Cannabidiol, commonly referred to as CBD, is a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis. One of the 113 cannabinoids, CBD has begun to shine due to its medicinal properties. With more studies being done each year, CBD is proving itself to be a tremendous resource to many people with a variety of medical needs.

Pre-clinical trials over the past 40 years have shown CBD to have positive effects as a:

  • Neuroprotectant
  • Anxiolytic
  • Antidepressant
  • Analgesic 
  • Antipsychotic 
  • Anti-inflammatory 

With many more uses being discovered as additional testing is being conducted. 

Cannabinoids

Cannabinoids are the chemical compounds found in cannabis that bind to our bodies cannabinoid receptors. Our cells have cannabinoid receptors that alter neurotransmitter release in the brain when they have been activated. The endocannabinoids, where these cannabinoids are produced naturally by animals, is a vast network of cell receptor proteins with many functions. The receptors are found almost every organ but are heavily concentrated in the central nervous system. 

Does CBD Get You High?

No, pure CBD does not have any sort of psychoactive effect, like THC does. Although originating from the same plant, CBD and THC connect on receptors at different locations. 

Dr. Ethan Russo, a neurologist and medical researcher, said this in an interview with Project CBD “CBD doesn’t tend to bind directly to what’s called the orthosteric site (on cannabinoid receptors) where THC binds. Rather, it binds on what’s called an allosteric site, another site on the receptor and so it alters the binding of both THC and the endogenous cannabinoids, the endo cannabinoids.”

You can certainly buy cannabis strains with a low or high CBD/THC content that will give you a “high” while providing medicinal benefits. CBD will also negate any negative side effects patients might experience from THC, such as paranoia and dizziness, so any patients sensitive to these effects might find a low THC/high CBD content strain preferable.

How Is CBD Cultivated?

Although found in all cannabis plants, medicinal CBD is more commonly cultivated from industrial hemp, due to its high CBD and low THC content. This hemp is a strain of cannabis sativa, but differs due to distinctive biochemical compositions and uses. Industrial hemp has a THC content below 0.3% and are is cultivated for its industrial and medicinal use.

A Report on CBD by the World Health Organization 

A report  published by the World Health Organization (WHO) in November of 2017, talked about the many benefits of CBD. Stating “CBD has been demonstrated as an effective treatment of epilepsy in several clinical trials…” going on to say  “There is also preliminary evidence that CBD may be a useful treatment for a number of other medical conditions.”

As for the other treatments, the WHO report specifies by saying “The range of conditions for which CBD has been assessed is diverse, consistent with its neuroprotective, antiepileptic, hypoxia-ischemia, anxiolytic, antipsychotic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-asthmatic, and antitumor properties.” 

Addiction 

In the WHO report mentioned earlier, they also touched on the fact that CBD can help those who are struggling with addiction. 

The report states “Another possible therapeutic application which has been investigated is the use of CBD to treat drug addiction. A recent systematic review concluded that there were a limited number of preclinical studies which suggest that CBD may have therapeutic properties on opioid, cocaine, and psychostimulant addiction, and some preliminary data suggest that it may be beneficial in cannabis and tobacco addiction in humans. However, considerably more research is required to evaluate CBD as a potential treatment.”

Although more testing is required to say for certain, the initial consensus is that CBD can assist with substance addiction, including opioids. Opioids are incredibly addictive and dangerous substances. Drug overdose has become the leading cause of death in Americans under 50, with two-thirds of those deaths occurring from opioids. Half of these deaths were from prescription opioids.

The abuse and deaths caused by opioids (both prescription and non-prescription) are only increasing in numbers every year. The terms “the opioid epidemic” and “the opioid crisis” were created to give name to this tragedy. The fact that CBD can assist with treating opioid addiction is huge, and we can hope that the legalization of CBD products will hamper these devastating numbers.

Antidepressant 

Studies have begun to show CBD has large-spectrum therapeutic potential as an antidepressant. Most antidepressants have a “waiting period” on when the patient begins taking them and when they begin to feel the effects of the antidepressant. With most medications this lag is weeks, but CBD can be lowering that time substantially, with effectiveness after only a single dose. Showing that CBD can be a fast-acting antidepressant, and without the troublesome side effects that often accompany antidepressant (drugs.

Antipsychotic 

CBD has shown exceptionally positive results as an anti-psychotic, especially for those with schizophrenia. One study  published by the Department of Neuroscience and Behavior at the University of São Paulo and National Institute for Translational Medicine stated “Additionally, CBD prevented human experimental psychosis and was effective in open case reports and clinical trials in patients with schizophrenia with a remarkable safety profile.”  The study ends with the conclusion “These results support the idea that CBD may be a future therapeutic option in psychosis, in general and in schizophrenia, in particular.”

Additional studies  have supported these findings, which are becoming increasingly more exciting as new studies will be sure to emerge soon with further information.

Arthritis 

Due to its ability to be an ani-inflammatory and pain reliever, CBD products are proving themselves to be of great use to those suffering from arthritis. An article (https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319796.php)  by Medical News Today highlights the effectiveness of CBD in assisting with inflammation and pain. The article goes on to talk about recent studies done on CBD and arthritis symptoms, such as the review listed here  that states CBD could be an effective treatment for Osteoarthritis, published in 2014. 

A study published in 2016 by the European Pain Federation, concluded that “These data indicate that topical CBD application has therapeutic potential for relief of arthritis pain-related behaviors and inflammation without evident side-effects.”

Calming Effects

Cannabidiol has been proven to be able to have an overall calming effect when used. This assists patients with anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and insomnia and other sleep disorders. 

Cancer 

CBD has been shown to be a great help to patients with cancer, assisting them with effects such as pain, nausea, poor appetite, insomnia, restlessness and depression or anxiety that may occur. CBD might be able to go a step farther though. Preliminary studies have found that CBD can inhibit cancer cell invasion and reduce tumors. 

Multiple Sclerosis 

Trials are ongoing in researching the effect of CBD on MS patients but initial results are extremely promising. One recent study  found that in a double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial, patients who had received a THC:CBD dosage responded better to treatment and had more improvement than patients who received treatment without the cannabis add-on.

Neurodegenerative Diseases 

Studies have begun to show that CBD can decrease occurrence and severity of neurodegenerative diseases, including Huntington’s disease and Alzheimer’s. A study goes on to say “These data also suggest that the naturally occurring, nonpsychotropic cannabinoid, cannabidiol, may be a potentially useful therapeutic agent for the treatment of oxidative neurological disorders such as cerebral ischemia. “