There has been growing research in recent years which showcases that medical marijuana can provide numerous benefits to those suffering with a variety of different medical conditions. This is certainly an exciting trend and there is more and more time and energy now being placed into conducting further studies.
Marijuana is a natural substance that does not have any significant side effects; it is relatively inexpensive and can provide a lot of relief for people who are suffering. Across the world, marijuana is being legalized on a medical basis, whereas other states or countries have gone as far as legalizing it for recreational use
There are more than one hundred different chemical compounds found in the marijuana plant, with the two most common ones being THC and CBD.
THC is the psychoactive compound which gives the high associated with the consumption of marijuana, due to its psychoactive nature. CBD on the other hand has been a compound which has become very popular in recent years. This is because of the benefits and relief its use can provide without the psychoactive effects, since it is a non-psychoactive compound.
Is there much research pointing towards its potential benefits?
It appears that there are countless different applications that CBD can provide when it comes to the treatment of different conditions. Of course, these applications need more research, with more attention and evidence supporting certain uses, while others are just relying on anecdotal evidence so far. That said, there are ongoing clinical trials being conducted. There are also animal studies and in-vitro tests being done, so CBD researchers are trying to cover all of the bases to try and get the benefits written down in stone.
How can CBD be so powerful for people?
One of the main areas of focus that CBD seems to greatly help is that of epilepsy. There are numerous clinical trials that have been conducted looking at the link with the condition with the use of CBD as a treatment option.
There is also increasing evidence showcasing its potentially anti-inflammatory properties, neuroprotective nature and its pain relieving properties. There are also indications that it may help in the treatment process of addictions, anxiety and depression.
The main way in which CBD is believed to be able to be used for such a wide variety of applications is due to its ability in influencing many different systems of receptors in the body and the brain.
Looking at the brain, there are significant amounts of specialized cells there known as neurons. They communicate with one another through the issuance of messengers called neurotransmitters. Brain receptors are sensitive to internal neurotransmitters made in the brain such as serotonin and dopamine, in addition to the likes of plant cannabinoids such as those found in CBD.
When CBD has been ingested, these compounds will travel through your bloodstream and eventually reach the brain where they can change activity in the brain by changing the manner in which the receptors deal with the neurons. There are two main types of cannabinoid receptors in the body: CB1 and CB2. However, CBD does not really interact with either of these; it affects them in a more indirect manner.
CBD can create larger levels of cannabinoids which are naturally produced in the body, as a result of inhibiting enzymes which are used to destroy them. CBD even can have an effect on the receptors in the brain which are not activated by cannabinoids.
Some of these are the opioid receptors, which help with the regulation of pain. This is the type of receptor which is usually targeted by pharmaceutical medications for pain relief. This is also the area where a lot of problematic drugs such as heroin and morphine target. Another set of receptors that CBD can interact with are the dopamine receptors which play an important function in the regulation of cognition and behaviour.
Future possibilities of CBD use
There are many interesting applications of CBD which are being contemplated by researchers across the world. One of these areas is the potential targeting of the opioid receptors or the dopamine receptors, which would lead to an ability to help reduce the withdrawal symptoms and cravings associated with people getting off drugs. Of course there needs to be a lot more research done in this matter.
There are also interesting potential interactions with serotonin. There have been animal studies which show that CBD can activate numerous serotonin receptors found throughout the brain. This is one of the reasons for the anxiety-aiding benefits of CBD use.
How did the popularity of CBD as a treatment take off?
Most of the mainstream attention CBD has received in recent times was started out when a small girl’s family decided to speak out after their sick daughter received tremendous relief from her condition thanks to the use of CBD.
Charlotte Figi suffered from a severe and rare type of epilepsy named Dravet syndrome which meant that, by the time she was five years old, she could not communicate properly.
This is a condition which is found in one of every 30,000 infants worldwide. These children are seemingly healthy until their development suddenly starts to rapidly regress.
This condition leads to intense seizures which result in the children convulsing and losing consciousness over the course of hours.
Charlotte’s family dealt with this for years, and they tried all different types of treatment options with none of them having much of an impact on her condition. The family had been told they had effectively run out of options after they exhausted most of the experimental medications and dealt with untold complications over the years.
Their decision to roll the dice and try treating Charlotte using CBD turned out to be a momentous decision, and was the catalyst for this movement to get it recognised as a legitimate treatment option.
While most marijuana plant breeders aimed to maximise the psychoactive THC content of the plants, Charlotte’s family found a strain which was high in CBD without having much THC. Before starting CBD treatment, Charlotte was suffering 300 grand mal seizures on a weekly basis, with each one lasting as long as fifteen minutes.
After CBD oil was implemented into her daily treatment, the seizures stopped for an entire week. This story gained traction in the media and started a massive change. Many states across the world have since brought in legislation that legalizes medicinal CBD.