The use of medical marijuana continues to be an emotionally and politically charged issue. Although cannabis oil preparations have been used in medicine for millennia, the concern over the dangers of abuse led to the banning of the medicinal use of marijuana in the 1930s.
Only recently, marijuana and chemically related compounds have come back to being considered of therapeutic value. A prominent compound found in marijuana or cannabis, CBD, or cannabidiol, has shown to treat numerous diseases. Researchers believe that in view of the very low toxicity and the generally benign side effects of CBD, neglecting or denying CBD benefits and its clinical potential is simply unacceptable.
What Is CBD?
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 mind-altering effects in users.
Does CBD Oil Create a High?
The short answer is: No. (Though oils with THC can also contain CBD).
Unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive. This means that it does not change the state of mind of the person who uses it. However, it does appear to produce significant changes in the body and has been found to have medical benefits.
Most of the CBD used medicinally is found in the least processed form of the cannabis plant, known as hemp.
Hemp and marijuana come from the same plant, cannabis sativa, but they are very different.
Over the years, marijuana farmers have selectively bred their plants to be very high in THC and other compounds that interested them, either for a smell or an effect they had on the plant's flowers.
On the other hand, hemp farmers have not tended to modify the plant. It is these hemp plants that are used to create CBD oil.
Marijuana CBD vs. Hemp CBD: Which One is Best?
As mentioned, the main difference when thinking about marijuana-derived CBD vs hemp-derived CBD come down to the plant differences more than the CBD oil/CBD extract. It's kinda like clover honey vs. orange blossom honey - there's a slight different in taste but they're both honey when it comes down to it. So what becomes the tie breaker? Legality.
To use medical marijuana, it has to be legal in the state that you live in as well as for the condition you have. As mentioned above, hemp-derived CBD is far more accessible and can be bought from many different places.
CBD Oil Benefits:
Relieves Pain and Inflammation
Among common CBD benefits, natural pain relief tops the list for many. Evidence suggests that cannabinoids may prove useful in pain modulation by inhibiting neuronal transmission in pain pathways. A 2012 study published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine found that CBD significantly suppressed chronic inflammatory and neuropathic pain in rodents without causing analgesic tolerance. Researchers suggest that CBD and other nonpsychoactive components of marijuana may represent a novel class of therapeutic agents for the treatment of chronic pain.
Has Antipsychotic Effects
Research shows that CBD benefits include producing antipsychotic effects. It appears to have a pharmacological profile similar to that of atypical antipsychotic drugs as seen using behavioral and neurochemical techniques in animal studies. Additionally, studies show that CBD prevents human experimental psychosis and is effective in open case reports and clinical trials in patients with schizophrenia, with a remarkable safety profile.
Studies using animal models of anxiety and involving healthy volunteers clearly suggest an anxiolytic-like effect of CBD. Cannabidiol has shown to reduce anxiety in patients with social anxiety disorder and researchers suggest that it may also be effective for panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, social anxiety disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.
A 2011 study aimed to compare the effects of a simulation public speaking test on healthy control patients and treatment-native patients with social anxiety disorder. A total of 24 never-treated patients with social anxiety disorder were given either CBD or placebo 1.5 hours before the test. Researchers found that pretreatment with CBD significantly reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment and discomfort in their speech performance, and significantly decreased alertness in anticipation of their speech. The placebo group presented higher anxiety, cognitive impairment and discomfort.
Helps to Fight Cancer
Several scientific reports demonstrate that CBD benefits include possessing antiproliferative, pro-apoptotic effects that inhibit cancer cell migration, adhesion and invasion. A 2006 study published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics found for the first time that CBD potently and selectively inhibited the growth of different breast tumor cell lines and exhibited significantly less potency in non-cancer cells.
In 2011, researchers added light on the cellular mechanism through which CBD induces cell death in breast cancer cells. They showed that CBD induced a concentration-dependent cell death of both oestrogen receptor-positive and oestrogen receptor-negative breast cancer cells. They also found that the effective concentrations of CBD in tumor cells have little effect on non-tumorigenic, mammary cells.
CBD behaves as a non-toxic compound and studies show that doses of 700 milligrams per day for 6 weeks did not show any overt toxicity in humans, suggesting that it can be used for prolonged treatment. Not only does the research show that CBD benefits including being effective in fighting breast cancer cells, data also suggests that it can be used to inhibit the invasion of lung and colon cancer, plus it possesses anti-tumor properties in gliomas and has been used to treat leukemia.
Cannabis has been used for centuries for the suppression of nausea and vomiting. Research has revealed that among more than 80 cannabinoid compounds found in marijuana, both the intoxicant THC and the non-intoxicant CBD helps to get rid of nausea and vomiting in animal studies. A 2012 study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology found that CBD benefits including possessing anti-nausea and antiemetic effects when it was administered to rats.
Might Have Neuroprotective Properties
Researchers believe that CBD’s ability to act on the endocannabinoid system and other brain signaling systems may provide benefits for those with neurological disorders.
In fact, one of the most studied uses for CBD is in treating neurological disorders like epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. Though research in this area is still relatively new, several studies have shown promising results.
Sativex, an oral spray consisting of CBD and THC, has been proven to be a safe and effective way to reduce muscle spasticity in people with multiple sclerosis.
One study found that Sativex reduced spasms in 75% of 276 people with multiple sclerosis who were experiencing muscle spasticity that was resistant to medications.
Another study gave 214 people with severe epilepsy 0.9–2.3 grams of CBD oil per pound (2–5 g/kg) of body weight. Their seizures reduced by a median of 36.5%.
One more study found that CBD oil significantly reduced seizure activity in children with Dravet syndrome, a complex childhood epilepsy disorder, compared to a placebo.
However, it’s important to note that some people in both these studies experienced adverse reactions associated with CBD treatment, such as drowsiness, fatigue, fever and diarrhea.
CBD has also been researched for its potential effectiveness in treating several other neurological diseases.
For example, several studies have shown that treatment with CBD improved quality of life and sleep quality for people with Parkinson’s disease.
Additionally, animal and test-tube studies have shown that CBD may decrease inflammation and help prevent the neurodegeneration associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
In one long-term study, researchers gave CBD to mice genetically predisposed to Alzheimer’s disease, finding that it helped prevent cognitive decline.
Lowers Incidence of Diabetes
A 2006 study found that CBD treatment significantly reduced the incidence of diabetes in non-obese diabetic mice from an incidence of 86 percent in non-treated mice to an incidence of 30 percent in CBD-treated mice. CBD benefits also showed a significant reduction of plasma levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines. A histological examination of the pancreatic islets of the CBD-treated mice revealed significantly reduced insulitis.
In 2013, the American Journal of Medicine published a study that highlighted the impact of marijuana use on glucose, insulin and insulin resistance among U.S. adults. The study included 4,657 adult men and women from the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey from 2005 to 2010. Of the participants, 579 were current marijuana users and 1,975 were past users. The researchers found that current marijuana use was associated with 16 percent lower fasting insulin levels. They also found significant associations between marijuana use and smaller waist circumferences, a factor connected to the onset of diabetes symptoms.
Promotes Cardiovascular Health
A 2013 study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology reports that CBD protects against the vascular damage caused by a high glucose environment, inflammation or the induction of type 2 diabetes in animal models; plus, CBD proved to reduce the vascular hyperpermeability (which causes leaky gut) associated with such environments.
CBD May Be Beneficial for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Due to its anti-inflammatory effect, cannabinoids may provide relief of joint pain and swelling, and decrease joint destruction and disease progression.
Administration of CBD protected joints against severe damage, decreased progression, and produced improvement of arthritis in animal models.
The first controlled trial showed that administration of Sativex over 5 weeks produced significant improvements in the intensity of pain on movement and at rest, quality of sleep, and inflammation. No serious adverse effects were observed.
Cannabidiol May Help with Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Studies confirmed that CBD prevents colitis in animal models of IBD.
The combination of CBD and THC may reduce inflammation and relieve symptoms of IBD, such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, and reduced appetite.
Studies also showed that CBD may be a good candidate to normalize gut motility in patients with inflammatory bowel disease.
CBD may reduce gut inflammation severity through activation of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma (PPAR-gamma).
Fights Multi-Drug Resistant Bacteria
Researchers discovered that cannabinoids (including CBD) have an unusual ability to destroy bacteria (especially drug-resistant strains). More research is needed to find out how and why it works.
A 2011 study found that CBD can also slow the progression of tuberculosis in rats. Researchers concluded that CBD likely does this by inhibiting T-cell proliferation, rather than possessing antibacterial properties.
Whatever the mechanism is for destroying bacteria, CBD seems to be a potent weapon against the antibiotic resistant “superbugs” that are becoming more and more of a problem today.
Reduces Oxidative Stress
Oxidative stress is responsible for many ailments today. Oxidative stress is when the body has too many free radicals and can’t keep up with neutralizing them (with antioxidants). This is more of a problem now than in the past because our environment is so much more toxic than it once was. A 2010 study shows that CBD oil acts as an antioxidant and another study found CBD has neuroprotective qualities. So CBD can reduce neurological damage caused by free radicals.
Cannabidiol May Treat Depression
According to researchers, CBD has antidepressant-like effects in mice.
Studies found that antidepressant effects of CBD were fast, continuous over time, and comparable to a common tricyclic medication imipramine, also known as Tofranil.
Promotes Healthy Weight
Cannabidiol can help maintain healthy blood sugar, stimulates genes and proteins that helps break down fat, and increase mitochondria that helps burn calories.
CBD also encourages the body to convert white fat to brown fat. White fat is the kind of fat we typically think of when we think about body fat. Brown fat is fat that is in small deposits that behaves differently than white fat. Brown fat is said to improve health by enhancing the bodies ability to burn white fat, create heat, and even regulate blood sugar.
Cannabidiol May Help with Insomnia
Research suggests taking CBD before bed improves sleep in people with insomnia.
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Improves Skin Conditions
CBD oil can be used topically to treat skin conditions. Studies show CBD oil has a high potential for treating skin conditions like eczema by encouraging abnormal cell death. It can also help regulate the skin’s oil production, reducing acne. CBD also contains many nutrients like vitamin E that help improve and protect the skin.
CBD Reverse the Signs of Aging
Science has shown that not only is CBD a powerful antioxidant, it might actually be a more powerful antioxidant than both vitamins C and E. In fact, a study released in 1998 by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America expressed that “cannabidiol was more protective against glutamate neurotoxicity than either ascorbate or α-tocopherol, indicating it to be a potent antioxidant”.
May Reduce Acne
Acne is a common skin condition that affects more than 9% of the population. It is thought to be caused by a number of factors, including genetics, bacteria, underlying inflammation and the overproduction of sebum, an oily secretion made by sebaceous glands in the skin.
Based on recent scientific studies, CBD oil may help treat acne due to its anti-inflammatory properties and ability to reduce sebum production.
One test-tube study found that CBD oil prevented sebaceous gland cells from secreting excessive sebum, exerted anti-inflammatory actions and prevented the activation of “pro-acne” agents like inflammatory cytokines.
Another study had similar findings, concluding that CBD may be an efficient and safe way to treat acne, thanks in part to its remarkable anti-inflammatory qualities.
Though these results are promising, human studies exploring the effects of CBD on acne are needed.
Other Potential Benefits:
Antipsychotic effects: Studies suggest that CBD may help people with schizophrenia and other mental disorders by reducing psychotic symptoms.
Substance abuse treatment: CBD has been shown to modify circuits in the brain related to drug addiction. In rats, CBD has been shown to reduce morphine dependence and heroin-seeking behavior.
Cannabidiol Promotes Bone Growth
Rodents with broken limbs healed much faster when treated with CBD.