Since industrial hemp was legalized in the US in 2018, CBD has grown in popularity. As a result, the number of CBD manufacturers and suppliers is increasing, with many hailing it as a miracle drug which can cure anything from toothache to cancer. With so much misleading – and often conflicting – information around, it’s hard to know exactly what CBD is and how it works.
This guide outlines what it can be used to treat, allowing you to make an informed decision when purchasing a CBD product.
- How Does CBD Work?
- Medical Uses of CBD
- Depression and Anxiety
- Pain Relief
- Heart Disease, Metabolical Disorders, And Diabetes
- Neurological Disorders
- Cancer-Related Symptoms And Side-Effects Of Cancer Treatments
HOW DOES CBD WORK?
The human body contains a complex hormonal system called the endocannabinoid system. It is designed to process and respond to cannabinoids, including those found in hemp and marijuana plants. Additionally, it even produces its own cannabinoids (called endocannabinoids).
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) has two main cannabinoid receptor types: CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are found in the brain, the nervous system, organs, tissues, and glands, where they contribute to functions and processes such as movement and coordination, appetite, emotion, memory, and pain.
CB2 receptors are primarily located in white blood cells, the tonsils, and the spleen. They help manage pain and inflammation.
When CBD enters the body and activates the CB1 receptor, potential benefits include relief from various conditions such as depression, anxiety, insomnia, paranoia, high blood pressure, inflammation, and chronic pain.
When CBD activates the CB2 receptor, it contributes to optimum liver and kidney function, bone and skin health, and general well-being and immunity.
MEDICAL USES OF CBD
In 2017, the World Health Organization, or WHO, conducted an extensive study on CBD and its effects on humans. They found no public health risks or abuse potential for CBD, which is a big stamp of approval considering the source. The WHO report also reported several potential medical applications for CBD for a variety of ailments and conditions.
As the WHO declares in the report’s summary:
There is also preliminary evidence that CBD may be a useful treatment for a number of other medical conditions.
DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY
The most common pharmaceutical medicines that are prescribed for depression and anxiety have side-effects that can, in some cases, be severe. These include headaches, drowsiness, sexual dysfunction, insomnia, and agitation.
That makes CBD, as suggested by recent research, a good alternative treatment for children, adults, and even animals that suffer from depression and anxiety.
One recent study was performed on 24 people who suffer from a social anxiety disorder. The subjects were given either a placebo or 600mg of CBD and then made to perform a public speaking test. The group who had received the CBD performed the test with less cognitive impairment, anxiety, and discomfort than those who had received the placebo.
You can read more on CBD and depression here.
Cannabis has been used to treat pain throughout history, with records of its use dating back thousands of years. There’s little doubt that it works, but it’s only recently that scientists have discovered why: it is specifically CBD which is largely responsible for cannabis’s pain-relieving effects, in part due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
In one study, CBD was injected into a rat before an incision was made. The CBD was shown to lessen the rat’s pain response. In another study, rats were given CBD orally, which lessened their sciatic nerve pain and inflammation. Finally, another study, published by the Journal of Experimental Medicine, concluded that when CBD was given to rats and mice with chronic pain and inflammation, the symptoms were significantly reduced.
Although official research on humans is currently somewhat limited, recent studies have shown that CBD reduces pain caused by multiple sclerosis and arthritis.
HEART DISEASE, METABOLICAL DISORDERS, AND DIABETES
Both heart disease and diabetes are notoriously hard to treat, and the common pharmaceutical medications often come with multiple side-effects. However, recent lab studies suggest that CBD could be used to treat these conditions.
In one study, 10 healthy men took one 600mg dose of CBD and found that it lowered their resting blood pressure. When given another dose of CBD and undertook a stress test, they found that their blood pressure increased by less than what was expected.
In the case of diabetes, a study found that CBD may prevent heart damage, oxidative stress, and inflammation in diabetic mice. Additionally, 56% fewer mice developed diabetes once they were treated with CBD, showing that the cannabinoid has a positive effect on the condition in general.
You can read more on CBD and diabetes here.
Although it is misleading to say CBD can cure neurological disorders such as epilepsy, recent research suggests that it can be used as an effective treatment.
In one study, 214 people with severe epilepsy were given between 0.9 grams and 2.3 grams of CBD oil per pound of their weight. Their seizures were reduced, on average, by 36.5%.
Studies have also been performed on people with Parkinson’s disease, finding that it not only treated their insomnia but also improved their quality of life in general.
It is also suggested that this is true of people with Alzheimer’s disease, as studies show that CBD can prevent the associated neurodegeneration and brain inflammation.
In a long-term study involving CBD being given to mice with a genetic predisposition to Alzheimer’s disease, it was found that it helped prevent cognitive decline.
CANCER-RELATED SYMPTOMS AND SIDE-EFFECTS OF CANCER TREATMENTS
It should be stressed that there is no available medical protocol at the moment using CBD to treat cancer. However, CBD can complement cancer treatment, as cancer and its treatment often cause both extreme pain and nausea. CBD seems to help alleviate both issues.
When 177 people with cancer-related pain were given either just THC or a combination of CBD and THC, those who took only THC experienced less pain relief than those who took the combination. This indicates that CBD greatly contributed to the pain relief in this case.
Additionally, CBD seems to relieve chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting. One study performed on 16 patients found that a mouth spray which contained a combination of CBD and THC treated nausea better than standard prescription pharmaceutical medications alone.
This is also beneficial to people with digestive disorders which result in nausea.
If you wish to use CBD during your cancer treatment, consult with your doctor first as cannabinoids can lower the efficiency of your treatment. You can read more about CBD and THC cannabinoids and their effect on cancer here.
When considering using CBD to treat a condition, it’s important to remember that it is advisable to consult your doctor first, as it can interact with your treatment and with other medication. However, with proper medical guidance, there is mounting evidence that CBD can be used to alleviate a wide range of symptoms and ailments.
However, it is important to buy from a trusted source. Research has shown that the majority of products in the market have misleading information on their labels, claiming, for example, that they contain less than 0.3% of THC but actually contain more. Other products contain less CBD than they claim.
That is why it is essential to ask for the manufacturer’s COA (Certificate of Analysis) when buying CBD products. It is even better when such tests are handled by a third-party facility, explicitly certified for THC analysis. It is best to buy CBD oil produced from hemp grown by trusted hemp farmers to avoid contamination by pesticides and heavy metals, as hemp is used in many countries to clean up the soil (read more tips on choosing a reputable CBD producer here).
Have you used CBD to treat a medical condition? If so, we’d love to hear your experience with it in the comments!