In addition to epilepsy, the therapeutic potential of CBD has been explored for a number of indications including anxiety disorders, substance use disorders, schizophrenia, cancer, pain, inflammatory diseases and others.
CBD Biology and Therapeutic Rationale
CBD is one of more than 80 active cannabinoid chemicals in the marijuana plant. Unlike the main psychoactive cannabinoid in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD does not produce euphoria or intoxication. Cannabinoids have their effect mainly by interacting with specific receptors on cells in the brain and body: the CB1 receptor, found on neurons and glial cells in various parts of the brain, and the CB2 receptor, found mainly in the body’s immune system. The euphoric effects of THC are caused by its activation of CB1 receptors. CBD has a very low affinity for these receptors (100 fold less than THC) and when it binds it produces little to no effect. There is also growing evidence that CBD acts on other brain signaling systems, and that these actions may be important contributors to its therapeutic effects.
Neuroprotective and Anti-Inflammatory Effects
CBD has also been shown to have neuroprotective properties in cell cultures as well as in animal models of several neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s, stroke, glutamate toxicity, multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s disease, and neurodegeneration caused by alcohol abuse. Nabiximols (trade name Sativex), which contains THC and CBD in roughly equal proportions, has been approved throughout most of Europe and in a number of other countries for the treatment of spasticity associated with MS. It has not been approved in the United States, but clinical trials are ongoing, and two recent studies reported that nabiximols reduced the severity of spasticity in MS patients. There have been limited clinical trials to assess the potential efficacy of CBD for the other indications highlighted; however, a recent small double-blind trial in patients with Parkinson’s disease found the CBD improved quality-of-life scores.
Source: National Institute of Drug Abuse
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