Cannabis, a flowering plant that is also called marijuana, is well known for its recreational and medicinal application for thousands of years. Endocannabinoid System, also known as the system of endogenous receptors has a salient role in autoimmune disease, inflammation, nausea, and many others including some biological functions. Cannabis acts on ES (Endocannabinoid System) and helps to fight against those diseases.
Years of research has unveiled that, cannabis constitutes of over 100 types of chemicals, collectively known as cannabinoids. Cannabinoids have a noticeable impact on the change in the characteristics and composition of endogenous chemicals (neurotransmitters) released from the brain.
THC, also known as tetrahydrocannabinol and CBD are two of the most active components of cannabis. Alike THC, CBD acts on several receptors but without any undesirable psychoactive effects. There is significant evidence that suggests the efficacy of CBD for attaining therapeutic benefits for a multitude of conditions.
For thousands of years, cannabis has been cultivated all around the world for its outstanding medicinal and recreational benefits. The earliest evidence of using cannabis for its medicinal purposes has been recorded between 1400-2000 BC. Earlier in the 19th century, William Osler insisted that cannabis-derived from marijuana was efficacious in treating migraines.
Although, by 1937, production of hemp and marijuana was declared legal, suddenly after 1968, the act was changed and the production of marijuana was proclaimed prohibited. As a result, the ongoing research into cannabis and its medicinal benefits halted for an uncertain time.
At the University of Illinois, Dr. Roger and his team discovered CBD in 1940. Although CBD was discovered 20 years prior to the discovery of THC, the research on THC has been dominating cannabis until lately.
There are many ways CBD can enter the body. But the most viable routes are through inhalation and orally. The bioavailability of CBD depends on the way it is taken. Bioavailability, a term in pharmacology refers to the rate of medicine absorbed by the circulatory system of the body.
Based on several studies and observations, CBD works better when inhaled. Devices to vaporize or aerosolize the substance have been used to determine its bioavailability. Many studies have found a higher bioavailability of CBD which is above 30%. On the contrary, this method of taking CBD is much costly since the equipment required to aerosolize it is very expensive.
A much-uncomplicated way to deliver CBD is through orally. But there is a catch when it comes to the circulatory system of the body. Before entering the systemic circulation, drugs taken orally pass through the liver. So, there’s a chance the substance may break down and turn into inactive molecules hence lose its therapeutic efficacy.
Since CBD is more soluble in fat than in aqueous, one of the alternate methods of delivering it through the transdermal patch seems to be challenging. Furthermore, it would be way more difficult to intercept the accumulation of the substance in the skin.
The good news is CBD in any form is totally safe. It is not addictive, won’t lead to dependency and in addition, it doesn’t create any resistance towards the drug. So, it can be an excellent choice for people who are trying to stay away from addictive drugs.
After extracting Cannabidiol from the cannabis plant, it is diluted with coconut oil or hemp seed oil which is called the carrier oil. It comes in different forms.
The most common forms of CBD available are:
The concentration of Cannabidiol varies in each of those CBD products. The multiple forms of this drug allow people to attune their niche method of use to their specific needs.
Cannabidiol as an industry has been gaining significant admiration all around the world, since the legalization of marijuana in different countries for its medicinal benefits. Several scientific studies have taken place to prove its efficacy in alleviating the symptoms of illness like chronic pain, depression, epilepsy, schizophrenia, anxiety, autoimmune disease, skin conditions, cancer, and many others. So far, the efficacy of CBD has been observed in:
Fibromyalgia is a disorder that is believed to amplify the painful sensations by affecting the pain signals processed by the brain. This causes widespread musculoskeletal pain, and people suffering from this condition have experienced significant relief using CBD. It also has been found to be effective in other common pain like sternum pain induced by Costochondritis, to some extent, in the prevention of the degeneration of the nervous system. Canada has approved CBD for the treatment of multiple sclerosis and neuropathic pain.
Research shows chronic inflammation may lead to some other non-infectious diseases like Type-1 Diabetes, Cancer, Alzheimer’s disease. In this case, CBD can play a role in treating inflammation and, consequently alleviating these diseases.
Types of neurological disorders like epilepsy in children can be treated using CBD. The anti-seizure properties of CBD make it an excellent choice for the treatment of different types of epilepsy, including some rare conditions.
In 2018, FDA approved Epidiolex (contains a refined form of CBD) for the treatment of Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS) and Dravet Syndrome (DS) which are two of the rare forms of epilepsy. LGS and DS don’t seem to be responsive to any anti-seizure drugs. According to some research, complications resulting from conditions like neuronal injury and psychiatric diseases can also be treated by CBD.
Depression is considered as the primary cause of social disability worldwide and anxiety disorder has been ranked sixth.
Pharmaceuticals used to treat anxiety and depression cause several types of side-effects including agitation, drowsiness, sleeplessness, sexual dysfunctions like erectile dysfunction and decreased libido, consistent headache. Benzodiazepines, a class of psychoactive medicines extensively used for the treatment of anxiety and insomnia has been found to be addictive. Furthermore, taking this type of drug for a long period of time may lead to substance abuse.
CBD has shown its potential as a reliable treatment for anxiety as well as depression with very little or no side effects. As a result, people suffering from anxiety and depression can consider CBD as a convenient and natural alternative.
In a Brazillian study on the efficacy of Cannabidiol for anxiety with 57 men who took oral CBD or Placebo 90 minutes prior to a simulated public speaking test. The result was satisfactory and the researchers noticed that a CBD dose of 300mg was effective at reducing anxiety. In animal studies, Cannabidiol has also shown some effects similar to antidepressants. These characteristics of CBD are linked to its ability to act on serotonin, a neurotransmitter responsible for mood and social behavior.
A group of researchers carried out a study on 177 people suffering from pain resulting from cancer who did not respond to pain medications earlier. They were treated with two types of drugs, one of which contains only THC and the other one carries a combination of CBD and THC. The study shows that people treated with the combination of CBD and THC responded significantly better than those with the only THC. Some studies have found several anticancer properties in CBD, for instance, concentrated CBD prompted cell death in breast cancer cells.
Heart disease is the most common and increasing problem across the world. Unfortunately, in the USA, it is one of the leading causes of death every year. Although a healthy diet and a well-disciplined lifestyle are the top priority for the people suffering from heart disease, CBD oil can be helpful in many other ways.
Blood pressure fluctuations caused by stress has been shown to be controlled by CBD treatment. In 2017, a study on 9 male volunteers observed that treatment with CBD worked significantly better than Placebo and successfully reduced the blood pressure induced by a stressful event.
Several animal studies have found evidence of potential antioxidant properties in CBD that minimize inflammation and cell death related to heart disease.
CBD has been found to treat many health issues other than those illustrated above. Although it requires several long term studies to define the efficacy of CBD, it is found to provide health benefits like:
By reducing the psychotic symptoms, CBD has been shown to help patients with schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders.
In the USA, about 200,000 people below the age of 65 suffer from early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. It is a type of dementia that causes memory loss, difficulties of critical thinking and other cognitive abilities among patients. A journal published earlier has suggested that CBD can be a help in retaining the ability to recognize known faces and slowing down the development of the disease in patients.
CBD can help people with substance abuse by modifying the circuits in the brain that play a role in addiction. In animal studies, CBD has successfully diminished the morphine dependence in rats. Even some studies claim that an attempt to reduce the heroin-seeking behavior of rats was successful using CBD.
CBD is said to show its efficacy in preventing tumors. In animal studies, researchers have found CBD to intercept the spread of cancer and reduce abnormal cell proliferation in mice.
Animal studies have found CBD to reduce the incidence of diabetes in mice by 56% and a significant decrease in inflammation.
The condition when antioxidants fail to neutralize the excessive free radicals produced in the body is called oxidative stress.
The rising toxicity in the environment is a major cause of this problem. Too many free radicals in the body result in massive neurological damage, but the antioxidant and neuroprotective properties of CBD can lower it down.
Some studies have found an uncommon ability of CBD to kill bacteria. But it’s not yet clear how it works. Some studies have observed that, rather than having antibacterial properties, in mice, inhibiting T-cell escalation CBD decelerates the progression of tuberculosis.
Although the mechanism of dispatching bacteria is still unknown to the researchers, CBD has been seen to be a potential weapon to fight against antibiotic-resistant superbugs.
By terminating the abnormal cell growth CBD oil shows its ability in the treatment of several skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis. On the other hand, CBD can reduce the oil produced by the sebaceous glands which is one of the main reasons for severe to moderate acne in almost 85% of people.
Clinical investigations have found that the anti-inflammatory property of CBD is responsible for decreasing the production of sebum. On account of this reason, CBD can be a breakthrough in the future treatment of acne vulgaris.
Scientists have found that CBD can help people experiencing withdrawal symptoms of drugs like Opioids and stimulants like Cocaine. Addiction to nicotine and cannabis can also be treated with CBD, they claim.
A study on smokers observed that people who used CBD inhalers were able to lower down the number of cigarettes they used to smoke in a day. Furthermore, those smokers did not experience any kind of nicotine withdrawal symptoms.
Since the Endocannabinoid system is common in all mammals, CBD has been found to be helpful in the same health issues of animals, particularly for cats and dogs.
CBD oil may help your pets with problems with excessive barking, alleviating pain, relaxing pets before a long journey, reduced appetite and anxiety. As it is difficult to gauge the dosage for animals, you can start with 1mg per 10lb body weight. If it is needed, you can increase it up to 5mg or greater than that. But you must consult with a vet before raising the dosage to avoid unwanted adverse effects.
The dosage of CBD can be determined by some factors, including:
Simply put, the amount of CBD you should take depends on many variables. You should talk to your doctor before taking CBD and determine the dosage. If you are going to take it as an over-the-counter drug, but don’t know the dosage, you should start with a lower dose starting from 20mg to 40mg. Then you can adjust it by lowering or increasing your dose by 5mg.
It’s important to keep notes on the amount of CBD you are taking and observe whether your symptoms are getting better or not. Studies have found that continuous use of a higher dosage like 1500mg a day for a long period of time is safe and well-tolerated.
Although most of the products available in the market come with a label telling you the amount of CBD in them, yet, sometimes it’s a tricky task to calculate the right amount.
For instance, CBD oil that comes in a dropper bottle might specify you the total amount of CBD it contains. As a result, it becomes difficult to figure out the amount in a single drop.
A single drop is about 0.05mL, which means a 10mL bottle contains 200 drops. So, if the packaging says that the entire bottle contains 1000 milligrams of CBD, then the amount of CBD in each drop will be 5mg.
Normally, CBD is well tolerated and considered as a safe drug, but some people may experience adverse reactions.
Side effects that may induce from CBD are:
The side effects mentioned above are mild and may last for 2 to 5 hours. But it is better to consult with a physician if any of those side effects are noticed.
It has been found that CBD has some interaction issues with a few other medications. CBD interferes with Cytochromes P450 or CYPs, a group of enzymes that are essential to drug metabolism.
Research on CBD for its health benefits is continuing and surely, so many new therapeutic benefits will be discovered in the near future. Though there is still so much to define the exact safety and efficacy of CBD, until now it has been found to be a safe and a potential medicine to treat several health issues. This is a very powerful gift of Mother Nature that should be admired and respected as well.