Cannabidiol CBD is a naturally occurring compound found in the hemp plant, a plant with a long history as a medicine going back thousands of years. Today the therapeutic properties of CBD are being tested and recorded by scientists and doctors around the world. A safe, non-addictive substance CBD is just one of hundreds of phytocannabinoids which are unique to cannabis and give the plant its robust therapeutic properties.
Many people are seeking alternatives to pharmaceuticals that have harsh side effects – medicine more in sync with our bodies. By tapping into how we function biologically on a deep level, CBD has shown to provide relief from chronic pain, anxiety, inflammation, depression and many other conditions.
Extensive scientific research and mounting anecdotal accounts from patients and physicians highlight the potential of CBD as a treatment for a wide range of conditions.
CBD has shown to have neuroprotective effects and its anti-cancer properties are being investigated at several academic research centers in the United States and elsewhere. A 2010 brain cancer study by California scientists found that CBD “enhances the inhibitory effects of THC on human cell proliferation and survival.” This means that CBD makes THC even more potent as an anticancer substance. Also in 2010, German researchers reported that CBD stimulates neurogenesis, the growth of new brain cells, in adult mammals.
HOW DOES CBD WORK?
CBD and THC interact with our bodies in a variety of ways. One of the main ways they impact us is by mimicking and augmenting the effects of the compounds in our bodies called “endogenous cannabinoids” – so named because of their similarity to the compounds found in the cannabis plant. These “endocannabinoids” are part of a regulatory system called the “endocannabinoid system”.
The discovery of the endocannabinoid system has significantly advanced our understanding of health and disease. It has major implications for nearly every area of medical science and helps to explain how and why CBD and THC are such versatile compounds – and why cannabis is such a widely consumed mood-altering plant, despite its illegal status.
The endocannabinoid system plays a crucial role in regulating a broad range of physiological processes that affect our everyday experience – our mood, our energy level, our intestinal fortitude, immune activity, blood pressure, bone density, glucose metabolism, how we experience pain, stress, hunger, and more.
What happens if the endocannabinoid system doesn’t function properly? What are the consequences of a cannabinoid deficient or overactive endocannabinoid system?
In a word, disease.
Science shows that our Endocannabinoid system plays a role in nearly all pathological conditions, so it stands to reason that regulating our endocannabinoid system activity may have therapeutic potential in almost all diseases affecting humans, as scientists with the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), suggested in a 2014 publication.
By modulating the endocannabinoid system and enhancing endocannabinoid tone, CBD and THC can slow – or in some cases stop – disease progression.
CBD is a molecule, not a miracle. Many people could benefit significantly from legal access to a wide range of cannabis remedies, not just low-THC or no-THC products. CBD alone may not always do the trick. There is compelling evidence that CBD works best in combination with THC and the full spectrum of other cannabis components.
It’s no longer a matter of debating whether cannabis has merit as an herbal medication – today the key challenge is discerning how to utilize cannabis for maximum therapeutic benefit. Given its low-risk profile, many people are using CBD as an add-on therapy to their existing treatment plans.
But most health professionals know little about CBD or cannabis therapeutics and they lack sufficient expertise to adequately counsel patients regarding dosage, modes of administration, CBD/THC synergies, and any risk factors, including interactions with other drugs.