health

CBD: What it is, how it affects the body and who it might help.

CBD has exploded onto the market, leaving a lot of confused consumers in its wake. Get up to speed with this beginner’s guide.

BY: DANIELLE KOSECKI

This story discusses substances that are legal in some places but not in others. You shouldn’t do things that are illegal, and this story does not endorse illegal drug use.

If it seems like you’re seeing CBD products everywhere, that’s because you are. Thanks to the passage of the US Farm Bill in 2018, which legalized industrial hemp, and the legalization of medical and recreational cannabis at the state level, CBD products have exploded in availability and popularity over the last year.

Depending on where you live, you can find them at CVS, your local gas station, pet stores — even Carl’s Jr. And the industry shows no signs of slowing down: Sales of CBD products are expected to exceed $5 billion this year, a 706% increase over 2018, according to the Brightfield Group, a cannabis-focused research firm.

The only thing spreading faster than CBD appears to be confusion over what exactly it is and who it’s for. Whether you’re already a user or are just CBD curious, this primer will help you cut through the misinformation and get up to speed.

What is CBD?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a chemical compound from the cannabinoid family that naturally occurs in the cannabis plant. Scientists have isolated 108 different types of cannabinoids in cannabis.

Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is probably the best-known thanks to its psychoactive properties — it’s the one that gets you “high” — but CBD is quickly gaining ground due to its potential therapeutic benefits.

How does CBD work?
CBD (and THC) work by interacting with our body’s endocannabinoid system, a regulatory system made up of naturally occurring cannabis-like molecules. These endocannabinoids, as they’re called, work like neurotransmitters, shuttling messages through the body to help maintain homeostasis. Cannabinoids like CBD and THC interact with the endocannabinoid system at two known receptors: CB1 and CB2.

CBD as a Superbug Antibiotic?

June 24, 2019 — Cannabidiol, or CBD, already being researched and used for anxiety, insomnia, epilepsy and pain, may be the next superbug fighter for resistant infections, a new study suggests.

The researchers tested CBD against a wide variety of bacteria, ”including bacteria that have become resistant to the most commonly used antibiotics,” says Mark Blaskovich, PhD, senior research officer at the Centre for Superbug Solutions at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience at the University of Queensland in Australia.

The development is important, as antibiotic resistance is reaching dangerously high levels, according to the World Health Organization.

What the Research Shows

CBD is a non-psychoactive compound taken from cannabis and hemp; it does not produce the high that regular marijuana does. To date, the FDA has only approved CBD for treating rare and severe forms of seizure, although it is promoted for many other health benefits.

Blaskovich presented the research Sunday at the American Society for Microbiology annual meeting. The research includes work in test tubes and animal models. Research presented at meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

“The first thing we looked at is CBD’s ability to kill bacteria,” he says. “In every case, CBD had a very similar potency to that of common antibiotics.”

The researchers tested the CBD against some strains of staphylococcus,which cause skin infections, and streptococcus, which cause strep throat.

They compared how effective CBD was compared to common antibiotics, such as vancomycin and daptomycin. “We looked at how quickly the CBD killed the bacteria. It’s quite fast, within 3 hours, which is pretty good. Vancomycin (Vancocin) kills over 6 to 8 hours.”

The CBD also disrupted the biofilm, the layer of ”goop” around bacteria that makes it more difficult for the antibiotic to penetrate and kill.

Finally, the lab studies showed that “CBD is much less likely to cause resistance than the existing antibiotics,” Blaskovich says.

The CBD ”is selective for the type of bacteria,” he says.

He found it effective against gram-positive bacteria but not gram-negative. Gram-positive bacteria cause serious skin infections and pneumonia, among other conditions. Gram-negative bacteria include salmonella (found in undercooked foods) and E. coli (the cause of urinary tract infections, diarrhea, and other ailments), among other bacteria.

In another study, also presented at the meeting, the researchers tested topical CBD to treat a skin infection on mice. It cut the number of bacteria after 48 hours, Blaskovich says, although it did not clear the infection. That research is ongoing.

 

CBD Eases Anxiety and Cravings of Heroin Addiction, New Study Finds

Every day, more than 130 people in the U.S. die after overdosing on opioids, according to a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report from 2018. Addressing the opioid crisis with all the resources possible must be a top priority for government and scientists. The misuse of and addiction to opioids – including heroin, pain relievers, and synthetic opioids – is a snowballing, serious national crisis that affects public health.

A new study finds cannabidiol, the non-psychoactive ingredient in hemp and marijuana, could treat opioid addiction. 

The intense craving is what drives the drug use. If we can have the medications that can dampen that [craving], that can greatly reduce the chance of relapse and overdose risk,” noted Yasmin Hurd, the lead researcher on the study and director of the Addiction Institute of Mount Sinai. The study found that CBD immediately helped reduce cravings among heroin users, and it also noted the effects seemed to last seven days after the subjects were administered CBD, well beyond the time the drug is expected to be present in the body. The results of the study are published in the American Journal of Psychiatry.  

A team of New York-based scientists suggest CBD may have a role in helping to break the cycle of addiction.  Researchers at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York found a promising new use of CBD: a reduction of cravings and anxiety in individuals with a history of heroin abuse.  This is certainly welcome news as CBD may help break heroin drug addiction.

To address the critical need for new treatment options for the millions of people and families who are being devastated by this epidemic, we initiated a study to assess the potential of a nonintoxicating cannabinoid on craving and anxiety in heroin-addicted individuals,” explained lead study author Yasmin Hurd.

 

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