What is CBD?

What IS CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD): is one of the most prevalent chemical compounds in the cannabis plant. Unlike the more famous molecule, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD is completely non-psychoactive.

Don’t expect to get “high” off of this organic chemical, however. CBD is all relaxation without intoxication.

While CBD still has an effect on your body, consuming CBD by itself isn’t going to send you on a cerebral adventure associated with THC. For decades, medical professionals and the general public overlooked CBD because psychoactive cannabis took center stage.

Now, the medical potential of CBD has taken cannabis to mainstream audiences. Preclinical trials over the past four decades have found that the cannabinoid shows promise as an:

  • ANTI-INFLAMMATORY
  • ANTIOXIDANT
  • NEUROPROTECTANT
  • ANXIOLYTIC
  • ANTIDEPRESSANT
  • ANALGESIC
  • ANTI-TUMORAL AGENT
  • ANTI-PSYCHOTIC

CBD is often used by patients in the form of an oil. Patients with more chronic conditions such as cancer and epilepsy often use medical cannabis oil extracted from high-CBD varieties of cannabis.

How CBD works

All cannabinoids, including CBD, attach themselves to certain receptors in the body to produce their effects. The human body produces certain cannabinoids on its own. It has two receptors for cannabinoids, called CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors are found all around the body, but many of them are in the brain. The CB1 receptors in the brain deal with coordination and movement, pain, emotions, mood, thinking, appetite, memories and among others. THC attaches to these receptors. CB2 receptors are more common in the immune system. They affect inflammation and pain. It used to be thought that CBD acts on these CB2 receptors, but it appears now that CBD does not act on either receptor directly. Instead, it seems to influence the body to use more of its own cannabinoids.

THE BENEFITS OF CBD

Because of the way that CBD acts in the body, it has many potential benefits.

Natural pain relief or anti-inflammatory properties

People commonly use prescription or over-the-counter drugs to relieve pain and stiffness, including chronic pain.

Some people feel that CBD offers a more natural way to lower pain. A study published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine found that CBD significantly reduced chronic inflammation and pain in some mice and rats.

The researchers suggest that the non-psychoactive compounds in marijuana, such as CBD, could be a new treatment for chronic pain.

Quitting smoking and drug withdrawals

There is some promising evidence that CBD use may help people to quit smoking. A pilot study posted to Addictive Behaviors found that smokers who used an inhaler containing the compound CBD smoked fewer cigarettes but did not have any additional craving for nicotine.

Another similar study posted to Neurotherapeutics found that CBD may be a promising substance for people who abuse opioids.

Researchers noted that some symptoms experienced by patients with substance use disorders might be reduced by CBD. These include anxiety, mood symptoms, pain, and insomnia.

These are early findings, but they suggest that CBD may be used to avoid or reduce withdrawal symptoms.

Epilepsy and other mental health disorders

CBD is also being studied for its possible role in treating epilepsy and neuropsychiatric disorders.

A review posted to Epilepsia noted that CBD has anti-seizure properties and a low risk of side effects for people with epilepsy.

Studies into CBD’s effect on neurological disorders suggest that it may help to treat many of the disorders that are linked to epilepsy, such as neurodegeneration, neuronal injury and psychiatric diseases.

Another study published in Current Pharmaceutical Design found that CBD may have similar effects to certain antipsychotic drugs and that it may be safe and effective in treating patients with schizophrenia.

More research is needed to understand how it works, however.

Helps fight cancer

CBD has been studied for its use as an anti-cancer agent.

A review posted to the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology notes that CBD appears to block cancer cells from spreading around the body and invading an area entirely.

The review indicated that this compound tends to suppress the growth of cancer cells and promote the death of these cells.

Researchers note that CBD may help in cancer treatment because of its low toxicity levels. They call for it to be studied along with standard treatments, to check for synergistic effects.

Anxiety Disorders

Patients with chronic anxiety are often advised to avoid cannabis, as THC can trigger or amplify anxiety and paranoia in some people.

However, a review from Neurotherapeutics suggests that CBD may help reduce the anxiety felt by people with certain anxiety disorders.

The research points to studies showing that CBD may reduce anxiety behaviors in disorders such as:

The review notes that current medications for these disorders can lead to additional symptoms and side effects and that people may stop taking the drugs because of these unwanted effects.

CBD has not shown any adverse effects in these cases to date, and researchers call fro CBD to be studied as a potential treatment method.

Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is caused by inflammation when the immune system attacks cells in the pancreas. Recent research posted to Clinical Hemorheology and Microcirculation found that CBD may ease the inflammation in the pancreas in type 1 diabetes. This may be the first step in finding a CBD-based treatment for type 1 diabetes.

Acne

Acne treatment is another promising use for CBD. The condition is caused, in part by inflammation and overworked sebaceous glands in the body.

A recent study posted to the Journal of Clinical Investigation found that CBD helps lower the production of sebum that leads to acne, partly because of its anti-inflammatory effect on the body.

Alzheimer’s disease

Initial research published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that CBD was able to prevent the development of social recognition deficit in subjects.

This means that CBD could potentially prevent people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s from losing their ability to recognize the faces of people that they know. This is the first evidence that CBD has potential to prevent Alzheimer’s Disease symptoms.