CBD and the Other Cannabinoids: A Tale of Medical Potential

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Humans have been using the cannabis plant for a long time. Rope made from the plant has been found that dates back to 26,900 BC. It is believed to be one of our oldest cultivated crops. The first mention of cannabis for medicinal use, dating back to 2900 BC, comes out of China with the Emperor at the time mentioning that it was a very popular medicine. By 1 AD the Chinese had identified over 100 ailments that the cannabis plant could benefit. It wasn’t just the Chinese that recognized cannabis’s many medical benefits. Everyone from the Egyptians, the people of India, to the Greek independently identified medicinal uses for the plant.

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Even America itself, despite what components of the US government would like us to believe, has a long and varied history with cannabis. Until synthetic petroleum based fibers where invented the cannabis plant was what we relied on. In fact in some of the colonies it was mandatory to grow the plant. That’s how important it was. Americans also used cannabis not only for its medicinal value, but also for recreational purposes. It was not uncommon to see a hashish (a concentrate of cannabis) smoking parlor in all major cities. Just to give an example of how prevalent they where, the Police Gazette estimated over 500 of those parlors in New York City alone.

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Jumping to today Cannabis is federally banned, but it is only the THC that is illegal. There are actually over 80 different cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. mCBD+ uses a full spectrum extract meaning that it has all the cannabinoids except THC. Keep in mind that there are over 80 different cannabinoids found in cannabis. The main one that we will be focusing on today will be cannabidiol or CBD. Although being a full spectrum extract we will touch on a few other cannabiniods and terpenes as well.

Mind/Mood

imagesTo start off CBD doesn’t actually work on the cannabinoid receptors in the brain directly, but instead they work through the GABA receptors. GABA is the neurotransmitter that down regulates the nervous system. This is the primary reason for its calming and relaxing effects. This would explain why both animal and human studies have both come back showing that CBD has anxiolytic properties. This means that it relieves symptoms of anxiety. One human study on Social Anxiety Disorder stated “CBD was associated with significantly decreased subjective anxiety”(1). One other action that makes CBD so good for mood is that it has the ability to raise serotonin. It does this surprisingly fast. In one study on CBD relating to its antidepressant properties states that ” our findings indicate that CBD could represent a novel fast antidepressant drug, via enhancing both serotonergic and glutamate cortical signalling”(3). mCBD+ is a great pick me up.

Pain and Inflammation

CBD hand painAs mentioned earlier mCBD+ is a full spectrum extract and there are multiple compounds that inhibit inflammation and alleviate pain. First lets start out with CBD. For the most part these cannabinoid molecules stimulate receptors within the bodies endocannabinoid system (ECS). CBD itself only weakly stimulates these receptors. So it does not directly effect inflammation in that way. Although indirectly it inhibits the breakdown of other cannabinoids, including the bodies own anandamide, and enhances cannabinoid signaling. It has other indirect actions of decreasing inflammation, like increasing adenosine signaling.

 

Now lets get into some of those other compounds mentioned earlier. The other cannabinoids do act on the ECS and CBD makes the connection to the ECS receptors stronger. The ECS consists of two different types of receptors. The CB1 receptor and the CB2 receptor. For ease of discussion the CB1 receptors are in the brain and the nervous system and the CB2 receptors are located and influence the immune system. The activation of CB1 alleviates pain, mainly nueropathic, and CB2 alleviates and lowers inflammation. Therefore a terpenoid like beta-carophyllene, stimulates the CB2 receptor lowering inflammation. Not to mention the cannabinoid Cannabigerol (CBG) inhibits the COX-2 enzyme, which is the same mode of action as medications like ibuprofen and naproxen sodium (Aleve).

Heart Health

cannabis heartCBD even shows the heart and cardiovascular system some love. Knowing how relaxing it is to other parts of the body it makes sense that it is also a vasorelaxant. This means that it relaxes the blood vessels. It also protects the inner linings of the blood vessels from inflammation and damage caused by high amounts of sugar in the blood stream. When it comes to the heart itself studies show that CBD’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties are especially prominent. When someone has a heart attack certain markers of damage are measured and this is how the “infarction size” is determined. This is basically the extent of the damage the heart sustained. CBD seems to lower these markers of damage. CBD has also been shown to lower the hearts reaction to stress. In fact one study found out that a single dose of CBD is enough to lower blood pressure.

Brain, Nervous System, and anti-psychotic properties

brain cbdMany studies have come to the conclusion that CBD  could potentially be used as an antipsychotic for the treatment of schizophrenia. Although the effects that cause the antipsychotic properties are still relatively unknown at this point. It is believed to have to do with its ability to enhance anandamide signalling. CBD has also been shown to be beneficial for stroke victims as it increases blood flow to the area effected and also prevents brain swelling. The antioxidant properties seem to have an affinity for the brain. In fact CBD has been shown to be effective in protecting the brain from binge alcohol drinking. Cannabis is usually associated with effecting one’s memory. This is because of the side effects of the THC. CBD actually helps offset the negative effects on memory associated with THC.

Cancer

cannacancerAs it turns out CBD actually has antioxidant activity greater than both vitamin c and vitamin e. This helps out a bunch when it comes to damage that a cell takes that can contribute to mutations. At this point it is pretty well documented that cannabinoids posses anti cancer properties. They do this in multiple ways. The first is their ability to induce apoptosis, or programmed cell death, and the other being that they inhibit proliferation or growth. Cannabinoids also interfere with cancer cell migration, invasion, and metastasization. Cancerous cells need nutrients just like any other cell. In fact they need more and because of this they have they ability to make their own blood vessels. This process is called angiogenesis, and cannabinoids inhibit this process.

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Refrences

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20829306/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22729452
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26711860
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22716160
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22585736
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3371734/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27374322
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3243008/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22265864
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2828614/
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16672367
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3820295/#b89-rmmj-4-4-e0022
  13. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1038/sj.bjp.0707133/abstract

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