As stigmatized as cannabis has been in the past, it’s refreshing to see research and clinical trials that study its potential uses in medicine. Despite its apparent lack of harm, however, there have been fewer drugs that have been so demonized. While the vilification of marijuana has quite a storied history that involves more than its fair share of racism, research and clinical trials on CBD only started somewhat recently. As marijuana legalization continues to gain steam in the US and throughout the rest of the world, there have lately been quite a few compelling studies on this fascinating chemical. Not only does it combine non-addictive properties with a relaxing sense of euphoria, but it’s been shown to have a positive effect on a good many ailments. Let’s look at some of the solutions it’s been connected to.
But First, How Exactly Does it Work?
How CBD works
As a cannabinoid, the chemical CBD functions by attaching itself to specific receptors in the body to produce their effects. The human body has two receptors that cannabinoids can attach to: CB1 and CB2 receptors. The first can be found all over the body, but the vast majority of these receptors are located in the brain. These receptors deal with mood and emotions, as well as with a variety of other functions, including pain, coordination, appetite, thinking and memories. The chemical THC, which is found in cannabis, connects to these receptors. You can see that all of the mentioned functions are ones that are affected when you intake cannabis.
CB2 receptors, on the other hand, can be commonly found in the immune system. They affect pain and inflammation, which is what a lot of research papers focus on. While it was once thought that the CB2 receptors were acted on by CBD directly, recent research indicates that CBD instead influences the body to produce more of its own cannabinoids, which then attach to those receptors.
Problems CBD Helps Resolve
It provides pain relief
This is probably the medical use of marijuana that you’re most familiar with. While cannabis has long been used as a pain relief supplement, it is only relatively recently that it began to be officially advocated by doctors and health professionals. CBD provides a natural pain relief, and is also known for its anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce swelling and stiffness. It’s now commonly used as either a prescription or OTC drug to help relieve chronic pain. Multiple studies have now corroborated the fact that, yes, CBD has a significant hand in lowering chronic inflammation. This could be the beginning of a wholly new kind of treatment for chronic pain, one that is more natural.
It could help fight epilepsy, as well as other mental health disorders
Multiple clinical trials are currently being held in order to study the potential role of CBD in treating epilepsy, as well as other neurological or psychiatric disorders. CBD has been noted in one study to have anti-seizure properties. What’s more, there’s a very low risk of side effects associated with the chemical for epileptic people. Clinical research currently points an encouraging hand in the direction of CBD as a tool that could have an effect on neuropsychiatric disorders. In fact, it could also treat issues that are associated with epileptic seizures, such as neuronal injury and neurodegeneration. CBD could also have effects that are similar to specific antipsychotic drugs, and could prove to be an effective way to safely treat schizophrenic patients.
One particular study has researched the effects of CBD therapy have been researched in relation to seizures in children with Dravet Syndrome. The results of the studies showed that while the rate of non-convulsive seizures remained unchanged, convulsive seizures that were treated by CBD fell from 12.4 %to 5.9%. That’s a near 50% decrease! Additionally, 5% of CBD-treated patients stopped having seizures altogether, in comparison with none from the placebo group.
It should be noted that while the CBD group did experience side effects that were more severe, like fever and vomiting, a whopping 62% of the CBD group reported betterment of their condition. Clearly, this is an avenue bursting with further research opportunities so we can better understand how this works.
Quitting smoking or other drugs
If you’ve ever been addicted to cigarettes or some other drug, you know that withdrawals are the worst part of it. With that in mind, there’s new evidence that CBD could help people quit smoking, with a pilot study finding that smokers who used an inhaler than contained CBD tended to smoke a smaller number of cigarettes without experiencing extra cravings for nicotine. Encouraging evidence was also found in a different study that found CBD could be a beneficial chemical for people addicted to opioids to quit them. Plus, there are certain common symptoms experienced by people who are trying to quit drugs: mood changes, anxiety, insomnia and pain to name a few. Research indicates that these symptoms could be alleviated by the patients through the use of CBD. While these findings are still in an initial phase, we can see there’s plenty of scope for further research on CBD to test out its potential reduction on withdrawal symptoms.
Managing certain anxiety disorders
This might be counterintuitive to what you have possibly heard. Sufferers from chronic anxiety have often been advised to keep their difference from cannabis, since the active component THC could aggravate or trigger anxiety and paranoia.
However, a new study shows that certain anxiety disorders could be relieved by the usage of CBD. These disorders include general anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and panic disorder. In light of the fact that current medication for these disorders has been known to trigger additional side effects, further research into the use of CBD as an alternative treatment is definitely warranted.