Article courtesy of http://www.elixinol.com
One of more than 80 active cannabinoids in the Cannabis plant, CBD does not produce euphoria or intoxication, and has a very low affinity for CB1 and CB2 receptors when compared to THC (100 times less than tetrahydrocannabinol). Cannabidiol is a cannabinoid that interacts mildly with the endocannabinoid system, and acts as an antagonist for substances that do bind to the CB1 and CB2 receptors, activating them and causing biological responses. The term “antagonist” refers to a compound that inhibits or dampens the functions of a receptor, while agonists are chemicals that bind to receptors and active them. Being an antagonist, CBD doesn’t activate the receptors directly, but it helps other cannabinoids to be better absorbed and keeps the receptors working effectively.
CBD increases the density of CB1 receptors, amplifying the effects of cannabinoids that bind to those receptors, and reduces the effects of substances that make CB2 receptors less responsive. Through its interactions with the endocannabinoid system, CBD contributes to the transmission of certain signals within our bodies, and most of the existing studies suggest that this compound causes only clinically desirable effects, or no effects at all. So in today’s article we’ll take a closer look at some studies that investigate the interactions between CBD and the brain’s signaling system in order to identify the proven and potential health benefits of cannabidiol and CBD-rich products.
Health benefits of CBD, as supported by research
Cannabidiol may be effective as a natural solution for pain relief, research suggests. A review article conducted by US scientists from GW Pharmaceuticals has shown that cannabinoid analgesics have been well tolerated in clinical trials, and might be a useful addition to pharmacological treatments of pain. Although the pain-relief mechanisms of CBD aren’t fully understood, this cannabinoid is regarded by many health professionals as an effective solution for treating central neuropathic pain in patients with multiple scelrosis, rheumatoid arthritis and even some types of cancer.
A potential alternative to strong analgetics for patients suffering from chronic pain, CBD has less potent analgesic properties when compared to most opioid painkillers, but exerts natural anti-inflammatory effects, and this may enhance its effectiveness against acute and chronic pain. Also, it has fewer side effects than strong painkillers, and may help in easing pain from chemotherapy drugs.
The anti-inflammatory effect of cannabidiol recommends this compound as a natural solution for relieving arthritis pain, the use of this cannabinoid in the early stages of the disease showing promise for slowing down or even reversing the symptoms. In lab studies, CBD has been found to reduce acute inflammatory pain and it seems that the compound is effective against several types of joint diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis.
CBD may also be effective in treating mood disorders, anxiety and depression, as it possesses anxiolytic properties and inhibits stress and anxiety without causing psychoactive effects. Some studies suggest that the compound may be a viable treatment for patients with generalized anxiety disorder thanks to its action on the limbic and paralimbic brain areas. Brazilian researchers have found a rapid onset of therapeutic effects in SAD patients treated with a single dose of CBD, the compound exerting no psychoactive action and being well tolerated.
The list of positive health effects of cannabidiol doesn’t end here. The compound seems to help protect the brain and may be a suitable solution for treating neurodegenerative disorders, studies suggest. In patients with neurodegenerative disorders, the loss of nerve cells leads to a decline in cognitive and motor functions, and it is believed that inflammation plays a role in the progressive nature of neurodegeneration. The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD and the lack of psychotropic effects may recommend this substance as a promising agent for a wide range of neurodegenerative diseases.
According to researchers from the University of California – Irvine, CBD seems to help in treating certain psychotic symptomsand may be a potential solution for patients affected by schizophrenia. The compound has been found to be superior to conventional antipsychotic medications, has fewer side effects and is more cost-effective than most of the available medications, scientists say. German researchers found that cannabidiol seems to work better than medications onschizophrenia’s “negative symptoms”, which are difficult to treat, and doesn’t cause weight or movement problems, as often happens with other drugs.
A controlled animal study conducted by Italian researchers showed that topical application of cannabinoid-rich creams may help in reducing the brain damage caused by autoimmune encephalomyelitis. The mechanisms that cause this disease are similar to those that lead to multiple sclerosis in humans (damage to the myelin in the central nervous system), so scientists concluded that CBD could be used in the clinical management of multiple sclerosis and its associated symptoms, in association with current conventional therapy.
Another animal study found that the administration of cannabidiol may be useful in reducing the damage caused by intervertebral disc degeneration. At the same time, research suggests that CBD may be the first non-toxic exogenous agent effective in killing breast cancer cells. Cannabidiol may be a viable addition to epilepsy treatments, and may block the formation of plaques in the brain that favor the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease.
If you’re curious to do a little research on your own, you’ll see that there are lots of articles and studies talking about the beneficial effects of cannabidiol in patients with epilepsy, the available data suggesting that CBD is able not only to significantly alleviate the symptoms of this condition and decrease the intensity of seizures, but also to reduce their frequency. Although there’s still no official recommendation for adding CBD to epilepsy treatment plans or for replacing the established anti-epileptic medications with this natural compound, results from clinical trials are promising and encouraging.
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