Can CBD Help: What ails you?
CBD is a molecule, not a miracle. However, research has shown that CBD oil may be effective as a treatment for a variety of conditions and health issues. Scientific studies demonstrate the effectiveness of CBD to help relieve some of the symptoms associated with the following conditions: glaucoma, pain, inflammation, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s. It appears to help some people with gut diseases, as well, such as gastric ulcers, Crohn’s disease, and irritable bowel syndrome. (Maurya & Velmurugan, 2018).
9 Ailments that CBD Helps
A phenomenal source for research references done on just about every medical condition you can think of is www.projectcbd.org. On their website, they have an extensive list of conditions that you can select on to see the available research on that ailment. It is definitely worth looking at if you have a specific concern you’d like to address with CBD.
Below is just a short summary of some of the research and thoughts on the benefits of CBD.
The 9 select conditions that CBD can help with include:
- mental health
Maurya, N. & Velmurugan, B.K. (2018). Therapeutic applications of cannabinoids. Chemico-Biological Interactions, 293, 77-88.
In the US, the FDA approved a purified, pharmaceutical-grade formulation of Cannabidiol — called Epidiolex — for use with children with Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet syndromes. Epidolex is a synthetic cannabinoid — a chemical component of the Cannabis Sativa plant.
The good news is it does help children with seizures, in particular the above mentioned syndromes. However, the downside is a tolerance to the medication emerges in many patients. This means that over time (about a year or two), the dosage may have to be increased to get the same results.
It seems that it is better to start with a lower dose for a couple of reasons. In a clinical trial, the researches found that patients given a 10 milligram daily dose of CBD experienced nearly the same reduction in seizures as patients on 20 milligrams. In addition, if the dosage is going to have to be increased down the road, it is better to start with the lowest therapeutic dose in the beginning.
There are a number of studies that have found that CBD reduces self-reported anxiety as well as anxiousness that was induced or exists in patients without a mental disorder. (Loflin et al. (2017)).
Many cannabinoids have soothing and calming properties. For this reason, cannabinoids have been widely studied to understand how they work and to find applications for them. Some studies that explore these properties are not yet conclusive, however many doctors consider cannabinoids — and in particularly Cannabidiol — a possible option for soothing and relaxation.
Loflin, MJE, Babson, K.A., & Bonn-Miller, M.O. (2017). Cannabinoids as therapeutic for PTSD
Current Opinion in Psychology, 14, 78-83.
… chronic and acute pain?
Cannabinoids have been shown to reduce the intensity of pain (to have analgesic properties). This is the case with inflammatory pain, neuropathic pain, and cancer pain.
Cannabinoids can reduce spasticity and often also reduces the pain associated with muscle spasm. In addition to decreasing the intensity of pain, many patients report that cannabis changes the nature of the pain. They report that CBD makes the pain more bearable and less distracting.
In certain cases, CBD is now regarded as a viable alternative to strong analgesics when it comes to chronic pain management. CBD is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. As such, CBD solutions may be less powerful than opioid-based analgesics, but have far fewer side effects than these strong painkillers, and no addictive nature.
In addition to helping chronic pain, CBD also provides pain relief for acute pain. While its direct analgesic properties are sometimes less potent than most opioid-based painkillers, that fact that CBD also reduces inflammation may mean that it can be more efficient against inflammatory pain than conventional analgesics.
CBD’s pain-relief mechanisms are not yet fully understood. However, CBD and other cannabinoids have been shown to have effective analgesic properties for terminal cancer patients who have developed a resistance to strong opioids. This suggests that Cannabidiol might be an effective alternative for pain relief even for patients whose bodies have are accustomed to high doses of powerful painkillers.
In the study by Loflin et al. (2017) (see reference above in the anxiety section) on sleep quality, they administered 40, 80, and 160 milligram CBD capsules on 15 individuals with insomnia. Results suggested that 160 milligrams of CBD was associated with an overall improvement in self-reported sleep quality.
Cannabinoids have been shown to target and affect cancer cells but not normal, healthy cells. In some types of cancer, cannabinoids have prevented the growth of tumors, have killed cancer cells, have prevented the formation of blood vessels that feed the tumor, and have inhibited the metastasis of cancer from one part of the body to another.
We are still very early in our understanding of how to best use cannabis to fight various types of cancer. However, it is well-established that cannabis can help with the symptoms of cancer and also with the side effects of cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy.
More than 12 years ago — in 2007 — researchers at California Pacific Medical Center finished one of the earliest studies on the effects of CBD on cancer. This study came to the conclusion that CBD shows promise for controlling the spread of malignant breast tumors. They even found that CBD stalled metastasis — which is the process of cancerous cells spreading into different parts of the body — by “turning off” the activity of a gene that is responsible for tumor metastasis.
In more recent years, numerous studies have verified that CBD inhibits several types of cancer including breast cancer, colon cancer, some types of brain tumors, leukemia and other forms of cancer. These results have been verified by many scientific teams, however it has not yet been determined how CBD’s inhibitory effects work. CBD has also been shown to inhibit benign tumor growth.
Most surprising, perhaps, is that CBD has been shown to directly improve our body’s ability to fight cancer. More specifically, CBD has been shown to cause cell death in breast cancer cells. It does this by coordinating the communication between two of our body’s defense mechanisms against cancer — apoptosis (the process of programmed cell death) and autophagy (the breakdown of individual cell components). When these processes are combined, they weaken and kill cancer cells.
Research studies on diabetes have tested CBD and other cannabinoids as potential medications for treating diabetes. CBD has been found to have a mild “regulating” effect on the bodies of diabetes sufferers. This regulating effect counteracts “dysregulating” effects that some metabolic diseases cause to the human body.
For instance, CBD has been shown to protect against diabetes-induced blindness. It preserves a delicate chemical balance, which encourages the activity of an enzyme known as glutamine synthetase. Glutamine sythetase helps protect our retinal neurons. Cannabidiol also seems to alleviate albuminuria. Albuminuria is a pathological condition that is associated with diabetic nephropathy — a serious progressive kidney disease that is caused by longstanding diabetes.
Perhaps one of the most exciting factors in evaluating CBD’s efficiency as a medication for diabetes is that it seems to help both type I and type II diabetics. This means that whether people have diabetes from early in their lives or whether they acquired it later on, CBD seems to assist in alleviating the symptoms and counteracting the causes.
A preliminary clinical trial at the University of California at Irvine has concluded that CBD seems to treat schizophrenia as effectively as current antipsychotic medications. A nice plus is that it does so with far fewer side effects and at a lesser cost. Daniele Piomelli, a professor of pharmacology at the university and co-author of the research study had this to say, “The results were amazing, not only was [CBD] as effective as standard antipsychotics, but it was also essentially free of the typical side effects seen with antipsychotic drugs.”
Typical side effects of antipsychotic drugs include lack of motivation, social withdrawal, and anxiety, all of which also occur in schizophrenia itself. Since the antipsychotic drugs can themselves cause some of schizophrenia’s symptoms, it is unclear as to whether CBD is better at treating them or whether CBD is simply causing fewer of these side effects. Many current studies are trying to answer this question.
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental condition that develops after a person has experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. PTSD is common in military veterans. It can also develop following any type of traumatic event, to include things like a physical attack, mugging, kidnapping, plane crash, car accident, or natural disaster.
The Mayo Clinic describes PTSD as causing flashbacks, severe anxiety, nightmares, and uncontrollable thoughts about the event. The sufferer often feels stressed and in danger even though no real threat exists. The National Institute of Mental Health adds that other symptoms of PTSD can include avoiding places or events that are reminders of the trauma, feeling numbness or guilt, losing interest in activities they used to find enjoyable, being easily startled, feeling tense, having difficulty sleeping, and experiencing angry outbursts.
Studies have shown that cannabinoids lessen the emotional impact of traumatic events. Cannabinoids decrease the “re-experiencing” of the event. CBD additionally helps patients experience less anxiety and fear, and it can improve their sleep.
One study showed that when using cannabis, PTSD patients saw a 75% reduction in PTSD symptoms — as measured by the Clinical Administered Post-traumatic Scale — compared to when they were not using cannabis.
… bipolar disorder and mental health?
Only a bit of research has been done on how CBD may effect people with mental health concerns. One promising study, though, was conducted in 2018 in the UK. These researchers were investigating the effects of CBD on psychosis. They found that one megadose (of about 600 milligrams) eradicated or significantly reduced psychotic episodes. Much more research needs to be done, but this is exciting news.
In line with this finding is other research on CBD and mental disorders that indicates the therapeutic dose is usually much higher than what is currently used by consumers as “a dose.” For instance, most over-the-counter CBD oils and supplements are in containers that consist of a total of 250 to 1000 milligrams — which equates to a single dose of about 10 to 35 milligrams. Therapeutic doses for mental disorders seem to be much higher — more in the realm of the total number of milligrams in a standard CBD product package.
Check with your doctor about adding a CBD regimen to the treatment of your disease.