Monday, February 13, 2017

Cannabinoids and Therapeutic Effects: CBD

On Dec. 14 2016, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency made it clear that “any marijuana-based extract is considered a Schedule I drug under federal law, including CBD oils and other types of CBD-rich extracts.” Even though CBD shows much promise as a medicine, it remains illegal in many parts of the world. CBD is classified as a Schedule I drug in the United States and a Schedule II drug in Canada.
Cannabidiol, CBD, is a cannabis compound that has significant medical benefits, but does not make people have the euphoric feeling of being “stoned” and can actually counteract that psychoactivity aspect of THC. The fact that CBD-rich cannabis is non-psychoactive or less psychoactive than THC-dominant strains makes it a great option for patients looking for relief without disconcerting feelings of lethargy or dysphoria.

CBD is a key ingredient in cannabis and is one of more than 80 active cannabinoid compounds found in the  cannabis plant that belong to a class of molecules called cannabinoids. Of these compounds, CBD and THC are usually present in the highest concentrations, and are therefore the most recognized and studied. CBD and THC levels tend to vary among different plants. Cannabis grown for recreational purposes often contains more THC than CBD.
However, by using selective breeding techniques, cannabis breeders have managed to create varieties with high levels of CBD and next to zero levels of THC. These strains are rare but have become more popular in recent years.
The beneficial health effects of CBD for the human body are coming more and more prevalent into social awareness, here are five facts that you should know about this unique compound:
1. CBD is Non-Psychoactive:
Unlike THC, CBD does not cause a “high”. While this makes CBD a poor choice for recreational users, it gives the chemical a significant advantage as a medicine, since health professionals prefer treatments with minimal side effects. CBD is non-psychoactive because it does not act on the same pathways as THC. These pathways, called CB1 receptors, are highly concentrated in the brain and are responsible for the mind-altering effects of THC. A 2011 review published in Current Drug Safety concludes that CBD “does not interfere with several psychomotor and psychological functions.” The authors add that several studies suggest that CBD is “well tolerated and safe” even at high doses.

2. CBD can Treat Addiction:
Drug addiction is a disorder characterized by the compulsive and uncontrollable desire to use drugs. A 2013 animal study published in Addictive Biology found CBD inhibits the rewarding effect of morphine. CBD was able to block morphine’s addictive effect on the rats by reducing the pleasure the drug offered.  CBD is an exogenous cannabinoid that acts on several neurotransmission
systems involved in addiction. Scientific studies have shown the beneficial effects of CBD on opioid and other psychostimulant addictions.

3. CBD helps Regulate Blood Sugar Levels in the Body
Studies as recent as 2013 have found that one of the ways that cannabis helps people regulate their weight is through regulating blood sugar levels. Studies found that cannabis users were less likely to develop diabetes in their life. As to whether or not CBD is useful for diabetes patients is still somewhat controversial but more studies are being done to show these benefits. But CBD regulates blood sugar levels and decreases the likelihood of developing diabetes.

4. CBD Treats and Reduces Seizures In Children
CBD has anti-seizure activity, reducing the severity of seizures in animal studies. Several case studies and reports suggest CBD is effective in treating children with drug-resistant epilepsy. Charlotte's Web is one strain of cannabis create just for this purpose.

5. CBD Inhibits Cancer Cell Growth
The cannabinoids in marijuana excite certain receptors that allow the body to produce pharmacological effects in the immune system and the central nervous system. Cannabinoids have been found to act in this way to inhibit cancer cell growth. In fact, they are being used to decrease the size of tumors also, and for cancer-related side effects. CBD has been shown to reduce pain and nausea, and increase appetite during patients' cancer treatments. There are also reports that show CBD's anti-tumor effects. There has been a reduced cell viability, increased cancer cell death, decreased tumor growth, and inhibition of metastasis. Researchers attribute these effects to to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of CBD. Combined with the THC cancer killing effect, this is really a big deal underscored by the US Government and Big Pharma!

CBD has demonstrated neuroprotective and neurogenic effects, and its anti-cancer properties are currently being investigated at several academic research centers in the United States and elsewhere. Although CBD and THC act on different pathways of the body, they seem to have many of the same medical benefits. According to a 2013 review published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, studies have found CBD to possess the following medical properties:

Medical Properties of CBD
Reduces nausea and vomiting
Suppresses seizure activity
Combats psychosis disorders
Combats inflammatory disorders
Combats neurodegenerative disorders
Combats tumor and cancer cells
Combats anxiety and depression disorders

While some doctors can’t seem to look past certain effects of THC due to a lack of general understanding of cannabis, CBD doesn’t appear to present that much of problem. More and more evidence of CBD’s medical benefits continues to grow with CBD’s potential as a treatment for a wide range of conditions, including anxiety, arthritis, diabetes, addiction, alcoholism, MS, chronic pain, schizophrenia, PTSD, depression, antibiotic-resistant infections, epilepsy, and many other neurological disorders.
A patent awarded to the U.S. Health and Human Services in 2003 (US6630507) also covers the use of CBD as a treatment for various neurodegenerative and inflammatory disorders.