Recently, I was able to call Lex Pelger, Director of Science for Bluebird Botanicals. We also hooked up digitally so I could send him some further questions via email. The company provides CBD (cannabidiol) products to consumers. The CBD extract allows for some of the benefits of marijuana but without the intoxicating high. Pelger is quite passionate about the use of CBD and the science behind it.
Lex Pelger on His Interest in CBD and the Science of It
(Slight edits have been made to the following interview dialogue for clarity and accuracy.)
Me: As a Science Director at Bluebird Botanicals, what are a few of the most common tasks you're faced with on a daily basis?
Lex: One of the main parts of my job is education. I teach our customer care team about what's known about the cannabinoids and human health as well as talk to customers about what might work for them. I also go to conferences and working on research questions to make sure that we have the most accurate science available. I also do a good bit of writing articles, lecturing and answering questions from journalists about the cannabinoid world.
Me: In your experience, how have you seen CBD help people affected by the THC in ordinary cannabis?
Lex: For people who do not enjoy the psychoactivity of THC or who are very sensitive to even small amounts of it, full plant extract CBD can be a great way to harness the healing powers of the cannabis without getting any kind of high.
Me: What are the most notable benefits CBD can produce in people?
Lex: CBD supports health and wellness in people via the endocannabinoid system and its interactions with the neuronal, immune and hormonal systems of the body. In general, CBD can be seen as a balancing agent for the body.
Me: Bluebird offers CBD health products in a variety of forms, such as liquid extracts and capsules. To what varying ailments do these differently-applied products pertain? Is one compound better than the others in some circumstances?
Lex: The main difference in the ingestion method is the personal preference of the person and the amount of time until onset. For people with acute needs, there are vape pens to get the cannabinoids into your system within a few seconds. For effectiveness that lasts for most of the day, people like to take the oils orally. We'll also soon have topicals and that's a great way to get cannabinoids into the system through the skin.
Me: What was the educational process like to get into this field of science?
Lex: For me, I spent five years reading the peer-reviewed literature and traveling the continent interviewing experts and listening to cannabis users. That was the best education.
Me: Bluebird's website displays a growing line of “pet products.” Could you explain a few of these how they can improve the lives of domesticated animals?
Lex: The cannabinoids tend to work on mammals in the same ways. Since anything with a spinal column has an endocannabinoid system, we like having pet products to help our animal friends feel better too.
Me: Have CBD products been tested a lot on animals?
Lex: A lot of CBD has been given to animals in this country and we certainly hear good stories about the results but the scientific literature is quite scant on the topic.
Me: How do the effects of low-THC hemp differ between humans and other mammals?
Lex: There does not seem to be much difference aside from the smaller weights that necessitate giving less to smaller animals.
Me: Could you go over the relationship between CBD and someone's endocannabinoid system?
Lex: There's two main known receptors in the endocannabinoid system: CB1 & CB2. It's funny but CBD doesn't activate either of those. But it does modulate how other molecules bind to those receptors and that's why the presence of CBD can lessen the negative psychoactive effects from THC.
Pelger Talks on the Culture and Media Behind the CBD Business