Cannabis is one of the most intriguing plants on Earth. The flower has been utilized by civilizations as far back as 5,000 years ago - as a religious sacrament, a medicine, and also for leisure. Cannabidiol (CBD), is one of the most well-known cannabis compounds known today, second only to Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
One of at least 113 distinct biochemicals currently known to be contained within the cannabis flower, it is a compound that's been confirmed to have a wide range of therapeutic properties and uses and is included today in many new pain, inflammation and wellness products..
CBD was first discovered in 1940 by a team lead by Roger Adams and Lord Todd. However, the breakthrough for cannabis research and pharmacology came in 1963 and 1964, when Raphael Mechoulam mapped the structure of the CBD and THC cannabinoids. He took this one step further in 1965 when he successfully isolated each from the cannabis flower. This allowed scientists to finally begin studying their mysterious biochemical properties and launch the field of cannabis medicine. But what does CBD actually do?
WHAT'S SO SPECIAL ABOUT CBD?
Where CBD differs from its famous sibling THC is that it has no psychoactive properties. In other words, no feeling of being “high” accompanies the potentially therapeutic benefits that CBD can provide.
Moreover, according to early stage research, CBD mitigates the side effects of THC like anxiety, dysphoria, panic, and paranoia, while at the same time making THC’s therapeutic activity much more significant. This is one of the reasons it has generated such buzz around the potential uses for such a compound in medicine. CBD has been researched and found to have a great deal of potential including:
TERPENES - OVERLOOKED NO LONGER!
Just like CBD, cannabis terpenes are an understudied part of the flower’s biology. In fact they exist throughout nature, providing flavor and aroma to many fruits and flowers. They interact with major and minor cannabinoids often adding to the overall effects, while at the same time potentially offering their own therapeutic benefits. But finding the right terpenes and the right relative ratios of CBD and terpenes can be tricky. Let’s take a look at some of the early stage research for CBD and terpenes. It's important to understand that while there is early stage research focused on many aspects of cannabis and terpenes, there is far from adequate clinical research. See further information on this below.
HOW IS CBD BEING USED TODAY?
There are more uses for CBD and other cannabinoids being discovered daily, but here are some of the more well-researched possible benefits of this versatile biochemical.
Pain is one of the most direct and simple ways to understand something is wrong in your body. Its consequences and effects seem as varied as the number of stars in the night sky. Pain is often categorized as aching, stabbing, throbbing, steady, or pinching, but medically is divided into acute, and chronic pain.
A significant body of research supports that CBD can offer a healthier, and natural alternative to traditional pain treatments. Unlike THC, which may also offer significant analgesic properties, CBD which binds with the many CB1 and CB2 receptors throughout the body has been found to bring significant relief for a variety of pain symptoms. An early stage study on neuropathic pain found that CBD was the only cannabinoid that reacted with a receptor that directly related to neuropathic pain. Another more recent study found that CBD topicals could be an effective preventative and protective measure against Osteoarthritis progression.
INFLAMMATION AND WELLNESS
Inflammation is another way your body protects itself and alerts you something is wrong. Symptoms range from redness and pain to swelling and stiffness, and more. From sports to work to simple daily wear and tear, our bodies take a beating. Sometimes this inflammation if left untreated can turn to disease.
In studies done as far back as 2000, CBD has been found to exhibit a wide range of anti-inflammatory properties, potentially including aiding with collagen-induced arthritis, meningitis, colitis, among many others. It was also found that CBD-enriched ointments had a marked effect on skin inflammation from various conditions.
That pounding heart, the sweaty palms, the feeling of being closed in and trapped, with thoughts racing around like a NASCAR competition. If you’ve ever felt these things on a regular basis, you know full well what it is like to live with anxiety. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America found that over 18% of the adult population in the US suffer from some sort of anxiety disorder. CBD has become a more and more frequently referenced treatment option when patients seek out alternatives to prescription medications.
A 2015 study into the effects of CBD on anxiety disorders found that it may have the potential to be a very effective treatment method for a wide range of disorders and conditions. A more recent CBD study found that the actual benefit tends not to fluctuate over time, but rather stay modulated.
WHAT'S THE LATEST IN CBD SCIENCE?
CBD research in recent years has expanded significantly. The U.S. National Institute of Health database lists at least 100 studies across the world involving CBD that are either recruiting subjects or in active trials. In 2018, the FDA approved the world’s first cannabinoid-derived pharmaceutical drug called Epidiolex, to treat severe and rare forms of epilepsy.
The year before, the World Health Organization presented its findings that “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential.” In addition, they concluded “…there is no evidence of public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.” This and other evidence has led to many countries shifting to a much friendlier policy towards CBD.
We're just beginning to discover the ways CBD and the rest of the cannabis plant can benefit humanity. It's truly expected to be a new frontier for health and wellness.