- CBD and Hemp
by Patrick Mower
Research into the effects of CBD on the body and mind has been growing rapidly over the last few years, and that trend is only expected to continue. With proven efficacy and FDA approval to treat some forms of epilepsy, there has been a surge in academic interest and research into the therapeutic potential of cannabidiol and other cannabinoids. This additional research is important because, while we know that it can be an effective treatment for two rare forms of epilepsy, and there is clinical research suggesting a laundry list of other possible uses, researchers still don’t fully understand how CBD and cannabinoids work with the body and mind. Obtaining an understanding of how these compounds do what they do is the vital next step to unlocking their full range of medical uses.
In response to a 2017 report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine calling on public and private institutions to help “develop a comprehensive evidence base on the short- and long-term health effects of cannabis use (both beneficial and harmful effects).” researchers in the US and around the world are stepping up to help us gain a deeper understanding of how CBD works and how to harness its healing power.
“Is CBD a panacea that will cure whatever ails you? Obviously not. But for many people with depression, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, inflammation, etc. the results speak for themselves.“
Harvard and MIT have recently been awarded $9 million in grants to fund different aspects of CBD research. The Harvard team will be working with experts in cardiology, neurology, immunology, and vascular medicine to research CBD from a holistic perspective to learn more about how CBD interacts with the brain, individual organs, and organ systems as a whole. The MIT team is a little more narrowly focused, with researchers looking specifically at cannabinoids as a potential treatment for schizophrenia.
“Even though cannabis products are now widely available, and some are used clinically, we still understand remarkably little about how they influence brain function and neuronal circuits in the brain,” said Bruce Bean, of Harvard Medical School’s Department of Neurobiology. “This gift will allow us to conduct critical research into the neurobiology of cannabinoids, which may ultimately inform new approaches for the treatment of pain, epilepsy, sleep and mood disorders, and more.”
While there are some big gaps in our understanding of CBD, the evidence we already have available shows incredible potential. According to a 2017 WHO report, “The range of conditions for which CBD has been assessed is diverse, consistent with its neuroprotective, antiepileptic, hypoxia-ischemia, anxiolytic, antipsychotic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-asthmatic, and antitumor properties”. Though the mechanisms at play aren’t fully understood, research shows CBD could be a useful treatment for the following ailments:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Huntington’s disease
- Hypoxia-ischemia injury
- Inflammatory diseases
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Inflammatory bowel and Crohn’s diseases
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Diabetic complications
There is a lot we don’t know about CBD and it’s therapeutic uses, but what we do know is encouraging. We know that CBD has antipsychotic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-asthmatic, and antitumor properties that make it an ideal candidate for a wide array of treatments. We also know that millions of people around the world have tried it for themselves and become enthusiastic advocates. Is CBD a panacea that will cure whatever ails you? Obviously not. But for many people with depression, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, inflammation, etc. the results speak for themselves.
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