The free market has spoken. Americans prefer cannabis-related products to Big Pharma drugs for a host of ailments. They’re choosing cannabis because it works for them and now science is beginning to back them up.
The cannabis plant is proving to be very beneficial to human health despite the federal government’s continued prohibition as a Schedule 1 controlled substance. Schedule 1 classification substances have “no currently accepted medical use” and a “high potential for abuse.” Yet governments can no longer deny the evidence that cannabis is an effective treatment for many things without harmful side effects.
Although the legality of cannabis remains murky in the United States, CBD (Cannabidiol) products have exploded in popularity due to its status as a dietary supplement. Recent studies are frankly making the feds look foolish, especially studies about CBD flowers and derivatives without THC that have practically no “potential for abuse” because they do not cause a “high” typically associated with smoking cannabis.
Low-THC, high-CBD strains first burst onto the scene under the name “Charlotte’s Web” named for a young girl who used it to treat her severe epilepsy with significantly fewer side effects than available pharmaceuticals. Charlotte’s Web had less than 0.3% THC. It was so effective that the FDA approved CBD use to treat seizures even for children two and older in 2018.
From the FDA announcement:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Epidiolex (cannabidiol) [CBD] oral solution for the treatment of seizures associated with two rare and severe forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, in patients two years of age and older. This is the first FDA-approved drug that contains a purified drug substance derived from marijuana. It is also the first FDA approval of a drug for the treatment of patients with Dravet syndrome.
“Because of the adequate and well-controlled clinical studies that supported this approval, prescribers can have confidence in the drug’s uniform strength and consistent delivery that support appropriate dosing needed for treating patients with these complex and serious epilepsy syndromes,” remarked FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. at the time.
As a result of the Hemp Farming Act, proposed by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Donald Trump in 2018, CBD products are now widely available in the United States including smokable buds from places like Mybud Shop.
The Hemp Farming Act also enabled several new “well-controlled” studies showing the amazing promise of cannabis without THC. Here are five studies published in medical journals in 2020 showing CBD’s diverse treatments for humans and pets.
Study 1: CBD Improves Severe Behavioral Associated with Autism
A pilot study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology last month showed that CBD significantly improved severe behavioral problems in young people with intellectual disabilities like autism with few side effects.
Researchers from Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) “recorded a clinically significant change in participants’ irritability, aggression, self-injury, and yelling. The intervention was also found to be safe and well-tolerated by most study participants,” according to the press release about the findings.
“Current medications carry a high risk of side-effects, with vulnerable people with intellectual disability being less able to report side-effects,” said Associate Professor at MCRI, Daryl Efron, who led the study. “Common side-effects of antipsychotics, such as weight gain and metabolic syndrome, have huge health effects for a patient group already at increased risk of chronic illness.”
Efron added that research is being spurred by desperate parents dealing with autism and other neurological issues who have been giving their autistic children unregulated cannabis.
Study 2: CBD Reduces Post-Operative Pain By 10-Fold
A University of New Mexico study from May 2020 revealed that CBD dramatically reduced neuropathic pain in mice. Research showed that legal hemp oil reduced mechanical pain sensitivity 10-fold for several hours in mice with chronic post-operative neuropathic pain.
For several hours after Cannabis consumption the mice demonstrated effective pain relief, approaching the mechanical pain sensitivity of naïve control mice that did not undergo the surgical operation.
“Our lab utilizes a unique nerve injury model mimicking human neuropathic pain that has allowed demonstration of hemp’s reversal of the pain-related behavior,” said one of the lead investigators, Dr. Karin N. Westlund, Department of Anesthesiology.
“Cannabis plants with low THC are still psychoactive, but tend to result in less psychedelic experiences, while still offering profound and often immediate relief from symptoms such as pain, anxiety, and depression,” says co-researcher, Dr. Jacob Miguel Vigil, associate professor in the UNM Psychology Department.
Study 3: CBD Significantly Reduces Arthritis Symptoms in Dogs
Published in the journal PAIN, the study first showed both in laboratory tests and mouse models that CBD, a non-addictive product derived from hemp (cannabis), can significantly reduce the production of inflammatory molecules and immune cells associated with arthritis. Subsequently, the study showed that in dogs diagnosed with the condition, CBD treatment significantly improved quality of life as documented by both owner and veterinarian assessments. This work supports future scientific evaluation of CBD for human arthritis.
“CBD is rapidly increasing in popularity due to its anecdotal health benefits for a variety of conditions, from reducing anxiety to helping with movement disorders,” said corresponding author Dr. Matthew Halpert, research faculty in the Department of Pathology and Immunology at Baylor.
The study also gave insight into CBD dosage writing,”Liposomal CBD (20 mg/day) was as effective as the highest dose of nonliposomal CBD (50 mg/day).”
“We studied dogs because experimental evidence shows that spontaneous models of arthritis, particularly in domesticated canine models, are more appropriate for assessing human arthritis pain treatments than other animal models. The biological characteristics of arthritis in dogs closely resemble those of the human condition,” Halpert added.
Study 4: CBD Helps Fight Resistant Bacteria
In March of this year the University of Southern Denmark published a study in the journal Scientific Reports which showed Cannabidiol (CBD) fights antibiotic resistant bacteria.
In the study, CBD was used to enhance the effect of the antibiotic bacitracin against Staphylococcus aureus bacteria; a major human pathogen that frequently causes community- and hospital-acquired disease.
“When we combined CBD and antibiotics, we saw a more powerful effect than when treating with antibiotics alone. So, in order to kill a certain number of bacteria, we needed less antibiotics,” researchers said.
Three things happened with the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, when the researchers treated them with the combination in their study:
The bacteria could no longer divide normally.
The expression of certain key genes (cell division and autolysis genes) in the bacteria was lowered.
The bacterial membrane became unstable.
Study 5: CBD Kills Brain Cancer Cells
If that isn’t incredible enough, an April study by researchers at Colorado State University has shown CBD’s promise in fighting aggressive brain cancer!
Findings from a new study examining human and canine brain cancer cells suggest that cannabidiol could be a useful therapy for a difficult-to-treat brain cancer. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a non-psychoactive chemical compound derived from marijuana.
The study looked at glioblastoma, an often-deadly form of brain cancer that grows and spreads very quickly. Even with major advancements in treatment, survival rates for this cancer have not improved significantly.
“Our work shows that CBD has the potential to provide an effective, synergistic glioblastoma therapy option and that it should continue to be vigorously studied,” said Chase Gross, a student in the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine/Master of Science program at Colorado State University.
“Our experiments showed that CBD slows cancer cell growth and is toxic to both canine and human glioblastoma cell lines,” Gross added. “Importantly, the differences in anti-cancer effects between CBD isolate and extract appear to be negligible.”
Behavioral problems, pain, arthritis, drug-resistant bacteria, and brain cancer are all now part of a growing list of diseases and ailments that are being treated by this natural remedy with almost no side effects. It’s true that the budding CBD industry is funding most of these early studies, but the results that many people are experiencing first hand are beginning to be revealed by science.
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