- Author Randy Arthur
- Published June 10, 2020
- Word count 1,182
Cannabidiol (CBD) is an oil of cannabis plant origin. Possible health benefits include reducing the pain and inflammation. It isn’t legal in all jurisdictions, however, so there could be some threats as well.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the therapeutic use of Epidiolex, a distilled form of CBD oil, for two forms of epilepsy treatment in June 2018. In other states other types of cannabis are lawful.
What is CBD oil?
CBD is one of the cannabinoids (compounds) present in cannabis plants. Researchers have looked at the potential therapeutic uses of CBD.
Two of the marijuana compounds are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) delta-9, and CBD. Those compounds have various effects.
THC had been the best known compound in cannabis until recently. It’s the most active constituent and psychologically it has an effect. When a person smokes it or uses it in cooking, it produces a mind-altering “hot.” This is because when a person applies heat, THC breaks down and implants it into the body.
Conversely, CBD isn’t psychoactive. If they use it, it does not affect the state of mind of an individual. It can, however, cause significant changes in the body, and shows some significant medical benefits.
Where does CBD come from?
CBD originates in the cannabis plant. Depending on how much THC they produce, people refer to cannabis plants as either hemp or marijuana.
The FDA states that under the Farm Bill, hemp plants are legal as long as they contain less than 0.3 per cent THC. CBD oil originates from these lawful hemp plants.
How CBD works
All cannabinoids generate effects in the body through interaction with cannabinoid receptors that are part of the endocannabinoid system.
The body yields two receptors:
• CB1 receptors are present in the entire body particularly in the brain. They coordinate movement, pain, emotion, mood, thought, appetite, memories, etc.
• CB2 receptors are more prevalent within the immune system. They affect pain and inflammation.
THC binds to CB1 receptors but CBD activates the receptors and the body creates its own endocannabinoids.
Reasons for taking CBD oil according to a 2018 study include:
• Chronic soreness
• Illness or joint pain
• Depression and anxiety
• Sleep deprivation
• Migraine Headache
• Cluster and Headaches
• Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
• Asthma or allergies
• Epilepsy and other convulsions
• Multifunctional sclerosis (MS)
• Pulmonary disorders
• Parkinson’s disease
• Alzheimer’s illness
Natural pain relief and anti-inflammatory properties
There is growing evidence that the non-psychoactive marijuana compounds, such as CBD, could provide a new chronic pain treatment.
In 2018, mouse studies showed that CBD reduces inflammation by preventing the release of compounds which cause inflammation in the body.
Quitting smoking and drug withdrawal
A pilot study in 2013 showed smokers who used CBD-containing inhalers smoked less cigarettes than normal and stopped craving nicotine. This suggests CBD could help people quit smoking.
The researchers noted that some of the symptoms associated with substance use disorders had been reduced by CBD. These included anxiety, symptoms related to mood, pain and sleeplessness.
Following years of research into the safety and effectiveness of CBD oil for the treatment of epilepsy, in 2018 the FDA approved the use of Epidiolex, a distilled form of CBD.
They approved it for treatment in people 3 years and older:
• Syndrome of Lennox-Gastaut
• Syndrome Dravet
Scientists are starting to understand how CBD prevents seizures without the previously used side effects of sedating medicines. Synthetic drugs which target the endocannabinoid system are not yet available as CBD does.
A rodent research in 2014 showed that CBD could help people maintain the ability to recognize familiar faces. People with Alzheimer’s may be losing that ability.
One 2019 review found that CBD could help slow Alzheimer’s disease onset and progress. More research is under way to better understand the dosage. Some scientists believe that treatment that involves both THC and CHD could be more effective.
Other neurological symptoms and disorders
A research carried out in 2012 showed that CBD can produce similar effects to those of other antipsychotic medications and that the compound can provide safe and efficient treatment for people with schizophrenia. There is however a need for further research.
A review article in 2020 discusses the addition of CBD to chemotherapy drugs to improve the response of the immune system to treating cancer.
Certain research has looked at how CBD could help:
• Prevents cancer cells from growing
• Reduces fears
• Improve the Chemotherapy action
• Reduce side effects of conventional chemotherapy.
A research performed in 2019 showed CBD significantly decreased symptoms in nervous mice.
Earlier authors of a 2015 review had suggested that CBD could help to reduce anxiety-related behaviours in people with the following conditions:
• General Anxiety Disorder(GAD)
• Panic ailment
• Social anxiety disorder
• Obsessive-compulsive disorder.
The authors noted that existing therapies may have negative effects, and that is why some people avoid using them. There is no evidence, however, to confirm that CBD has important adverse effects.
Type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes occurs when cells in the pancreas are attacked by the immune system which leads to inflammation.
Researchers found evidence in 2016 that CBD may ease this inflammation and protect against the onset of type 1 diabetes, or delay it.
One promising use for CBD is treating acne. The disease is caused, in part, to inflammation in the body and overworked sebaceous glands.
A 2014 study found that CBD is helping to reduce sebum development that contributes to acne, partly due to its anti-inflammatory effect.
According to study, application of CBD topically may minimize inflammation in psoriasis and other inflammatory skin diseases.
People should test the laws and any travel destination in their state. CBD’s legal status in the US is complicated. Under the Farm Bill, hemp and hemp products are legal as long as their THC content is less than 0.3%.
Risks and side effects
As with most treatments, the use of CBD can entail some risks. It can interact with additives and with other drugs. Most CBD products have no FDA approval, which also means they have not undergone extensive testing.
It is not possible to know:
• Is safe and easy to use for all.
• Has the properties or contents stated on the packaging.
Possible adverse reactions include:
• Liver damage
• Additional drug and alcohol interactions
• Alertness shifts which can make driving risky
• Appetite loss and gastrointestinal problems
• Changes in attitude like irritability and frustration
• A drop in male fertility.
Experts believe use of marijuana during pregnancy can influence neuronal fetal growth. Regular use among adolescents relates to memory, behaviour and intelligence issues.
The FDA is recommending that people do not use CBD during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
How to use CBD
If a doctor is prescribing CBD for epilepsy, follow their instructions.
Ways to use products with CBD include:
• mix them into food or beverage
• taking them with a pipette or dropper
• swallowing capsules
• massaging the skin with a paste
• spraying it under the tongue.
For now, people should seek advice from a healthcare professional about which product to use and how much to take.
They will also conduct work to ensure they follow local and state rules. The FDA offers information on a broad variety of CBD-related concerns.
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