Academic research on CBD Cannabidiol: Discover important and significant findings by the medical community on how CBD acts to improve and manage symptoms of major illnesses such as epilepsy, anxiety, chronic pain, psoriasis, cancer, stress and autoimmune disorders and more.
Many people consider CBD or cannabidiol to be an exciting new alternative to effectively treating many illnesses. We hear of cases where it is used on its own or in combination with prescription medication. But is it just hype, or is it really backed by medical research? Below we will discuss important research findings on the use of CBD in relation to a wide variety of medical diseases.
BACKGROUND ON PRESCRIPTION MEDICINE:
Prescription medication is regularly used by at least 55% of the population in the US according to a Consumer Reports survey conducted on 1,947 adults; with an average intake of four tablets per day. These include prescription drugs, over- the-counter medications and vitamins while a worrying statistic is that 53% of these users are having their medications prescribed by more than one medical practitioner. A disquieting fact about these statistics is the verified results of the harm caused by the unnecessary or incorrect use of prescription medication. A combined report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the FDA in 2014 found that 1.3 million people were treated in US emergency rooms that year for undesirable drug effects and a staggering 124,000 people died from these. More recently in 2018, it emerged that the seriousness of the opioid crisis (linked to prescription medication) is of such, that it reduced the life expectancy in the USA – hence the urgent need to continue research into alternative non-addictive treatments, potentially such as CBD cannabidiol.
The basics of CBD:
Of the 104 found compounds found in the cannabis plant THC is still the best known, and is the one responsible for giving users a “high” when heated. CBD is another compound of the plant which does not produce any psychoactive changes and is considered to be highly effective in treating various medical conditions. Terravida products, for example, has a range of between H3:0 and 0.03% THC so it certainly does not get you high.
Increasingly, thanks to research and studies conducted across the world, the use of CBD in treating ailments is becoming more accepted, especially in the treatment of chronic health problems. One of the advantages of using CBD is that in various studies it has proven to have fewer side effects than prescription medication and appears to have stress reducing properties while also having strong antioxidant properties.
Arising from the above sources, are several compelling cases FOR the use of CBD, as we will discuss below.
Compelling Studies on 10 Chronic Issues and CBD Use:
Over 50 million people worldwide suffer from epilepsy and approximately 1/3 of these cases are unresponsive to medication.
A 2017 study into a group of unresponsive cases offered exciting findings:
A decrease of seizures in 40% of those tested
Complete disappearance of seizures in 27%
Improved behavior, mood improvement, sleep patterns and eating habits
In June 2018, the FDA approved the use of Epidiolex (CBD) for the treatment of two types of childhood epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. Both syndromes induce seizures that have proven particularly difficult to control with prescription medication.
2. Chronic Pain and Inflammation
Cannabis is known to have been used to treat pain since 2900 B.C.
Heavy pain medication can lead to prescription drug abuse. In a 2017 study it was found that respondents who used cannabis, either on its own or in combination with a prescribed medication for pain relief, were relieved of pain and had less negative side effects.
A CBD and THC oral spray (Sativex) has been approved in some countries for use by multiple sclerosis sufferers and it has also helped relieve pain in people with rheumatoid arthritis.
Since this study was not specific to the use of CBD, the findings were important enough for an announcement about a grant of $3.8million to study its effects. The aim is to include HIV sufferers as they suffer high levels of chronic pain.
Even though this is a new area in CBD research, recent studies have shown encouraging evidence that CBD is effective in preventing cancer cell growth. Even though the national Cancer Institute does not approve the use of CBD as a treatment for cancer it does acknowledge that it may help alleviate several symptoms and side effects of cancer treatments.
Depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety management medications often cause unpleasant side effects while they are also highly addictive.
Researchers are finding that CBD changes the way our brain receptors respond to serotonin, the chemical that regulates mood and social behavior, relieving symptoms of anxiety which can be debilitating for sufferers.
5. Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes sufferers are reliant on a lifelong use of insulin. It is caused by the inability of the pancreas to produce insulin as a result of an attack on the pancreas by the body’s immune system. Research published in 2016 showed that CBD could ease the inflammation to the pancreas and another study provided evidence that it may also delay the onset of type 1 diabetes.
6. Heart Conditions
The evidence that the heart and circulatory system can benefit from CBD is encouraging; especially since it seems to reduce high blood pressure the main culprit in heart attacks and strokes. CBD is effective in reducing stress which also results in raised blood pressure and is a powerful antioxidant which assists in the reduction of inflammation and decreased cell death, both connected with heart disease.
Overactive sebaceous glands, which produce an overabundant amount of sebum, are the major cause of acne. A study in how CBD oil can help acne sufferers, found that receptors in the immune system react positively to CBD oil, resulting in a reduction of inflammation in the body while also reducing the production of sebum. These studies are still in their early stages and it is best to consult a dermatologist before considering this treatment.
8. Neurological Disorders
Neuropsychiatric disorders originate from the nervous system and can impact the ability of sufferers to learn, work or cope emotionally. These disorders include addiction, childhood development issues, eating disorders, schizophrenia and degenerative conditions (dementia, Parkinson’s etc).
Successful treatment for neurological issues usually involves a two pronged approach: the use of prescription medications in combination with therapy.
We have already discussed the positive findings of CBD use for epilepsy sufferers. Some of the complications linked to epilepsy include neural degeneration, neuronal injury and psychiatric disorders. Studies are currently focused on how CBD may assist in the treatment of these complications and reducing the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
Researchers have discovered similar effects in CBD use to those produced by some antipsychotic drugs. This may prove to be a safe and helpful treatment for people with mental disorders, especially schizophrenia.
9. Alzheimer’s Disease
In 2014, the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease published a research paper on the ability of CBD to prevent the development of social recognition deficit in the early stages of the disease. This initial evidence is offering hope that CBD may slow the progression of this disease which affects over 5 million people in the US alone.
10. Smoking and substance abuse
Smokers who find it extremely difficult to quit were the subject of a study published in Addictive Behaviors. They used inhalers with CBD oil and reduced their craving to light up, this resulted in them smoking less.
Similar studies have been conducted on people seeking treatment for opioid addiction and substance abuse. It was noted by the researchers that the subjects of the study reported reduced levels of withdrawal symptoms from their addiction; these symptoms are difficult to cope with and include anxiety, mood swings, pain and insomnia.
What are the side effects of CBD use?
CBD is classed as a Schedule 1 substance and is highly regulated in some states. Other states are more relaxed. Most research into its benefits and side effects are in their early stages but its use is considered to be relatively safe. Some users may have adverse reactions and should consult their doctor before continuing. Always discuss the use of CBD oil with your doctor, especially if using other medications as there may be an adverse interaction.
Some side effects reported by users include diarrhea, dizziness, and fatigue, irritability and appetite changes.
Is CBD legal?
The US was known for a two-speed system, where some states are more liberal than federal government. The country is effectively in a transition phase. Until recently in the US, CBD oil use was not legal in all the states and the various laws concerning cannabis and its medicinal or recreational use can be quite confusing.
This all changed thanks to the New Farm Bill signed by Donald Trump, which makes the use of CBD hemp oil legal. State law will now need to catch up with Federal law: In some states it is only legal for medical use and users need special permission. Other than Epidiolex, used for childhood epilepsy, CBD has not received any other FDA approval – not yet! Most EU countries now permit the sale and use CBD products so it may be inevitable for the US to close the gap on their lead.
Types of CBD Products and Dosages
CBD is the extract from hemp plants which have not been selectively bred to produce higher levels of THC. It is important to be careful where the oil is sourced as not all plants are grown in ideal conditions and products from Asia are best avoided.
CBD is extracted either in oil or powder form which is then mixed into creams, gels or made into capsules. Depending on the ailment and treatment recommended by your health practitioner, CBD can be taken orally or rubbed onto the skin. Multiple sclerosis sufferers use it in the form of a liquid which is sprayed into the mouth.
Dosages differ and depend on the health issue, body weight and the product concentration. Dosages must be determined by a medical practitioner.
Additional CBD research since 2018:
Drop Seizures in the Lennox–Gastaut Syndrome is one of the latest areas researched by the the GWPCARE3 Study Group. It was found that the administration of cannabidiol on a daily basis, reduced the number of seizures experienced by patients. (This is different than epilepsy, however we discuss dealing with epilepsy and CBD in this article)
Children with Dravet syndrome is another area of research, where it was established that the administration of CBD was well tolerated.
Humanity is at a critical junction: the opioid addiction cannot continue at the current level. CBD may well be a major factor in turning the tide if more research can solidify it’s position as an alternative treatment that is highly effective. Education matters. Understanding the basics matter, for example that smoking cannabis is not the same as using CBD oil and the use of the oil does not cause a high. Credible sources claim that CBD offers relief from the symptoms of many ailments. Early findings are proving the effectiveness of CBD oil and are encouraging further research. The unbiased support of the medical and scientific community will be key in the coming years.