Cannabidiol – a new look for medical cannabis
Tetrahydrocannabinol is not the only psychoactive substance in cannabis. Cannabis inflorescences and leaves can, according to various estimates, contain from 60 to 200 different cannabinoid compounds. Recently, doctors and pharmacologists all over the world focused on Cannabidiol or CBD (in English transcription – CBD).
Cannabidiol does not have a pronounced psychoactive effect. Its main value is its many therapeutic properties. According to the studies of scientists from different countries of the world, the possibilities of medical use of CBD, and accordingly medical cannabis are enormous. Cannabidiol has been used successfully in several countries to treat epilepsy, spasms of multiple sclerosis, anxiety disorders, bipolar mental disorders, schizophrenia, nausea and loss of appetite during chemotherapy, seizures, inflammation, diabetes, heart disease, it also inhibits the growth of cancer cells. There are not yet clinically confirmed data from animal studies that cannabidiol can slow the release of THC from the body by interfering with its metabolism.
According to the results of the experiments, CBD is able to suppress methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. It is a bacterium that causes such difficult treatable diseases as sepsis, infective endocarditis, pneumonia. Staphylococcus aureus is resistant to most modern antibiotics. Cannabidiol is also effective against propionic acne bacteria – the main causative agents of acne.
Studies have shown that cannabidiol has protective properties against neurodegeneration caused by alcohol intake.
There are many reports and one documented clinical trial that confirms the ability of CBD to reduce the incidence of seizures during epilepsy, including in treatment-resistant cases of epilepsy in infants (for example, Drave’s syndrome).
Cannabidiol is a strong antioxidant, due to which it has neuroprotective and anti-ischemic effects.
Cannabidiol has proven effective in treating neurological disorders known as dystonias. In one study, five out of five participants noted an improvement of 20-50%.
A study in 2009 published in the British Psychiatric Journal showed significant differences among the three groups of subjects: the first group – the control group, having a psychoactive effect from non-cannabis, the second group was administered THC, the third group – a mixture of THC and CBD. People from the THC group noted significantly more strange and restless sensations than in the THC-and-CBD group. Also, subjects from TGK-i-CBD groups were significantly less prone to introversion and angedonia (loss of activity, motivation, ability to enjoy life) than control and TGK groups. This study shows that CBD has an antipsychotic effect and is able to withstand the psychodisleptic effect that THC has on people with low-grade schizophrenia.
Recent studies show that cannabidiol is effective as an atypical antipsychotic in treating schizophrenia. Clinical trials in 42 patients with paranoid schizophrenia showed a significant reduction in the severity of symptoms of psychosis.
Studies show that CBD lowers the activity of the limbic system and opposes the social isolation that TGCs can trigger. Also, CBD reduces anxiety with social anxiety syndrome and has an anxiogenic effect. In animal testing, cannabidiol showed an effect similar to antidepressants.
Medical cannabis and cancer
In November 2007, researchers from the Pacific Medical Center in California (USA) reported that CBD is able to combat the spread of metastasis of breast cancer. In vitro, CBD reduced or completely stopped the activity of the ID1 gene responsible for the growth of metastases in breast cancer and other types of cancer, including aggressive forms. In 2012, scientists said they are hoping to start research in humans soon.
It has been found that cannabidiol slows the growth of cancers with low activity in non-cancerous cells. Although the mechanism of slowing down is not yet fully understood, scientists assume that cannabidiol fights against cancer cells by directly or indirectly activating CB2 and TRPV1 receptors and oxidative stress, which causes apoptosis (programmed cell death).
In February 2013, researchers from the University of California at Irvine suggested that the anti-cancer effect of CBD (by invoking apoptosis) may be related to its effect on the mutated p53 protein in cancer cells.
From the foregoing, it becomes apparent that the medical use of cannabis has great potential. Already, medicinal cannabis helps many thousands of people around the world to cope with disease and live a normal life. Unfortunately, the short-sighted prohibitive policy of most states regarding cannabis greatly complicates and slows down the study of its medical properties.
Another problem is that CBD suppresses euphoria from the use of marijuana caused by THC. The more in the CBD plant, the less it is suitable for recreational purposes.
Currently, with the advent of scientific evidence of the medical importance of CBD, more and more attention is paid to cannabis varieties with a high content of cannabidiol. In November 2012, Israeli scientists introduced a new variety of cannabis, the active substance in which is only the CBD, and which contains almost no THC. This will allow the use of medical cannabis without the effect of euphoria, undesirable for some patients. Researchers state that cannabis rich in CBD “can be used to treat diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, colitis, liver inflammation, heart disease, diabetes, and others.” The result of a three-year work of a group of Israeli scientists was a variety of hemp called Avidekel, containing