In the advent of advanced medicinal studies and the gradual acceptance of medical marijuana as a credible pharmacological approach, cannabidiol or CBD is emerging to be a powerful solution to many of today’s medical woes.
What is Cannabidiol (CBD)?
Cannabidiol, commonly referred to as CBD, is an active ingredient found in cannabis sativa or hemp plant[R,R]. Among over 100 natural cannabinoids, CBD is presently known as a potent supplement with promising effects if taken alone or as a complementary drug along with conventional medication.
Similarly sourced and extracted from the cannabis plant, THC, or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabidiol, is also an active compound comparable to CBD but with a remarkable difference - THC is notorious for its psychoactive side effects, such as paranoia, anxiety, and memory problems, all of which are impossible to encounter when taking CBD. Furthermore, studies have shown that CBD can even combat these unwanted psychoactive effects and battle the said effects known commonly as “the marijuana high”. [R,R]
When taken together, studies have shown that CBD can counter the THC high in normal doses but higher doses can even enhance the therapeutic effect of THC. This happens as CBD in large doses could imitate one of the brain’s own neurotransmitter, serotonin, which is in charge of mood, sleep, appetite, and other vital processes as controlled by the brain. As the brain picks up a surge in the serotonin-like trigger, the psychoactive effects of THC are further boosted as well. [R]
CBD has shown a huge potential in terms of promising advantages in the medical field especially in conditions which were previously thought incurable. [R]
What are the health benefits of CBD?
1. CBD has anti-tumor and anti-cancer properties.
Initially, studies done on both CBD and THC has shown so much potential in its cancer-fighting properties. Due to the unwanted psychoactive effects of THC, however, CBD mostly preferred as it is proven to be safe and strong against tumors while also complementing the effectivity of other standard cancer treatments done simultaneously. [R] CBDs were initially used to counter the unpleasant side effects of cancer treatments in patients, as it helps in alleviating pain, nausea, and loss of appetite. Continuously studying its beneficial effects to cancer patients and complementary effects on cancer treatments, CBD has been proven to be able to actually combat different types of cancers on its own. [R]
As studies on a cellular level have progressed, CBD has tested to prevent further cancer cell growth and it has shown its ability to destroy different types of cancer cells such as cervical, lung, thyroid, colon, and even leukemia. [R,R,R,R,R,R] For more specific types of cancer, such as the deadly and difficult to treat brain cancer, CBD combats cancer cells through disrupting cancer cell growth and further delaying the invasion within the brain. [R,R] For cancers within the reproductive system, specifically breast and prostate cancers, CBD has the ability to visually reduce tumor size, alleviate pain, and further boost the effectivity of conventional treatment. [R,R,R]
Although CBD is a natural-occurring compound, its anti-cancer mechanisms are truly exceptional and one-of-a-kind especially when compared to other treatments currently available in the market. It is known to trigger death to cancer cells by decreasing their cellular energy production [R], heightening cancer cell’s sensitivity to the body’s own white blood cells [R], and stopping actual cancer cell growth and spread through apoptosis or programmed cell death [R].
2. CBD battles inflammation.
As observed in studies, CBD acts directly on the immune cells which are triggered to produce anti-inflammatory and antioxidant reactions. It blunts Th1 and Th2 receptors, based on studies done with laboratory mice with asthma, and in turn, inflammation is observed to remarkably reduce. [R,R,R]. CBD is also recorded to suppress Th17 dominance especially with autoimmune diseases and observed to switch neutrophils into their anti-inflammatory state. [R,R,R,R]
With all the cellular reactions targetting anti-inflammatory and autoimmunity functions, CBD proves to be a promising remedy for a series of pain-associated inflammatory conditions. Its actions are directed towards the body’s own cannabinoid system to decrease inflammation, balance the immune system, and protect from oxidative stress. [R,R]
3. CBD can be used against neurodegenerative diseases.
In a research study of patients with mobility conditions, there is a considerable reduction in involuntary muscle twitching when administered with high doses of CBD [R]. In another study involving more than 200 patients with multiple sclerosis, a powerful combination of THC and CBD has consistently relieved muscle spasms [R]. On the other hand, the same combination did not produce the same remarkable results in a small study involving patients with Parkinsons’ disease [R].
CBD is proven to give protection against brain damage as it counters the effects of toxic substances and oxidative stress in animal brain cells, which could potentially help Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases [R,R] as well as patients recovering from brain stroke and other forms of brain damage. [R,R]
In animals, CBD was able to reverse poor cognitive function caused by Alzheimer’s disease [R] and it was also able to protect the brain cells from the ill effects of stroke and reduced blood flow into the brain [R,R]. It proved to be an even stronger antioxidant, comparable to vitamin C or ascorbic acid and vitamin E or a-tocopherol in cells [R]. Because of its beneficial antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, CBD is poised to be able to help patients suffering from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or ALS as it can possibly prolong the patient’s life with proper use and dosage [R].
4. CBD may be helpful in multiple sclerosis management.
As observed in a study with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients suffering from pain, the patients were allowed to take a combination of THC and CBD in any dosage they feel comfortable. After 2 years, the patients were able to successfully report reduced pain levels [R]. The combination of CBD and THC may be tolerated well by patients and the mix helps relieve muscle tightness, reduce pain, lessen sleep disturbances, and improve bladder control [R,R,R]. As in both studies, the potent combination of CBD and THC is effective but the results are always directly proportional to the strength of dosage constantly taken in by the patient [R].
5. CBD may be highly beneficial for schizophrenia.
Though sourced similarly to THC, CBD has been proven to help in preventing psychosis and reducing untoward symptoms of schizophrenia [R,R]. THC is known to trigger psychoactive effects and it also heightens psychotic episodes in patients already suffering from schizophrenia. CBD, on the other hand, has the opposite effect as it has antipsychotic properties. Favored by more and more experts, CBD has become a natural alternative when it comes to potent psychoactive drugs which give more benefits and far fewer side effects [R].
More evidence on the effect of CBD on schizophrenia comes from a study on patients with acute schizophrenia which were given daily doses for 4 weeks and CBD was able to work as effective as conventional antipsychotic drugs, such as amisulpride, but CBD is proven to be more tolerable [R,R]. CBD has proven that it can also lower inflammation, which is often increased with the presence of schizophrenia.
According to studies, people with psychosis may have an imbalance in cannabinoids, as they may be producing too little or too much due to the body’s hyperactive dopamine receptors. CBD is known to be milder than the body’s own cannabinoids and it helps reestablish the balance within the brain and its cannabinoid receptors. While on the other hand, THC is stronger than the body’s own internal cannabinoids which in turn can further trigger psychosis rather than combating it [R,R,R,R].
6. CBD may cause seizure frequency reduction.
Based on a study on seizure patients who are unresponsive to other drugs, also known as treatment-resistant epilepsy, 39% of the subjects were observed to have had reduced seizures as they have consistently used oil-based CBD extract with a maximum dosage of 25 milligrams per kilogram of patient’s weight per day [R]. In another trial involving patients with epilepsy, CBD was able to reduce seizures and proven to be safe even when given in doses twice of the previous study [R].
The reduced frequency of seizures in several of the studies concerning CBD use also produced positive results with 84% of the patients experiencing reduced seizures accompanied by notable improvement in the patient's’ alertness, sleep, and mood. Other side effects, as observed from the study, were drowsiness and fatigue.[R]
In a related study, patients with epilepsy but did not respond to medication and treatment were given CBD and experienced reduced frequency of seizures over a span of 4.5 months [R]. CBD does have a promising benefit for patients who have developed tolerance to conventional medication related to seizures and epilepsy. Furthermore, CBD not only helps tackle the main problem of seizures but it also imparts improvement in the patient’s sleep quality, alertness, and overall mood.
7. CBD aids in anxiety reduction.
In an interesting study on anxiety, participants were given CBD to reduce their anxiety after completing a stressful task, such as public speaking. Even higher doses of CBD were administered to those diagnosed with social anxiety and they were able to report reduced anxiety and discomfort plus an improvement in their cognitive functions [R,R]. In a separate study, CBD even proved to reduce the anxiety caused by THC use [R].
Further clinical studies and experiments can progress the benefits of CBD in anxiety reduction to include its effectivity in patients suffering from various types of anxiety-related problems such as panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder [R].
8. CBD is beneficial in pain management and relief.
Cannabinoids have been studied to be the next class of potent painkillers, specifically targeted for chronic pain [R,R]. In a large study involving 2,000 participants, it has been proven that cannabis-based pain medication had more benefits to offer compared to its potential risks. CBD was also able to safely reduce chronic pain of different types, including pain in cases such as fibromyalgia, arthritis, neuropathic, multiple sclerosis, and HIV [R,R].
Combining THC and CBD, patients were able to achieve pain relief from multiple sclerosis and chronic pain when the drug combination was used regularly for up to 2 years [R,R,R,R]. The potent combination of THC and CBD show so much potential for managing chronic pain, postoperative pain, and even pain caused by neuropathy, rheumatoid arthritis, and cancer [R,R,R,R,R]
9. CBD provides pain and inflammatory relief for rheumatoid arthritis.
CBD is proven to provide damage protection to joints and reduced inflammatory processes based on a clinical study [R]. Its natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties could be beneficial in relieving pain and swelling caused by inflammatory disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis [R,R].
A potent combination of THC and CBD (Sativex) is administered on patients with rheumatoid arthritis and the study showed that it was effective in reducing pain, improved sleep quality, decrease inflammation after more than 5 weeks of use [R].
10. CBD helps relieve nausea and vomiting while also boosting appetite.
As an approved drug to be used to combat nausea and vomiting, THC is indeed effective but the psychoactive side effects are usually unappealing especially to younger patients [R]. CBD, on the other hand, currently have limited studies in proving its clinical effectivity in relieving nausea and vomiting in humans [R]. In animal studies, typical CBD doses were able to produce a remarkable decrease in the symptoms of nausea and vomiting brought about by toxic drugs [R,R]. However, higher doses of CBD did not produce any substantial effects or it could possibly increase nausea instead.
In cancer patients, studies proved that a balanced combination of both CBD and THC can be the ideal option to improve appetite as well as reduce nausea. CBD also helps lessen the “high” caused by THC without disrupting the patient’s appetite [R].
11. CBD may lower the risk of diabetes.
Even for diabetes-prone organisms, CBD has been known to prevent the occurrence of diabetes at an early age [R,R]. Based on a study done in animals, CBD is seen to delay the deterioration of pancreatic cells, which are specifically responsible for producing insulin [R]. Though widely known for its ability to increase appetite and improve a patient’s caloric intake, CBD has been effective in lessening obesity, reduced chances of diabetes, and even lowering BMI or body mass index [R].
12. CBD protects the heart from blood vessel damage and irregular heart rhythm.
CBD is known to produce a relaxing effect on the body, especially the muscular system. In studies done to animals, CBD causes blood pressure and heart rate to drop even after stress-inducing activities or anxiety-triggering situations [R,R]. As observed in animals with heart disease, CBD relaxes arteries and protects blood vessels from any potential damage which could possibly be beneficial in preventing the actual occurrence of heart attacks and stroke [R,R,R]. To further protect the heart from damage, CBD also triggers blood cells to prevent clumped platelets to clog the blood vessels and to reduce inflammatory processes in white blood cells [R,R].
13. CBD helps depression
Based on promising studies and research work, CBD produces an antidepressant effect when constantly used over time [R,R]. The observed effects it had on the test subjects were proven to be similar to that of a conventional antidepressant, such as the commonly used imipramine with the brand name Tofranil [R,R].
14. CBD may help manage inflammatory bowel disease or IBD.
Through several laboratory studies, CBD has proven to lessen gut inflammation in cases where Inflammatory Bowel Disease or IBD is present [R,R,R]. It has further proven its capacity to normalize intestinal motility and fight inflammation in a study done on mice with IBP [R,R]. A cocktail of THC and CBD has been observed to reduce inflammation and other IBD-caused symptoms while also reducing the undesirable effects of the disease such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, and loss of appetite [R].
15. CBD may give protection against infection-causing bacteria.
Antibiotic-resistant bacteria have been widely known to be difficult to combat. However, CBD has shown its potential in eliminating methicillin-resistant strains of Staphylococcus Aureus, also known as MRSA, which are notorious for being the causative agents for hard-to-beat hospital-acquired infections. [R]
16. CBD helps in enhancing bone growth.
Through research studies, the body has been proven to have endocannabinoid receptors which can actively respond to cannabinoids. Limited research is available on the topic as of now, but the skeletal system also has these said cannabinoid receptors [R]. In research studies, CBD was used in recovering broken limbs in rats and the results proved positive of CBD’s potency when it comes to enhancing bone growth and healing. Both THC and CBD were actually used but CBD proved to be more effective and efficient in activating genetic pathways that enhance collagen structure [R].
17. CBD may be beneficial reducing the symptoms of movement disorders or dyskinesia.
By definition, dyskinesia is the term used to describe uncontrollable, abnormal, and involuntary movements which may affect the arms, legs, head, and could spread to the other parts of the body as well. Dyskinesia is one of the major side effects of schizophrenia therapy and also of Parkinson’s disease. In studies, CBD was able to reduce dyskinesia by lowering the internal production of inflammatory markers and decreasing the very enzymes that inhibit the actual involuntary movements in patients suffering from dyskinesia [R,R].
18. CBD helps battle insomnia and improves sleep quality.
The anxiety-reducing effects of CBD have proven to be effective in aiding patients with insomnia [R]. As it is naturally-sourced and non-toxic, CBD has been studied as a sleep aid especially for younger patients and it has had positive results in pediatric anxiety and insomnia as a result of post-traumatic stress disorder [R]. In further studies, cannabis users suffering from chronic insomnia actually prefer cannabis-infused sleep aids as they are proven to be potent and effective but with a lower chance of developing dependency when used long-term [R]. CBD is preferred over THC because THC has been observed to worsen sleep quality instead of improving it when used over a long period of time [R].
19. CBD may aid in disorders related to substance abuse.
Specifically for chronic pain management, CBD has been studied to understand its effects on chronically used pain killers such as opioids [R]. With prolonged use, opioids as chronic pain medication lead to several disorders due to drug dependency. CBD offers alternative pain management which is effective and safe for long term use [R].
In a more specific study in addictive behavior among laboratory rats, CBD was linked to having an effect onto the built-in reward system inside the brain which correlates to using morphine and heroin in pain management [R,R].
After more studies and further research, CBD is a promising alternative to addictive substances which are mainly used for chronic pain management as it is safe and effective without the dependency and the unwanted side effects as well.
20. CBD may help in minimising or stopping smoking.
After studying a group of smokers who aim to stop smoking, CBD has proven to help reduce the urgency of smoking cigarettes which could potentially wean patients who would wish to stop smoking. In the study, the smokers were given inhalers with CBD to replace their habitual cigarette and changes in their urgency to reach for the cigarettes were observed a week after. Results proved even more promising as the smokers reduced their cigarette consumption without any remarkable increase the smoker’s craving for nicotine [R].
21. CBD can help reduce acne and other skin problems.
Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, CBD helps reduce acne as it tones down the inflammation from within. Aside from its effects on inflammation, CBD also has shown evidence in studies to be able to affect sebum or oil production. Lesser sebum and lesser inflammation both reduce the possibility of acne development and thus helping patients with severe Acne Vulgaris [R].
22. CBD may be helpful in combating psoriasis.
Psoriasis makes for the human skin to be red, itchy, dry, and scaly due to an autoimmune disorder that can possibly be long-lasting. Patients suffering from psoriasis have large wide-scale patches of itchy and scaly skin that could spread to an entire region of the body if left untreated or unmanaged. Cannabis has anti-inflammatory properties that can help alleviate the itchiness and the dryness of the affected area from within the layers of the skin to help patients get relief from the discomfort which could possibly cause disruption of a patient’s daily activities [R].
This website is for informational and educational purposes. The products on this website are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information found here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from your doctor or ongoing medical treatment you currently receive. Consult with your doctor before using medical cannabis.
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