5 Key Benefits of CBD
In the midst of an often vitriolic political season, people from across the spectrum have found consensus in a surprising arena: legal cannabis. Originally perceived as any other botanical asset, the cannabis plant became embroiled in a politically-charged debate about immigration during the infamous “War on Drugs.”
A generation later, most Americans naturally had negative opinions about legalization. Still, voting trends indicated that the electorate maintained some rational leniency towards medical marijuana. As a naturally-occurring substance, the cannabis plant offered patients suffering from various conditions an alternative to Big Pharma’s exotic and experimental formulations.
Within a relatively short time period, sentiment at the ballot gradually extended towards recreational legalization. In 2016’s general election, California residents delivered a groundbreaking electoral victory for cannabis rights, paving the way for full legality. Other states, most notably Michigan, followed the Golden State’s example in the most recent midterm elections.
Now that legal cannabis is gaining undeniable momentum, the surge in cannabidiol, or CBD products, have increased exponentially. CBD offers tremendous benefits from both a user-experience perspective, as well as tangible therapeutic effects.
But before we dive into the benefits of CBD, let’s first start off by understanding what it is:
At its most elemental level, cannabidiol is simply a cannabis compound. What some “botanical” enthusiasts may not know is that over 100 of these compounds exist. Technically, marijuana professionals refer to them as cannabinoids.
Despite the fact that cannabis has been used for various medicinal and recreational purposes, the medical community is still researching the various effects of cannabinoid strains. In particular, cannabidiol or CBD has captured the general public’s attention for its ability to impart therapeutic benefits without known side effects or behavioral changes.
Unlike the psychoactive-compound tetrahydrocannabinol -- colloquially known as THC -- CBD does not affect a user’s mental or emotional faculties. Instead, CBD imparts many of the known benefits of the cannabis sativa plant without sparking a heightened response. In other words, both medical patients and recreational users can have their cake and eat it, too!
But how does this apparent “miracle” work? Throughout the human body, several receptors are integrated with the central nervous system. These receptors bind to a particular cannabis strain. Depending on the receptor’s functionality, the cannabis compound will elicit a specific response.
In the typical recreational case, THC binds with brain receptors that control pain perception and feelings of reward or euphoria. This transmission between THC and our central nervous system creates marijuana’s signature high. It’s also responsible for the typical feeling of wellness and stress release.
The obvious problem is that many medical patients prefer the pain and stress relief without the mental or emotional impairment. CBD fits this demand perfectly, binding only to receptors controlling pain perception without sparking a euphoric response.
The discovery of and the advancement in cannabidiol has opened multiple doors to greater botanical integration and distribution. Today, it’s not uncommon for underage patients to seek alternative cannabis therapies. Without CBD, such options would not be provided due to obvious ethical concerns involving THC.
Clearly, one of the main benefits of CBD is pioneering new pathways and developments. And thanks to this trajectory, we have the following five advantages to going cannabidiol:
CBD Delivers Proven Pain Relief
Perhaps the most commonly-cited use of cannabis outside of recreation is pain relief. Anyone who has ever gotten high on dank marijuana can attest to the immediate stress relief it imparts. Having experienced a radical departure from the daily norm, it’s only natural that end-users want more.
What might surprise you is that this urge is essentially evolutionary. Since 2,900 B.C., ancient civilizations have incorporated the marijuana plant for pain relief. However, it wasn’t until modern times that scientists and medical researchers have charted an explanation for cannabidiol’s distinctive properties.
While research is ongoing, what the scientific establishment has zeroed in on is that CBD may modulate endocannabinoid receptor activity. Endocannabinoids are neurotransmitters that bind to your body’s cannabinoid receptors.
Various laboratory tests have concluded that both CBD injections and oral treatments significantly reduced pain responses in rats. Furthermore, oral CBD treatments have substantially reduced sciatic nerve pain and inflammation.
The latter result is especially encouraging for human applications. It’s fair to say that if given a choice, most people would rather elect an oral therapy over the needle. The sciatic nerve pain results prove that less-intrusive oral CBD therapies can drive the same, if not greater benefits than intensive and intrusive solutions.
CBD Could Potentially Help Treat or Effectively-Manage Debilitating Diseases
For patients suffering debilitating diseases, nothing can prepare them for the excruciating pain, constant fluctuations, and loss of bodily control. Even worse, pharmaceutical therapies are not necessarily effective. In fact, mounting evidence – and lawsuits – indicate that pharmaceuticals are responsible for the opioid epidemic.
If that wasn’t bad enough, the drug-making industry doesn’t have the incentive to cure diseases. Indeed, it doesn’t even have the incentive to produce an effective managerial treatment. As Gilead Sciences demonstrated with their Hepatitis C “miracle drug,” Wall Street views medical breakthroughs as revenue headwinds.
The politics of healthcare bring an unnecessary and many times dangerous overhang upon innocent patients. However, CBD treatments cut through this muck because of its inherently natural source. No one can patent the cannabis sativa plant. Therefore, forward-thinking medical doctor have prescribed cannabis-based therapies for their patients, with positive results.
One of the worst debilitating diseases is multiple sclerosis (MS). At first, MS attacks the body, causing extreme fatigue in sufferers. The weariness is so overwhelming that it interferes with basic home and work functions. MS renders normally active people to a constant state of bed rest.
Additionally, patients may experience weakness, numbness or tingling in the extremities, dizziness, cognitive changes, bladder and bowel problems, and clinically-significant pain, to name but a few symptoms. Obviously, MS is a life-altering condition, for both the patient and their loved ones.
But in recent years, researchers discovered an unexpected dynamic: when CBD combines with THC, the compound offers an effective solution against MS-related pain and arthritis. In fact, a medical study distributed by the National Institutes of Health demonstrated potential for CBD-based treatments for pain relief among MS patients.
Cannabis-centric GW Pharmaceuticals took a step further. Earlier this decade, the company released Sativex, a CBD/THC “hybrid” therapy that alleviates neuropathic pain associated with MS. Critically, several countries have approved Sativex due to its effectiveness in substantially-improving pain management, walking, and muscle control.
CBD Treatments are Not Addictive
Prior to the current momentum towards marijuana legalization, early proponents for medical cannabis met ferocious opposition. Many conservative and religious groups attacked the movement as merely being a front for potheads to justify their addiction.
During the 1990s and early 2000s, such thinking made sense to most of the American public. At that time, around 60% of the U.S. electorate opposed legalizing marijuana, according to the Pew Research Center. Today, that statistic has flipped on its head.
Meanwhile, pharmaceuticals began pushing various pain-killers to address growing demand from patients suffering from trauma or other acute symptoms. Another name for these pain-killers were opioids.
Logically, people worried about the opioid’s inherently-addictive nature. Big pharmaceuticals companies immediately stepped forward, assuaging any fears that lingering issues would cause problems down the line. The drug-makers adamantly denied that opioids were addictive.
Oh, the irony! Today, the opioid crisis represents the biggest headline in health-related news in 2018. That’s not a conspiratorial claim, but rather, the consensus sentiment for WebMD.com. Opioids have ruined countless thousands of lives, and shattered families across the country.
Even more damning, the epidemic has impugned the economic-growth narrative that the Trump administration has consistently pushed. Opioids are particularly devastating because they impose the classic case of addiction: in order for the user to retain their high, they must absorb higher doses.
Apparently, not even a pharmaceutical prescription can change the opioid platform’s double-sided nature. Had the political opposition listened carefully to medical-marijuana proponents, we may not have had the opioid crisis.
As we previously discussed, CBD doesn’t transmit signals to receptors that control the reward/euphoria response. Instead, cannabinoids only interact with pain-perception receptors. As such, patients are free to use CBD treatments for as long or as little as they like.
Most importantly, getting off CBD is a simple mental exercise: merely decide not to use it, and you’re on your way.
CBD Presents Options Against the “Silent Killers”
Countless millions, if not billions around the world suffer from various forms of anxiety and depression. These common-place mental illnesses represent “silent killers.” Too often, victims appear completely normal to outsiders. Inside, though, a sufferer can be enduring a living hell.
Given the dramatic rise in mental-health issues, anxiety and depression can no longer be ignored. More critically, health faculties and medical professionals must enhance their training and education to support mental/emotional wellness. Gone are the days when the medical community dismissed depression as a personal flaw or weakness.
We should all be grateful that health providers today have risen above yesteryear’s archaic views on anxiety and depression. At the same time, their solutions remain the same old ineffective drivel: prescription drugs.
Some antidepressants share chemical characteristics with opioids. Since the U.S. and developed countries have transitioned towards a pill-popping culture, it’s not inconceivable that we’ll see another epidemic.
In fact, we’re probably in the middle of one. Suicide, especially teen suicide, has rapidly-devolved into a raging, tragic storm. Along with this awful trend, physical and cyber-bullying have reached their own crisis levels, perpetuating a vicious cycle.
Fortunately, cannabidiol therapies demonstrate excellent potential to address this quandary. First, CBD products are inherently non-addictive, immediately giving this platform a leg up against the competition. Additionally, healthcare providers, as well as legislators, will be incentivized to promote cannabidiol. They’re keen on avoiding another overwhelming crisis.
Second, cannabidiol treatments have proven exceptionally effective in clinical trials. In one case study, a group of people suffering from social anxiety disorder were given one of two treatments: a 600 mg dose of CBD or a placebo. Later, researchers asked the study participants to give a public speech.
Those who received the CBD experienced significantly less anxiety against the placebo group. Moreover, the cannabidiol group were better able to perform under pressure.
Can CBD Help Cancer Patients?
Medical-marijuana proponents frequently bring up the plant’s ability to potentially treat cancer. Many of us have heard anecdotal stories of cancer patients who found alternatives to chemotherapy and successfully entered remission.
If you go further down the rabbit hole, you’ll hear many individuals swear that cannabis cures cancer. To them, the government is hiding the truth about the politically-maligned plant. Should word get out, Big Pharma would go out of business.
We’ve all grown enamored with the cannabis “miracle potion.” Yet how much truth exists in these wild claims?
First things first: the cure for cancer is still many years, if not decades away. Although substantial advances in biotechnology have drawn us closer to the ultimate cure, the challenge remains perplexing. A key headwind is cell diversity.
Cancer cells are particularly heinous because they’re heterogeneous – they replicate into many forms so that identical pairings are statistically unlikely. According to The Jackson Laboratory:
At that time (of early cancer research), researchers showed that cells collected from four different regions of the same kidney cancer tumor were in fact quite different. Further studies have reinforced this finding, and cancer cell heterogeneity is now widely recognized. Given that biopsies are typically taken from a single spot within a tumor, this fact has serious implications for improving diagnostics and therapies. It also indicates that any one targeted therapy is highly unlikely to eliminate all cancer cells by itself (clarification mine).
While we’d like to believe that complete cancer treatment is around the corner, the reality is that as we dive deeper, the problem becomes more complex. However, an old plant has given current cancer patients some level of optimism.
A few lab studies demonstrated that a combined CBD/THC therapy can reduce nausea and vomiting resulting from chemotherapy. In addition, CBD’s pain-killing properties can help patients endure the daily rigors involved in fighting cancer.
But another promising area goes well beyond pain management. In certain animal studies, cannabidiol appears to lever anti-cancer characteristics. For instance, one study discovered a connection between concentrated CBD localization, and induced cancer-cell death.
The theory makes perfect scientific sense. Because CBD selectively bonds to specific receptors, it’s very possible to “coax” it to kill cancer cells in isolation.