By: Mitchell Colbert June 17, 2014
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the most common non-psychoactive cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, occurring in the largest concentrations after THC and THCa. The reason THC is psychoactive is because it interacts with the CB1 receptor. CBD, on the other hand, has no interaction with the CB1 receptor and instead uses a bunch of other receptor sites. In an interesting reversal of CBD’s ability to calm THC psychoactivity, there is a way to transform CBD into THC. It appears that CBD is like THC in that it will breakdown into the heavily sedating CBN.
Aside from being non-psychoactive, CBD is a powerful treatment for seizures, pain, inflammation, cancer, auto immune diseases, and numerous other conditions. While THC is also an analgesic and anti-inflammatory, CBD has been shown to even more potent than THC and pharmaceutical drugs. While THC and CBD both cause the user to feel less pain they use entirely different mechanisms of action. THC helps with pain by helping one forget they are in pain, or by distracting them from your pain. CBD works to reduce the amount of pain felt whenever you are hurt, more similar to traditional opiate pain killers.
Due to the fact that it is non-psychoactive and has a wide range of medical uses, CBD is highly recommended for treatment of children, the elderly, and anyone who wants to remain clear headed while still getting the medical benefits of cannabis. CBD appears to change how THC affects the body, making it less psychoactive yet preserving the therapeutic benefits. Many people who are new to cannabis edibles report getting too high and having negative experiences, if this ever happens to you, use a CBD-rich tincture to calm down the psychoactive effects of THC and help you sober up.
The vast medical benefits coupled with the lack of psychoactivity have prompted over a dozen states to pass CBD-only medical cannabis laws, legalizing a part of the plant while keeping the whole plant illegal. This does a dis-service to patients because even patient who need a CBD-rich regimen of medicine often need THC, THCa, or CBG; pediatric epilepsy patients use very high ratios of CBD:THC, in the range of 28:1, yet they still need THC at times and can see benefits from using THCa and CBG. Combining different cannabinoids together has been shown to have a stronger effect than any of those cannabinoids would have had on their own, this effect has been called the Entourage Effect. Many companies are attempting to cash in on the CBD Green Rush and have put numerous inferior products on the market for inflated prices, ProjectCBD has called these Snake Oil Salesmen “Hemp Oil Hustlers.” The problem has become so bad that in February of 2015, the FDA sent warning letters to numerous companies informing them that their CBD products did not test as high as they claimed and that they are not FDA approved.
Analgesic – Relieves pain.
Antibacterial – Slows bacterial growth.
Anti-Diabetic – CBD is the only cannabinoid identified that helps lower blood sugar levels.
Antidepressant – Relieves symptoms of depression.
Anti-Emetic – Reduces vomiting and nausea.
Anti-Epileptic – Reduces seizures and convulsions.
Anti-inflammatory – Reduces inflammation systemically.
Anti-Insomnia – Aids with sleep.
Anti-Ischemic – CBD is the only cannabinoid identified that reduces the risk of artery blockage.
Antipsioratic – CBD is the only cannabinoid identified to treat psoriasis.
Anti-Proliferative – Inhibits cancer cell growth.
Antipsychotic – Tranquilizing effects to relieve symptoms of psychosis, two terpenoids also help (linalool and myrcene).
Antioxidant – Prevents the damage of oxidation to other molecules in the body.
Antispasmodic – Suppresses muscle spasms.
Anxiolitic – CBD is the only cannabinoid identified that relieves anxiety, but two terpenoids also help (linalool and limonene).
Bone Stimulant – Promotes bone growth.
Immunosuppressive – CBD is the only cannabinoid identified that reduces function in the immune system.
Intestinal Anti-Prokinetic – CBD is the only cannabinoid identified that reduces small intestine contractions.
Neuroprotective – Slows damage to the nervous system and brain.
Vasorelaxant– CBD is the only cannabinoid identified that reduces vascular tension. CBD is also currently being studied for a variety of conditions.
Currently Being Studied For
Alzheimer’s Disease/Dementia/Memory Loss: CBD’s strong neuroprotective and antioxidative effects work together to counteract the effects of aging on our brains, fighting off memory loss and dementia.
Bone Healing: New research from March 2015 has shown that CBD’s ability to stimulate bone growth is powerful enough to speed up and enhance the healing of broken bones. The same study found that THC had a related role in the healing of broken bones, working in entourage with CBD.
Cancer: A study was published in 2007, regarding ongoing research being done at San Francisco’s California Pacific Medical Center, showing that CBD inhibits a particular gene (Id-1) which is responsible for the growth of cancer cells in the body. By inhibiting this gene CBD shuts down the growth of cancer cells, potentially stopping or even reversing tumor growth. While it is premature to say that CBD cures cancer, it is worth further research.
Dravet Syndrome/Epilepsy: In October of 2013, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved two clinical trials assessing the therapeutic uses of CBD in treating intractable epilepsy in children. The CBD preparations are being made by British pharmaceutical company GW Pharmaceuticals, makers of Sativex. Dravet is a rare seizure disorder where usually children will have their first intractable seizure before they are even one year old, and in exceptional cases seizures can last over 24 hours. Harborside, where I work, has a famous patient named Jayden, a young boy who uses a CBD-rich tincture to treat his Dravet Syndrome.
Depression/Anxiety: CBD stimulates the 5-HT1a receptor in the brain, a region involved in the re-uptake of serotonin and other processes that aid with depression and anxiety. The antidepressant properties of CBD are very similar to the trycyclic antidepressant Imipramine (also being evaluated for panic disorder).
Diabetes: CBD was first discovered to mitigate the effects of diabetes in 2006. since then it has been shown to have numerous benefits for people with diabetes, specifically in reducing neurotoxicity and inflammation. In a follow up study done in 2010, it was found that CBD worked as a defense against neurodegeneration. Another 2010 study said CBD had “great therapeutic potential in the treatment of diabetic complications, and perhaps other cardiovascular disorders.”
Inflammatory Bowel Disease/Crohn’s Disease: CBD shows a lot of promise for controlling the inflammatory responses and discomfort caused by Crohn’s disease and IBD. CBD has so much potential to regulate these diseases that it is being considered for a new class of IBD drugs.
Nausea: In a study done on nausea and vomiting, CBD was shown to have anti-emetic, anti-nausea effects. The same study found that CBG could block these anti-nausea effects, perhaps because moderate doses of CBD and CBG may oppose eachother at the 5HTP1a receptor in the brain.
Schizophrenia/Psychosis: CBD is a powerful antipsychotic currently being considered for use in treating schizophrenia and other psychoses. Cannabidiol appears to have a very similar chemical profile to certain atypical antipsychotic drugs.