CBD & The Human Body
Science & Health
Lots of health claims are being made about cannabidiol by marketers and users who swear by its helpful effects for chronic pain, anxiety, and insomnia, but how many of these claims have been backed up by science? At Botanima Organics, we value science and aim to share CBD facts and research in clear, easy-to-understand language to educate our community.
The fact is that CBD sales and utilization have far outpaced the science. The bulk of the research that is currently relied upon to assess CBD’s benefits was conducted on lab animals, not humans1. This is largely due to strict government regulations that had hampered the ability of researchers to get the compounds from the cannabis plant into their laboratories.
However, with the passage of the Farm Bill in 2018 fully legalizing industrial hemp, the science is hopefully going to catch up with hemp-based CBD oil’s stunning popularity. And while there is a lot to be excited about regarding the benefits of CBD, more hard science needs to be done and apparently the US government seems to agree.
Government funding into CBD has skyrocketed in the past few years2. Trials are underway to assess CBD’s impact on anxiety3, pain4, depression5, epilepsy6, alcohol abuse7, Parkinson’s8 and other health issues. According to the NIH website, therapeutic cannabidiol research spending by the National Institutes of Health has more than doubled from $21 million in 2015 to $50 million in 20199. The NIH is publishing funding opportunities10 for all sorts of CBD research, stating that it “supports a broad portfolio of research on cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system.11” A $1.3 million study funded by the US Department of Veterans Affairs has enrolled 136 veterans to study CBD’s effects on PTSD12. Another trial, at the University of Utah, is investigating CBD’s effect on chronic pain13.
The academic and non-profit sectors are jumping into the void of CBD research as well. UC San Diego has launched a study into the potential of CBD to help with tremors14 and is investigating a whole host of other potential uses for CBD including: pain, particularly potential opioid-sparing effects; autism spectrum disorder; post-traumatic stress disorder; early psychosis; anxiety; migraine; anorexia nervosa; autoimmune disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease; sleep disorders and cardiovascular effects15. The University of Colorado is one of the leading institutions in the field and even uses a mobile van to study the effects of CBD on people who have bought it for themselves and are using it16. The Beckley/Exeter Cannabis Centre at the University of Exeter, UK, is even researching whether CBD can help with smoking cessation17.
The private sector is also jumping into the research race, given the profits a CBD-based medicine could garner. Some professors who broke ground on CBD research have formed a company called Katexco Pharmaceuticals. Their work will focus on the ability of cannabinoid compounds to treat inflammatory diseases such as Crohn's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis18.
All of these investments by the public, academic, non-profit and private sectors will no doubt add to the roster of existing cannabis-based medications, which include pharmaceuticals for epileptic seizures, nausea, and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy, and loss of appetite and weight loss in people with AIDS19.
So while the science of CBD is still young, the amount of resources pouring into the field is promising. In the not too far future, science might have an answer to all the questions people are asking about how CBD can help them.
- Iffland, K., & Grotenhermen, F. (2017). Cannabis and cannabinoid research, 2(1), 139–154. doi:10.1089/can.2016.0034
- Observer, “First Government-Funded CBD Research Could Boost Industry’s Credibility,” 09/24/19.
- NIH, US National Library of Medicine, Clinicaltrials.gov, “Sublingual Cannabidiol for Anxiety,” August 15, 2018
- NIH, US National Library of Medicine, Clinicaltrials.gov, “NIH to investigate minor cannabinoids and terpenes for potential pain-relieving properties,” September 19, 2019.
- NIH, US National Library of Medicine, Clinicaltrials.gov, Cannabidiol as an Adjunctive Treatment for Bipolar Depression, August 27, 2019.
- NIH, US National Library of Medicine, Clinicaltrials.gov, Study of Cannabidiol for Drug-Resistant Epilepsies, April 4, 2017.
- NIH, US National Library of Medicine, Clinicaltrials.gov, “Cannabidiol for Alcohol Use Disorder,” July 4, 2019.
- NIH, US National Library of Medicine, Clinicaltrials.gov, “A Study of Tolerability and Efficacy of Cannabidiol on Tremor in Parkinson's Disease,” February 19, 2019
- NIH, Estimates of Funding for Various Research, Condition, and Disease Categories, April 19, 2019.
- NIH, Cannabinoid-Related Funding Opportunities From NCCIH, December 8, 2018.
- NIH, National Institute on Drug Abuse, Research on Marijuana and Cannabinoids, May 2018.
- US Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Research & Development, “San Diego VA study testing cannabidiol—a compound derived from cannabis—for PTSD” Feb 5, 2019.
- NIH, US National Library of Medicine, Clinicaltrials.gov, “Treatment of Chronic Pain With Cannabidiol (CBD) and Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC),” January 9, 2019.
- UC San Diego News Center, “Study to Examine Possible Effects of Cannabis Compound for Common Movement Disorder,” September 18, 2018
- CENTER FOR MEDICINAL CANNABIS RESEARCH, University of California, San Diego, June 2019.
- University of Colorado Boulder, “CUChange Mobile Pharmacology Laboratory,” 2019.
- The Beckley Foundation, Research Highlights, 2019.
- Cision PR Newwire, Stanford Medical Pioneers Form Katexco Pharmaceuticals to Develop Innovative CBD Therapies to Treat Inflammatory Diseases, Oct 24, 2018
- The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2017 Jan 12. ISBN-13: 978-0-309-45304-2
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