The Therapeutic Potential of Cannabidiol
Updated: Feb 24
By Keith Alban
Cannabidiol, more commonly known as CBD, has shown very good therapeutic promise in a multitude of recent studies. From addictions to pain relief, to different forms of anxiety, stress, PTSD and emotional imbalances, many people are using cannabidiol to see if it can increase their level of emotional and physical well being. More studies are currently underway and not all will respond to CBD’s therapeutic properties, but we see that it has a very high upside and little to no downside with this potent cannabinoid. We’ve seen since its inception on the market that safety is excellent and it has no potential for addiction. There have been multiple studies run proving this, including one that was done by the World Health Organization.
As long as a company is conscientious about testing for potential contaminants and proper dosing is used, CBD is a very safe supplement to experiment with under proper guidelines.
CBD may be taken as a daily dietary supplement to help with specific issues or to increase their sense of inner balance and well being. Dosing would range depending on what it’s being used for. CBD excels at helping to balance and regulate different systems of the body and brain. Further clinical studies are still being performed, but anecdotal evidence suggests that cannabidiol may help with a range of ailments to some degree. The magic lies in its ability to touch, stimulate, or indirectly influence many receptors throughout the body. Some belong to the endocannabinoid system, while others are unrelated to it. To lend credence to its potential, millions of dollars have recently been granted by the National Institutes of Health Funding just in the last couple of years. This speaks volumes about the upside of CBD and the desire to study it in greater depth.
What is Cannabidiol?
Cannabidiol is one of over 100 cannabinoids that are found in the cannabis plant. Cannabinoids are compounds that are thought to act on cannabinoid receptors in many different species. Most CBD on the market is now derived from hemp, which is bred for high cannabidiol and low THC levels. This allows it to adhere to the legal limit of less than 0.3% THC and avoid any psychoactive components that cannabis is famous for. CBD has exploded in popularity in the last few years due to its wide range of positive effects and little to no side effects. The nearly non-existent occurrence of side effects is one of the most exciting aspects of the clinical research being performed. Due to legal hurdles in the United States, CBD research is relatively new on the health and wellness scene, but clinical studies are constantly emerging with the funding that’s been given recently. CBD has been one of the most exciting health trends in quite a few years and continues to rise to greater heights!
What is the Difference Between THC and Cannabidiol?
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are two somewhat similar compounds, but have somewhat contrasting actions in the body. Perhaps the most important difference is that THC is illegal in most states without a marijuana card, but CBD is legal. Their molecular structures are actually quite similar, but the arrangement of a single atom is different, resulting in many different physiological effects. THC gives you a “high” feeling, which can feel slightly euphoric, but also cause an anxious, paranoid feeling at times. THC can also increase heart rate by 20-30%, while CBD can slow down the heart rate and create feelings of calmness. THC and CBD both work within different aspects of the endocannabinoid system, but interact with these receptors in different ways. CBD can also affect receptors unrelated to the endocannabinoid system.
What is the difference between CBD isolate and full-spectrum CBD?
CBD isolate and full-spectrum CBD are usually both derived from the hemp portion of the plant to keep the THC levels under the legal limit. CBD isolate is defined as an extract that contains only cannabidiol and no other compounds aside from that one single, isolated compound. Some people use isolates as a supplement or add to other supplement blends and mixtures. The isolate has its pros and cons and is often available in powder form, although other forms also exist. Full-spectrum CBD contains other cannabinoids, vitamins, and minerals, amino acids, terpenes, and flavonoids. Anecdotally, full-spectrum CBD is thought to perform better than CBD isolate through something called the “entourage effect”.
What is the Entourage Effect?
The entourage effect is a synergistic effect when you take a full spectrum CBD supplement that’s been extracted using certain methods. Many may not feel a tangible difference, but some do. In a full spectrum CBD supplement, many compounds within the whole plant contains are extracted with the CBD, which has several advantages. It is often reported that full-spectrum CBD hemp oil is more effective because of the synergy that occurs from all the plant terpenes, flavonoids, vitamins, minerals, cannabinoids, fatty acids, and other compounds. They act in unison and activate a wider range of therapeutic properties within us. With full-spectrum CBD, tolerance is much less likely to occur and absorption may be superior to isolated extracts as well. The body has a wide range of nutrients to use how it desires, so it can potentially accomplish more with the same dose as an isolate.
What is the potential of CBD therapeutically?
Full-spectrum CBD supplements have had clinical and anecdotal success for different types of ailments, although some may not respond as strongly as others. With any natural supplement and even medication, there’s an extremely wide range of variance involved in our response to each compound. While research thus far has been promising, it’s still in the early stages of understanding just how consistently CBD may be able to help in the areas it’s been studied in. You don’t need to have a specific ailment to try CBD though since it’s beneficial to your overall wellness and may provide protection to the body in some ways. Here are some of the clinical and laboratory findings of CBD.
CBD may have anti-cancer properties - Since legal confinements have prevented larger-scale research until very recently, studies on CBD’s anti-cancer properties are still being conducted. A 2015 clinical study in California showed that male cannabis users had a 45% lower chance of getting bladder cancer. However, the study was conducted on marijuana use and not CBD on its own. Other studies have seen negative effects of smoking marijuana because of some of the tar and carcinogens of combustion. Another massive study with over 60,000 people showed that smoking marijuana increased the risk of prostate cancer for men. As far as CBD be ingested without the carcinogens and toxins that marijuana can have, there may be some very good potential.
According to cancer.gov, “Cannabinoids may cause antitumor effects by various mechanisms, including induction of cell death, inhibition of cell growth, and inhibition of tumor angiogenesis invasion and metastasis.[9-12] Two reviews summarize the molecular mechanisms of action of cannabinoids as antitumor agents.[13,14] Cannabinoids appear to kill tumor cells but do not affect their nontransformed counterparts and may even protect them from cell death.” (1) That is quite powerful, even in animals. The same results don’t always transfer to humans, but it does show very good potential. Combining CBD with other potent natural compounds like honokiol, pterostilbene, limonene, lemongrass, curcumin, boswellia, agaricus blazei, and others with good research for cancer could potentially be a powerful stack with little to no side effects.
CBD may help to regulate sleep - CBD may be somewhat helpful in regulating sleep patterns and improving sleep quality in some people. This may be due to its proven anxiolytic and stress-relieving properties, although not all research for sleep disorders has been consistent. Many people who have sleep disorders related to anxiety, stress, restlessness and pain may benefit from supplementing with CBD. Solid Green Remedies has a product that combines full-spectrum CBD with low dose melatonin. Stacking that with other nutrients like magnesium glycinate with tinctures of hops, lemon balm, and passionflower may work well for improving sleep quality.
CBD may have a positive effect on mental AND emotional health - CBD has been showing some interesting potential with conditions such as social anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorders, and more. (2) These can be some of the most soul-crushing conditions because of how they weigh on you day after day, but CBD along with other nutrients may help to turn the tide in the right direction. CBD has modulating action with certain regions of the brain that may help with mental and emotional balance.
CBD affects GABA and serotonin receptors, which play a large role and mental, emotional balance and stability. What’s even more impressive is that CBD may help to alter the manner in which traumatic memories are stored. These memories serve as a base for more turmoil in the future. This is a powerful mechanism that still needs more testing, but the potential is intriguing with CBD and other cannabinoids. CBD has also been shown to help those who have a stressful event happening in their lives, such as speaking at a public event, a family gathering, or work-based stress.
CBD may have neuroprotective properties - Many clinical studies have shown that CBD may have neuroprotective and antioxidant properties. One of the most impressive areas of study so far with CBD is its ability to protect against damage to the brain from trauma and neurodegenerative conditions. It may help protect against neuronal cell death and may help with regrowing neurons, although more studies are needed in people to determine how well it can accomplish this. (3)
CBD may alleviate some generalized pain - If you have a habit of popping a few ibuprofens when a headache hits, or even because of an injury, joint pain, muscle aches, arthritic condition, fibromyalgia, any type of condition that causes nerve pain, CBD may be of some assistance. CBD influences and actives glycine, TRPV1, and other receptors that may help decrease sensations of pain in a healthy and benign manner. (4)
CBD for inflammation - Chronic inflammation can be the cause or byproduct of many conditions, including arthritis, joint pain, allergies, athletic injuries, and even hypertension. In fact, almost every illness has some kind of related inflammation, since it is the body’s reaction to pain and injury. The endocannabinoid system plays a crucial role in the inflammatory response. (5,6)
CBD may improve skin health - CBD is great for skin in most cases because of its anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, nourishing properties. It may even regulate the production of oil in the sebaceous glands. CBD is becoming a popular option for people suffering from skin conditions such as dry, itchy, flaky skin, acne, eczema, psoriasis, and more.
CBD may decrease seizure frequency - Several studies have shown a reduction in seizure frequency and severity using CBD. One study showed a reduction in the number of seizures by around 65%. Not only did it help to reduce the frequency, but seizures were less intense and the number of adverse effects associated with these seizures decreased. (7) Full-spectrum CBD would be less likely to form tolerance compared to isolated CBD extracts.
Safety of CBD
CBD is generally considered very safe for consumption. In a recent study, participants were given 1500mg of CBD, an EXTREMELY high dose and not recommended for any conditions. This enormous dose did not produce any negative changes in vital signs or motor skills. It is important to keep in mind that although CBD is a plant-derived substance, it does work chemically within the body and brain and therefore can have some contraindications. CBD is generally not recommended for those undergoing treatment for HIV or glaucoma and conditions pertaining to intraocular pressure. CBD may interact with certain pharmaceutical medications, although it is known to be a great balancer of many systems within the body.
Do I Need To Speak with a Doctor Before Supplementing with CBD?
CBD is a versatile supplement with a wide variety of potential benefits and an extremely low number of reported side effects. It may benefit you whether you have a specific illness, ailment, or simply want to improve your overall mental, emotional, and physical well being. There’s never any guarantee with natural supplements or even medication, but at the very least CBD is innocuous and has a high upside. If you’re on medication it’s a good idea to discuss any new supplements and treatment options with your doctor, although they may not know much about it.
*FDA DISCLAIMER The statements and products referred to throughout this site have not been evaluated by the FDA. They are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or condition. If you have a health condition or concern, consult a physician or your health care provider. Always consult a medical doctor before modifying your diet, using any new product, drug, supplement, or doing new exercises. We recommend you educate yourselves on the scientific / nutritional facts.