In my recent blog “Is The Hype Around CBD Real,” I discussed what scientists had learned about CBD thus far. The consensus is that CBD is a substance safe for the majority of people and beneficial to many who use it as an anti-inflammatory and wellness product. I also touched on its promise as the basis for future medicines because of its interaction with the body’s own endocannabinoid system. In this article, I want to take a look at several life-altering diseases that CBD might one day help eliminate. CBD oil for seizures has been well documented but there are other ailments that might benefit from the cannabinoid.
Less than a decade ago, the cannabinoid was found to cure children suffering from Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Some kids experienced seizures numbering more than 300 a week until it was discovered that a CBD preparation could stop them in their tracks. After an uncharacteristically rapid and efficient process, the FDA approved Epidiolex, a CBD-based pharmaceutical, for treatment of both syndromes last year. The DEA also approved CBD for medical research, leading to an influx of promising studies. The following conditions show promise of one day being eliminated by a CBD-derived medicine. CBD epilepsy study trials remain ongoing.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) regulates emotional behavior, mood, and how we respond to stress. The ECS can develop imbalances of its own in clinical depression. A 2013 paper published in the journal Pharmacology & Therapeutics pointed to the regulating effect of CBD as an essential model for understanding how to stabilize endocannabinoid systems in mood disorders like depression.
A consistent misunderstanding about clinical depression is that a pill can cure it. While medicine can help, depression is often induced by trauma, either mental or physical. If the stimuli causing the distress remains in the sufferer’s life, the depression may continue even if the antidepressant drug manages the symptoms. Current antidepressants increase the levels of feel-good chemicals in the brain but don’t address the other physical effects. Future CBD-based medications may provide a more balanced environment for tackling the external sources of depression, while also improving the body’s reaction to stress.
The healthy human brain contains billions of neurons, the cells that process and transmit information between different parts of the brain, muscles, and organs. Alzheimer’s disease damages neurons, which disrupts this communication. Back in 2011, Australian researchers Tim Karl and Carl Group found that CBD promoted the growth and development of healthy neurons, reducing the probability of the onset of Alzheimer’s. California’s Salk Institute had similar results in 2017 when CBD repaired damaged neurons in their experiments.
These studies were on brain cells isolated in laboratories. While the actions on a cell are often much different in a test tube than a living human body, the effect was nonetheless remarkable. Cannabidiol’s mechanism for correcting the life cycle of neurons gives valuable insight on how to develop more effective drugs because current treatment focuses on controlling the bad cells once they are fully formed. CBD could help scientists create a way to prevent the onset in the first place and “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
The constant artificial lights emitting from phones, monitors, and televisions seriously disrupt our natural cycles of wakefulness and sleep. This can have a deleterious effect on our hormones, mood, and even IQ. With more than 35% of Americans not getting enough sleep, it’s a serious problem that is interconnected with many aspects of health. Lack of sleep reduces testosterone, and a symptom of low testosterone is depression. Chronic sleeplessness is also associated with dementia and other degenerative disorders.
One of the main reasons consumers report using CBD is to help with sleep and research seems to support their claims. The human endocannabinoid system plays a vital role in wakefulness and deep sleep, and it appears CBD may be able to reset our internal clock. Studies show the cannabinoid can help users wind down when ready for bed naturally without using sedatives which come with their own host of side-effects.
In a 2006 study, CBD corrected the sleep cycles of rats whose standard sleeping patterns were disrupted. Most recently, a study published in the January 2019 issue of The Permanente Journal found that CBD could correct short term sleeplessness due to anxiety. This supported a 2017 review that determined CBD played a role in resetting the “internal clock” that governs our sleep.
Authors Chagas et al. found in their 2014 research on humans that “CBD [also] modulates waking via activation of neurons in the hypothalamus and DRD. Both regions are involved in the generation of alertness.” They wrote, “Since CBD induces alertness, it might be of therapeutic value in sleep disorders such as excessive sleepiness.”
A product that offsets the negative effects of our electronics naturally could be a revolution to modern societies. With Americans maintaining more hectic lifestyles than ever before our health depends on our ability to get the most out of rest and recovery, especially productive sleep.
Our current antibiotics are becoming less and less effective as bacteria evolve. Resistant bacteria, known as superbugs, are becoming a problem in even the most cutting edge hospitals. Earlier this year drug discovery company Botanix Pharmaceuticals funded a study by the University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience’s Centre for Superbug Solutions in Brisbane, Australia to test whether a synthetically produced form of CBD could kill different types of bacteria. Under laboratory conditions, the synthetic cannabidiol performed as well as prescription antibiotics vancomycin and daptomycin in killing certain strains of Staphylococcus and Streptococcus bacteria.
CBD trumped the prescriptions in two areas. First, it killed strains that had become resistant to traditional antibiotics. Second and most excitingly, CBD attacked bacterial biofilms, coatings on the surfaces of wounds formed by harmful bacteria that make them very difficult to treat.
“Given cannabidiol’s documented anti-inflammatory effects, existing safety data in humans, and potential for varied delivery routes, it is a promising new antibiotic worth further investigation. The combination of inherent antimicrobial activity and potential to reduce damage caused by the inflammatory response to infections is particularly attractive,” said lead researcher Mark Blaskovich while presenting the findings at the American Society for Microbiology, ASM Microbe 2019 in San Francisco.
You might be surprised to know that aspirin comes from the bark. Penicillin comes from a mold, and many other revolutionary drugs have been based on substances found in nature. I am excited to see what scientists are able to invent by using the power of CBD combined with the wonders of modern technology. The ways in which CBD interacts so perfectly with the human endocannabinoid system has already been a breakthrough for medicine in understanding true health. CBD oil for seizures and other disorders just the start of the journey towards discovering the benefits of the cannabinoid.