Back in July, I devoted a lengthy article to the merits of medical marijuana (“The controversial herb with the power to topple Big Pharma”). As you may recall, I’ve even become a prescriber myself. So needless to say, I’m an advocate. Because you just won’t find a more natural way to tackle chronic pain.
But I understand that the most well-known delivery methods of marijuana aren’t for everybody.
The good news is, these days, you can reap this plant’s benefits without smoking or eating it. In fact, some of the most popular and effective forms of medical cannabis aren’t even “pot” at all.
CBD delivers all the help—none of the high
Today, I want to talk about cannabidiol, or CBD.
As you may recall from the July issue of Logical Health Alternatives, I explained that CBD is the non-psychoactive constituent in cannabis. (You can revisit this article by logging into the Subscribers section via my website,
www.DrPescatore.com.) CBD is derived from the hemp part of the marijuana plant. And unlike THC, marijuana’s other main component, CBD won’t get you “high.”
But it does appear to direct your body to use more of its own natural cannabinoids. These are biological compounds your own body produces, which influence various aspects of our health, including:
• Movement • Immune function
• Emotion • Inflammation
• Mood • Pain
Which means CBD delivers a lot of the benefits of medical marijuana without any of the undesirable mind-altering effects of THC.1
Interestingly, pre-clinical research suggests that CBD might actually be able to help addicts stay off of drugs like alcohol and cocaine, and prevent relapse. This is most likely due to CBD’s ability to induce a calm, relaxed state, allowing those in recovery to exercise better impulse control.2 And that’s just for starters…
Five more science-backed benefits of CBD
Just as with any form of medical marijuana, CBD offers a staggering scope of benefits. It can:
Boost your brain health. It might be hard to believe, considering the fact that it comes from a plant notorious for causing memory problems. But CBD may actually be neuroprotective. In fact, research shows it helps with all kinds of brain- and nervous system-related conditions.
For instance, CBD products have been shown to reduce muscle spasms by as much as 75 percent in patients with multiple sclerosis.3 And to reduce seizures by more than a third in patients with epilepsy.4
Studies also suggest that CBD may improve the quality of life of Parkinson’s sufferers.5 And preliminary experiments indicate that it may even reduce the brain inflammation that contributes to Alzheimer’s disease, helping to ward off cognitive decline.6-7
Balance your mood. CBD could offer a natural cure for anxiety and depression. Early research demonstrates its ability to suppress social anxiety during public speaking tests and to alleviate both insomnia and anxiety in children suffering from post-traumatic stress.8-9
Animal studies, though obviously only preliminary, point to CBD’s antidepressant effect as one explanation for these results.10 It’s able to act on the brain’s serotonin receptors like many popular drugs do. (But without the long list of life-threatening side effects.)
Lower your blood pressure. This benefit isn’t too surprising, considering CBD’s role in anxiety relief. But at least one small, placebo-controlled study showed that CBD can indeed lower blood pressure—both at rest and in response to stress tests.11
Combat cancer symptoms. Like marijuana, CBD offers relief against a wide array of common cancer symptoms.
Pain is chief among these, with research showing that CBD offers significant relief, even compared to THC.12 But treatment-related nausea and vomiting are also among CBD’s potential targets.13
Alleviate arthritis pain. CBD offers hope against other types of chronic pain, too. In fact, pain relief is one of the main jobs of your body’s own endocannabinoid system.
CBD’s ability to direct this system explains its impressive benefits. Including, according to one preliminary study, significant pain relief in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.14
And these are just the documented benefits. There’s no telling what we’ll learn once the research on CBD really picks up steam. Which is what makes the most recent development I want to share both a blessing and a curse…
Even Big Pharma’s getting in on this game
If you’re still wondering whether or not CBD really works, consider this: Epidiolex® is an oil made from CBD. And it’s now FDA approved for use in patients with two rare forms of epilepsy, as research shows it can slash their number of seizures nearly in half.
According to a statement from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb: “This approval serves as a reminder that advancing sound development programs that properly evaluate active ingredients contained in marijuana can lead to important medical therapies. And, the FDA is committed to this kind of careful scientific research and drug development.”
Call me paranoid, but it strikes me as noteworthy that the FDA only has praise for the power of marijuana when Big Pharma is involved…
In fact, they make a point of saying that this particular approval is not a blanket approval of medicinal marijuana. (It’s similar to how they claim fish oil doesn’t work unless it’s “pharmaceutical grade.” Translation: if you want your product approved, you have to pay to play.)
In the same breath, the FDA has vowed to continue cracking down on any company selling CBD products outside of their regulation. And I fully expect them to make good on their word…
Why it’s still a step in the right direction
In a way, it’s a classic Catch-22. The drug industry has found a way to swoop in on an effective natural cure and get their piece of the pie.
When essentially, we’re talking about an herbal remedy that should be accessible to anyone who can benefit from it… not repackaged under a fancy name and peddled at a gross markup.
Nonetheless, Epidiolex® is a landmark development—one that speaks to shifting attitudes toward medicinal marijuana in this country. And personally, I’m 100 percent on board with that.
The good news is, you don’t have to wait around for Big Pharma to completely take over this rapidly growing business. In fact, I encourage you NOT to.
For now, the medical use of CBD is legal in a vast majority of the U.S. And it’s readily accessible in most states that allow medical marijuana through dispensaries.
There are a lot of CBD products out there. Oils, tinctures, creams, sprays, patches, lozenges, soaps, etc. Many of my patients use them with great success.
So don’t be afraid to ask about CBD. I encourage you to have a conversation with your doctor, who can steer you in the right direction regarding products and dosages. Because in my view, it’s about time we have access to this versatile, natural solution to treat some of America’s most crippling ailments.
1. Murphy M, et al. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2017 Sep 1;2(1):235-246.
2. Gonzalez-Cuevas G, et al. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2018 Sep;43(10):2036-2045.
3. Flachenecker P, et al. Eur Neurol. 2014;71(5-6):271-9.
4. Devinsky O, et al. Lancet Neurol. 2016 Mar;15(3):270-8.
5. Chagas MH, et al. J Psychopharmacol. 2014 Nov;28(11):1088-98.
6. Watt G, et al. Front Pharmacol. 2017 Feb 3;8:20.
7. Cheng D, et al. J Alzheimers Dis. 2014;42(4):1383-96.
8. Bergamaschi MM, et al. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2011 May;36(6):1219-26.
9. Shannon S, et al. Perm J. 2016 Fall;20(4):108-111.
10. Zanelati TV, et al. Br J Pharmacol. 2010 Jan;159(1):122-8.
11. Jadoon KA, et al. JCI Insight. 2017 Jun 15;2(12).
12. Johnson JR, et al. J Pain Symptom Manage. 2010 Feb;39(2):167-79.
13. Duran M, et al. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2010 Nov;70(5):656-63.
14. Blake DR, et al. Rheumatology (Oxford). 2006 Jan;45(1):50-2.