Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis. CBD has been shown to have powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety properties, without exerting a psychotropic effect. Unlike many of the other 85+ cannabinoids, CBD hemp strains have been bred so that CBD occurs in significant quantities; therefore, it is relatively easily extracted from these strains.
Additionally, CBD has been shown in a patent by the U.S. National Institutes of Health to have significant antioxidant and neuro-protective properties, suggesting that it could be a potential treatment for neurological disorders.
Pharmaceutical drugs work at the level of the symptoms, not treating the imbalances in the systems that lead to the diseases and associated symptoms. CBD, on the other hand, works at the level of the system of balance, helping regulate our bodies to enable homeostasis.
While CBD is not yet FDA approved for any condition, many studies have shown promising results for a variety of conditions. Indications are that CBD:
According to a recent World Heath Organization (WHO) report, published on December 11, 2017, CBD is safe and well tolerated in humans and animals, and is not associated with any negative public health effects. Experts further stated that CBD does not induce physical dependence and is “not associated with abuse potential.”
“CBD has also been demonstrated as an effective treatment for epilepsy” in adults, children, and even animals, and that there’s preliminary evidence “that CBD could be useful in treating Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, psychosis, Parkinson’s disease, and other serious conditions.”
— World Heath Organization, December 11, 2017
Inflammation is a natural protective reaction the immune system has in response to infection or physical damage. It’s important that inflammation be limited to the location of damage and doesn’t persist longer than needed, which can cause harm. Chronic inflammation and auto-immune diseases are examples of the immune system getting activated inappropriately. When that happens, the inflammatory response lasts too long resulting in in chronic inflammation, or may get directed toward healthy cells leading to auto-immune diseases.
In general, cannabinoids seem to suppress or limit the immune system’s inflammatory signals.
“Most of our research demonstrates that endocannabinoids are produced upon activation of immune cells and may help regulate the immune response by acting as anti-inflammatory agents. Thus, interventions that manipulate the metabolism or production of endocannabinoids may serve as a novel treatment modality against a wide range of inflammatory disease.”
— Professor Prakash Nagarkatti, Vice President for Research at the University of South Carolina
(Cannabidiol as an emergent therapeutic strategy for lessening the impact of inflammation on oxidative stress. Booz GW.)
(Cannabinoids suppress inflammatory and neuropathic pain by targeting a3 glycine receptors. Xiong W et al.)
Animal and human studies indicate that CBD has anxiolytic (i.e. anxiety-reducing) properties. Recent clinical research suggests CBD reduces anxiety through its effects on activity in limbic and paralimbic brain areas. (Neural basis of anxiolytic effects of cannabidiol (CBD) in generalized social anxiety disorder: a preliminary report. Crippa et al.)
Preliminary research into cannabis and insomnia also suggests that CBD may have therapeutic potential for the treatment of insomnia, REM sleep behavior abnormalities as well as excessive daytime sleepiness, at least in part due to its interactions with serotonin receptors in the brain. (Cannabis, Cannabinoids, and Sleep: a Review of the Literature. Babson et al.)
Following consumption, CBD works near instantaneously by binding to the CB1 and CB2 receptors on the surface of cells in your brain and cells of your immune system throughout your body. However, the speed at which any individuals will feel the effects of CBD will depend on their unique physiology, as well as their specific ailments. The neuro-protective effects of cannabinoids are cumulative and may take time to demonstrate results.