Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabinoid derived from the Cannabis Sativa L. plant. CBD differs from THC in that it is not psychoactive, meaning it doesn’t produce a “high” when taken. CBD oil derived from hemp is molecularly the same as CBD derived from the marijuana plant; hemp and marijuana are both versions of Cannabis Sativa L plant.
Cannabis Sativa L. derivatives have been used in medicine for millennia. Research on the chemical components of the plant began in the 19th century, but in the 1930s and ’40s, concerns about the negative effects of cannabis resulted in the plant being banned across much of the U.S. It wasn’t until recently that the positive health effects of CBT began to be recognized, and even today its use is restricted. Still, there are many therapeutic benefits of CBD which are backed by research.
Evidence suggests that cannabinoids may be effective for pain modulation because they affect your brain’s receptors. Studies conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) are currently looking into the analgesic properties of CBT. Studies have also shown that CBT can be beneficial after undergoing chemotherapy treatment.
When combined with THC, CBT may be effective for pain relief. Sativex, a THC/CBT buccal spray, has been shown to be effective against neuropathic pain caused by MS. Sativex is the first cannabis-based medicine to go through traditional clinical development and be approved as a prescription drug. However, the drug may be effective because of its anti-inflammatory properties rather than its effectiveness against pain.
A randomized study examined the effects of a CBD-THC capsule (Sativex) on MS patients. The capsules contained 2.5 mg of THC and 0.9 mg CBT. The mixture was shown to improve mobility and reduce spasms in the patients, with a few tolerable side effects. Sativex has been approved throughout much of Europe, but not in the United States.
More research needs to be done on CBD’s effect on other neurodegenerative disorders. However, it has been shown to have neuroprotective properties in cell cultures and animal models for diseases such as Alzheimer’s, stroke, and Parkinson’s disease. Researchers are looking at a receptor in the brain called CB1 to try and determine how CBD can help with neurodegenerative disorders.
CBD may be effective in treating the convulsant activity associated with epilepsy. In 1975, four CBD derivatives were shown to reduce electroshock convulsions in mice. Research is still in its early days, however, and its effectiveness and safety are still being analyzed.
A study in 2016 analyzed 214 people who had epilepsy. The study added 5 mg of CBD to each patient’s existing prescription medication. After 12 weeks, the patients had 36.5 fewer seizures. However, 12 percent of the participants had adverse effects after taking the CBD.
Overall, the information gained from studies is insufficient in determining whether CBD is a suitable treatment for epilepsy. The National Institute on Drug Abuse is currently collaborating with the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke to determine the effectiveness of CBD in treating seizure disorders. Clinical trials are also underway to test Epidilox, a pure CBD-extract drug used for pediatric seizure disorders.
Cancer and Tumors
Studies suggest that CBD may be able to prevent the growth of cancer cells, but research is still in its early stages. According to the National Cancer Institute, CBD may be able to alleviate pain associated with cancer, but the NCI does not endorse any form of cannabis as a treatment for cancer. The ability of CBD to moderate inflammation and change the way cells reproduce is likely what gives it cancer-fighting properties.
Several pre-clinical reports show that CBD reduced cell viability, increased the death of cancer cells, and inhibited metastasis. These abilities may be due to the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of CBD. These findings have not yet been tested on human subjects, however, several industry-sponsored clinical trials are underway to test the efficacy of CBD in human patients.
Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain
According to research, CBD may be helpful in reducing joint pain and swelling because of its anti-inflammatory properties. In animal models, CBD was shown to benefit in improving the symptoms of arthritis. The first controlled trial showed that the administering of CBD caused improvements in the severity of pain, sleep, and inflammation.
Studies have shown that CBD when given to rats, increased appetite and reduced nausea in low doses. However, in larger doses, it either increased nausea or had no effect on it. Although THC is an approved drug for treating nausea, more research needs to be done on CBD for it to be approved.
A study including 4,657 men and women showed 16% lower fasting insulin levels and smaller waist circumferences, despite the fact the CBD is associated with a higher caloric intake. Another study showed that CBD decreased the prevalence of diabetes in female non-obese, diabetes-prone mice. The study revealed that the mice that were given CBD were less likely to develop diabetes than those in the non-treated group.
These results show that CBD can inhibit and delay insulin-producing pancreatic cells and inflammatory cytokine production, resulting in a reduced risk of diabetes. This means that CBD may be effective for the treatment of type 1 diabetes in its early stages.
Studies show that CBD promoted the dilation of arteries and protected blood vessels from damage in animals. It also reduced damage from clogged arteries in the heart and brain and affected the function of white blood cells and aggregation of platelets in animal models. Further research is required to determine whether CBD is an effective treatment for heart problems in humans.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
According to studies, CBD prevents colitis in animal models of IBD. Combining THC with CBD may help reduce symptoms associated with IBD such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, and reduced appetite. CBD may reduce the severity of gut inflammation through the activation of the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma.
Overall, the positive effects of CBD on various ailments have been supported by numerous studies. However, more research needs to be done to confirm these effects. CBD mediates its effects through activation of cannabinoid receptors, which reduces inflammation. Therefore, CBD may be a positive healthy alternative to the psychoactive THC.
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