The Latest Information and Research on CBD for Mental Health

Posted on November 21, 2018
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The Latest in CBD Research

CBD has been known to help treat chronic pain conditions and has even been specifically formulated as a preventative measure for experiencing muscle soreness and inflammation. Many people use CBD-infused products, like the Diamond CBD Biotech Pain Relief CBD Cream for pain relief because it's worked so well for them in the past that they just keep coming back for more. With this being said, pain relief is not all that CBD is about.    

A growing body of research evidence shows that CBD may offer therapeutic advantages for a whole host of conditions from autism to Alzheimer’s. Hundreds of peer-reviewed articles exist and researchers worldwide are adding to the body of scientific literature every day. Diamond CBD has utilized resources from the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s PubMed database to share just a few of the conditions that CBD shows promise in treating.

The common denominator in all medical treatments using CBD (cannabidiol) is how CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, a network of receptors and human-produced chemicals that work together to heal the body and restore it to balance (called homeostasis). For example, people with anxiety have a shortage of the endocannabinoid chemical anandamide that binds to these human receptors to produce serotonin.

The lower levels of serotonin mean that the body cannot ward off anxiety. Plants have their own cannabinoid system utilizing phytocannabinoids like CBD; scientists have now isolated over 100 phytocannabinoids from the Cannabis sativa plant. As it turns out, CBD also fits human endocannabinoid receptors, therefore it works to restore human body balance. In short, the human body responds to cannabis pharmacologically. It’s really an amazing discovery.

For many years, scientists only focused on the well-known cannabis compound THC, which is the psychoactive component marijuana is associated with. After scientists discovered the body’s endocannabinoid system in the 1990s, research on the many subsequently discovered phytocannabinoids ensued and continue to this day. The endocannabinoid system has been shown to modulate everything from mood to metabolism.

cbd therapy
Many popular CBD-infused products are primarily used for the relief of muscle pain, but don’t think that CBD is a one-trick-pony compound. The latest advancements in research have shown that the benefits and properties of CBD may also aid in the treatment of mental conditions including anxiety, depression, addiction, and more.

CBD and Drug Addiction

CBD has also been studied as a possible treatment for drug addiction. Substance-use disorders involve chronic relapse, cravings, high stress, and anxiety. In this study, a transdermal skin patch was used to deliver CBD in animal models. CBD itself has no addictive properties like anxiety and withdrawal like other pharmaceutical treatments do.

Rats that had addictive behavior (self-administration of cocaine and alcohol) received CBD every day for seven days. CBD reduced anxiety and impulsivity in the rats, and the animals even reduced seeking out cocaine and alcohol after they returned to their normal environment. The research is promising and provides a supporting foundation of the potential of CBD in preventing drug use relapse in humans.

CBD and Autism

Parents of severely autistic children have long turned to CBD based on anecdotal evidence. Now there is research that is backing those claims. After parents saw the success of drugs like Sativex and Epidiolex in reducing epileptic seizures, parents wondered if it would help with autism as well since epilepsy often accompanies autism. In severe cases of autism, drugs are necessary, but not always helpful.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is characterized by social communication issues and repetitive behaviors, and there is currently no effective treatment for these core symptoms. However, there is increased interest in CBD and other cannabinoids as a single therapy or add-on treatment.

An Israeli study found that treatment with a high CBD formulation improved the conditions of 80 percent of the children who participated in the study. Parents saw a decrease in the difficult behaviors often associated with autism. Children received a formulation of 20:1 ratio of CBD and THC for seven months, and based on these results, the same research team has begun a large study with 120 patients.

CBD for Pain Relief

The majority of CBD users utilize the product for pain relief. How does CBD oil work on pain? The human brain senses pain and adjusts the strength of the pain signal depending on the intensity of the injury. When the body is injured, the body sends immune cells to repair the tissue, and those cells release chemicals that activate nerve receptors that cause the sensation of pain. CBD works on these receptors.

CBD has remarkable anti-inflammatory qualities and can reduce the pain signals at the site of injury by binding to the receptors to block the body’s chemicals that cause inflammation.

CBD can also decrease pain by acting directly on the brain and spinal cord. CBD increases levels of a chemical called anandamide, which is one of the body’s built-in natural endocannabinoids. Anandamide then works directly on the brain’s receptors to decrease pain.

About 10 percent of the population experiences neuropathic pain which stems from nerve damage caused by trauma like herniated discs or diseases like multiple sclerosis which is characterized by a breakdown of the protective insulation that surrounds the nerves. Nerve pain is difficult to treat because it’s difficult to target. CBD is turning out to show great promise as a treatment option for neuropathic pain because it activates the body’s serotonin receptors to help the body produce more serotonin to combat nerve pain. CBD also binds with and activates specific receptors called CB1 that reduce pain in their activated form.

Central pain, such as in the case of fibromyalgia is generally present without any known injury, therefore it is extremely difficult to treat. With central pain disorders, a dysfunction exists in the way that the pain signals reach the brain. There is relatively little research regarding CBD and central pain, but the few studies that do exist focus on fibromyalgia. Patients have found relief with CBD and some even stopped taking other pain medications because it worked so well.

Certainly more CBD research is needed, but evidence amassed to date shows that CBD is effective for pain, with fewer and less severe side effects than many alternatives on the market today, like opioids. Products rich in CBD can be a great long-term treatment option for chronic pain.

CBD for Depression and Anxiety

Anxiety and depression affect as much as 20 percent of the U.S. adult population. Many patients turn to prescription medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) (examples are Zoloft and Prozac) and benzodiazepines (examples are Valium and Xanax). Some patients do not respond well to these medications; either they don’t work or the side effects are severe. Some medications are addictive.

CBD offers a promising alternative treatment. Numerous preclinical studies show its effectiveness on depression and many anxiety disorders, and are paving the way to human studies. CBD appears to boost the signaling power of serotonin signals which in turn reduces anxiety (known as the anxiolytic effect) and boosts mood. Spanish researchers found that CBD may even be faster-acting than traditional SSRI drugs. Human research is beginning to build on this body of animal and preclinical research.

In a Brazilian study, patients with social anxiety, patients had a significant reduction in anxiety after consuming CBD. Brain scans even showed brain blood flow patterns that are present with an anti-anxiety effect. Some studies have shown that single doses of CBD induce antidepressant and anti-anxiety effects in mice and rats. CBD appeared to increase amounts of neurotransmitters in the brain.

CBD for PTSD

Because researchers have identified malfunctions in the endocannabinoid system’s ability to signal as a reason why stress is not controlled in the body, the research suggests that improper endocannabinoid system function may determine whether a person develops post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In a past study, researchers examined plasma levels of certain stress indicators in a group of approximately 50 individuals who were near the World Trade Center (WTC) at the time of the 9/11 attack.

People were grouped as to whether they met the criteria for PTSD according to structured diagnostic interview techniques. About half the group met the criteria. Anandamide (a natural human cannabinoid) and cortisol (a hormone that indicates stress levels) were measured in the subjects with PTSD. Researchers found reduced anandamide levels and increased cortisol levels, indicating a possible link.

CBD is thought to work for PTSD in much the same way it works for anxiety. As such, many researchers around the world are looking at CBD as a potential treatment for PTSD. Researchers have even found that CBD is not only used to reduce the fear associated with PTSD, but it also produces long-lasting reductions in overall fear. These early observations are very promising and provide the foundation for further support in the use of CBD for PTSD and phobias.

The many past advancements and discoveries made in the CBD world have made way to welcome the advancements and discoveries for the future. CBD has become a popular staple in the CBD industry in just the past 5 years with the knowledge that we have today. Imagine what the industry could be in another 5 years with what we might discover next!

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