With the legalization of cannabis propelling the plant further into the spotlight, the CBD compound, originally overshadowed by THC, is beginning to garner more attention. This non-psychoactive compound found in marijuana will not get you high. However, it has the potential to provide immense medical relief. This compound is already legal in 43 states and most popular to use for treating inflammation, pain and seizures. While THC provides users with a high or sense of euphoria, CBD is a calming agent that will not alter the user’s state on a psychoactive level. It is found in both cannabis sativa and hemp and is most commonly extracted as an oil that can be consumed in liquid form, as a pill, vaporized or used topically. There are even lines of products designed to provide relief for animals, as well as children and adults.
How CBD Works with the Endocannabinoid System
As well as being a powerful anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory and pain killer amongst other things, both of the compounds in marijuana (THC and CBD) work to balance the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system is made up of C1 and C2 receptors that are found all over the body in muscles, tissue and organs. It is responsible for maintaining homeostasis in the body, ensuring that mood, appetite, digestion, respiration and all of the systems of the body are functioning at their baseline of health. Illness, injury and age can affect the health of this system where the cannabis compounds such as THC and CBD come in to restore balance.
Federal Blockades to CBD Research
While medical marijuana is legal in 29 states and recreational marijuana is legal in 8 states, the plant is still illegal at a federal level. Up until last August, official medical research on the plant was prohibited. After being petitioned by several senators, the DEA decided to review and revise their rules so that researchers could apply to engage in medical research. Unfortunately, so far, the department has been blocked when it comes to approving research. The Department of Justice, led by Attorney General Jeff Sessions has refused to approve the research so, as yet, there is no officially government sanctioned research done on marijuana and its compounds. This doesn’t mean, however, that there has been no research done.
CBD Treatments for Epilepsy
Several studies have been conducted on the compound in recent years, evaluating its ability to become a source of treatment for a multitude of disorders. A disorder that receives a lot of attention for its ability to be treated by CBD oil is epilepsy. Anecdotal evidence has been touted as parents with children suffering from multiple seizure a day found a great sense of relief from the use of CBD oil. With such astounding results being described by parents, it’s no wonder that researchers decided to explore the connection.
A study, titled “Efficacy and Safety of Epidiolex (Cannabidiol) in Children and Young Adults With Treatment-Resistant Epilepsy” unveiled by the American Epilepsy Society (AES) discovered that CBD was extremely effective at treating epileptic seizures. In fact, the researchers found a 45.1 percent median reduction in the number of seizures patients were having. 9 percent of all patients and 13 percent of those with Dravet Syndrome epilepsy, a devastating form of epilepsy with a high mortality rate, became seizure-free. Researchers found that a dosage of up to 25mg a day was well tolerated and showed positive results.
Specific Research Into Dravat Syndrome
Another study published in the New England Journal of Medicine last year showed CBD’s ability to assist children with Dravat Syndrome. The double blind study observed patients over a 14 day period who consumed CBD as Epidolex which was developed by GW Pharmaceuticals. They found that the compound was effective in treating epilepsy with a 39 percent median reduction in seizures compared to a 13 percent reduction by those who consumed the placebo. There were minimal side effects with this test that mainly included drowsiness and diarrhea. Other studies that use CBD derived in plant form tend to show less side effects than the cannabinoid compounds derived in a lab. Even still, these side effects are minor compared to the drug resistant seizures that occur with this disorder.
CBD for Autism
Autism is another disorder that has been linked to being assisted with the use of CBD. Autism is formed in a similar way to epilepsy in that the brain has too little brain inhibition. The result with autism is hyper sensitivity and abnormal social patterns. Researchers at the University of Washington decided to conduct a test on mice with the disorder to see if CBD was in fact an effective form of treatment. The researchers found that the social behaviors that usually become a problem for children with autism were normalized in the mice. They became more social, even preferring social interaction and there was a big reduction in the signs of social anxiety. A clinical trial conducted on 120 patients is currently being conducted in Israel, which will no doubt provide more information on dosing for humans.
Reducing Inflammation with CBD
The CBD compound’s ability to reduce inflammation and pain has been known to be a great benefit for innumerable conditions. Numerous studies show its ability to be a great reliever to those suffering with arthritis, cancer, AIDS, brain trauma and chronic pain to name a few. It’s for this reason that the compound has become permissible to use for athletes in international sports arenas such as the Olympics. This is why active NFL players such as Jake Plummer are pushing for the compound to be permissible for players. The alternative for many are prescription opioids which can have devastating side effects and lead to thousands of accidental overdoses every year.
Every person is individual and when it comes to dosing for various illnesses, the issue can be a matter of experimenting with what works best. The more research that is done, the more we will be able to learn about how we can most effectively treat various disorders with the least amount of side effects. All in all, the compound has been found to be a safe and extremely effective way to treat a number of debilitating disorders. The more research that can be conducted on how it works and how to dose, the more we will be able to benefit from its medicinal value.