The good news for all progressive-minded people is that cannabidiol and other phytocannabinoids are beginning to be taken seriously by both the medical and the political establishment. Though not many officials may recognize, the deficiencies in a healthcare system fit for the 21st century should be addressed by more than just inspired policies. Investment in further cannabinoid research and a departure from the status of cannabidiol as a shady Internet-sold dietary supplement is but the first step. A product that has the promise of delivering so many health benefits should not be further relegated to the recesses of unsanctioned, unscrupulous commerce.
As is the case with any plant that constitutes a crop, cannabis plants have been selectively bred over the years to bolster one or another desired characteristic. This means that some plants provide a more potent psychotropic effect, others possess more prominent seeds (used in the production of cooking oil traditionally), while others may make for sturdier textile fibers.
‘The media has no doubt helped drive this popularity,’ says Dr Sarah Brewer, medical director at Healthspan. ‘However, the main drive is because people who take it experience the benefits very quickly, and “word of mouth” is a powerful thing. CBD oil also has such a wide range of benefits, reducing anxiety, promoting relaxation, ensuring a good night’s sleep, reducing pain perception and improving general feelings of wellbeing. It therefore appeals to a wide range of people.’
It makes no sense to me that something that helps with anxiety has an irritability side effect – as a lot of my anxiety is co-mingled naturally with irritability. Further, I have noticed none of these side effects, given that if you become fatigued or sleepy, you adjust dose the next day. So I don’t call that a side effect – rather – an effect of taking too much.
CBD is not often marketed as a weight loss aid, but studies show that it does have the potential for helping people to shed excess pounds. Cannabidiol has been heavily researched by independent organizations, and anecdotal evidence on its benefits for weight loss are widely available. Yet, until recently, the federal government persisted in classifying it as a controlled substance, even though it is nonaddictive, non-psychoactive, is not mood altering, and is safer than aspirin.
Nora Volkow from the National Institute on Drug Abuse reiterated the decision of (then) two dozen states to allow medical marijuana to be used in one way or another in their jurisdictions. This should open everyone’s eyes to the sanctioning of a non-addictive, non-psychoactive substance which has been linked to benefits for patients suffering from seizure disorders, quite a few neurodegenerative disorders or pain resulting from cancer.
CBD has been touted for a wide variety of health issues, but the strongest scientific evidence is for its effectiveness in treating some of the cruelest childhood epilepsy syndromes, such as Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS), which typically don’t respond to antiseizure medications. In numerous studies, CBD was able to reduce the number of seizures, and in some cases it was able to stop them altogether. Videos of the effects of CBD on these children and their seizures are readily available on the Internet for viewing, and they are quite striking. Recently the FDA approved the first ever cannabis-derived medicine for these conditions, Epidiolex, which contains CBD.
This turn is due to a comprehensive 2015 study aimed at two notoriously difficult manifestations of epilepsy – Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome – most often encountered in children. Seizure frequency was found to decrease between 54 percent and 67 percent for the six months cannabidiol medication was used, although a small part of individuals did not continue after three months, as their condition did not improve.
The list of cannabinoids currently comprises 113 entries, with more and more additions each year. Of these 113, by far the best documented are tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol (in this order), with the two also being the most abundant constituents of the cannabis plant. In a typical chemical isolation process, cannabidiol makes up a little under half of the entire extract.
Topical solutions: Topical CBD products include lotions, salves and lip balms. They are meant to benefit skin, joint and muscle health, and work when they are absorbed into the skin and through the dermal layers. CBD patches are also available for topical delivery of the compound. This allows the cannabinoids to be delivered directly to your bloodstream.
Cannabis is often associated with increased appetite (the munchies) and weight gain. However, this is due to its notorious tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content. Cannabidiol, or CBD, does not contain THC, so it is less likely to cause you to binge on a whole bag of Doritos. In fact, CBD can do just the opposite. By reducing your appetite, it can help you consume fewer calories and lose excess weight.
According to one board-certified dermatologist who specializes in cannabinoids in skin care and treatment, Jeanette Jacknin, as recently published in the Strategist, the way CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system, helps the skin look more “radiant and youthful” slowing down the signs of aging. Furthermore, its anti-inflammatory actions and interactions with the body can help decrease the effects of acne, eczema and psoriasis. (15)
Due to the uniqueness of everyone’s endocannabinoid system, CBD does not affect any two people the same way. There are a host of factors that influence its efficacy, including genetics, previous history of use, general health, weight, ethnicity and so on. Therefore, while one person may find that 15 mg of CBD a day works wonders for suppressing appetite and boosting weight loss, another may require up to 100 mg (or more) in order to achieve the same results (in fact, they may not experience any results at all).
CBD is one of over 60 compounds found in cannabis that belong to a class of ingredients called cannabinoids. Until recently, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) was getting most of the attention because it’s the ingredient in cannabis that produces intoxicating effects in users. But CBD is also present in high concentrations — and the world is awakening to its possible benefits.
As revealed by the results of a study published by the Addiction Journal and performed by University College London, smokers wishing to quit and treated with one 800mg dose of CBD, saw 40 percent more success in the first week of their attempt when using CBD products, than those treated with a placebo. Those treated with even a low dose of CBD claimed fewer intrusive thoughts, enabling them to go about their daily lives without the need for a cigarette, unlike those who were not given the cannabinoid. (6)
The immediate and powerful effects of THC are explained because of the special affinity it has with the CB1 type receptors, which mediate crucial processes in the brain. The less prominent (but no less important) action of CBD was explained, at least for a while, by hypothesizing that it binds to CB2 type receptors, hence its more diffuse manner of exercising changes in the body. Early on, the antipsychotic effects of cannabidiol were observed, an aspect which seemed to be in consonance with this initial hypothesis.
A study published by David Cheng, Postdoctoral Scientist, Neuroscience Research, University of New South Wales, NSW, Australia, says that CBD has a potential as a preventive measure against symptoms of Alzheimer’s. This presents yet another exciting development for medical researchers, given the persistent challenges to finding effective solutions for this condition.
Kevin Sabet, a psychiatrist at the University of Florida’s Drug Policy Institute, presented a six-point plan whose purpose is accelerating officially sanctioned serious research in the properties of cannabidiol and relaxing barriers for private actors interested in the matter, who would nevertheless pursue this avenue in a grayer area and thus, less safe.
Currently, the only CBD product approved by the Food and Drug Administration is a prescription oil called Epidiolex. It's approved to treat two types of epilepsy. Aside from Epidiolex, state laws on the use of CBD vary. While CBD is being studied as a treatment for a wide range of conditions, including Parkinson's disease, schizophrenia, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and anxiety, research supporting the drug's benefits is still limited.
I have read about studies from Europe (not very specific I know) that suggest CBD might work better for some people if combined with some level of THC. Also, the getting high part can be helpful, although not for everybody, of course. A second point – I don’t hear very much about CBD eliminating or almost eliminating pain for people with severe pain. Helpful, but, so far at least, it doesn’t seem that CBDs can replace opioids or substantially reduce pain for all chronic pain patients. Maybe someday.
Then there is the matter of which part of the plant is used. THC tends to be more concentrated in the leaves of the plant, while CBD in its stem and seeds. It should be noted that these aspects are relative. Some degree of agreement exists that for the purest CBD, the stalk of a hemp plant (varieties of cannabis generally grown for fiber manufacturing, low in THC), or much less often the seeds. Taking into account the fact that CBD supplements are usually in an oil form, one may fathom the origins of the nearly ubiquitous hemp oil dietary supplements.