Products containing CBD which is the short form of cannabidiol are increasingly becoming popular. They seem to be all over the place and can be found in grocery stores, beverage shops, beauty outlets, drugstores and are even marketed online. Even the cosmetics industry is not left out in the pursuit of this “magic compound”, as It is now common in cosmetic products like hand lotions, shampoos, and hand creams.
CBD which is a compound derived from a strain of cannabis Sativa plant (hemp) is currently making waves because of the therapeutic effects of CBD. Researchers have touted it’s medical benefits, some state laws have approved its use and sale, so what is the big deal about CBD products?
WHAT IS CBD?
CBD which is the abbreviation for cannabidiol is one of them (at least 113) identified cannabinoids in cannabis plants. It is especially abundant in the hemp plant which is a cultivar of the cannabis Sativa plant. It is non – psychoactive and does not cause elevated feelings of euphoria (a “high”) that is associated with cannabis or marijuana.
Products made with CBD have very few amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is another cannabinoid found in cannabis plants that have psychoactive effects. In fact, any CBD based product that contains more than 0.3% of THC is considered illegal under federal and international laws. CBD used in products is extracted from the hemp plant because it contains minute amounts of the psychoactive compound, THC.
The most common CBD based products are CBD oils but it can also be infused into beverages, gummies, candies, liquid solutions, pastes, mouth sprays, creams, and cosmetics. The enthusiasm for these products is attached to it’s reported therapeutic benefits which include treating cases of anxiety, epilepsy, insomnia, and arthritis amongst other ailments.
WHAT ARE THE THERAPEUTIC EFFECTS OF CBD?
Numerous studies and research have touted the therapeutic benefits of Cannabidiol, and the compound is still being studied to unveil other health benefits and complete research on the existing ones. It is widely reported to treat seizures in epilepsy and to reduce pain and inflammation. Currently, there is only one FDA-approved CBD based prescription drug. The drug called epidiolex is used in the treatment of epilepsy. Let’s take a look at some of the therapeutic effects of CBD.
1. CBD FOR TREATMENT OF EPILEPSY
There is evidence that supports the role of CBD in treating seizures associated with drug-resistant neurological disorders like epilepsy that commonly affects children. The U. S Food and Drug Administration approved a prescription drug in June 2018 for the treatment of two severe forms of epilepsy in children as well as in adults.
The drug called epidiolex is a purified form of CBD oil and it is used to treat Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) and Dravet Syndrome (DS) which are drug-resistant (do not respond to treatment with anti-seizure drugs).
This CBD based drug helps to ease seizures in patients and completely stops them in some cases. There are a number of videos online to corroborate its effect on people suffering from these types of epilepsy. Research has also stated that CBD has potential to treat complications that may arise from epilepsy such as neurodegeneration and psychiatric diseases.
2. RELIEF FROM INFLAMMATION AND CHRONIC PAIN
There have been anecdotal reports of people getting relief from pain after using CBD oil. In fact, some people prefer to use CBD based products as a pain reliever than buy over-the-counter drugs. A study published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine found that CBD played a role in reducing inflammation and chronic pain in some mice.
Chronic inflammation can result in many diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, type 1 diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. Research suggests that consumption of CBD can help treat inflammation and prevent the development of these diseases. The human body has a system called the endocannabinoid system that regulates major bodily functions such as appetite, sleep, pain, and immune functions. Studies have shown that CBD may help alleviate chronic pain by interacting with endocannabinoid activity and neurotransmitters.
3. CBD FOR TREATMENT OF PAIN RELATED TO MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS AND ARTHRITIS
As aforementioned, CBD plays a role in the reduction of pain and this includes pain associated with multiple sclerosis and arthritis. A number of human studies suggest that a combination of CBD and THC can be used to treat pain that results from multiple sclerosis and arthritis.
An oral spray containing both CBD and THC called Sativex has been developed and is approved in some countries to treat pain from multiple sclerosis. A study carried out by researchers at Royal National Hospital, U. K, found that Sativex eased pain during movement and at rest in about 58 people with rheumatoid arthritis. It also improved sleep quality. Another study conducted in Italy found that Sativex helped in easing pain during movement and also reduced muscle spasms in 47 people with multiple sclerosis.
4. DOES CBD REDUCE SYMPTOMS OF ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION?
Anxiety and depression are some of the most common mental health disorders that can negatively impact the health and wellbeing of an individual. Symptoms of anxiety and depression are mostly treated with prescription drugs that may have numerous side effects such as insomnia, drowsiness, sexual problems, and agitation. An example of a common drug used to treat symptoms of depression called benzodiazepines is dangerously addictive and can lead to substance abuse.
Although most doctors advise against taking cannabis while treating anxiety or depression as it can lead to increased paranoia, CBD has proved to be a potential treatment for both depression and anxiety. A study conducted in Brazil to examine the effects of CBD on depression and anxiety found that a 300-MG dose of CBD was effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety.
The researches gave 57 men oral CBD and placebo. Some of the men were given oral CBD while others were given a placebo 90 minutes before they took a public speaking test. The researchers reported that CBD was the most effective in treating anxiety induced by the test. The placebo which was a 150-mg dose and a 600-mg dose of CBD respectively had minimal effect on anxiety during the test.
A scientific review that was published in the Journal of Neurotherapeutics reported that CBD can help ease anxiety in people with anxiety-related disorders such as, post-traumatic stress disorder PTSD, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder(OCD), General anxiety disorder, and even substance abuse disorder. Despite this conclusion, it should be noted that the studies reviewed by the authors are not based on human research.
5. CBD MAY EASE CANCER-RELATED SYMPTOMS
A couple of studies have suggested that CBD can help alleviate symptoms of cancer and side effects associated with chemotherapy treatment in cancer patients such as pain, nausea, and vomiting. To determine the effects of CBD combined with THC in cancer patients, researchers of a certain study gave 177 cancer patients CBD and THC extracts, these patients previously did not find relief from cancer pains by taking medication. The study reported that those who were given a combination of CBD and THC extracts experienced a considerable reduction in pain than those who were only treated with THC extract.
Some animal and test-tube studies have also shown how CBD can prevent the development of breast cancer. Another study found that CBD and THC in mouth sprays can alleviate the side effects of chemotherapy treatment such as nausea and vomiting better than standard treatments. However, More research needs to be carried out to determine the role of CBD in treating cancer.
6. CBD FOR TREATMENT AND PREVENTION OF DIABETES
CBD has shown promising potential in treating type 1 diabetes. The condition is typically caused by inflammation that results when the immune system attacks cells of the Pancreas. A study published in 2016 found that CBD may help alleviate the inflammation of the pancreas. There is no known clinical trial that confirms whether CBD consumption can reduce the risks of developing diabetes in humans, so far only animal models have been used. One such study that used non-obese diabetic mice as a case study found that CBD lowered the risk of developing diabetes in the animals.
7. CBD CAN IMPROVE HEART HEALTH
Cardiovascular diseases are one of the major causes of death in the world. Several studies have evaluated the effects of CBD in cardiovascular diseases which includes its ability to lower high blood pressure. High blood pressure increases the risk of developing health conditions like heart attack and stroke. Some researchers believe that the stress and anxiety-reducing properties of CBD may be responsible for lowering high blood pressure.
A small study published in 2017 suggested that CBD can prevent fluctuations in blood pressure due to stress. The study participants consisting of nine healthy men were given either CBD or placebo. Those treated with CBD reported lower blood pressure compared to those who took a placebo before and after being subjected to a stress test.
Research has also indicated that CBD oil can reduce inflammation and prevent oxidative stress both of which precede heart disease. For instance, a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that treatment with CBD significantly reduced oxidative stress and averted heart damage in some diabetic mice suffering from heart disease.
8. AIDS IN THE TREATMENT OF SKIN CONDITIONS
A number of studies have shown that CBD especially CBD oil has high potential in combating skin conditions by causing abnormal cell death and regulating oil production in the skin, thus treating and reducing skin conditions like eczema and acne. CBD also contains nutrients like Vitamin E that is good for the skin. A study conducted in 2014 found that CBD can lower the production of sebum, due to its anti-inflammatory properties. According to the researchers, this is an indication that CBD use can lead to the cure for acne vulgaris, the most prevalent form of acne.
9. MAY TREAT PSYCHOTIC DISORDERS
Studies have pointed out that cannabidiol can help treat mental disorders like schizophrenia by reducing psychotic symptoms. With regard to this, One study found that CBD has similar effects to those of certain antipsychotic drugs and maybe a better and safer alternative for treating people with schizophrenia. Another systematic review also gave credit to CBD as a safe and well-tolerated means of treatment for people with schizophrenia. However, more research is needed to endorse CBD as the ultimate treatment for schizophrenia.
10. CAN HELP FIGHT ADDICTION
There has been promising evidence to suggest that CBD use can help people quit smoking and cope with withdrawal symptoms of substance use disorders. A study has found that smokers who used inhalers infused with CBD had fewer nicotine cravings and smoked fewer cigarettes than usual.
A review published in 2015 looked at 14 previously published studies that analyzed the therapeutic effects of CBD in people struggling with opioid, cocaine and other substance use disorders. The authors concluded from the analysis, that CBD may have a hand in helping people battling an addiction to overcome withdrawal symptoms. They also found that CBD may be useful in treating people with cannabis and tobacco addictions.
THE RISK AND SIDE EFFECTS ASSOCIATED WITH CBD USE
A few studies have looked into the side effects of CBD use in adults and reached the conclusion that the compound is well tolerated. However, tolerance to the compound does not equate to the absence of side effects. Like most drugs, CBD may incite adverse reactions in some people. Some of these side effects include diarrhea, dry mouth, fatigue, and appetite changes.
CBD can also interact with other medications, especially medications that warn against the intake of grapefruit. This is sole because CBD and grapefruit can interfere with a group of enzymes called cytochromes that are necessary for drug metabolism. It is important to discuss with your doctor before using any CBD based product to rule out potential harmful interactions and ensure the safety of it’s use to your overall well-being.
There aren’t any available scientific studies to ascertain the risks associated with CBD consumption. Also, there are no reported cases of toxicity and overdose following the use of CBD. Nonetheless, it will be interesting to note that one study showed that extracts containing large amounts of CBD derived from cannabis have the potential to cause liver toxicity in mice. However, some of the mice in the study were forcefully fed extremely large doses of CBD extract.
Following numerous scientific evidence and research, it can be concluded that CBD has exhibited promising potential in the treatment of a number of ailments aside from the well-established treatment of childhood epilepsy.
Clinical trials and studies are still ongoing to fully uncover the factual benefits of CBD use as opposed to its potential benefits. In the meantime, it will be good to proceed with caution while using any CBD based product by consulting with your doctor and buying from reputable companies or brands. This is necessary because there are no existing rules or standards guiding the extraction of CBD, also it’s legality is questionable in some countries.