Cannabidiol, or CBD for short, is a miraculous phytocannabinoid found in hemp and cannabis plants. This is one thing that we know about CBD. There are many other things known about this cannabinoid, as well as many things that are still a mystery. If you're curious to learn more about CBD, in this article, we will be discussing what we know and what we don't know regarding CBD.
There are many fascinating things known about this phytocannabinoid. From its chemical makeup and molecular profile to its potential therapeutic benefits and potential adverse effects, we have discovered much about this compound in the last few decades.
CBD was first isolated in the 1940s by organic chemist Roger Adams and his research team. Then in the 1960s, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam first described its chemical structure. Though it is thought to be the second most prevalent cannabinoid from the cannabis species of plant, CBD did not become very mainstream until a few years after the turn of the century.
While claims cannot be made stating that CBD is an effective treatment for any condition, symptom, or illness, there is an abundance of research surrounding this cannabinoid which suggests that it may possess a wide variety of different potential therapeutic benefits. The most abundance of research thus far regarding the potential benefits of CBD has been focused on its anti-epileptic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, neuroprotective, and antioxidant properties. Here are some of the noteworthy findings that we are aware of regarding the potential benefits of CBD.
A randomised controlled trial published in 2020 in JAMA Neurology investigated the use of CBD for Dravet Syndrome Epilepsy, it was concluded that CBD significantly reduced convulsive seizures compared to the placebo group. The study’s conclusion states that “adjunctive cannabidiol at doses of 10 and 20 mg/kg/d led to similar clinically relevant reductions in convulsive seizure frequency with a better safety and tolerability profile for the 10-mg/kg/d dose in children with treatment-resistant Dravet syndrome.”
A study published in 2021 in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research found that CBD is a neuroprotectant and concluded that in vitro, low concentrations of CBD that had no neurotoxic effects showed neuroprotective properties by rescuing neurons from oxidative stresses.
Research to date regarding CBD for Cancer has shown that CBD may be able to instigate cell death, has the ability to increase the sensitivity of glioblastoma cells to radiation without affecting healthy cell growth, and may also significantly reduce breast cancer cell invasion and proliferation, such as was shown in preclinical models of metastatic breast cancer. Additionally, numerous studies have shown that CBD may offer benefits for some of the common side effects of traditional cancer treatment, such as nausea, loss of appetite, and fatigue, to name a few.
A randomised controlled trial published in 2020 in the journal of Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology investigated the use of CBD topicals on pain. They found that CBD produced a significant decrease in the sharp, intense pains and itchy cold sensations in those with symptomatic peripheral neuropathy due to brain nerve and spinal cord nerve damage compared to those who received a placebo. Additionally, on numerous occasions, research has shown that CBD has anti-inflammatory properties, and with inflammation being the underlying cause of many types of pain, CBD may be a valuable tool in the treatment of pain.
Unfortunately, thanks to reefer madness propaganda and continuous stigma surrounding cannabis, when many think about the plant, they think about intoxication or getting a high. However, that is not what cannabis is all about. Yes, there is a cannabinoid known as THC that produces psychedelic effects; however, that is only one of over a hundred known cannabinoids produced by the plant. Extensive research, as well as millions of anecdotal stories, have concluded that CBD, however, does not produce any intoxicating effects. This has led many consumers to embrace CBD who would otherwise not embrace cannabis-based products due to the intoxication risk presented by THC.
Cannabis was been re-classified as a class B drug in 2009 by the then home secretary Jacqui Smith. Various regulations globally have linked it to a high potential for abuse and/or addiction. This is a risk that is not present when utilising CBD. According to the World Health Organization, “in humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential…. To date, there is no evidence of public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD."
Based on research, we are aware of a few potential side effects from CBD consumption, all of which tend to be very mild. Some of the most common side effects of CBD include but are not limited to the following:
The risk of these side effects are directly impacted by the amount of CBD consumed. FSA recommends to take no more than 70mg of CBD per day.
According to the World Health Organization, “CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile. Reported adverse effects may be as a result of drug-drug interactions between CBD and patients’ existing medications.”
CBD is a very versatile compound that can be used in a wide variety of ways. CBD can be smoked, vaped, applied topically, ingested, and it can even be found in transdermal patches and suppositories.
While there is a lot known about CBD, there is also a lot that we have yet to discover. Many of the studies conducted are not large or controlled enough to prove its effect on medical and health related conditions. Although there is huge potential we still cannot say with scientific certainty that CBD can treat or cure ailments.
Some of the things that we do not know about CBD are other therapeutic benefits that it may hold that have yet to be discovered. As with anything that has potential benefits, there are also potential risks. It is likely that there are adverse effects that CBD could produce that we are not yet aware of. However, based on what we know to date, the World Health Organisation considers and classifies CBD as a generally safe-to-consume substance with little to no adverse side effects.
This article is authored by Dr Casey Abrahamsmen. Dr Abrahamsmen is a board certified physician with over 13 years of experience in internal medicine and pain management. He practises Palliative care at a hospital in Venezuela and is a strong advocative for CBD and believes CBD has a major role to play towards healthy non addictive pain management habits. You can read more about Dr Abrahamsmen here.
This article was peer-reviewed by Dr M Mansoor Siddique (PhD). Dr Siddique has over eight years of experience working with CBD and CBD products.
Disclaimer: All of our products are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. It is recommended to check with doctor before starting a new dietary supplement program. All CBD products sold have less than 0.2% THC content and abide by both EU an UK law.