I am sure you will agree with me when I say that many people have an entirely negative, totally stereotypical view of marijuana.
It’s okay, it’s not their fault. Well not really anyway.
Mainstream media paints a dire picture of cannabis users, making them out to be potheads, wasters or habitual drug addicts.
Never mind the fact that highly intellectual, influential & productive members of society throughout history have been chronic cannabis users!
Those who do know a little about marijuana will probably have heard of THC (the cannabinoid which gets you high), but hardly any will be able to tell you about Cannabidiol (CBD).
Exactly what is CBD? What does CBD do? What CBD benefits should you know about?
Anxiolytic. Anticancer. Antipsychotic. Antidepressant. Antiinflammatory. Antiemetic. This is to name just a few of the numerous CBD effects that can be highly useful in combating multiple conditions.
This post aims to give you an understanding of the immense health benefits of cannabidiol, a potent antioxidant with massive potential.
What is CBD, exactly? How Does it Work?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of over 65 cannabinoids present in the marijuana plant. Along with THC it is one of the two most prevalent cann
abinoids found in cannabis.
Although THC has psychoactive properties, CBD on the other hand does not cause the high that is experienced with THC rich strains of cannabis. In other words, CBD will not get you high.
To explain further…
Cannabinoids bind to CB1 and CB2 receptors found in various parts of the body. CB1 receptors are found predominantly in the brain, but also in the lungs, liver and kidneys. CB2 receptors on the other hand are concentrated in the immune system.
CBD has low affinity for CB1 and CB2 receptors (THC has a high affinity for these receptors). This may explain its lack of psychoactive effects (why it does not get you high).
Interestingly, it acts as an indirect antagonist of CB1 and CB2 receptor agonists. This means that it limits the effects of THC (and any other compounds that stimulate the CB1/CB2 receptors).
It might then be the case that CBD can help to counter the negative effects of THC such as paranoia, anxiety, and the short term memory impairment.
CBD exerts effects on the body by:
- Activating the Vanilloid receptor – This receptor is responsible for regulating pain perception, inflammation and the body temperature. When CBD binds to it, it triggers a pain management response, explaining why CBD is an effective pain killing treatment.
- Blocking the GPR55 receptor – Overactivation of the GPR55 receptor can play a role in developing osteoporosis & has also been found to promote cancer cell reproduction (leading to rapid cancer growth). CBD is a GPR55 antagonist, meaning it can help reduce development of osteoporosis & cancerous tumour growth.
- Suppressing the FAAH enzyme – Anandamide & THC are usually broken down with the help of FAAH. By preventing the breakdown of THC into its more psychoactive form, CBD helps to protect against a potent high, which is useful for treating children & people who do not wish to experience the psychoactive effects.
- Activating the 5HT1A Serotonin receptor – Serotonin stimulates the 5HT1A receptors affecting nausea, mood, addiction, sleep, pain, anxiety as well as appetite. High concentrations of CBD have been shown to stimulate the serotonin receptor, giving an anti-depressant & anxiolytic effect.
- Activation of the PPAR receptors – Found on the cell surface, these receptors are involved in many processes in the body. By binding to & acting as an agonist of PPAR receptors, CBD prevents cancer cell proliferation, encourages tumour regression, breaks down beta amyloid plaques found in Alzheimers disease, has anti inflammatory effects & may be useful in treating schizophrenia by reducing dopamine release.
- Activating Adenosine receptors – Besides having anti inflammatory effects, activation of A2A receptors help to decrease the release of dopamine and glutamate, which in turn has anxiolytic effects.
Now, it is important to understand that the rapidly growing list of health benefits that marijuana has is likely made possible by something referred to as the ‘entourage effect’.
All the cannabinoids in addition to around 400 other compounds in marijuana work in cohesion to provide the medicinal benefits.
Isolating and learning more about the individual cannabinoids helps to understand how different strains can help treat different conditions.
5 CBD Benefits You Probably Haven’t Heard Of
Besides the commonly known anticonvulsant effect cannabidiol has been proven to have, lets explore five CBD benefits and how it can be used to treat many medical conditions, with little or no side effects.
1. CBD and Acne
Did you know that CBD can be used to treat acne? A study carried out by The Journal of Clinical Investigation concluded that CBD has sebostatic effects and could be a useful component of acne treatment.
Due to the antiproliferative (in simpler terms, it prevents or slows down the spread of ‘bad’ cells into healthy cells) and anti-inflammatory effects CBD possesses, it is thought to be an effective potential therapy option for acne… without the harmful side effects seen with conventional acne remedies.
2. CBD Works as Anti Inflammatory & Highly Effective Painkiller
Rheumatoid Arthritis is a chronic (long term), inflammatory condition affecting the joints which can result in stiffness, pain, deformity, destruction, swelling, tenderness and eventual loss of function of the joints.
Studies show that CBD inhibits disease progression of RA & decreases the production of inflammatory mediators, which in turn reduces pain & swelling.
Interestingly, a study demonstrated that Sativex (an oral spray containing almost equal proportions of THC to CBD) was superior to THC-dominant extract in controlling intractable (difficult to treat) cancer pain which was resistant to opiates.
This suggests that CBD is an essential part of getting pain relief successfully.
3. Cannabidiol (CBD) as an Antipsychotic
In a study carried out by the Central Institute of Mental Health in Mannheim, Germany, CBD proved to be as effective as Amisulpride (a potent antipsychotic used to manage schizophrenia).
As a matter of fact, CBD had negligible side effects and additionally it was found to cause a significant increase in the levels of serum anandamide (an endocannabinoid naturally found in the body).
Again, this lead to marked clinical improvements in acute schizophrenia patients.
Isn’t this optimistic? Here we have a naturally found compound which can prevent anandamide from breaking down, and this then leads to anandamide staying in the body for longer.
High serum anandamide levels are associated with a decrease in pyschosis symptoms.
A natural treatment, found to be as effective as a conventional, commonly prescribed antipsychotic… only with little or no side effects. Sound to good to be true?
4. CBD Can Prevent Nausea & Vomiting
Although THC seems to be a potent antiemetic, meaning it is highly effective in suppressing nausea and vomiting by activating CB1 receptors, increasing evidence suggests that CBD is also useful in preventing nausea and vomiting.
CBD has been shown to indirectly activate 5HT1A receptors, decreasing nausea and vomiting. This makes CBD a great option for patients with chronic nausea and vomiting (cancer patients for example) as it does not have psychoactive properties.
5. CBD Is a Multifaceted AntiCancer Agent
The numerous pathways that CBD works on to cause death of cancer cells is both awe inspiring and highly intricate.
One of the major drawbacks of conventional cancer drugs is that not only do they target cancerous cells, but they also negatively affect healthy, non cancerous cells.
CBD aggressively kills cancer cells whilst leaving healthy cells intact. With little to no side effects. The possibilities are endless based on this point alone.
A 2011 study showed that CBD used multiple modes of action to kill breast cancer cells, whilst having no effect on the healthy cells.
One of the ways in which CBD does this is by triggering apoptosis (a process that involves a cell marking itself for destruction). Cancerous cells are unable to activate this pathway. This inability is essential for the cancer cell to be able to replicate (for the cancer to spread).
By triggering cell death in the cancerous cells, CBD prevents the spread of the cancer as well as killing the existing mass of tumour cells.
A 2016 study analysed the effectiveness of THC and CBD in treating neuroblastoma (a common cancer in children). Although both cannabinoids were found to be antitumourigenic, CBD was found to be more effective than THC in killing neuroblastoma cells.
Notable CBD effects were found to be:
- cytostatic (prevents cancer cell growth)
- apoptotic (triggers cell to mark itself for death), and
- antiangiogenic (prevents formation of new blood vessels from existing blood vessels)
making cannabinoids (and CBD in particular) an ideal anticancer treatment, especially considering CBD seems to have no detrimental side effects.
Conclusion – What is CBD and How Can it Be Used Medicinally?
Cannabidiol is one of two main cannabinoids found in the marijuana plant. After studying its effects, it is blatantly clear that it has a whole host of medicinal uses, and whats more remarkable is the fact that it seems to be free of side effects!
For example, CBD has proven anticonvulsant, anticancer, neuroprotectant, anti inflammatory, antiemetic, anti acne, and antipsychotic effects…
Yet although it seems pretty obvious that cannabis as a whole and certainly CBD is a viable therapy option for many chronic conditions, it is not prescribed by the majority of doctors for most of these purposes.
Although this post answers the question ‘What is CBD?’, the question of why this plant is illegal remains… with no logical, scientific, ethical or satisfying answer.
What do YOU think?
Do YOU think CBD should be routinely prescribed for the conditions it can successfully treat?
What would be your concerns?
Comment below and let us know your viewpoint!