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The Therapeutic Potential of Purified Cannabidiol | Updated 2023

Key Takeaways

  • CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system.
  • Common side effects include nausea, fatigue, and irritability.
  • CBD may interact with certain medications.
  • Ongoing research continues to uncover new therapeutic potentials.
  • Legal challenges exist but are likely to lessen.
  • Consultation with a healthcare provider is essential before using CBD.

Cannabidiol, or CBD as it’s commonly known, has been making waves in the health and wellness industry. But what exactly is it? And how does it differ from THC, its more infamous cousin?

What is Cannabidiol?

Cannabidiol is a natural compound found in the cannabis plant. Unlike THC, it doesn’t have any psychoactive effects, meaning it won’t get you high.

The Therapeutic Benefits of CBD

CBD, or cannabidiol, has garnered significant attention due to its potential health benefits. Numerous studies have explored its efficacy in addressing various health concerns. We have compiled a collection of the latest research on the advantages of CBD for our well-being, including links to the respective studies. Here are a some of the most promising areas:

  1. Acute Low Back Pain Relief: The CANBACK trial was a randomized, controlled clinical trial that found oral cannabidiol to be effective in providing relief for individuals presenting to the emergency department with acute low back pain.
  2. Management of Arthritis: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial found that cannabidiol treatment could potentially help manage hand osteoarthritis and psoriatic arthritis, reducing pain and improving quality of life.
  3. Treatment for Movement Disorders: A study published in Frontiers in Pharmacology suggested that cannabidiol could be a promising strategy to treat and prevent movement disorders, although more research is needed to confirm these findings.
  4. Relief for Restless Legs Syndrome: A post hoc exploratory analysis of a phase 2/3 clinical trial found that cannabidiol could potentially provide relief for restless legs syndrome/Willis-Ekbom disease in Parkinson’s disease patients.
  5. Potential Treatment for Huntington’s Disease: A controlled clinical trial found that cannabidiol could potentially be used in the treatment of Huntington’s disease, although the results were not conclusive and more research is needed.
  6. Modulation of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder-like Behaviors: A study compared cannabidiol with sertraline for the modulation of post-traumatic stress disorder-like behaviors and fear memory in mice. The study found that cannabidiol could potentially be as effective as sertraline in modulating these behaviors.
  7. Treatment for Cocaine Use Disorder: A randomized placebo-controlled trial found that cannabidiol could potentially be used as a treatment for craving and relapse in individuals with cocaine use disorder.
  8. Prevention and Treatment of Gastrointestinal Disorders: A review in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences suggested that cannabidiol and other non-psychoactive cannabinoids could potentially be used to prevent and treat gastrointestinal disorders.
  9. Treatment for Colitis: A systematic review and meta-analysis found that cannabinoids, including cannabidiol, could potentially be used in the treatment of colitis.
  10. Potential Use in Functional Dyspepsia: A randomized controlled trial found that cannabidiol could potentially be used in the treatment of functional dyspepsia with normal gastric emptying.
  11. Treatment for High-Grade Glioma: A case report found that cannabidiol could potentially be used in the treatment of secondary high-grade glioma.
  12. Potential to Delay Survival in Glioblastoma Multiforme: A study suggested that cannabidiol may delay survival in patients with Glioblastoma Multiforme, a type of brain cancer.
  13. Treatment for Autoimmune Diabetes: A study found that cannabidiol could potentially be used in the treatment of autoimmune diabetes in NOD mice, a model of type 1 diabetes.
  14. Relief for Mechanical Allodynia in Diabetic Rats: A study found that cannabidiol could potentially attenuate mechanical allodynia, a type of pain, in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats.
  15. Effects on Diabetes Outcomes: A study found that cannabidiol could potentially have positive effects on diabetes outcomes and chronic cerebral hypoperfusion comorbidities in middle-aged rats.
  16. Efficacy on Glycemic and Lipid Parameters in Type 2 Diabetes: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel group pilot study found that cannabidiol could potentially have positive effects on glycemic and lipid parameters in patients with type 2 diabetes.
  17. Prevention of Graft-Versus-Host-Disease: A phase II study found that cannabidiol could potentially be used for the prevention of graft-versus-host-disease after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation.
  18. Effects on the Eye: A survey of ophthalmology found that cannabinoids, including cannabidiol, could potentially have positive effects on the eye, particularly in relation to intraocular pressure.
  19. Treatment for Psychosis and Addiction: CBD has shown promise in the treatment of psychosis and addiction. It appears to have a calming effect on the central nervous system, which can help reduce symptoms of psychosis and cravings for addictive substances.
  20. Skin Health and Disorders: CBD has potential therapeutic benefits for skin health and disorders. It has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce symptoms of skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. CBD may also help regulate skin oil production, which can prevent acne.
  21. Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC): CBD, in combination with THC, has shown to inhibit the proliferation of lung cancer cells. This suggests that it could potentially be used as a complementary treatment in NSCLC, alongside traditional cancer treatments like chemotherapy.
  22. Anxiety and Sleep Disorders: CBD has been used to treat conditions like anxiety and sleep disorders. It has a calming effect on the central nervous system, which can help reduce anxiety and improve sleep quality. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals with conditions like insomnia or generalized anxiety disorder.
  23. Pain Management: CBD has been found to enhance the antinociceptive effects of morphine and attenuate opioid-induced tolerance. This suggests that it could potentially be used as a complementary treatment in pain management, particularly for individuals who have developed a tolerance to opioid pain relievers.
  24. Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy: CBD has shown potential in preventing acute and transient chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy. This condition, which involves nerve damage and often results in pain and numbness in the hands and feet, is a common side effect of chemotherapy. CBD’s potential to prevent this condition could significantly improve the quality of life for individuals undergoing chemotherapy.
  25. Arthritis: Topical CBD has been used in the treatment of thumb basal joint arthritis. By reducing inflammation and pain at the site of arthritis, CBD can provide symptomatic relief and improve joint function.
  26. Peripheral Neuropathy of the Lower Extremities: A study published in the Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology journal found that topical CBD oil could provide symptomatic relief for peripheral neuropathy of the lower extremities. This condition, which affects the nerves in the feet and legs, can cause pain, numbness, and weakness. The application of CBD oil was found to alleviate these symptoms, improving the quality of life for patients.
  27. Heroin Use Disorder: CBD was found to reduce cue-induced craving and anxiety in drug-abstinent individuals with heroin use disorder. This suggests that CBD could play a significant role in helping individuals recover from heroin addiction by reducing the cravings that often lead to relapse
  28. Tobacco Addiction: CBD has been found to reduce cigarette consumption in tobacco smokers. This suggests that CBD could be a potential therapeutic agent for smoking cessation, helping individuals overcome their addiction to tobacco.
  29. Fear Extinction: CBD enhances the consolidation of specific fear extinction in humans. This suggests that CBD could be a potential treatment for conditions like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), where fear extinction is often impaired.
  30. Blood Pressure: A single dose of CBD has been found to reduce blood pressure in healthy volunteers. This suggests that CBD could be a potential treatment for hypertension, a condition that affects millions of individuals worldwide.
  31. Inflammation-Induced Hyperpermeability: CBD has been found to prevent inflammation-induced hyperpermeability of the human gut. This suggests that CBD could be a potential treatment for inflammatory bowel diseases, which are characterized by increased intestinal permeability.
  32. Social Anxiety Disorder and Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia: CBD has been found to enhance exposure therapy in treatment refractory patients with social anxiety disorder and panic disorder with agoraphobia. This suggests that CBD could be a potential treatment for these anxiety disorders, helping patients overcome their fears and improve their quality of life.
  33. Depression and Psychotic Disorders: CBD has potential as a treatment for anxiety, depression, and psychotic disorders. This suggests that CBD could be a potential therapeutic agent for a range of mental health disorders, providing a natural alternative to traditional psychiatric medications.
  34. Bipolar Affective Disorder: While CBD was found to be ineffective for manic episodes of bipolar affective disorder, it may still have potential benefits for other aspects of this condition.
  35. Muscle Damage: CBD has been found to have effects on noninvasive measures of muscle damage in men. This suggests that CBD could be a potential treatment for muscle damage, helping to speed up recovery and improve athletic performance.

The Science Behind Cannabidiol

A futuristic laboratory where scientists are researching and innovating CBD oil extraction methods

But what exactly is CBD, and how does it exert these effects on the human body? Let’s dive into the science!

How Does Cannabidiol Work?

CBD is one of over 100 cannabinoids found in the Cannabis sativa plant. Unlike its more famous cousin, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD does not produce a “high” or psychoactive effect. Instead, it works by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), a complex network of receptors and signaling molecules that regulate various physiological processes.

The ECS is involved in regulating a variety of functions, including sleep, appetite, pain, and immune system response. It consists of two main types of receptors: CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are primarily found in the brain and central nervous system, while CB2 receptors are more prevalent in peripheral tissues and the immune system.

CBD’s interaction with these receptors is somewhat unique. Unlike THC, which directly binds to CB1 receptors, CBD has a more complex mechanism of action. It does not bind directly to either CB1 or CB2 receptors but instead influences them indirectly. This can lead to a modulation of various signaling pathways within the ECS, resulting in the therapeutic effects attributed to CBD.

The Endocannabinoid System

The ECS is a complex cell-signaling system that plays a crucial role in maintaining homeostasis within the body. Homeostasis refers to the body’s ability to maintain a stable internal environment despite external changes. The ECS helps regulate a wide array of functions and processes, including mood, memory, appetite, temperature regulation, inflammation, and pain perception.

Here’s how the ECS works:

Endocannabinoids: These are naturally occurring compounds in the body that are similar in structure to cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. The two main endocannabinoids are anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG).

Receptors: Endocannabinoids bind to receptors (CB1 and CB2) to transmit signals within the body. CB1 receptors are mainly found in the brain, affecting mood and cognition, while CB2 receptors are involved in immune system regulation.

Enzymes: Enzymes are responsible for breaking down endocannabinoids once they have fulfilled their function. The main enzymes involved are fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), which breaks down AEA, and monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL), which breaks down 2-AG.

In summary, the science behind CBD’s therapeutic potential lies in its complex interaction with the ECS and other receptors within the body. Its ability to modulate various signaling pathways allows it to have a broad range of potential therapeutic effects, from reducing anxiety to alleviating chronic pain. As research continues to unfold, our understanding of CBD and its interaction with the human body will only deepen, paving the way for more targeted and effective therapeutic applications.

The Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol

CBD has been making waves in the health industry, but like any treatment, it’s not without its quirks. Let’s take a closer look at what you need to know.

Common Side Effects

CBD is generally well-tolerated, but it can cause some side effects, especially when taken in high doses. Here’s a more comprehensive list:

  • Nausea and Vomiting: Some users might feel queasy or even throw up.
  • Fatigue: Feeling unusually tired or sluggish is another common side effect.
  • Irritability: CBD might make some people feel more irritable or on edge.
  • Dry Mouth: You might find yourself reaching for a glass of water more often.
  • Diarrhea: Some users have reported changes in bowel habits.
  • Changes in Appetite or Weight: You might notice you’re hungrier or less hungry than usual, or see changes in your weight.
  • Dizziness or Light-headedness: Especially when standing up quickly.

These side effects are typically minor and often go away with time or a reduction in dosage. However, it’s always wise to consult with a healthcare provider, especially if you’re taking other medications.

Drug Interactions

Speaking of medications, CBD can also interact with other medications, leading to unexpected results. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Blood Thinners: CBD can increase the levels of blood-thinning medications like warfarin, potentially leading to bleeding risks.
  • Epilepsy Medications: CBD might interact with medications like clobazam, altering how they’re metabolized.
  • Certain Types of Pain Relievers: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) might interact with CBD.
  • Some Types of Antidepressants: If you’re taking medications for depression, CBD might affect how they work.

These interactions can either increase or decrease the effectiveness of the medications, or even lead to new side effects. If you’re on medication, especially for serious conditions like heart disease or epilepsy, don’t start CBD without talking to a healthcare provider. They’ll be able to guide you safely.

The Future of Cannabidiol Therapy

With all this potential, you might be wondering what the future holds for CBD therapy.

Ongoing Research

Research into the therapeutic potential of CBD is ongoing, with new studies being conducted all the time. As we learn more, we can expect to see new applications for this versatile compound.

Legal Challenges

While the potential is vast, CBD still faces legal challenges in some jurisdictions.

  • Regulation and Oversight: The legal status of CBD varies by country and even by state within countries. This creates a complex regulatory landscape that can hinder research and access.
  • Quality Control: With the booming CBD market, there’s a need for standardized quality control to ensure that products are safe and contain the advertised amount of CBD.
  • Medical Acceptance: Gaining acceptance within the medical community requires rigorous scientific evidence. As more research is conducted, we can expect broader acceptance, but this is a slow and careful process.

Technological Advancements

The future of CBD therapy is also tied to technological advancements:

  • Delivery Methods: From oils and tinctures to patches and inhalers, the way CBD is delivered to the body is evolving. New methods may increase effectiveness and convenience.
  • Precision Medicine: As we understand more about how CBD interacts with individual genetics and conditions, treatments can become more personalized and targeted.

Closing Thoughts

The future of cannabidiol therapy is a landscape rich with potential and fraught with challenges. The ongoing research is unveiling new possibilities every day, while legal and technological hurdles must be navigated with care.

What’s clear is that CBD is not a passing trend. It’s a serious area of scientific inquiry with the potential to change lives. As we continue to explore, learn, and innovate, the future of CBD therapy becomes a little brighter, a little more understood, and a lot more exciting. The road ahead is filled with discovery, and the journey is only just beginning.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is CBD good or bad for health?

CBD is generally considered good for health for many therapeutic purposes, but it may have side effects and interact with other medications. Always consult with a healthcare provider to determine if it’s suitable for your specific needs.

How does CBD benefit the brain?

CBD may have neuroprotective properties and has been studied for its potential to reduce anxiety and help with certain neurological disorders. Its interaction with the body’s endocannabinoid system appears to be key to these benefits.

Is it okay to use CBD every day?

Daily use of CBD is considered safe for many people, but individual responses can vary. Consult with a healthcare provider or follow specific product instructions to determine the right usage for you.

Is CBD a drug?

CBD is a natural compound found in the cannabis plant and is considered a drug in some contexts, especially for therapeutic purposes. Unlike THC, it does not have psychoactive effects, and its classification and regulation can vary widely by jurisdiction.

Dr. Jen Chalmers
Dr. Jen Chalmers
Dr. Jen Chalmers is an accomplished writer and cannabis enthusiast. With a Ph.D. in Botany and years of experience as a researcher, she brings a scientific perspective to her captivating articles on cannabis news, recipes, and the fascinating world of psychedelics.

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