Treating a neurological injury such as a concussion can be difficult. As we learn how the brain functions, and how our body works to repair injuries, medical professionals are always looking for new treatment options. New discoveries about how CBD works in the brain, and how it stimulates the body to repair itself, makes CBD an interesting option for neurological injuries. Here are some facts that will help you understand how CBD and cannabinoids work.
Marijuana produces a variety of useful natural products that we are learning more about every day. Cannabidiol (CBD), and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are part of a group of compounds known as cannabinoids that have the ability to interact with the nervous system of insects and animals including humans. Unlike THC, CBD evidently shows a complete lack of psychoactive effects. Cannabinoids target specific parts of the nervous system known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The cannabinoid type 1 (CB₁) receptor of the ECS was first identified in the human brain in 1990 and is the active site for THC.
The ECS is involved in metabolism in a variety of ways including, appetite, pain-regulation, mood, and even memory. Modulating the ECS through specific cannabinoids is showing promise in treating conditions ranging from movement disorders like Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease to mood and anxiety disorders like depression and sleeplessness. Cannabinoids are also being researched for treatment of neuropathic pain, multiple sclerosis, obesity, and osteoporosis (Bátkai et al 2006). CBD is even being researched as a cancer treatment due to it promoting apoptosis of cancer cells.
Due to the complete lack of any recorded psychoactive effects from CBD, it is gaining attention from groups of people that normally might have avoided marijuana altogether. CBD is thought to decrease how much THC interacts with the ECS and may be useful in treating cognitive impairment from the use of marijuana.
In a 2016 case study of a 10-year-old patient suffering from sleep loss and post-traumatic stress disorder, CBD oil was used and effective in increasing the patient’s quality and duration of sleep and helped decrease anxiety (Opila-Lehman et al 2016).
CBD and THC are still considered illegal by the D.E.A., that hasn’t kept marijuana from being legalized in many states. Synthetic THC is an F.D.A. approved drug used in chemotherapy and cases of anorexia, synthetic CBD has also been accomplished by research groups. THC and CBD are usually the most discussed of the cannabinoids due to their bioactivity but in fact, there are more than 100 other cannabinoids some medicinal and some thought to be relatively inactive.
Cannabinoids are thought to act as defensive compounds to herbivores in wild Cannabis.
Naturally occurring Cannabis actually contains more CBD than THC, using selective breeding, farmers of marijuana have cultivated strains that contain elevated levels of medicinal cannabinoids as well as aromatic compounds called terpenes. Cannabinoids are medicinal but are understood to be largely flavorless while terpenes are what give different strains of marijuana distinct aromas and flavors.
Cannabinoids are often isolated from marijuana industrially through distillation and use of solvents like ethanol. Cannabinoid oil can also be created easily at home using the Rick Simpson method, who is a proponent of the anti-carcinogenic properties of cannabinoids. Cannabinoids isolated from “indica” type cannabis plants, according to Rick, are the most medicinal due to their particular “calming” effects.
It really seems that CBD rich strains of marijuana could be showing up more often at dispensaries due to their increasing popularity. CBD can be isolated from the “hemp” type of marijuana during processing of hemp fiber. Often cannabinoid oil is created from this type of process and depending on the quality of the plant material used, you end up with varying amounts of cannabinoid-rich extract.
CBD based medicines should be easily accessible to the patients and individuals who direly need access to them, especially since it could be created at home by virtually anyone with access to a few basic materials.
As doctors learn more about cannabinoids like CBD and THC, they should be able to create cannabinoid medicines that can target specific conditions and parts of the ECS. As scientists learn more about the importance of CBD in marijuana and medicine, we should also focus on the potential ecological roles and benefits of the cannabinoids as well.