CBD also appears to affect a class of molecules important to the inflammation process called cytokines. CBD tends to reduce the effects of pro-inflammatory cytokines, thereby reducing inflammation.
Such medications have risks and side effects, however. Some people choose to take a more preventative approach to treating inflammation, such as consuming an anti-inflammatory diet, and taking anti-inflammatory supplements. Could CBD contribute to a more natural approach to treating inflammation?
How does CBD reduce inflammation?
Inflammation plays an important role in a number of diseases, including asthma, allergies, inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease, and a number of autoimmune conditions, as well as in other seemingly unrelated conditions, such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Could CBD’s anti-inflammatory effects be used in any of these applications?
Another 2013 study found that CBD protected against the harmful effects of inflammation in a mouse model of multiple sclerosis.
Current evidence suggests the answer may be yes, but as with many subjects in the cannabis world, more research is needed.
Cannabidiol (CBD) has been recently covered in the media, and you may have even seen it as an add-in booster to your post-workout smoothie or morning coffee. What exactly is CBD? Why is it suddenly so popular?
CBD may offer an option for treating different types of chronic pain. A study from the European Journal of Pain showed, using an animal model, CBD applied on the skin could help lower pain and inflammation due to arthritis. Another study demonstrated the mechanism by which CBD inhibits inflammatory and neuropathic pain, two of the most difficult types of chronic pain to treat. More study in humans is needed in this area to substantiate the claims of CBD proponents about pain control.
How is cannabidiol different from marijuana?
CBD is readily obtainable in most parts of the United States, though its exact legal status is in flux. All 50 states have laws legalizing CBD with varying degrees of restriction, and while the federal government still considers CBD in the same class as marijuana, it doesn’t habitually enforce against it. In December 2015, the FDA eased the regulatory requirements to allow researchers to conduct CBD trials. Currently, many people obtain CBD online without a medical cannabis license. The government’s position on CBD is confusing, and depends in part on whether the CBD comes from hemp or marijuana. The legality of CBD is expected to change, as there is currently bipartisan consensus in Congress to make the hemp crop legal which would, for all intents and purposes, make CBD difficult to prohibit.
CBD has been touted for a wide variety of health issues, but the strongest scientific evidence is for its effectiveness in treating some of the cruelest childhood epilepsy syndromes, such as Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS), which typically don’t respond to antiseizure medications. In numerous studies, CBD was able to reduce the number of seizures, and, in some cases, it was able to stop them altogether. Videos of the effects of CBD on these children and their seizures are readily available on the Internet for viewing, and they are quite striking. Recently the FDA approved the first ever cannabis-derived medicine for these conditions, Epidiolex, which contains CBD.
CBD stands for cannabidiol. It is the second most prevalent of the active ingredients of cannabis (marijuana). While CBD is an essential component of medical marijuana, it is derived directly from the hemp plant, which is a cousin of the marijuana plant. While CBD is a component of marijuana (one of hundreds), by itself it does not cause a "high." According to a report from the World Health Organization, "In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential…. To date, there is no evidence of public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD."
It is certainly clear that our most pervasive chronic conditions share a common feature in terms of their underlying cause. Whether we are talking about coronary artery disease, hypertension, diabetes, depression, rheumatoid arthritis, or even Alzheimer’s disease, what current medical literature reveals is the powerful role that inflammation plays in these and other common conditions.
Unlike THC, the chemical in marijuana responsible for the “high,” CBD is a non-psychotropic derivative of the plant. It was first isolated 1940 and ultimately chemically characterized in 1963. Recently, research has demonstrated that CBD has wide ranging activity in terms of reducing inflammation and the damaging effects of free radicals. Specifically, CBD modulates the function of the immune system. Research would indicate that overall, the effects of this modulation seem to be quite positive.
Over the years there has been extensive research looking at how increasing the availability of antioxidants might help to protect our bodies against these damaging free radicals. But recognizing that the upstream instigator of this problem, to a significant degree, is inflammation, allows us to redirect our targeting in order to protect our body’s tissues.
I have written extensively about how reducing dietary sugar and carbohydrates, while at the same time increasing dietary consumption of good fats along with dietary fiber, goes a long way towards reducing inflammation. Emerging research now demonstrates that cannabidiol (CBD) has significant potential in terms of limiting inflammation and downstream effects in terms of free radicals as well.
Ultimately, the main issue with higher levels of inflammation that manifests as damage to tissue is the fact that when inflammation has been turned on, it increases the production of damaging free radicals, a situation we call oxidative stress. When oxidative stress is running rampant, damage occurs to our proteins, and fat, and even our DNA.