CBD and Inflammation

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a non-psychoactive compound derived from the marijuana plant. In recent years, mainstream interest in CBD has skyrocketed due to consistently impressive clinical research results finding that CBD significantly improves symptoms related to an ever-increasing panoply of disorders.

Inflammation is a key contributor to many types of physical disorders, and considerable evidence shows that CBD promotes healthier levels of inflammation and improves symptoms [1]. Therefore, CBD can benefit individuals affected by a number of conditions. [2-11].

Psychological disorders have also been linked to inflammation [12]. Preliminary data show that CBD may safely support an improvement in symptoms related to several psychological disorders. [13-16]. CBD has also shown promise as a therapeutic option for people with cognitive impairments [17, 18]. CBD has even been shown to help people struggling with substance abuse [19, 20].

Despite the stigma associated with marijuana, the research is clear: CBD is a promising therapeutic with an overwhelming body of literature supporting its use as a natural, safe anti-inflammatory [21]. Furthermore, long-term studies have demonstrated that chronic CBD use does not have negative health consequences [22].

According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), CBD is not a psychoactive compound (unlike THC, the high-inducing compound in marijuana), so it does not have the same restrictions associated with THC. The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp in the US, which further cleared the way for legal production and sale of CBD derived from hemp. Importantly, CBD with more than 0.3% THC is still considered illegal by the federal government.

As federal restrictions on medical research of CBD’s benefits are relaxed, scientists are able to evaluate specific qualities of CBD and other marijuana-derivatives. They’ve found two different ways that marijuana derivatives act in the body, called CB1 and CB2 signaling pathways. CBD activates the CB2 pathway, which has powerful anti-inflammatory effects [23]. As medical researchers are able to delineate how marijuana derivatives affect these and other pathways, targeted treatment options for inflammatory diseases will be substantially improved.

Although the legality of marijuana-based products, including CBD, is still in somewhat of a grey area, more than 2/3 of states allow for medical marijuana use, and that number is expected to grow in 2020. 11 states have legalized recreational marijuana use for adults. The facts are clear: Marijuana-derived products like CBD have myriad health benefits without the psychoactive properties associated with THC.

While federal regulations are slow to adapt, they have consistently signaled acknowledgment of these facts and continue to loosen restrictions placed on medically relevant compounds like CBD. In light of their impressive clinical outcomes, CBD products, including oils, tinctures, topical solutions, and dietary supplements, have gained widespread support among even ardent anti-marijuana advocates.



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  2. Giorgi, V., et al., Adding medical cannabis to standard analgesic treatment for fibromyalgia: a prospective observational study. Clin Exp Rheumatol, 2020. 38 Suppl 123(1): p. 53-59.
  3. Devinsky, O., et al., Cannabidiol in patients with treatment-resistant epilepsy: an open-label interventional trial. Lancet Neurol, 2016. 15(3): p. 270-8.
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  8. Bielawiec, P., E. Harasim-Symbor, and A. Chabowski, Phytocannabinoids: Useful Drugs for the Treatment of Obesity? Special Focus on Cannabidiol. Frontiers in Endocrinology, 2020. 11: p. 114.
  9. Perisetti, A., et al., Role of cannabis in inflammatory bowel diseases. Annals of gastroenterology, 2020. 33(2): p. 134-144.
  10. Lowe, H.I., N.J. Toyang, and W. McLaughlin, Potential of Cannabidiol for the Treatment of Viral Hepatitis. Pharmacognosy Res, 2017. 9(1): p. 116-118.
  11. Mori, M.A., et al., Cannabidiol reduces neuroinflammation and promotes neuroplasticity and functional recovery after brain ischemia. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry, 2017. 75: p. 94-105.
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  13. Linares, I.M., et al., Cannabidiol presents an inverted U-shaped dose-response curve in a simulated public speaking test. Braz J Psychiatry, 2019. 41(1): p. 9-14.
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  17. Watt, G. and T. Karl, In vivo Evidence for Therapeutic Properties of Cannabidiol (CBD) for Alzheimer’s Disease. Frontiers in pharmacology, 2017. 8: p. 20-20.
  18. Chagas, M.H., et al., Effects of cannabidiol in the treatment of patients with Parkinson’s disease: an exploratory double-blind trial. J Psychopharmacol, 2014. 28(11): p. 1088-98.
  19. De Ternay, J., et al., Therapeutic Prospects of Cannabidiol for Alcohol Use Disorder and Alcohol-Related Damages on the Liver and the Brain. Front Pharmacol, 2019. 10: p. 627.
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  22. Schleicher, E.M., et al., Prolonged Cannabidiol Treatment Lacks on Detrimental Effects on Memory, Motor Performance and Anxiety in C57BL/6J Mice. Front Behav Neurosci, 2019. 13: p. 94.
  23. Lowin, T., M. Schneider, and G. Pongratz, Joints for joints: cannabinoids in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Curr Opin Rheumatol, 2019. 31(3): p. 271-278.
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