The cannabis plant is filled with hundreds of different compounds, several of which have been studied for decades for their therapeutic benefits. The cannabis compounds that have captured the most scientific interest are known as cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are now used in treatment for a broad—and growing—range of conditions and symptoms, from sleep and pain, to anxiety and inflammation, to Parkinson’s disease and cancer.
At Noho’s Finest, a medical marijuana dispensary in the Los Angeles area, Damaris Diaz checks the scent and stickiness of her products. Crossbreeding has yielded powerful new hybrid strains that are much higher in psychoactive THC than those in decades past—a source of concern for health officials, who cite evidence that the prolonged smoking of high-THC varieties can adversely affect the developing brain.
An animal study using mice found repeated administration of CBD may help the hippocampus regenerate neurons, which could be useful for treating anxiety or depression. Research shows both SSRIs and CBD may promote neurogenesis. This is significant, because evidence suggests that severely impaired neuronal plasticity may influence suicidal behavior. Future research comparing CBD and SSRIs effect on neurogenesis could open up promising new avenues in how we understand depression and how to most effectively treat it.
Worsening of anxiety: Though most research indicates that cannabidiol is likely to decrease anxiety in humans and animal models, contrasting evidence necessitates consideration. A study published in 2012 by ElBatsh et al. examined the effects of CBD administration on rodent behavior and protein expression. Notably, CBD decreased frontal and hippocampal BDNF and reduced TrkB and phosphor-ERK1/2 expression. This suggests that when used frequently, CBD may exacerbate underlying anxiety. (Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22083592).
CBD is available in oils, or it can be added to creams, ointments and beauty products. It can also be used in a vape pen or even consumed through food like CBD gummies. Joel Greengrass, CEO of Theramu, a company that creates non-THC CBD oil, said he has observed a huge increase in interest and popularity of CBD for skin and wellness complaints, as well as for the treatment of a range of anxiety conditions.
Wondering where to buy cannabis oil? Look for a reputable company that sells its products legally (according to your specific state laws) with full transparency and accountability. It’s very important to make sure any cannabis oil you purchase has been tested by accredited laboratories to ensure that is is free of pesticides, residual solvents (from the extraction process), bacteria, fungus, foreign matter and heavy metals.
Cannabis oils and CBD oils are not the same thing. So what is CBD oil? Cannabidiol (CBD) oil has a high concentration of cannabidiol, while cannabis oil contains both CBD and THC. CBD oil is created by extracting CBD from either the cannabis or hemp plant and then diluting it with a carrier oil like coconut or hemp seed oil. CBD does not produce a euphoric “high” or psychoactive effect because it doesn’t affect the same receptors as THC.
For the study, researchers recruited 8 volunteers and administered the following: THC (0.5 mg/kg), CBD (1 mg/kg), CBD/THC mix OR Valium (10 mg) or placebo (serving as controls). The volunteers each received the combinations in an order different from the others. Researchers were able to verify that CBD inhibited anxiety as induced by THC, but physiological data revealed it was not a result of direct THC inhibition.
The nutrition and supplement industry—which includes CBD products—is almost wholly unregulated. “The concentrations in products are only approximate, and I don’t know how well they’re tracked,” Szaflarski says. Even if you could absolutely trust a product’s label—and many CBD manufacturers, aware of the current scrutiny on their industry, go to great lengths to assure consumers of the quality of their products—there aren’t a lot of concrete facts when it comes to the type or amount of CBD a person should take for a specific ailment or aim.
There are ways to strain dangerous contaminants out of raw hemp paste. And most companies stand behind their quality and safety procedures. “We continuously test all our products ... to ensure our consumers get the levels of natural constituents they expect from the quality hemp stalk oil they purchase,” HempMedsPx states on its web site. “Additionally, all our products are tested for safety, to ensure there are no solvents, heavy metals, or other potentially harmful materials in our oil. Because we take these steps, we are always confident in our products, and you can be too.”
Currently, studies suggest that CBD attaches to the cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, within the body, which works to maintain homeostasis in the body. CB2 receptors were found in much higher amounts in the joints of arthritis sufferers and when CBD was introduced into the body, it was found to interact with these receptors, promoting analgesia in the affected area. It also suggested that it was unlikely that CBD users would build up an eventual resistance, and so could be used without gradual reuptake.
Great Article on CBD – Did you learn anything about how the efficacy of the CBC is affected by the source species? e.g. Cannabis vs Hemp. Also, Sativa vs. Indica. All of the referenced studies just state CBC, do you know what is the typical source of CBD used in these type of studies? CBC oil from Hemp is readily and cheaply available on the internet from many companies, however I have read that the efficacy of Hemp derived CBD is less than from Cannabis. Any thoughts? Thanks!
These preliminary findings piqued Blessing's interest. For instance, she points to a 2011 study of a few dozen people, some of whom had social anxiety disorder, who were asked to speak in front of a large audience. Researchers compared anxiety levels in people after they took CBD, compared to those who got the placebo or nothing at all. (The participants didn't know if they'd been given the drug or the placebo.)
Typical treatments for anxiety usually center around either therapy, medication or both. This includes talk therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy, and medications like benzodiazepines, antidepressants, beta blockers and SNRIs (serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors). But non-pharmaceutical solutions are also becoming more popular, especially as new research on them emerges. Case in point: CBD products.
Endocannabinoids are familiar to runners because of their theorized role in running-induced mood boosts. That euphoric phenomenon is thought to be from activation of the same receptors in the brain that the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in marijuana acts upon. CBD “works through distinct—albeit not definitively identified—signaling systems than THC,” DiPatrizio says. CBD is non-psychoactive, which means it doesn’t produce a high.
Cannabidiol offers a novel pharmacodynamic profile as an anxiolytic agent. It is believed that administration of CBD (cannabidiol) modulates neurotransmission in a multitude of ways. Literature shows that cannabidiol alters 5-HT1A, GPR55, CB1/CB2, and mu/delta opioid receptor sites – while simultaneously enhances hippocampal neurogenesis. The combination of these neurophysiological effects likely contribute to its efficacy as a novel anxiolytic.
Kimberly is the reference editor for Live Science and Space.com. She has a bachelor's degree in marine biology from Texas A&M University, a master's degree in biology from Southeastern Louisiana University and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her favorite stories include animals and obscurities. A Texas native, Kim now lives in a California redwood forest. You can follow her on Twitter @kimdhickok.
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