Scientists have long understood that each cluster of the human body’s neurotransmitters works in varied ways. But it wasn’t until a group of scientists dedicated years to studying the effects of marijuana on people that they discovered a new neurotransmitter system. They called this system—where the effects of marijuana are felt—the endocannabinoid system (ECS), in honor of the cannabis plant.
CBD’s role in the body
The endocannabinoid system is one of the central nervous system’s critical communications structures which, as we are learning, controls physical and mental actions, reactions and moods. Chemicals that work within it to control these factors are called cannabinoids, and many are naturally produced by our bodies.
The active ingredient that causes mood-altering behaviors in cannabis sativa is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Scientists discovered that THC affects the body’s neural responses by attaching to cannabinoid receptors strongly, interfering with the body’s natural processes and throwing things off balance. However, there was one critical, official discovery that the researchers didn’t expect. Another extract from the cannabis hemp plant, cannabidiol (CBD), had incredible medical therapeutic effects on the body without any of the mood-altering effects of its sister extract. CBD oil achieves these effects by binding only weakly, and modulating the activities of the ECS in different ways.
Of course, history is our best teacher, and learned men since the time of the Ancient Greeks and Romans had noted hemp oil’s benefits. What we now call CBD has long been treating anything from pain to depression.
But as hemp seed oil became increasingly and negatively associated with marijuana, its beneficial properties were largely forgotten or ignored. Today, however, things have most certainly changed.
The current use of CBD hemp oil within the medical community.
Hemp itself has undoubtedly come a long way in public acceptance over the past few years. In December 2018, largely through the active lobbying of GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, commercial production of hemp became federally legal in the United States. The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, more commonly known as the 2018 Farm Bill, was the legislation that made it happen.
There are still legal concerns regarding state-by-state regulations and transportation across state lines, but this action has opened up the possibility for reputable companies to produce and promote CBD medical products. And the effects within the medical community are already proving to be enormous.
In June 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officially approved its first cannabis-derived drug. Epidiolex is a CBD medical solution for the treatment of seizures associated with two rare and severe forms of epilepsy: Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. Crucially, CBD is proving to succeed where traditional medicine has not: both syndromes are resistant to traditional anti-seizure medications. However, in numerous studies, CBD has been shown to reduce seizure incidence and in some cases, abort them entirely.
According to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies (IOM), over 100 million people across the U.S. suffer from widespread chronic pain. CBD is proving to be useful in this area; researchers believe it’s due to its anti-inflammatory effects and inhibition of neuropathic pain. Studies are ongoing since 2006 when the first trial offered conclusive evidence that a CBD-based drug, Sativex, reduced both inflammation and pain.
In 2016, a study from the European Journal of Pain using rodent subjects reached the same conclusion. Excitingly, none of the subjects in either study demonstrated side effects alongside the hemp oil benefits.
Early studies with mice are proving very positive in treating autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) with CBD medical lotion. This is the model that’s typically used for studying multiple sclerosis in humans. The lotion, applied topically, proved to help delay the muscle loss or even regain the use of some paralyzed limbs. Seemingly, the CBD served as an effective counter agent to the damage caused by EAE.
Anxiety and depression
CBD doesn’t just treat outward symptoms; one of its most popular uses is as an anti-anxiety/depression agent. CBD works within the endocannabinoid system’s CB1 receptor, which is the part of the brain which controls serotonin signals. This means that CBD may be able to be used as an alternative to the traditionally prescribed selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like Zoloft and Prozac. There is even early research showing further benefits in this area, with hemp oil and other CBD medical products helping to control or manage additional mood-related conditions. These include social anxiety disorder (SAD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and even anxiety-linked insomnia.
The future looks promising.
It’s still early days in the world of medical CBD breakthroughs (vastly due to the long-delayed clearing-up of issues related to its legality). However, numerous and extremely promising studies are actively ongoing. These include fascinating theories such as whether CBD can help to reduce blood pressure, and its effects on general cognitive function. Click on the image below to see an infographic with a handy overview of up-and-coming CBD-related research.
Learn more about what CBD can do for you!
CBD’s wide range of medical effects and health benefits are becoming ever more widely acknowledged, within both the medical community and amongst mainstream consumers looking to reduce or transition from traditionally prescribed and often highly addictive painkillers.
Interested in learning more about CBD and its benefits? Contact CBD For Life today! We provide high-quality CBD products for anyone interested in a holistic approach to wellness.