking or vaping 1-2 grams of high CBD hemp flower per day would also approach this range.
It had previously been proposed that CBD’s effect on anxiety, pain, and depression are because it affects the endocannabinoid system. CBD partially binds to the CB1 receptor in a manner that slightly interferes with THC’s ability to bind with the receptor. It also acts on anandamide – an endocannabinoid produced by the body. CBD keeps the anandamide from being destroyed – keeping it around longer.
Dr. Gabriella Gobbi’s team at McGill University believe that CBD may become an evidence-based application of cannabis in medicine, offering a safe alternative to THC and opioids for chronic pain, such as back pain, sciatica, diabetic, cancer and post-trauma pain.
What does this mean in practical terms? It may mean that people taking CBD isolate for pain and anxiety should consider a higher dose if what they are taking doesn’t work. Previous studies have found that CBD is effective at a broader range of doses if it is taken along with other cannabinoids, so full spectrum hemp oil may work at lower doses.