The many therapeutic uses of cannabis oil are remarkable and our knowledge of these oils and their impressive benefits is growing at a significant pace. Cannabis oil is undergoing a renaissance of interest with many promising studies, both published and forthcoming, in peer-reviewed academic journals.
So what exactly is cannabis oil?
As you may know, cannabis oil is derived from the cannabis sativa plant, the same plants that give us marijuana. The oil is extracted or distilled from hemp plants in a process similar to the ways essential oils are extracted from plants for aromatherapy. The resulting cannabis oils come in different forms, each with its own unique properties. Some cannabis oils, like Delta-8, THC & THCV, have psychoactive properties. However in this article we will be focusing primarily about CBD (cannabidiol) oil, which does not have psychoactive properties. CBD oil has been shown to have many useful properties that help alleviate a wide-range of conditions.
One purified form of CBD, called Epidiolex, has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, Dravet syndrome, and tuberous sclerosis complex. The FDA has also approved Marinol and Syndros, which are THC-based cannabis derivatives, to treat anorexia associated with weight loss in AIDS patients. 1
Fun fact: The United States has the only patent on cannabis. You can read about the patent, number 6630507, called Cannabinoids as Antioxidants and Neuroprotectants. 2
Easing cancer side effects
Cannabis oil has been shown to help alleviate symptoms associated with certain types of cancer treatments, including depression, vomiting, and nausea. 3. There is also emerging evidence from several studies that suggests CBD may be a potent inhibitor of both cancer growth and proliferation in animals. 4.
Relieving chronic pain
According to a review by the Journal of Anesthesia & Analgesia, cannabis oil is effective in treating chronic pain. This is welcome news for those suffering from debilitating pain that traditional methods have not been entirely helpful, such as fibromyalgia and arthritis. 5
Improving multiple sclerosis symptoms
One notable study, “Evidence for the efficacy and effectiveness of THC-CBD oromucosal spray in symptom management of patients with spasticity due to multiple sclerosis” concluded that cannabis oil helped alleviate symptoms in patients with multiple sclerosis. The study also concluded that cannabis oil has a good safety profile with relatively few side effects and is generally well tolerated. 6
Another interesting study, titled “Cannabinoids as novel anti-inflammatory drugs”, stated that cannabinoids have exhibited significant potential to be used as novel anti-inflammatory agents. 7. A promising review in 2020 showed strong evidence that CBD reduces inflammatory responses in the immune system. 8
A clinical trial in 2020 showed the administration of CBD, in contrast to a placebo, significantly reduced both craving and anxiety in heroin addicts. CBD also reduced drug-induced physiological measures of heart rate and cortisol (a stress hormone in the body that regulates mood, fear and motivation) levels. This study concluded there were no significant effects on cognition, and there were no serious side effects. 9
Battling anxiety and stress
Rattled nerves have become all too common in the wake of the Covid-19 virus. Luckily, CBD may have some benefit for those of us whom daily life has become quite challenging. A summary of clinical evidence cited by The Journal of the American Society for Experimental Neurotherapeutics found that preclinical evidence strongly supports the potential of CBD as a treatment for anxiety disorders. 10
Lowering high blood pressure
A single dose of CBD reduced resting blood pressure in healthy individuals in one randomized study. The conclusions in this study showed that CBD reduces resting blood pressure in humans. High blood pressure is associated with a number of debilitating health conditions and is a major cause of heart disease in the United States. 11. The CDC states that roughly 45% of Americans suffer from high blood pressure.
Helping diabetes 1&2 patients
In one study, CBD with THCV significantly decreased fasting plasma glucose and resistin (a hormone found in fat tissue). This study also found that CBD increased glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide ( another hormone released from the small intestine that enhances the release of insulin following the intake of food). The authors concluded that CBD and THCV were well tolerated and THCV in-particular could represent a new therapeutic agent in glycemic (how quickly or slowly your body processes increases in blood sugar) control in subjects with type 2 diabetes. 12. Another study focusing on type 2 diabetes, concluded that experimental CBD treatment reduced markers of inflammation in the pancreas, which produces insulin. 13
Treating Alzheimer’s disease
A review of studies focusing on the effects of CBD and THC in Alzheimer’s disease, found that CBD might be useful to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s dementia. 14. Another intriguing study by researchers at California’s Salk Institute found that cannabinoids (CBD) removed plaque-forming proteins associated with Alzheimer’s found in brain cells. The authors of this study noted that cannabinoids have a positive effect on both inflammation and beta-amyloid (a type of sticky protein) accumulation in nerve cells found in the brain. 15.
Promising acne medication alternative
Another interesting study showed CBD acts as a potent anti-acne agent, without any significant side effects. This study found it especially promising because the currently available most effective anti-acne agent, isotretinoin, is known to cause serious side effects. The study’s authors concluded that CBD is a promising, cost-effective, and, likely, well-tolerated new strategy for treating acne vulgaris, the most common human skin disease. 16
Providing chronic pain relief
The Centers for Disease Control estimates that as many as 50 million Americans suffer from some form of chronic pain. Fortunately, CBD seems to help reduce chronic pain in the general population as well. A study from New Zealand recruited people suffering from fibromyalgia and administered CBD over a period of months. The study concluded that CBD and THC taken together offered a possible clinical advantage over traditional treatments for fibromyalgia. Notably, study participants also reported better overall sleep patterns while taking CBD. 17
Battling anxiety and stress
Rattled nerves have become all too common in the wake of the Covid-19 virus. Luckily, CBD may have some benefit for those of us whom daily life has become quite challenging. A summary of clinical evidence cited by The Journal of the American Society for Experimental Neurotherapeutics found that preclinical evidence strongly supports the potential of CBD as a treatment for anxiety disorders. 18
Addressing post-traumatic stress disorder
A promising clinical trial is underway at the VA San Diego Medical Center in California. This randomized control trial will evaluate CBD in conjunction with prolonged exposure therapy in veterans with PTSD. Prolonged exposure therapy is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy that gradually exposes the recipient to the situations, memories, and feelings associated with the traumatic event. Coupling this type of therapy with CBD is a novel treatment option that may produce good outcomes for our veterans suffering from P.T.S.D. 19
Before you take CBD:
CBD is generally well-tolerated and does not appear to have any unwanted side effects for the majority of the population. However, with any treatment, CBD and other cannabinoids could potentially have side effects for some individuals, so talk to your doctor before taking them. If you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant, it is probably best to avoid taking any cannabinoids. Doctors don’t yet know what or if there are any concerns with taking CBD and pregnancy.
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