CBD and the Endocannabinoid System
Cannabis has been used as a medicinal plant for thousands of years and has been found in ancient Chinese writings dating back to 2737 B.C. In the Pen Ts’ao Ching, a book of pharmacopoeia dated 1 A.D., Cannabis was prescribed for over 100 ailments. In recent literature, studies have shown efficacy of CBD to treat seizures, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, anxiety, and much more. But how does it do this?
Scientists have discovered another communication system in our bodies – that regulates mood, balance, and physiology – now named the Endocannabinoid System. Two types of cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) have thus far been identified, along with endogenous cannabinoids that interact with these receptors, produced within our own bodies. CBD in mouse and dog studies has been shown to interact with these receptors as well as serotonin receptors.
Until the 1990s we’ve been limited to anecdotal evidence that Cannabis could treat multiple disorders, but with the advent of medical marijuana laws, hundreds of scientific studies in disparate fields now conclude that CBD compounds have unlimited potential. According to Project CBD,
Extensive preclinical research—much of it sponsored by the U.S. government—indicates that CBD has potent anti-tumoral, antioxidant, anti-spasmodic, anti-psychotic, anti-convulsive, and neuroprotective properties.
CBD also directly activates serotonin receptors, thus providing anxiety relief.
To date most studies have focused on CBD efficacy for treating epilepsy; side effects have been limited to dry mouth and drowsiness at the beginning of treatment, but these go away over time. The third clinical trial released by a pharmaceutical company in Great Britain indicated that only 10 mg of its CBD drug - Epidiolex - is required to suppress seizures in two rare forms of epilepsy, by up to 42% daily. In June, the FDA approved the use of Epidiolex “to treat rare and severe forms of epilepsy”.
Anxiety, ADD, and ADHD.
Theorizing that attention-deficit disorders are caused by inadequate dopamine in the brain, doctors usually prescribe stimulants such as Ritalin or Adderall; though effective these drugs have multiple possible side effects such as headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, weight loss, hair loss, sleeplessness, diarrhea or constipation, to name a few. CBD also targets the serotonin receptors in the brain, and alleviates anxiety while reducing the symptoms of ADD and ADHD. CBD oil is easy to administer either under the tongue (sublingually) or in food, and dosages are now regulated.