CBD Medical Benefits: Fact or Fiction?
As CBD and CBD Oil have been exploding in popularity in recent years, for both humans and their pets, with seemingly more positive user testimonials and stories every day, one can’t help but wonder if there’s any evidence to back up all these anecdotal claims. Luckily for those who like scientific evidence, the amount of research being done is also increasing every day. The question must be asked: is the hype surrounding CBD Oil’s benefits for medical purposes based on fact? Or is it simply fiction? This article looks at the relationship between CBD and 3 key medical issues: cancer, epilepsy, and motivational disorders (drug addiction and anxiety). Let’s dive in!
Cannabinoids and Cancer: What the Research Shows
Some of the most horrifying news a person can receive is being told that they have cancer. Cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide, with the World Health Organization (WHO) reporting 9.6 million worldwide deaths from cancer in 2018. The highest number of cancer deaths each year are caused by lung, breast, liver, stomach, and colorectal cancers. With such a high death rate, it’s no surprise that a cancer diagnosis is often looked at as being handed a death sentence. However, the silver lining is that cancer research continues to evolve, progress, and bring about promising information. But what does the research show when it comes to cancer and CBD? This section will look at how cannabinoids and more specifically, how CBD Oil affects cancer.
New research has shown that treatment with Cannabinoids affects cancer in quite a few ways. Cannabinoids including CBD (Cannabidiol) have been shown to promote cancer cell death (called apoptosis), obstruct the development of cancerous growths (metastasis), and also affect the nutrients that tumors need to grow (affects tumor angiogenesis). Current research shows that CBD produces these anticancer actions partially through enhanced production of reactive oxygen species. It has also been proposed that CBD may activate certain receptors (TRPV2 receptors) to trigger cancer cell death.
Chemotherapy, one of the most common cancer treatments today, is often associated with having to endure negative side effects while going through treatment. Some of these include suffering from hair loss and debilitating nausea. Cannabinoids have been shown to alleviate nausea and vomiting induced by chemotherapy. Cesamet and Marinol are 2 (of many) synthetic cannabinoid-based medicines that are currently approved for the treatment of nausea and vomiting induced by chemotherapy due to cancer. Cannabinoids are known to lessen pain, and cannabinoid-based medicines for pain associated with cancer are also approved in Canada (such as Sativex). Apart from easing nausea and vomiting, other effects of cannabinoids in cancer treatment are reduction of muscle wasting and the stimulation of appetite.
It is important to consider that while the majority of research shows the above mentioned effects, some studies have also shown conflicting data. As this is an exciting time in CBD and cancer research, a clearer picture will appear as more research is continued to be done. As cancer is just the beginning of how CBD Oil can be used for medical purposes, read on to find out how CBD Oil is benefiting another important and prominent medical issue: epilepsy.
CBD Oil and Epilepsy: New Canadian Developments
Epilepsy is a central nervous system disorder in which brain activity becomes abnormal (such as misfiring or irregular electrical discharges amongst brain cells), causing seizures or periods of unusual behaviour or sensations, and even sometimes loss of consciousness. It can affect anyone at any age and is the fourth most common neurological disorder. One-third of people living with epilepsy also have a form of epilepsy called treatment-resistant epilepsy, or drug-resistant epilepsy (DRE).
In a 2018 study coming out of The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Canada, researchers used a specific combination of the Cannabinoids THC and CBD (with THC having a modest amount compared to CBD) with children with Dravet Syndrome. Dravet Syndrome is an uncommon type of drug-resistant epilepsy which develops in a child’s first year. It includes challenging to treat seizures and patients frequently have concurrent issues such as considerable learning disabilities and developmental delays. It is a lifelong disease as there currently isn’t a cure and has a high mortality rate.
However, the SickKids study showed promising clinically beneficial results. Observations in children who received the target treatment does include an increase in seizure-free days and also a significant decrease in motor seizures. Along with a reduction in seizure frequency, researchers also observed improvements in other areas of functioning and measures in quality of life. Dr. Blathnaid McCoy, Staff Neurologist at SickKids states: “Our study adds to a growing body of evidence that cannabinoids can exert anti-seizure effects and are safe and tolerable in treating pediatric DRE.”
Some other studies adding to this growing body of evidence include a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial using Epidiolex, a CBD-based therapy developed by GW Pharmaceuticals. Epidiolex is being used in clinical trials after early preclinical studies showed promising treatment effects of CBD for seizure disorders. The scientific evidence suggests that CBD is effective in reducing convulsive seizures in Dravet Syndrome and drop seizures in Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome.
CBD Oil and Motivational Disorders: The Latest Findings
Motivational Disorders such as anxiety, depression, and drug addiction affect millions of Canadians with anxiety being the most common mental illness in Canada. While treatments such as CBT and medication exist, new research from the University of Maryland’s School of Medicine looks at the therapeutic efficacy of CBD for the treatment of motivational disorders. Their results from a growing number of preclinical and clinical studies, show that CBD helps with addictions in 3 ways:
- it reduces drug-motivated behaviour,
- it lessens effects of withdrawal, and
- it limits cravings.
CBD was shown to alleviate withdrawal symptoms including those from cigarettes, opiates, heroin, benzodiazepines, and alcohol.
When it comes to anxiety, a large body of existing preclinical research supports the potential of CBD as a treatment for a number of anxiety disorders. These include panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), social anxiety disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder. In experimentally-induced anxiety, oral doses of CBD between 300 to 600 mg were shown to reduce anxiety while also not affecting baseline levels of anxiety. Harmony, a CBD Oil tincture containing a whopping 5000 mg of hemp-extracted CBD, was created to bring harmony and balance into the body while also simultaneously addressing more severe ailments such as anxiety, insomnia, and pain. Harmony CBD Oil is a high-quality, vegan, non-toxic CBD which is a gentle, non-habit forming, and concentrated formula that provides relief simply by placing a few drops under the tongue.
While CBD lowers stress, lessens bouts of anxiety, and helps you relax after a long day, CBD also has the potential to positively affect a wide range of more serious medical conditions. This includes neurological disorders, mood and motivational disorders, pain, and even cancer-related issues. As research continues to be done, an increasing number of studies support the growing scientific evidence that CBD and other Cannabinoids positively impact body systems through a number of ways.