You can apply it to your skin, add it to your breakfast, vaporize it, dab it, add it to your favorite brownie, smoke it, or even share it with friends in a beer at the pub. Apparently, Cannabis is good for you! Hemp-derived Cannabidiol, popularly known as CBD, can now (subject to the laws of your county/state) be found, purchased (and oftentimes delivered!), from the comfort of your couch. If you have not heard of or are currently using a cannabis-infused product, the odds are that someone you know is!
Is CBD a miracle head-to-toe solution for everyday well-being?
Sounds too good to be true! Or is it…?
Medical Marijuana, and CBD products, in particular, have caused quite a stir in recent years with claims of cures from users for everything from Chronic Asthma to Insomnia and arthritis, and although many of the claims are based on hearsay, scientists and the medical fraternity have finally managed to separate fact from fiction. The surge of interest surrounding Cannabis derived CBD stems mostly from those seeking reprieve from illness. Unfortunately, even more so from [unscrupulous] retailers. Jumping onto the so-called “miracle cure” bandwagon, it is easy to see how one can be swayed by click-bait internet headlines and colorful marketing strategies.
In the minds of many individuals, Cannabis still retains its medieval cloak, sadly draped in stigma and decorated with fear. Thankfully, despite the proliferation of misconceptions that surrounds cannabis, science & technology not only demystified the dark age mentality that accompanied marijuana for decades but has in fact, brightly illuminated the benefits, of this naturally occurring plant.
Cannabis is Cannabis. No, it is not, and yes it is. The cannabis plant as a whole has been used extensively for its healing properties since long before wireless connections spread the word. Few realize that the cannabis/hemp plant has quietly evolved alongside human evolution for many a millennium. Initially, used by shamans and traditional healers and later becoming popular with patients/users due to ease of accessibility, as it spread from continent to continent being cultivated to produce more resilient plants and stronger strains.
CBD, No Buzz only Benefits!?
Neuroprotection gained from CBD is due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties as well as the modulation of a large number of brain biological targets, (receptors and channels)that are involved in the development and maintenance of neurodegenerative diseases. Cannabidiol (CBD) is the second most prevalent of the hundreds of active ingredients found in the cannabis hemp plant. CBD is the key component in medical marijuana. It is derived directly from the hemp plant, which is a ‘cousin’ of the marijuana plant. While CBD is a component of marijuana, it does not cause a “high.” CBD is devoid of the Delta-9-tetra-hydro cannabinol psychoactive effects, as found in every-day marijuana. This is a major difference between medicinal grade cannabis and ordinary (so to speak) cannabis. CBD rich cannabis is cultivated for this specific reason. No buzz, only benefits. As stated in a report from the WHO, “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential… To date, there is no evidence of public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”
Cannabis infused supplementations/medications have been utilized to treat amongst others
- Epilepsy / Seizure
- Psychotic Disorders
- Stroke Rehabilitation
- High Blood Pressure
The most common side effects reported are tiredness, diarrhea, and changes in appetite/weight.CBD has comparatively fewer side-effects when compared with prescription medications and can be used as a supplemental therapy. To put the CBD side-effects into perspective, conventional drugs used for the same medical conditions, have a significantly increased amount of negative side-effect profiles. This is particularly important as choosing treatment with fewer side-effects could help ensure patients actually follow their treatment plans.
The ‘typical’ strains of marijuana that people are generally familiar with are called by a myriad of names that mostly allude to their genetics. Blueberry kush or Lemon Haze as examples, leaving no surprises as to the terpenes (flavors) you may expect from them. These types of high in THC strains contain and/or are high in a compound named tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC = high, which may be great when taken over the weekend to relieve your backache, but not so great on a Monday morning when lounging is not an option. This is where CBD strains have stepped in.
What are the cannabinoid receptor-independent mechanisms by which CBD acts as a neuroprotective agent?
Well, providing the correct and short answer to this question is not easy, although data obtained during numerous studies into different pathological conditions associated with brain damage, shows an indication that CBD does, in fact, normalize glutamate homeostasis reduce oxidative stress and the occurrences of local inflammatory events. CBD has tremendous potential as a medicine exactly because the mechanisms underlying its anti-inflammatory effects are different from those of conventional prescribed drugs. That fact may well prove to be of considerable benefits to a large number of patients who for various reasons are considered ‘untreatable’ with drug-resistant ailments like Refractory epilepsy. Type 1-diabetic trials have shown that in mice, CBD significantly lowered the number of insulin-producing cells that are affected even after the advancement of the disease. Its neuroprotective effects are extremely valuable as no drugs exist that have similar properties. Surprisingly very few CBD derivatives have been evaluated and compared with CBD. At least one of them, CBD dimethylheptyl-7-oic acid, is more potent than CBD as an anti-inflammatory agent! This begs the question. Are we missing a valuable new pathway to a family of very promising new therapeutic agents?
CBD is demonstrated to antagonize some of the effects of THC, including intoxication, and sedation, while contributing analgesic, anti-emetic, and anti-carcinogenic properties. As said by the late Dr. Tod H Mikuriya: “We should be thinking of cannabis as a medicine first, that happens to have some psychoactive properties, as many medicines do, rather than as an intoxicant that happens to have a few therapeutic properties on the side.”
Hemp CBD infused products, offer non-intoxicating compounds with significant therapeutic effects, and although THC is simply considered a recreational drug by many, it is not to be dismissed entirely in favor of CBD. These compounds interact synergistically as shown in (one of many early) case studies such as ” The Molecular Link Between the Active Component of Marijuana and Alzheimer’s Disease Pathology,” done by scientists at the Scripps ResearchCenter in San Diego, who at the time reported: ” In a test against propidium, one of the most effective inhibitors reported to date (2006), THC blocked AChE-induced aggregation completely, while the propidium did not. it does show that there is a previously unrecognized molecular mechanism through which THC may directly affect the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.”
CBD produces an antidepressant effect, alleviating symptoms relating to a long list of issues that includes pain, anxiety, and addiction. Jocelijn Meijerink from Wageningen University in the Netherlands reported at the International Cannabinoid Research Society conference in Vancouver in 2013, that DHEA acts as an inhibitor of the COX-2 enzyme. As it happens, so does CBD. This is one of the major reasons that cannabis CBD has potent anti-inflammatory properties. COX is an enzyme that creates prostaglandins (inflammatory compounds). Over the counter drugs such as Asprin and all the other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, are known inhibitors.
CBD does not act exclusively through the endocannabinoid system, but also causes direct or indirect activation of receptors for serotonin or adenosine, and can target nuclear receptors. Cannabidiol is considered an antineoplastic agent, on the basis of its in-vitro and in-vivo activity against tumor cells. CBD has the potential to induce programmed cell death in breast cancer cells. This was made evident in a study published by the Division of Experimental Medicine at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, which showed that CBD reduces mitochondrial membrane potential, increased the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), and ROS inhibition blocked the induction of apoptosis and autophagy. The study revealed an interplay between apoptosis and autophagy in CBD-treated breast cancer cells, and highlighted the value of continued investigation and clinical trials, into the potential use of CBD as an antineoplastic agent.
Back to the question at hand, is CBD a miracle?
With all the evidence piling up in such a short period of a slow legalization process, the potential of CBD oil is beyond belief. Just a couple of years ago the majority of people would dismiss cannabis as a dependence-producing drug with no beneficial value. Today we have seen millions of people changing their minds and turning to CBD as a relief from many common conditions and diseases. And we are only touching the tip of the iceberg. As CBD is investigated further we will see more support from governments and organizations that cannot deny the overwhelming support from the public of CBD.
Recently the US Food and Drug Administration approved their first CBD based medicine used for rare epileptic diseases such as Dravet Syndrome. Further to that the Home Office in the UK is looking at allowing CBD based “medicines” to be approved for patients suffering and this made headline news around the globe. With changes in the old brick-and-mortar system taking shape, we will see more walls crumbling in the prohibition wall. The evidence of CBD being a miracle is out there, the only thing to do now is to include it into your own diet.
Scripps Research: https://www.scripps.edu/news-and-events/press-room/2006/080906.html
Breast Cancer study: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21566064