It’s thought that the endocannabinoid system may be critical for regulating sleep and sleep stability, which make sense, as it promotes balance throughout the body. Research seems to show that when CBD interacts with this system, sufferers may achieve longer periods of overall sleep. Furthermore, earlier research demonstrated that CBD may provide relief for insomnia sufferers who struggle to achieve REM sleep due to anxiety. (33, 34, 35)
Here’s the thing, though—CBD oil isn’t just helpful for people with epilepsy. Turns out the oil is highly anti-inflammatory, and according to a 2013 review published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology it’s also beneficial for treating anxiety, depression, neurodegenerative disorders like dementia, and even has anti-tumoral properties. Sounds like the ultimate superfood, right? I decided to give this magic oil a whirl and see if I noticed a difference in my mood, anxiety, and stress levels.
Generally speaking, ingesting CBD oils using a dropper is typically the easiest way to stay in control of exactly how much you are taking. Plus, pure CBD oil will not contain additives that come with side effects. Remember, when you are using CBD oil or any kind of cannabis product, you must read the product label to determine the best dose for you.
That leaves those touting CBD’s effectiveness pointing primarily to research in mice and petri dishes. There, CBD (sometimes combined with small amounts of THC) has shown promise for helping pain, neurological conditions like anxiety and PTSD, and the immune system—and therefore potentially arthritis, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, cancer, and more.
Studies have demonstrated that CBD has a low affinity for the CB1 receptors, but even at low concentrations, CBD decreases G-protein activity (3). CB1 receptors are expressed on many glutamatergic synapses that have been implicated in seizure threshold modulation. CBD may act at CB1 receptors to inhibit glutamate release (4). Studies have shown changes in the expression of CB1 receptors during epileptogenesis and after recurrent seizures (5). CB1 receptor expression is upregulated at GABAergic synapses and shown to be downregulated at glutamatergic synapses in epilepsy, contributing to lowering seizure thresholds.
At this time, there does seem to be a growing body of basic pharmacologic data suggesting there may be a role for CBD, especially in the treatment of refractory epilepsy. However, given the lack of well-controlled trials, we must also ask if we are getting ahead of ourselves. Clearly, this is an emotionally and politically charged issue. If this were any other uninvestigated pharmaceutical compound, would we feel as compelled to make the agent widely available before statistically valid class 1 evidence was available for review? Until data from well-designed clinical trials are available and reliable, and standardized CBD products that are produced using GMP are available, caution must be exercised in any consideration of using CBD for the treatment of epilepsy. In the meantime, based upon promising preliminary data, further clinical research should be wholeheartedly pursued.
Gloss and Vickrey conducted a Cochrane systematic review of the use of CBD in the treatment of epilepsy (11). Their methodology included only those trials that were randomized and controlled and excluded case series, case reports, and expert opinion. They were able to identify only 4 randomized controlled studies reported in the literature, and they included a letter to the editor and an abstract. The total number of subjects enrolled in these studies was 48 (11–14). While only four studies and a letter to the editor were in the actual analysis, the authors included a complete reference listing of all articles reviewed for inclusion.
The reason so many people are interested in cannabis products that don’t make them high, proponents say, is that CBD helps with everything from pain and nausea to rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, Crohn’s disease, and dementia. CBD is anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, antibacterial, immunosuppressive, and more, says Joseph Cohen, DO, a cannabis doctor in Boulder, CO.
These trichomes are tiny, hair-like crystals that cover the leaves and buds of the cannabis plant. Trichomes product the hundreds of known cannabinoids that can be found in cannabis. Of the 100+ cannabinoids that have been identified in the cannabis species, CBD and THC have been studied the most extensively for their role in the endocannabinoid system.
Topical solutions: Topical CBD products include lotions, salves and lip balms. They are meant to benefit skin, joint and muscle health, and work when they are absorbed into the skin and through the dermal layers. CBD patches are also available for topical delivery of the compound. This allows the cannabinoids to be delivered directly to your bloodstream.
As is the case with any plant that constitutes a crop, cannabis plants have been selectively bred over the years to bolster one or another desired characteristic. This means that some plants provide a more potent psychotropic effect, others possess more prominent seeds (used in the production of cooking oil traditionally), while others may make for sturdier textile fibers.
As the CBD oil market continues to grow, more and more products are being sold online or in your local health food stores. You can find many types of CBD and each one is used in a different way. The most common forms of CBD available include the following. (Of course, you should always consult your healthcare professional prior to using CBD and read and follow all label directions.)
You can smoke CBD oil concentrate using an “oil rig” (see below), which is similar to a water pipe. It works by heating the “nail” (the chamber where you place the CBD oil concentrate), then putting the oil into the nail with a dabber (a small metal tool used to transfer the oil concentrate from it’s container to the oil rig). This produces smoke, which you inhale.
Cachexia is a disorder involving dangerous weight loss brought on by diseases as diverse as AIDS, cancer or Alzheimer’s. A 2011 German study involving more than 100 people proved that patients on the placebo lost about 80 percent more weight weekly than those administered a cannabinoid cocktail. This, along with the mood-elevating properties of cannabidiol implies future applications for the treatment of widespread eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa.
A survey of patients seen in a tertiary epilepsy center found that 21% of patients admitted to using marijuana in the last year, and 24% of patients believed marijuana to be effective for their seizures (10). While interesting, this anecdotal observation does not rise to the level of evidence needed to evaluate a potential new therapeutic modality.