CBD: Snake Oil or Duct Tape?

By Sabby Jane

CBD? I put that ish on everything! Or at least that’s the vibe these days. It reminds me a bit of the dad in My Big Fat Greek Wedding and his use of Windex to solve every problem. Want gorgeous looking lashes and brows? Milk Makeup has Kush, a product line featuring hemp-derived cannabis oil. Muscle soreness? Get a massage using CBD-infused lotion. Pets experiencing anxiety? Give them CBD treats. Bumper damage? Don’t bother with duct tape, grab the CBD oil.

Is CBD really all we need to look better, feel younger, and heal our bodies? Or is this just 21st century snake oil? Here’s my take away from scientists pursuing answers.

 

CBD and Epilepsy

CBD appears to be helping reduce or prevent epileptic seizures. Anecdotal evidence of children like Charlotte Figi, the girl for whom the high-CBD strain Charlotte’s Web is named, has prompted the public and researchers to take cannabinoids seriously. Cannabidiol: Promise and Pitfalls (Welty et al., 2014) reviews some of the research and theory available at the time. It encourages us to remember if this was any other medication, we would not make it widely available without controlled studies but given the promise of the data it should be “wholeheartedly pursued” as a treatment option for epileptics.

The 2018 study, Cannabidiol exerts antiepileptic effects by restoring hippocampal interneuron functions in a temporal lobe epilepsy model, presents an exciting conclusion. Kahn et al. summarize that compared to the more dangerous pharmaceuticals currently available, CBD’s multi-targeted phyto-properties, which have little to no side effects, makes it a viable option for the treatment of epilepsy. With promising work being done to understand the interactions between CBD and the brain along with stories like Charlotte’s, it is no surprise many people are willing to give CBD oil a try to improve the lives of epileptic patients.

 

 

CBD for Anxiety

CBD for anxiety is another bright market for this cannabinoid. Off the top of my head, efficacy may depend on the user and concentration. Thankfully there are real scientists are tackling this beacon of hope for mental health. According to researchers like Blessing et al. who conducted the review Cannabidiol as a potential treatment for anxiety disorders (2015), acute dosing of CBD in healthy subjects shows promising results for reducing anxiety and therefore substantiates the value and need for further research. Their review also mentions that high doses of THC and environmental stressors may work against the effectiveness of CBD for anxiety.

My big take away from this and Chronic stress induces anxiety via an amygdalar intracellular cascade that impairs endocannabinoid signaling (Qin et al., 2015) is that chronic stress impairs endocannabinoid signaling in certain areas of the brain which leads to anxiety. CBD supplementation may help bring things back into balance, but dosing and usefulness of use long term needs more research. And too much THC may not help. Also, see my two cents above.

 

CBD for Pain Relief

CBD for pain relief is another big claim and researchers are all about discovering the truth. The Analgesic Potential of Cannabinoids (Elikottil, et al. 2009) conclude their review by essentially saying get over the pot issue and focus on treating chronic pain with the help of cannabis (Drops the mic). In 2011 Dr. Booz wrote Cannabidiol as an Emergent Therapeutic Strategy for Lessening the Impact of Inflammation on Oxidative Stress which proposes that CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties contribute to lessening pain associated with diseases like cancer, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis. Furthermore, the antioxidant actions of CBD on immune cells makes it a jumping off point for new drug development.

As research continues, Pellati et al., the authors of  Cannabis sativa L.and Nonpsychoactive Cannabinoids: Their Chemistry and Role against Oxidative Stress, Inflammation, and Cancer (2018), believes it may be possible to select cultivars (strains) with cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes best suited to treat disease and associated pain. Given the growing use of cannabinoids as medicine, Allan et al. went about creating a Simplified guideline for prescribing medical cannabinoids in primary care (2018). They note that when it comes to pain, medical cannabinoids may not be appropriate. Doctors should utilize a dynamic, individualized approach to patient pain therapy. Given the limitations of in-depth human studies, the best we can do is supplement patients’ treatment plans with CBD or medical marijuana, so again, please see my two cents above.

If you want to help further science, The University of Michigan has two studies going on that chronic pain sufferers can join right now. One is a self-reported, confidential survey designed to provide understanding of how medical marijuana use affects pain management, quality of life, and the use of other medications. Participate HERE using password: UMSurvey. The second is an ongoing, self-reported confidential survey designed to understand how long-term medical marijuana use affects pain management, quality of life, and the use of other medications. Contact Dr. Kevin Boehnke PhD at [email protected] for more information.

 

CBD may seem like the new kale, but it is way cooler, more useful, and way more legit. Evidence continues to emerge that it has a bunch of health benefits. And even if it isn’t as miraculous as some claim, CBD oil and related products do have benefits and don’t seem harmful. Got CBD?

 

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Suggested Reading: Chronic Marijuana Use is About as Bad for Your Health as Not Flossing

Just don’t tell your dentist we told you

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Nerd Out:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5979781/ Cannabidiol exerts antiepileptic effects by restoring hippocampal interneuron functions in a temporal lobe epilepsy model

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4189631/ Cannabidiol: Promise and Pitfalls

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4604171/ Cannabidiol as a potential treatment for anxiety disorders

https://www.crescolabs.com/cannabinoids/cbd/ CBD Information

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3085542/ Cannabidiol as an Emergent Therapeutic Strategy for Lessening the Impact of Inflammation on Oxidative Stress

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24582908 A critical role for prefrontocortical endocannabinoid signaling in the regulation of stress and emotional behavior.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25754825 Chronic stress induces anxiety via an amygdalar intracellular cascade that impairs endocannabinoid signaling.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5968020/ Patterns of medicinal cannabis use, strain analysis, and substitution effect among patients with migraine, headache, arthritis, and chronic pain in a medicinal cannabis cohort

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3728280/ The Analgesic potential of cannabinoids

http://www.cfp.ca/content/64/2/111 Simplified guideline for prescribing medical cannabinoids in primary care

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6304621/ Cannabis sativa L.and Nonpsychoactive Cannabinoids: Their Chemistry and Role against Oxidative Stress, Inflammation, and Cancer