In this post, we will discuss various conditions that CBD can be helpful in treating. We will also cover basic dosage guidelines, drug interactions, and CBD product types.
Firstly, we need to look at the prescription drug you are using. While drug interactions are rare with CBD, there is a particular family of liver enzymes, called cytochrome P450, that metabolizes roughly 60% of the pharmaceutical drugs on the market.
At large doses, CBD can inhibit the activity of these enzymes, which can increase the duration of the effect of prescription drugs metabolized by the P450enzyme group.
Since every individuals’ endocannabinoid system is unique to them, there is no standard dose to avoid interaction with the P450 group. This means you should talk to your doctor before trying CBD with other prescription medications.
Here is a list of the drugs that are metabolized by the P450 enzyme group:
- HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors
- Calcium channel blockers
- HIV antivirals
- Immune modulators
- Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs)
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s)
- Angiotensin ll blockers
- Oral hypoglycemic agents
Unlike its cannabinoid sibling, THC, CBD does not cause any impairment. The side effects are quite mild, with the most common side effects being tiredness, diarrhea, and changes in appetite or weight.
Less common side effects include irritability, increase seizure activity, decreased appetite, alertness, heart palpitations and insomnia. Some side effects like headaches may be caused by low-quality CBD tinctures. This is why sourcing is so important!
Conditions that CBD treats:
- Alcohol addiction
Alcohol addiction, or Alcoholism, has a wide range of negative mental and physical health effects. Fortunately, for those who are experiencing negative impacts from alcohol dependence, CBD has been shown to protect nerve cells from alcohol-induced neurodegeneration, a major long-term symptom of alcoholism. CBD has also proven effective in reducing liver damage, drug-seeking behavior, and anxiety associated with alcoholism.
- Nicotine (Cigarette) Addiction
Smokers are looking for alternatives that may help them “kick the habit”. Many are turning to nicotine vaporizers but CBD vaporizers could be an effective, healthier alternative to smoking. In a study, smokers that utilized a CBD inhaler when experiencing a craving were able to decrease the number of cigarettes they smoked by 40%.
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s Disease
A disease that affects your spinal cord’s motor neurons, causing weakness and atrophying of the muscles. While studies are limited regarding the treatment of ALS, CBD has similar effects as conventional ALS therapies. Namely, CBD has been shown to decrease oxidative stress and inflammation while being a neuroprotectant.
CBD’s cannabinoid sibling, THC, is a well-known asthma treatment, but recently CBD has also shown promise as an asthma treatment. In a recent study, CBD successfully managed the inflammation associated with asthma by reducing the protein concentration and production of cytokines and chemokines.
There is limited scientific evidence thus far for CBD as a treatment for Autism or ASD, but initial research shows that CBD blocks the enzyme that breaks down the endocannabinoid anandamide. Blocking that enzyme has shown promise in improving anti-social behaviors. There is also a growing body of anecdotal evidence showing that cannabis can help reduce self-harming behaviors in children with Autism.
Research shows a clear connection between the endocannabinoid system and Alzheimer’s. CBD is especially interesting to Alzheimer’s researchers because of its known anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and neuroprotective benefits. Studies have shown that CBD can reduce the neuroinflammatory response associated with Alzheimer’s. It can also reduce memory loss, restore memory, and promote neurogenesis.
- ADD / ADHD
CBD has especially limited research as a treatment for ADD/ADHD, but it has shown to reduce hyperactivity and anxiety in general, and it could be helpful in treating prescription ADD/ADHD drug side effects like nausea.
Anxiety is the most common form of mental disorder. Mounting research and evidence has solidified CBD as a powerful anti-anxiety treatment.
CBD specifically has been shown to be effective in treating:
- Panic disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Social Phobia
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
- Mild to moderate depression
CBD helps alleviate anxiety in similar ways to prescription serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs. CBD affects the 5-HT1A receptor, increasing the availability of serotonin in the brain which can reduce anxiety and boost mood. CBD has also been shown to increase serotonin levels faster than SSRI’s.
In addition to increasing the availability of serotonin in the brain, CBD is well-known for its ability to promote neurogenesis, a factor in suicidal behavior.
Joint pain and joint disease affect millions of people. Fortunately, CBDs anti-inflammatory, and pain-relieving effects throughout the body’s endocannabinoid system, are well studied. When combined with THC, the synergistic entourage effect works to further reduce inflammation. A study in mice also showed that oral and injected CBD helps prevent joint damage.
- Autoimmune Disease
There are over 80 types of autoimmune disorders and they can affect nearly any part of the human body.
The most common ones are:
- Addison’s disease
- Celiac disease
- Grave’s disease
- Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Myasthenia gravis
- Pernicious anemia
- Reactive arthritis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Sjogren’s syndrome
- Systemic lupus erythematosus
- Type 1 diabetes
While the cause of the autoimmune disorder is not known for sure and the appropriate treatment depends on the specific disease, CBD may reduce inflammation which will improve most forms of autoimmune disorders.
As explained earlier, CBD’s ability to decrease levels of inflammation-causing cytokines and increase levels of anti-inflammatory proteins, makes it a potent anti-inflammatory. CBD has also been shown to help regulate overactive immune systems, the root cause of autoimmune disorders.
Research into CBD as a treatment for cancer is in its early stages. Studies have shown that CBD can stop the growth of new cancer cells by preventing angiogenesis, which is the mechanism that tumors use to form new arteries and veins. CBD has also been shown to increase the efficacy of anti-tumor drugs.
There are over 100 types of cancer but CBD has shown promise in treating the following cancers:
While CBD is an effective resource in treating cancer, patients can benefit far more from combining CBD with THC, terpenoids, flavonoids and other active compounds in the cannabis plant. A whole-plant approach is the best way to take full advantage of the cancer healing benefits of cannabis.
Whole-plant cannabis is effective in treating many of the side effects of cancer and its treatment. In a recent study, the full spectrum of cannabinoids was also shown to be more effective in treating Leukemia than CBD alone.
Depression is rising among every age group in the United States ( most notably in teens and young adults) and there are roughly 25 million adults taking a prescription antidepressant.
In recent studies, CBD has proven to be an alternative depression treatment for the same reason why it’s a potent anxiety treatment – CBD is an agonist of the 5-HT1A serotonin receptor. This means that CBD counteracts depression by increasing the amount of serotonin, known as “the happy chemical”, available to the body, just as a prescription antidepressant does.
Roughly 10% of the United States population has diabetes, a metabolic disease that causes high blood sugar. Over time high blood sugar can cause nerve damage, eye problems, heart disease, and stroke.
Research into CBD as a treatment for diabetes is in its infancy but initial studies show that CBD can help stabilize blood sugar levels, reduce nerve inflammation, arterial inflammation, and even block the development of diabetes altogether. It has also been shown to protect the retinas of diabetic animals.
There is much to be discovered about fibromyalgia and its treatment, but because it causes pain and soreness throughout the body’s muscles and bones, CBD and its anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety properties show promise as part of a multi-prolonged defense against fibromyalgia.
About 12% of people suffer from migraines – severe headaches that are often accompanied by sensitivity to light and sound, nausea and vomiting. The exact causes of migraines are unknown but they can often be triggered by hormonal changes, stress, sleep, certain foods and drinks.
Migraine sufferers also may not produce endogenous cannabinoids which can lead to pain, dilation of blood vessels, and an increase in swelling. While it is unknown if CBD on its own is an effective treatment for migraines, recent studies show that a combination of THC and CBD (200mg total) can be effective for pain relief.
- Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple Sclerosis, or MS, affects roughly one million people in the United States. It is an autoimmune disorder that causes the degeneration of nerve fibers in the brain and spinal cord. It can cause numbness, impairment of speech and muscular coordination, blurred vision, and fatigue.
MS is another disease that has not been researched on CBD as a specific treatment but in one study, conducted in 2017, CBD showed promise in treating the anxiety, stress, and depression that can be caused by MS.
While research about CBD for MS is sparse, there has been quite a bit of research into whole-plant cannabis medicines to prevent muscle spasms and treating pain in MS patients. One of these medicines, Sativex, has a 1:1 ratio of CBD and THC and is currently awaiting FDA approval.
- Nausea and Vomiting
Nausea and vomiting have many different causes but one thing is certain, restoring homeostasis is key to reducing both. As we know, CBD helps restore homeostasis by increasing available cannabinoids in our endocannabinoid system. CBD and CBDA have also proven to be effective in treating acute and anticipatory nausea, a common side effect of chemotherapy that has no FDA – approved treatment.
Neuropathy is numbness, weakness, and pain caused by nerve damage throughout the peripheral nervous system. It is often associated with other diseases like diabetes, MS, sciatica, HIV/AIDS, and chemotherapy. CBD has shown to treat chemotherapy-induced neuropathy. The drug Sativex has also been shown to treat neuropathy associated with HIV/AIDS and MS.
Whereas whole-plant cannabis is often associated with being an effective appetite stimulant, CBD on its own is an appetite suppressant. It has also been shown to promote the production of healthy fats and promote lipid metabolism. All three of these effects can be very helpful as a part of comprehensive obesity treatment.
Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects movement, causing shaking, loss of balance, and stiffness. Similarly to other neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimers and ALS, there is no known cure for Parkinson’s.
While the causes and treatment of Parkinson’s are still a mystery, multiple studies are showing that long term daily use of CBD use has great promise as a preventative and treatment to Parkinson’s because of its neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
CBD has also been shown to treat many of the symptoms of Parkinson’s like rigidity, tumors, and slow movement.
Chronic, acute, and short term pains are the gateway ailments for most people into the CBD world. There is an abundance of evidence that points to the importance of the endocannabinoid system in processing pain signals, and it is believed that the combination of CBD and THC is more effective at treating pain than either on its own. There is ample evidence that CBD can be useful in relieving chronic pain caused by pinched, irritated, or injured nerves.
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD is an anxiety disorder caused by experiencing or witnessing traumatic events. In addition to its well-documented anti-anxiety properties, CBD has shown to reduce the development of fear around traumatic memories in rats. It can also be a helpful sleep aid for PTSD sufferers that experience nightmares and insomnia.
Schizophrenia is a chronic brain disorder that can cause delusions and hallucinations. Fortunately for sufferers of schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders like bipolar disorder, there is mounting evidence and clinical research that supports CBD as a potent antipsychotic. It also appears to have significantly fewer side effects than pharmaceutical antipsychotics.
- Seizure Disorders
CBD has a near-legendary reputation as a treatment for epilepsy, especially in children, and for good reason. There are many studies going back as far as the 1970’s that show astounding reductions as high as 73% – 85% in the frequency of seizures in patients taking various doses of CBD, with 14% of children in one study being completely seizure-free while taking CBD.
While these results are terrific, further research is still necessary to understand the actual mechanisms of CBD’s antiepileptic action.
- Skin Conditions
Our skin’s cells are full of CB1 and CB2 receptors and the endocannabinoid system regulates hair follicles, oil production, sweat glands, and other functions. For this reason, CBD has shown to be useful in treating numerous skin conditions.
As we’re well aware by now, CBD is great at treating inflammation, including skin inflammation and inflammation caused by allergies.
CBD may help acne sufferers because of its antibacterial properties and because it increases the level of anandamide in our endocannabinoid system, which reduces oil gland production.
Psoriasis can be treated with CBD as it has been shown to stop the overproduction of keratinocyte cells, which are the skin cells that produce itchy and flaky layers of skin.
- Sleep Disorders
Over 40 million people in the United States suffer from one of over 80 different types of sleep disorders. Many people claim to use CBD as a sleep aid even though it has been shown to promote alertness and wakefulness at low to moderate doses. But, CBD is biphasic, meaning it can have opposite effects at low and high doses. Studies show that it has sedative, sleep-producing effects at high doses. Also, because CBD is anxiolytic and has a calming effect, it can help people fall asleep faster and improve the length and quality of sleep.
- Opioid withdrawal
In 2017, around 47 000 deaths in the United States were attributed to opioid overdoes. Cannabis is emerging as a natural and nonaddictive alternative for pain relief and research has shown CBD is specifically useful for reducing cravings and anxiety caused by opioid withdrawal. Research has also shown that THC can enhance the efficiency of opioids, reducing the need for frequent opioid use.
In our next post, we will discuss dosage and delivery methods for cannabis medicines.
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