By Guest Author
In recent years, a number of cases have caught the attention of the media and the public and helped to significantly progress access to medical cannabis around the world. For example, the cases of Charlotte Figi in the USA and Alfie Dingley and Billy Caldwell in the UK helped to raise awareness around the medical use of cannabis for treatment-resistant epilepsy.
These high profile cases are believed to have contributed significantly to the rescheduling of medical cannabis in the UK and the FDA approval of CBD-based medication Epidiolex in the USA. Alongside these developments, CBD has garnered increasing attention in both the wellness and medical worlds, thanks to its array of potential health benefits.
But what exactly is CBD? What can you expect from it? Since there’s much information about this compound, things can get a bit muddled. CBD has undeniably risen in popularity in recent years. With the hype that surrounds it, medical experts maintain a cautious yet optimistic take on CBD’s efficacy.
What is CBD?
CBD, short for cannabidiol, is one of the more than 100 compounds found in a cannabis plant. The compound doesn’t produce the ‘high’ associated with cannabis consumption. It’s the THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) compound that’s responsible for that.
CBD can also be extracted from hemp, which is a specifically-bred cannabis plant with less THC for commercial purposes. People can take it as an aerosol spray into the mouth or cheek, inhalation by smoke or vapor. It can be delivered as CBD oil, dried cannabis, capsules, or in a liquid solution. You can find out more about CBD and its uses at Leaf Nation.
Due to CBD’s increasing popularity, its global market is estimated to grow to USD$20 billion by 2024. CBD isn’t legal yet in many countries, but it may be only a matter of time before it’s universally accepted.
Below are some of the factors that helped CBD become so popular:
Industries’ Embrace of CBD Oil
CBD products are becoming ubiquitous, and one of the reasons is because many industries have started using the compound. Other than the medical industry, CBD is also used in pet products, cosmetics, vaping, and food and drinks. This resulted in CBD becoming easily available in different health and wellness shops.
Various companies in the cosmetics industry have launched products containing CBD oil. They’re touting the compound’s benefits to the skin’s health to market CBD oil-infused cosmetic products. Coffee shops have also started adding CBD oil to protein shakes and hot drinks. Some breweries have started selling beer with CBD. Furthermore, the use of CBD in treating ailments in pets has also been on the rise.
CBD Products’ Legalisation
Many countries and most US states have now legalised a lot of CBD products. In America, the Farm Bill signed in 2018 made CBD products legal at the Federal level, but only if the CBD comes from federally-approved hemp. Also, as mentioned earlier, the US FDA had approved a CBD-based epileptic drug, Epidiolex.
In the UK, CBD oil is legal and CBD products are widely available over the internet and on the high street. However, hemp laws in the UK remain under-developed to support the flourishing industry, with companies forced to import CBD extracts from other countries.
Evidence Of CBD’s Medical Efficacy Have Grown
In recent years, the growing body of evidence of CBD’s effectiveness in treating ailments has grown. For instance, data from the National Health Institute indicate the effectiveness of CBD oil in the treatment of insomnia and anxiety. The compound may also be effective in the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
CBD has also shown promise as a method of treatment for several types of chronic pain. According to a study done by the European Journal of Pain, the compound could help alleviate symptoms of arthritis, like pain and inflammation.
A study published in the Journal of Dermatological Treatment shows that cannabinoids contain anti-aging, anti-itch, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties. Because of this, certain skin conditions could also be improved by using CBD treatment, like the following:
- Itchy skin
- Atopic dermatitis
- Skin cancer
Furthermore, an article published in Molecules (an open-access, peer-reviewed chemistry journal), discusses a study that suggests the role of CBD in helping neuroprotective activity in various neurodegenerative diseases, like:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Huntington’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
Medical experts have also proposed that CBD oil may help addicted people by decreasing the activation area of the brain that’s responsible for addiction. A study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry investigated the effects of CBD on people with heroin addiction. The result of the study shows that CBD lowered the anxiety and cravings of participants, which shows great promise in the treatment of addiction.
The medical benefits of CBD have been widely chronicled, starting with the case of Charlotte Figi in 2013. Its success resulted in many researchers taking an interest in the compound, as well as leading to the approval of a CBD-based medicine to treat rare forms of epilepsy. Subsequently, many industries adopted CBD into their products, like cosmetics, food and drink, and many others.
The published studies in scientific journals also show CBD’s promise when it comes to treating various illnesses, most notably in neurodegenerative diseases. CBD’s legalisation, albeit with certain restrictions, has also proven to be a great boon for the cannabinoid’s popularity. Moreover, the loosening of CBD legislation made it easier for researchers to further study the compound.
Despite the evidence of CBD’s efficacy, however, medical professionals remain cautious as many feel that further studies are required to observe the long-term effects of the cannabinoid.