CBD: EVERYTHING YOU HAVE EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT CANNABIDIOL (CBD)
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The mere mention of the word cannabis would have many people thinking solely of marijuana and its psychoactive effect (high). Even when the term “medical marijuana” is used many are often wont to see those who refer to the term as being drug addicts much like cocaine and opium abusers. For many years, there hasn’t been any form of democracy when it comes to the subject of cannabis as many governments were in the habit of banning it outright. However, in recent years, the usefulness of cannabis in the medical field has begun to become apparent in mainstream medicine.
In the last few years, there have been indications that Cannabidiol-rich strains of the cannabis plant have tremendous therapeutic benefits. However, because of the controversy surrounding the use of cannabis, not many scientists in the medical field were keen on pursuing CBD as a viable remedy. CBD was left to
natural therapy enthusiast who experimented with medical marijuana. In time the claims and body of proof concerning the efficacy of CBD grew to such proportion that it seemed almost impossible to ignore.
Then quite by chance in 2009, a fortuitous discovery was made in California of some remarkably CBD-rich strains of the cannabis plant. With medical marijuana legal in the state of California, a whole new vista of possibilities was open for the application of CBD in conventional medicine. In the years that have followed, the therapeutic efficacy of CBD in particular and medical marijuana in general has been established without question.
However, due to many years of the medical scientific community’s apathy towards cannabis as viable medical therapy, there is still an enormous gap in knowledge to be filled. The aim of this article is provide a detailed treatise on the entire body of knowledge on CBD as it exists today through a series of frequently asked questions and their corresponding answers.
Question 1: What exactly is CBD?
CBD stands for Cannabidiol and it is one of the most common of all the “cannabinoids” found in the cannabis plant. There are numerous chemical compounds found in cultivated varieties of the cannabis plant. CBD and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are always found to be in the highest levels of concentration.
Question 2: What are the similarities between CBD and THC?
CBD and THC are both cannabinoids found in the marijuana plant. They are the two most common of all the cannabinoids in the cannabis plant and they both interact with the cannabinoid receptors found in the human body. CBD and THC have the same chemical formula. They are also therapeutic in nature.
Question 3: How does CBD differ from THC? As stated in the previous section, CBD and THC are the two most common cannabinoids found in the marijuana plant. CBD is non-psychoactive whereas THC is psychoactive. It is this psychoactive nature of THC that produces the characteristic “high” when marijuana is smoked. Even though but have the same chemical formula, being isomers, their molecular structure is different.
This difference in molecular structure is what causes CBD to be non-psychoactive. CBD has no affinity for CB1 receptors in the brain. CB1 receptors are the pathway responsible for the psychoactive effect of THC.
Question 4: How does CBD work? There are still several unknown elements pertaining to the manner in which CBD works. There are a number of ongoing studies and researches centered on the workings of CBD. Based on the available body of knowledge with regards to CBD, the following is known:
Stimulating the Endo-Cannabinoid System:CBD has been found to stimulate certain neurological systems responsible for numerous physiological processes. One of such parts of the neurological systems stimulated by CBD is the endo-cannabinoid system. The endo-cannabinoid system is basically a collection of neuromodulators that interact with the brain and immune system of the body. CBD helps to stabilize healthy function of the endo-cannabinoid system thus producing therapeutic effect.
Regulating the Endo-Cannabinoid System:The endo-cannabinoid system is responsible for regulating the mood, appetite, pain, memory as well as other neurochemical and neurobiological impulses. Detailed studies have shown that CBD has a way of enhancing the production of the body’s own internal cannabinoid chemicals thus promoting the general health and wellbeing of the body.
This ability of CBD to stimulate and regulate the endo-cannabinoid system has attracted significant interest from many professionals in the medical field. It also forms the foundation upon which the numerous known applications of CBD therapy are based on. A lot more still has to be done in the area of studies and research concerning CBD but the signs so far are beyond encouraging.
Question 5: What are some of the Medical Benefits of CBD? Despite the limited level of understanding of the exact workings of CBD, one thing has been apparent to many in the medical field who have studied CBD closely and that is that CBD is incredibly effective at treating pain and inflammation. This makes it a sort of “wonder” natural therapy. There is hardly any disease that does not come with pain and inflammation and as such, there is the general consensus that CBD will find application in treating a whole host of disease conditions.
CBD has been found to be a powerful natural sedative without the adverse effect of synthetic sedatives. It is also a powerful analgesic as well as having anti-inflammatory properties. CBD functions as a cell protectant, a neuroprotectant as well as a bone stimulant. Various clinical trials also show CBD inhibiting growth of tumors and cancer cells.
Apart from inhibiting growth of cancer cells, CBD also reduced chemotherapy induced neuropathy, nausea as well as preventing wasting away of the body by increasing the patient’s appetite. CBD is also a powerful antioxidant and provides protection against Alzheimer’s disease.
Question 6: What Medical Conditions can CBD be used to treat?
Cancer and Tumors: Many clinical tests have shown that CBD possesses antineoplastic properties which make it quite effective at inhibiting the growth of cancer cells and tumor. CBD strengthens the immune system of cancer patients by actively stimulating the apoptotic pathways in the body. This allows the body system of cancer patients to destroy cancer cells. CBD can also be used in tandem with chemotherapy treatment as a relief against some of the adverse effects of the treatment such as nausea and loss of appetite.
Depression: Long before attention shifted to the use of CBD for medical purposes, THC has been used to treat depression. In fact, it is one of the reasons that have made the use of marijuana very prevalent in popular culture despite its legal status. CBD holds greater advantage over THC in treating depression because it is not psychoactive. CBD produces anti-depressant feelings of being uplifted and euphoric without the associated “high” that THC produces. A lot of studies are still being carried out in this area but the preliminary results are promising.
Diabetes and Cardiovascular Diseases: While not directly affecting glucose levels, CBD has been shown to prevent the formation of cytokines. Cytokines are a major cause of most autoimmune diseases including diabetes. CBD also inhibits the production of destructive insulitis which causes diabetes. CBD prevents cell death, inflammation, myocardial dysfunction, cardiac fibrosis and a host of other cardiovascular conditions. This has led many in the medical profession to state that CBD will prove effective in treating most cardiovascular disease conditions.
Schizophrenia: Sometime in the year 2012, a journal called Translational Psychiatry was published and it contained the results of a study by a group of researchers from Germany. In their study, they compared the efficacy of CBD and Amisulpride in the treatment of 42 schizophrenia patients. Amisulpride is a pharmaceutical schizophrenia drug. During the test study, it was discovered that CBD was just as effective as Amisulpride but had little to no side effects. CBD was shown to yield anti-psychotic as well as anxiolytic benefits that makes it suitable for treating schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and many other psychotic conditions.
Multiple Sclerosis: Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease with no known causal agent. Based on tests carried out by a group of scientist at the Cajal Institute, CBD has been shown to have the potential to slow down and reverse the progress of several aspects of MS. There is severe chronic pain associated with the condition and many patients have been known to obtain doctor’s prescription for controlled use of marijuana to manage the pain. Now, with attention on the use of CBD, a lot is being understood on just how much CBD can contribute to treatment for MS.
Crohn’s Disease: CBD has very strong anti-inflammatory properties and as such presents a viable option for the treatment of bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease. CBD is able to stimulate neurochemicals responsible for proper functioning of the gut and as such provides relief to patients suffering with Crohn’s disease.
Question 7: What is the Legal Status of CBD? CBD as a chemical substance is legal and is considered a food or supplement when sold in the form of CBD oil. While marijuana is a controlled substance in many countries, there is a clear distinction between it as its derivatives. To be on the safe side, you may inquire about the legal status of CBD in your country. In the US, CBD and all other derivatives of the marijuana plant are considered legal.
Question 8: Does CBD have side effects? Strictly speaking, CBD is not a drug and as such does not have side effects like the way pharmaceutical products do. It also does not have psychoactive properties like THC. It has been known to cause tiredness in some people due to its sedative and analgesic properties. The prevailing advice is not to handle heavy machinery after taking a dose of CBD.
Conclusion: There is no doubt that the future remains bright with the prospect of many breakthroughs in our understanding of just how CBD works. With the relaxation of laws concerning the marijuana plant, more interest will be given to CBD as a new “wonder” natural therapy. Already seen by many as nature’s super medicine, the coming years will hopefully see more applications of CBD in mainstream medicine.
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