The cannabis cannabinoid, cannabidiol (CBD), is becoming more popular across the U.S. because it is recognized for its health benefits. Most people take prescribed or over the counter drugs, but other people are switching to CBD products because it offers a more natural alternative. This specific cannabinoid is mostly known for its anti-inflammatory properties and alleviating chronic pain, but also it is well known for its anti-seizure properties. CBD products can be consumed through the digestive system, applied to skin and smoked or vaporized. The best part about CBD is it is derived from a naturally occurring plant, therefore it is not a manmade drug and does not contain any harmful substances. People should consider a more natural remedy such as cannabidiol.
Medical and Recreational cannabis is still sort of a new industry and intimidating to some, because “weed” is known to have psychoactive effects. The fact is cannabis is capable of much more than getting you stoned. Mike Adams in, What’s the difference between marijuana CBD and hemp CBD? informs us that two of the most common cannabinoids found in cannabis are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC is the psychoactive part of cannabis; it is the part of the plant that gives you that euphoric high sensation. CBD is the non-psychoactive part of the plant; this cannabinoid is known to have characteristics beneficial for human health. The neat part about CBD is it is legal under federal law and classified as hemp (0.3% THC or less) and therefore legal to possess and distribute in certain states. It is important to know the difference between hemp derived CBD and marijuana derived CBD, which contains higher concentrates of THC. Hemp cannabis does not contain enough THC to have any psychoactive effects.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there are only three drugs with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) approved by the FDA. Two of them (Marinol and Cesamet) are prescribed for the treatment of nausea cancer patients experience through chemotherapy and to stimulate an appetite for AIDS victims who suffer from wasting syndrome. The third (Epidiolex) is used in the treatment for patients who are vulnerable to epileptic seizures from Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Admittedly the use of medical marijuana still poses threats according to how it is consumed, such as the effects of smoking to one’s health and even THC-induced cognitive impairment. Another concern for medical cannabis is how recent it is and how little is known about the long-term effects it has on user’s health. Regardless of long-term effects, CBD is proven to be a solution for many health problems.
Everyday more than 115 people in the U.S. die from opioid overdose according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Many opioids are included in prescription drugs to serve as a pain reliever. The opioid epidemic in the U.S. began in the 1990’s when the pharmaceutical companies misinformed the medical community of taking prescribed opioids and patients will not become addicted. After “Big Pharma” gained compliance to prescribe opioid pain relievers at higher rates, opioid overdose rates began to climb. In 2015 33,000 Americans died of an overdose including prescription drugs and merely 2 million people suffered from substance use disorders related to prescribed opioid pain relievers.
Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological disorders and is estimated to affect at least 50 million people worldwide. In Paul Sanmartin and Kamil Detyniecki’s, Cannabidiol for Epilepsy: New Hope on the Horizon?, we are informed that merely 30 percent of epileptic patients are basically immune to some remedies such as CBD products which leaves them to seek out other solutions. In 2013 CNN reported a case of a woman who suffered from Dravet syndrome. Dravet syndrome in another neurological disorder. This woman was having more than 300 convulsions weekly, but after using CBD her seizures reduced significantly to 2 to 3 per month. This example shows CBD is extremely beneficial for patients with Dravet Syndrome.
Robert Knowlton revises Cannabidiol for Drop Attacks in Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, a study of patients who suffer from Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS). In the study, 225 patients between the ages 2 and 55 years old were given smaller doses of CBD for one group, a larger dose for another group and the placebo group continued taking current prescribed antiepileptic drugs in a time span of three and a half months. The results of the study show over a 40% reduction in drop seizures for those that took the large dose of cannabidiol, almost another 40% reduction for those that took the small dose and less than a 20% reduction for those in the placebo group taking prescribed antiepileptic medication. This study shows higher doses of concentrated CBD oil consumed digestively is more effective than common antiepileptic drugs such as clobazam.
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive nervous system disorder that causes tremors, muscle stiffness and slowing of movement. A case study regarding CBD for sleep disorders in people with Parkinson’s disease revised by M. H. N. Chagas et al., note that patients with rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder (RBD) had high rates of conversion to pathologies related to Parkinson’s disease. The study includes four patients with Parkinson’s disease who struggle with rapid eye movement and other abnormal behavior while asleep. Three of the patients were given a smaller dose of CBD a day for 6 weeks and the fourth patient was given a larger dose of CBD a day for 6 weeks. In conclusion of the study, the three patients who consumed the smaller dose of CBD a day over a 6-week period showed no signs of agitation, aggressive behavior or nightmares during sleep. However, the patient who consumed the larger dose of CBD a day showed a reduction to only one episode per week. This study shows that lower doses of CBD daily, eliminates sleep disorder episodes in patients with Parkinson’s disease and although higher doses of CBD daily did not eliminate episodes for the fourth patient, it did in fact significantly reduce the number of episodes.
In conclusion there is research which shows the effects of cannabidiol to positively impact people’s lives. Although roughly 30 percent of epileptic patients are immune to antiepileptic drugs, CBD is a remedy that 30 percent should consider. As it is derived from a naturally growing plant, it does not contain any opioids, which happens to be a major culprit for overdose deaths in the U.S. In fact, there is more research on cannabis helping people kick opioid addiction, but I digress. CBD has become very popular among society and has proven itself for most consumers and patients seeking a remedy for personal health benefits. CBD is used for several things like sore muscles, anxiety, sleep assistance, etc. So, if you know someone or yourself who struggle with an epileptic disorder or Parkinson’s, consider CBD.
By: Donovan Drew