If there is one natural and ‘alternative’ medicine that has taken the world by storm, it’s Cannabidiol – more commonly known as CBD. CBD, if you didn’t know, is one of over 100 compounds called cannabinoids that are found in Cannabis sativa (or Cannabis to you and me).
The word ‘cannabis’ tends to conjure up images of people getting high and everything that comes with it, i.e. the opposite of the positive effects that are spreading far and wide across the globe.
Confused? Don’t be. When I first heard about the purported miraculous properties of cannabis, I was extremely perplexed and didn’t understand how something that gets you stoned can be healthy. However, it soon became apparent that the cannabinoids that are found in the cannabis plant have different properties.
THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the cannabinoid that is responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis. However, unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive in any way, shape or form, making it an attractive option for those who want a natural remedy as opposed to a pharmaceutical drug and the adverse effects and implications that come in tow.
In today’s piece, we look at both the potential of CBD as a medicine and the positive health effects it has been shown to have. As always, it is essential that you carry our comprehensive research into both the positive and negative effects of any substance – as well as consulting a healthcare professional – before consuming any substance natural or otherwise.
1) Depression and anxiety: Anyone who has suffered from or known someone who has experienced mental health issues will be aware of just debilitating they can be. In fact, the World Health Organisation has labelled depression as the primary cause of disability across the entire planet. But it’s not only depression; anxiety-based ailments and conditions are a significant cause too, with the W.H.O placing them in sixth place in the aforementioned list.
How is mental health typically treated? In most cases, those with mental health disorders will be given pharmaceutical drugs that not only permanently impact their brain chemistry, but also have the potential to cause side effects such as insomnia, sexual dysfunction, inability to concentrate, and in some instances addiction, dependence and even worsening of the original symptoms.
CBD oil, however, is being touted as the ‘new and natural’ way to treat such illnesses as depression and anxiety thanks to research that has exemplified its potential within this area of medicine.
One study took 24 participants and gave them either a placebo or 600mg of CBD prior to completing a public speaking test. Those in the latter group (CBD) had notably less anxiety, discomfort and cognitive impairment than those in the placebo group. There have also been several animal studies that have shown CBD to have anti-depressant like effects. Of course, further human research is required, but there is indeed a lot of potential and hope for CBD with regards to treating mental health conditions.
2) Cancer: It is very easy to dismiss natural remedies for cancer and cancer-induced symptoms given then sheer volume of snake oil that has at some point had its fifteen minutes of fame; however, CBD is an entirely different beast – according to the latest research anyway.
A study carried out in 2010 examined the effects of both THC and CBD in 180 people who were suffering from cancer-induced pain yet did not experience any form of pain-relief through pharmaceutical pain-relief medication. Those who received both compounds (THC and CBD) experienced a far great level of pain reduction compared to THC alone.
Another study looked into the effects of CBD in those who were going through chemotherapy treatment(s). CBD was found to decrease the frequency and intensity of side effects such as nausea and vomiting. This was followed up by a similar study that found further evidence to support the original findings.
One question that is no doubt on your lips, well, in your mind, is whether CBD can treat cancer itself, I.e. does it have any anti-cancer properties. At present, there are no human studies in this area. However, both animal and test-tube studies have shown that CBD may have some promise in fighting. In one particular (test-tube) study, CBD killed breast cancer cells, and in another, breast cancer cells in mice were killed with CBD also.
3) Brain health: The effects of CBD on neurological health and disorders is one area where a relatively substantial amount of research has been undertaken. Although much of the research is new, it is clearly evident that there is a lot of potential for CBD where treatment of such conditions as epilepsy and multiple sclerosis is concerned. Here are a few examples:
– A combined CBD and THC spray called Sativex was used on MS sufferers to examine its effects. Unsurprisingly, they were positive, with three-quarters of 276 participants experiencing a reduction in spasms that had previously not responded to pharmaceutical medication.
– One study treated over 200 epilepsy sufferers a variety of dosages to examine the impact of CBD on the condition. Seizures were reduced by an average of 36% across all participants.
– A study into the effects of CBD on children with Dravet syndrome also produced positive results, a drastic reduction in seizure activity compared to a placebo.
– Another study investigated the impact of CBD of people with Parkinson’s disease, during which it was discovered that those taking CBD had improved quality of life and sleep.
– A test tube study identified that CBD might reduce inflammation and decrease neurodegeneration most commonly associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
CBD has racked up quite the CV, wouldn’t you say? All of the above is extremely impressive, and as research continues, I am sure that more positive effects of CBD will come to light. There are, however, negative side effects to any medication – be they natural or human-made – so, as pointed out at the start of the article, it is imperative that all effects are examined and understood before usage.
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