New research investigates the diverse medicinal potential of CBD for depression, substance misuse, and illnesses resistant to antibiotics. Let’s talk about the promising cannabinoid – CBD.
What is so unique about CBD? Why so much hype? Let’s get back to the basics.
CBD/cannabidiol is a chemical molecule discovered more than 80 years ago and found only in the cannabis plant. CBD is often the second-most abundant cannabinoid in high-THC/tetrahydrocannabinol cannabis “strains” — those with the strongest psychoactivity. However, there are other cannabis varieties containing roughly equal amounts of CBD and THC, as well as CBD-rich cannabis and “hemp” plants containing little THC.
Despite its structural similarities, THC and CBD work differently on various brain and body receptors. Both substances are hypotensive, lowering blood pressure, and neurogenic, encouraging the proliferation of brain cells. CBD and THC have conflicting actions on the CB1 receptor. THC is infamous for producing “the munchies,” whereas CBD suppresses hunger and reduces the THC high’s peak.
The promising cannabinoid- CBD has a substantially larger variety of pharmacological effects than THC or any of the more than one hundred identified plant cannabinoids. The involvement of transient receptor potential TRP ion channels in mediating CBD’s effects on seizures, inflammation, cancer, pain, acne, and vasorelaxation is highlighted in a recent study. CBD binds to serotonin receptors and nuclear PPAR receptors, which regulate lipid metabolism and gene expression.
This “promiscuous” nature, coupled with the extensive reach of the endocannabinoid system anchored to CB1 and CB2 receptors throughout the human body, explains why CBD can affect such a wide range of physiological processes – and why clinical and pre-clinical research continues to focus on its therapeutic potential.
The following are some of the most recent medical research discoveries that demonstrate CBD’s flexibility.
THE PROMISING CANNABINOID – CBD: CAN IT KILL HARMFUL BACTERIA?
The authors of a recent study published in the journal Scientific Reports indicate that CBD could be “repurposed” as an antibacterial agent in human trials, given its capacity to combat a variety of hazardous bacteria, including those that are multidrug-resistant, in laboratory experiments. Pure CBD had antibacterial efficacy against all 21 Gram-positive bacterial strains tested, as well as lipooligosaccharide-expressing bacteria and Mycobacterium tuberculosis (the cause of tuberculosis).
CBD worked better, particularly against troublesome Gram-negative bacteria, when combined with low amounts of the potent antibiotic polymyxin B, indicating an additive or synergistic impact that could lessen reliance on this medicine of last resort — and thus help maintain its effectiveness. “We highlight the remarkable translational potential of CBD repurposing as an antibacterial drug, particularly in the combination of CBD and polymyxin B against Gram-negative bacteria,” the authors write.
THE PROMISING CANNABINOID – CBD: CAN IT CURE DEPRESSIVE SYMTOMS?
In a new research of depressive-like behaviors in mice, the downstream effects of CBD’s extensive brain activity play a crucial role. The China-based researchers whose work was published in February 2022 in the journal Frontiers in Medicine reasoned as follows: Growing data suggests that CBD may be an effective antidepressant, but the underlying mechanisms remain obscure. The authors of the study note that it is known that chronic stress inhibits neural stem cell differentiation and adult hippocampal neurogenesis (AHN), and that increasing AHN can increase stress resistance to depression. Therefore, may this be a mechanism through which CBD exerts its antidepressant effect?
The authors believe this based on an experiment in which CBD delivery alleviated sadness and anxiety symptoms in stressed mice. While the findings do not implicate a specific receptor or molecular target, they do highlight a previously undiscovered mechanism for neuronal differentiation and AHN in depression and provide mechanistic insights into CBD’s antidepressant properties. While the authors are hopeful about the implications (“undeniable direct proof that CBD could be a potential therapy option for depression”), they note that there is still a great deal to learn, particularly in people. “This study underlined the need to expand our understanding of CBD’s neurological effects in order to completely comprehend the therapeutic potential of this phytocannabinoid in the treatment of psychiatric diseases,” they write.
THE PROMISING CANNABINOID – CBD: MINIMIZING THE USE OF HIGH-THC CANNABIS
Could CBD-rich cannabis assist those who engage in problematic THC-rich cannabis use? An article published in Frontiers in Psychiatry in March 2022 reports a French survey in which 11 percent of cannabis-consuming respondents (n=105) reported using CBD (mainly via smoked hemp-CBD flower) with the goal of reducing use of illegal, high-THC cannabis. More than half of these individuals reported a “substantial” drop in high-THC cannabis consumption.
The next poll question was even more intriguing: when asked specifically how CBD use lowered overall cannabis intake, the majority of responders mentioned reducing cannabis withdrawal symptoms. Other alternatives were “delaying the first illegal cannabis joint of the day,” “using less illegal cannabis in joints,” and “increasing the time between joints.” This indicates that they were not consuming high-CBD flower as a placebo or filler, but rather because the CBD reduced their craving for high-THC cannabis.
Again, these results appear to be based at least in part on the fact that in France, high-CBD hemp flower is legal whereas high-THC hemp flower is outlawed. However, it is plausible that CBD can mitigate some undesirable side effects of excessive THC. In fact, researchers in Colorado discovered earlier this year that cannabis with a 1:1 THC:CBD ratio was associated with identical levels of good subjective effects, but substantially less paranoia and anxiety than high-THC, low-CBD bud.
We hope you enjoyed reading the article about the promising cannabinoid- CBD. I wonder what else we will discover in the future about this amazing cannabinoid!
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