Cannabis has naturally grown on our planet for thousands of years. Due to unfair regulations by the government, it has been outlawed up until recently. During this prohibition of the plant, many sought it out for the psychedelic effects associated with it. However, in the last two decades, more research has proven it has medicinal properties. Cannabidiol, otherwise known as CBD, is the medicine derived from the plant. It does not contain THC (the chemical that gets you “high”). Research has shown that CBD has a range of beneficial features, such as:
• Anti-tumoral agent
How does it work?
Although some people have heard of CBD and may even know some of its uses, not everyone knows exactly how the compound works inside their body. Found in the trichomes of the female cannabis plant, CBD is one of over 100 different chemical compounds known as cannabinoids. As far as how cannabinoids work, they are agonists that attach themselves to the cannabinoid receptors found inside of your body.
Although most of these receptors are concentrated heavily in your central nervous system, almost every single other organ in your body contains receptors. To give you a bit of a better visual, you can think of the agonists and cannabinoid receptors as a lock and key system. When you ingest the CBD (an agonist) it acts as a key that interacts with the various locks in your body (cannabinoid receptors). All of this together makes up what we call the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
Your ECS is an enormous network inside your body, and the cell receptor proteins have many different functions. To give you an idea of how large this system is, just have a look at a few of the many functions that it plays a role in:
- Motor control
- Immune function
- Pain perception
- Bone development
Based on what scientists and doctors have seen, CBD manages to attach to the homeostatic regulation system. This interaction with the homeostatic regulation system is what appears to create the therapeutic effects of CBD. What helps CBD interact with our body is that it is similar in nature to chemicals found naturally in our body called endocannabinoids (‘endo’ meaning inside and ‘cannabinoids’ refers to the action on cannabinoid receptors).
Technically, the cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant are called phytocannabinoids. These phytocannabinoids are making big news because researchers believe they have the potential to be LIFE-SAVING for many people!
CBD Versus THCThe problem for many people who are advocating the use of CBD oil is that there is still a stigma that any cannabis-related product or chemical is being used to get the person high. However, that is FALSE. CBD is non-psychoactive, and THC, the chemical that causes the high, are different in many ways. Accordingly, CBD does NOT result in getting high.
Ailments Treated by CBD
- Motor disorders
- Nicotine addiction
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Chronic and neuropathic pain
- Obsessive Compulsive
- Withdrawal symptoms
Based on studies, it appears that full spectrum CBD oil has had a success with the most serious diseases!
It Relieves Both Pain and Inflammation
One of the most popular uses of CBD is for natural pain relief. Based on what researchers have found thus far, it appears that CBD reduces pain by inhibiting neuronal transmission in pain pathways. In fact, a study published in 2012 in the Journal of Experimental Medicine examined the effects of CBD in rodents. Through this study, researchers discovered that CBD significantly reduced chronic inflammatory and neuropathic pain in the rodent without causing analgesic tolerance. What this means is that CBD, and other non-psychoactive chemicals found in the hemp plant, may create an enormous amount of therapeutic agents that can treat chronic pain.
CBD Has Effects
Even though there have been significant breakthroughs in antipsychotic medication over the years, there has been an all natural treatment in front of us for thousands of years. The latest research shows that another one of CBD’s benefits is that it acts as an antipsychotic aid. The pharmacological profile displayed by CBD is similar in nature to that of many atypical antipsychotic drugs. Also, recent studies have shown that CBD can prevent human experimental psychosis. Again, clinical studies are recent and limited.
Anxiety is an incredibly common problem that many people will experience at some point in their lives. The good news for anyone experiencing anxiety is that CBD has been shown to feature an anxiolytic-like effect on patients. What this means is that CBD reduces anxiety in patients with social anxiety disorders, including PTSD, and it may also be useful for patients with panic disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorders.
CBD has also been shown to reduce anxiety in individuals who are speaking in public. I think we can all relate! A study in 2011 found 24 patients with a social anxiety disorder to examine the effects of CBD on their level of anxiety for their speech. In this study, half of the group was given CBD an hour and a half before their time on stage, and the other half were given a placebo before their speech. The results showed that the people who took the CBD exhibited significantly less anxiety, less cognitive impairment, and less discomfort in their speech. And the placebo group... they reported higher levels of all of these symptoms during their speech!
It May Help Fight Cancer
This is a touchy subject, due to almost everyone has know someone that has, at one time, battled this truly awful disease, but scientists are always searching for ways to both cure cancer and to reduce the pain that patients experience. Although CBD isn’t necessarily a cure for cancer, it does show signs of providing relief for patients. In a noteable study released in 2006 in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, researchers found that CBD can inhibit the growth of different breast tumor cell lines! To prove this, researchers put patients on doses of 700 milligrams per day for six weeks to see whether there were any side effects. As patients did not show any significant side effects, scientists believe that patients can use CBD for prolonged treatment. In conclusion, research indicates that this non-toxic compound has the potential to fight breast cancer cells, inhibit the invasion of both lung and colon cancer, and has been shown to have potential in treating leukemia!
Another side effect of the cannabis user, is a noticeable relief from nausea and vomitting. Among the approximately 80 different chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant, researchers have found that both THC and CBD are useful compounds for nausea relief. A 2012 study found that CBD relieved symptoms of nausea and vomiting in rodents when the natural chemical was administered in moderate doses.
Seizures and Neurological Disorders
CBD and its ability to treat seizures were part of what launched the natural chemical into the International spotlight. Stanford University decided to give this treatment more credibility with their 2014 experiment. Researchers from Stanford reached out to parents from a support group that had children who were experiencing seizures or suffered from epilepsy. Based on those who responded and met the requirements for the study, the average amount of anti-epileptic drugs taken before this study was 12. After using CBD to treat their child’s symptoms, 84% of the parents involved in the survey reported that their child had a reduced seizure frequency. In addition to slowing down the frequency of seizures, parents also reported that their children experienced increased energy, improved mood, and improved sleep!
In another study performed later in 2014, researchers examined the use of CBD in the treatment of children with treatment-resistant epilepsies (part of the “compassionate use program”). In this study, researchers gave patients a 98% oil-based CBD extract. After taking the CBD medicine for three months, 39% of the patients reported more than a 50% reduction in their symptoms. As such, this experiment supports what researchers found in the previous study. And as we discover new cannabinoids from the plant, we expect these percentages to rise!
In addition to the previous uses, researchers have also found that CBD significantly brings down the incidence of diabetes in rats that are not obese. The study found that CBD brought the incidence rate down from 86% in the untreated mice to 30% in the ones who received CBD treatment.
However, that isn’t all. The American Journal of Medicine published a study in 2013 that focused on the impact of cannabis on glucose, insulin, and insulin resistance in American adults. This wide-ranging study featured 4,657 adult men and women from the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey from 2005-2010. In this study, researchers discovered that people who were currently using cannabis experienced 16% lower fasting insulin levels.
There have been several studies that have shown users of CBD have the potential to improve cardiovascular health. The British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology reported in a study in 2013, that CBD helps to protect users against the vascular damage that people experience in a high glucose environment. In addition, they proved that CBD reduces the vascular hyper permeability associated with these conditions.
Side Effects of CBD
Although there have been several studies that show that CBD is effective in treating a range of disorders and diseases, there are still side effects just like many other types of treatment. However, patients often find that the benefits of CBD far outweigh the side effects. Some of the more common side effects are as follows:
- Dry Mouth: One of the most common side effects in users is that they experience a dry mouth. Researchers believe the endocannabinoid system’s involvement in saliva secretion causes this. Stay hydrated.
- Low Blood Pressure: In some cases, and with very high doses, users of CBD often find that they experience a drop in their blood pressure. This usually happens within a few minutes of the molecule entering the body. When this happens, users report that they feel slightly lightheaded. It’s important that you consult with your doctor before taking CBD if you are already taking medicine for blood pressure.
- Drowsiness: If you are taking higher doses of CBD, you may find that it causes you to become sleepy. If you ever feel this way, it’s important that you do not drive. First time users should take CBD in the comfort of their home.
For patients experiencing any of the disorders or diseases mentioned above, it’s important to do your research before taking CBD. There is a lot of new research being done, and browsing the internet may answer more of your questions. With that said, there have been several studies that show that CBD is highly effective and safe in treating symptoms in these disorders. As CBD becomes more and more accepted across the United States and the world, you can expect to see increased availability of research on the topic. If you decide to use CBD to treat your symptoms, we URGE you to consult with your doctor first!