In California, the “capital” of marijuana legalization in the United States, has made extensive waves in introducing (and mass-producing) by-products of cannabis to create popular remedies used for common ailments, from pain relief to depression control. Cannabidiol, better known as CBD, is one of the hundreds of chemical compounds found in the marijuana plant, Cannabis sativa. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the leading psychoactive cannabinoid (which causes the sensation of getting “high,” which has polarised governments to either reject the drug entirely or only accept its medicinal qualities). But, unlike THC, CBD is not a psychoactive compound.
CBD is an appealing option for those looking to gain relief from pain or illnesses without the psychoactive effects of marijuana. In Los Angeles, CBD has become synonymous with the wellness world due to its credited efforts in relieving numerous conditions, from epilepsy and anxiety to insomnia and inflammation. Although “credited” does not mean “proven,” CBD surely has forced its way into the wellness industry, appearing in all forms: gummies, creams, lotions, vapes, capsules, and, most importantly, oils and tinctures.
Although Stephen Donnelly, the Irish Health Minister, has made it very clear that there are no plans to legalising cannabis in Ireland, maybe it’s time for the Emerald Isle to consider a few credited benefits of cannabidiol.
Scientists discovered that some components of marijuana, including cannabidiol, are responsible for pain relief. The human body contains a system, known as the endocannabinoid system, or ECS for short, involved in regulating bodily functions, such as sleep, appetite, pain, and immune system response. The body produces endocannabinoids, neurotransmitters that bind to the cannabinoid receptors in the nervous system. Scientific studies have shown that CBD may possibly be reducing chronic pain by impacting endocannabinoid reception activity; this, in turn, reduces inflammation significantly, interacting with neurotransmitters. CBD offers an alternative for people with chronic pain who rely on medication, most especially opioids, that are habit-forming and can later lead to addiction.
In 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Epidiolex; Epidiolex is a CBD oral solution used for the treatment of rare forms of epilepsy in children under the age of two, such as Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, two genetic disorders that impact the human body with lifelong catastrophic seizures. Scientists have found that, when CBD interacts with other medications used for epilepsy, like Onfi (clobazam), it “boosts” their concentration in blood, not only making the drugs more effective but extending their half-lives.
In clinical trials, CBD has shown the ability to reverse and even prevent Alzheimer’s. A 2011 study, spearheaded by Australian researchers, Tim Karl and Carl Group, discovered that CBD promotes the growth and development of brain cells, reducing memory loss and other major brain functions!
CBD has become popularized in easing mental health issues, with one being depression. In initial studies, CBD has shown promise as a treatment in impacting the negative effects of depression. According to a 2014 study, CBD has been credited as useful in treating depression, as it appears to have a positive interaction with serotonin receptors found in the brain. Serotonin is described as “the happy chemical” because it contributes to one’s emotional state and feelings of well-being and happiness, so, if CBD is working well in balancing serotonin levels, then, it should be credited as labelling itself as therapeutic.
Feeling pressured, like the whole world is on your shoulders? One of the other health benefits of CBD is its ability to relieve anxiety. Generally, anxiety disorders are treated with psychotherapy, medication, or, at times, a combination of the two; because of this, people forgo self-treatment with CBD products, most especially CBD oil. In a survey published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research in 2018, almost 62% of cannabidiol users reported that they used CBD to treat a medical condition, with the top three conditions being pain, anxiety, and depression. But, much like treating depression, CBD interacts with and influences receptors involved in the modulation of serotonin, making the human body relieved.
CBD has been found to have potential health benefits for restlessness, such as insomnia. Apparently, CBD interacts with specific receptors in the body, potentially affecting the sleep/wake cycle. It also has been found to decrease anxiety and pain, two disorders that interfere with restful sleep; so, by impacting those two symptoms, it improves sleep. Cheers to a good night’s sleep!
And, on top of all that, CBD, in the form of oil, has been credited for helping to treat acne due to its anti-inflammatory properties!
In most of the United States, CBD or CBD-infused products are currently available for people to use. Although it is being marketed as a bit of a “cure-all,” CBD still has miles to go for further research in proving its benefits. But, there’s no doubt CBD (in all its forms) is showing promise. Maybe, its popularization in pockets of the United States will allow Ireland to consider legalizing cannabis recreationally. Only time can tell.