Cannabis has come a long way from its less-than-stellar reputation during the hippie era. In 1996, the State of California legalized medical marijuana, and in 2012, Colorado and Washington followed suite with milestones of their own when they decriminalized marijuana and allowed for its recreational use.
Now, the spotlight is on one special cannabinoid derived from Cannabis sativa, called cannabidiol (CBD) - a chemical compound that lacks the psychoactive properties of its cousin tetrahydrocannabinol and is well-documented for its therapeutic benefits. Indeed, the production and trade of CBD products has experienced tremendous growth in recent months. In California, for example, reputable online sellers like FlyBuds now freely sell their full CBD menu online, with Flybuds CBD products now being available for shipping to anywhere in the United States.
CBD is now undergoing even closer scrutiny for its numerous positive benefits. The good news is that many of these claims hold water; CBD is proving increasingly useful in treating pain, neuropsychiatric disorders, and even the symptoms of cancer and side-effects of cancer treatments.
To illustrate, here is a rundown of the top five therapeutic benefits of CBD, plus the research that backs them all up!
CBD Has Long Been Established to Possess Pain-Relieving Properties
What’s behind the long-standing claims that CBD reduces inflammation and appeases pain? It’s the fact that the human body already possesses an endocannabinoid system - comprising endocannabinoid molecules and cannabinoid receptor proteins—which helps regulate functions related to immune response, sleep, and of course, pain.
In a recent study conducted by Darkovska-Serafimovska et al. in the Journal of Pain Research vol. 11 (2018), it was shown that CBD positively impacted the endocannabinoid receptor activity for the study’s patients, all of whom were suffering from neuropathic pain as a result of a malignant disease.
CBD is a Viable Option for the Treatment of Depression and Anxiety
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 300 million people all over the world are now living with depression, which is a major cause of ill health and disability. If left untreated, the two conditions of depression and anxiety could cost the global economy as much as USD 1 trillion. But on the flip side, there is worrying evidence that some drugs used to treat the conditions, such as benzodiazepines, serve as a gateway to substance abuse. In contrast, CBD is assuredly not addictive, and it is emerging as a viable alternative to relieving both anxiety and depression.
Studies like the one Campos et al. published in Pharmacological Research vol. 112 (2016), have since highlighted CBD’s role in reducing the effects of depression and anxiety, and even facilitating neurogenesis (the production of nervous system cells after the onset of neuropsychiatric disorders).
CBD is Now Being Deployed for the Treatment of Rare Forms of Epilepsy
More extensive study is also being afforded to CBD for its help in treating two severe forms of epilepsy - Dravet Syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome - that do not respond as well to conventional anticonvulsants. In 2018, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved an oral solution called Epidiolex, which is formulated with CBD, for treatment of these two types of epilepsy.
Clinical trials for Epidiolex that were sponsored by Augusta University and the State of Georgia began as early as 2015; after three stages of testing with 516 patients diagnosed with either Dravet Syndrome or Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, Epidiolex proved effective against a placebo in reducing the frequency of epileptic seizures.
CBD May Contribute to Healthy Sleep
Deep, uninterrupted sleep is necessary for healthy brain function and physical immunity, but the sad fact of the matter is, more and more people are finding it harder to get regular sleep. CBD is being explored in research as a means of getting people to fall asleep and stay asleep for consecutive hours.
A study done by Shannon et al., published in Permanente Journal vol. 23 (2019), shows promise: after one month of being 25mg of CBD oil in capsule form, 66.7% of the subjects achieved better sleep scores, though these fluctuated over time. More exhaustive research on the link between CBD and sleep is surely forthcoming.
CBD Alleviates the Symptoms of Cancer and the Side-Effects of Cancer Treatment
Ten years ago, the general public may have not linked the two big Cs - cancer and cannabis - positively together. But CBD is now being put forward as an anti-cancer agent and as a means to combat cancer treatments’ side effects like nausea, vomiting, and appetite loss, as evidenced by the study of Veloso et al. in Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry vol. 64 (2016).
In addition, the mouth spray Nabiximols (Sativex), which is available in Canada and select parts of Europe, is formulated with both THC and CBD, and has been cited as effective in alleviating pain caused cancer and multiple sclerosis.
The bottom line, however, is this: the scientific tradition concerning CBD is understandably very young compared to the history of its more famous and psychoactive counterpart, the cannabinoid THC, which is primarily responsible for why cannabis has been used throughout history as an entheogen to induce spiritual and psychoactive experiences. But as this article may have proved, there’s a good case to be made for CBD - and how it can be taken to improve one’s quality of life!