CBD and Inflammation: What the Studies Say
Many people who suffer from chronic or temporary inflammation are turning to CBD products for help to alleviate their pain. But, what do scientific studies show about CBD’s effect on medical issues such as pain caused by inflammation? Read on to find out what the experts say about CBD and inflammation.
What is CBD?
Cannabis sativa, the plant that CBD comes from, contains more than 100 chemical compounds. The most well-known compound is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a psychoactive compound that makes people feel “high.” The plant’s second most well-known compound, cannabidiol (CBD), is not psychoactive, so it does not make users feel high.
Some studies have shown that while CBD will not get people high, it does offer other benefits. Namely, CBD may help treat pain caused by inflammation by working with the endocannabinoid receptors in the human body. (Source: Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry)
Many people do not want to experience the psychoactive feeling long-associated with cannabis, but they do want to explore CBD and its possibilities for treating pain. CBD products are made by extracting only the CBD from cannabis plants (leaving behind the THC) and mixing it with a carrier oil so it can be digested or applied to the skin.
Although people have reported using cannabis illegally to treat pain for years, many hope extracting CBD from the cannabis plant will allow them to feel the therapeutic benefits of the cannabis plant without having to also feel the spacey effects of THC.
CBD and Inflammation Studies
With CBD being a fairly new product on the market, many people wonder how it works to fight health issues, such as inflammation. Since the 1900s, scientists have been publishing research articles on their studies of how well cannabinoid products work to treat pain.
In some studies, high doses of CBD were able to help people who suffer from serious maladies such as multiple sclerosis as well as seizures. Patients treated with CBD experienced fewer seizures and less pain. These studies resulted in the FDA approving Epidiolex, the very first drug with an active ingredient derived from marijuana to treat epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. (source: FDA)
Countries in Europe have taken the lead in studying the possibilities for CBD in the area of pain management. While many health experts still disagree on the amount of CBD needed to treat pain, many agree that CBD works best when used in addition with another medicine. In other words, if a pain medicine is working but not eliminating all of a patient’s pain, CBD can help to alleviate the remaining pain. (source: EFIC)
One drug, Nabiximols, was introduced in Canada and the UK to treat neuropathic pain. This drug combines the compounds of THC and CBD to create full-spectrum CBD, a type of CBD that includes THC as well as CBD compounds. Many proponents of CBD, and cannabis in general, believe cannabinoids work best when taken in this full-spectrum manner. The United States’ long prohibition on cannabis means many Americans aren’t willing to think of CBD or THC as useful substances. (source: Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management). For this reason, drugs that include cannabinoids seem to have a tougher challenge being accepted by American researchers and patients. While Sativex, the trade name of Nabiximols, is approved in many countries, such as the UK and France, as well as Australia, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, it is still not available in America. (source: GW Pharm.)
Americans need to visit a marijuana dispensary in order to try full-spectrum CBD products; however, all Americans can benefit from CBD products that do not include THC because they are legal in all fifty states.
One 2015 study showed that CBD can reduce inflammation all over the body (source: Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry). A 2016 paper showed that CBD can reduce inflammation of the pancreas, a precursor to diabetes (source: Clinical Hemorheology and Microcirculation). In 2018, researchers discovered that CBD binds to pain receptors in the body and desensitizes them. (source: Neurology)
Researchers continue to explore how CBD can best be used to treat pain caused by inflammation. Most researchers agree that the therapeutic benefits of cannabis plants have long been ignored because previous researchers focused on THC as the main active ingredient and ignored the effects of CBD. (Source: Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry) Today, many people are learning how CBD, a long-ignored drug, can help soothe their pain caused by inflammation.
CBD and Inflammation in Florida
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