Current Status and Prospects for Cannabidiol Preparations as New Therapeutic Agents
As of 2016, upwards of 60 clinical trials relating to the use of medical cannabis were in progress. The scope of clinical trials included conditions such as anxiety, cocaine dependence, infantile spasms, schizophrenia, solid tumor, and many more. The status of cannabis as a Schedule I drug, under the Controlled Substance Act, limits researchers’ ability to freely collect data if they require support from NIH funding. While there are opportunities for researchers to study cannabis and its derivatives with the support of private funds, this typically risks an appearance of sacrificed scientific integrity and independence. Very few private entities would condone research which might shed an unfavorable light on their products. On the other hand, current NIH-funded research requires the use of the national supply of cannabis, a crop well-known to be very limited in quality. Increasingly, more states have been legalizing the medical and recreational use of cannabis in recent years, allowing scientists with more opportunities for private funding in which to shed more light on the vast medicinal benefits of cannabis. Animal models and human trials have pointed toward clinical applications of medical cannabis including anxiety, nausea, seizures, and inflammation, although the array of competing and synergistic compounds within the plant seem to continually open new doors to relief from a large array of illnesses.
Cannabidiol in the Treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: A Case Series
Preliminary findings from a study conducted on PTSD patients open a new door for cannabidiol (CBD) as a potential supplementary treatment option. CBD indirectly activates receptors linked to behavioral responses to aversive memories, a major component of the suffering involved in PTSD. The majority of participants in this review reported a decrease in the prevalence and severity of PTSD symptoms, both in the short-, and long-term. It should be taken into consideration that this study was performed with a small sample size that lacked a placebo or control group; however, this tells a familiar story to what we see in clinic. Further research will likely support cannabinoids as a legitimate treatment option for PTSD. Under the guidance of a knowledgeable Cannabis Medicine provider, PTSD patients may also consider supplementing their current treatment plan with CBD
Over the years, CBD has shown that it may play a therapeutic role in sleep regulation, adjusting sleep cycles, inducing sedative effects, increasing total sleep time and less frequent awakenings, reducing dream recall, and it has even been shown to REM sleep. Some of these studies have been levied against comparison with placebo medications, and some studies have been done looking very closely at individuals’ physiology as they sleep. Some studies even document a return of sleep disturbances once the CBD is removed from treatment. Doses have been explored ranging from 40, 80, or 160 mg per day, up to 600mg. CBD has been tried both alone and in combination with other cannabinoids.
Here, a study of 26 participants, were tried with CBD once, and then placebo once, after 2 weeks, and they found no significant impact of the CBD on sleep. The authors note that the small window (of personnel studied and of episodes of dosing CBD) is a concerning limitation. Another interpretation of these results is that CBD is not acting as an acute sedative. Its function may be situational (for certain states of mind, CBD may work in a quieting way) or it may be impacting the body at a much more basic level (for example, if it is reducing levels of stress or depression hormones, the effect of improving sleep may have a more gradual impact.
A related point – it is important for us to take note of studies that don’t necessarily have fireworks associated. Not every study will show amazing effects or overwhelming results. This helps us consider what is good or what is missing from the papers we read – and helps create a more realistic research culture. Every study helps teach, even if it’s not showing breathtaking results.
CBD Shows Promise for Schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s, and Brain Injury Patients
A meta-analysis of previous studies investigating cannabidiol’s (CBD) potential to improve cognitive function among schizophrenia and brain injury patients offers hope to doctors and patients. In experiments on both human patients and rat models of schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s Disease, hypoxic-ischemic brain injury, hepatic encephalopathy, sepsis, pneumococcal meningitis, and cerebral malaria, the administration of CBD reduced neuroinflammation and resulting deficits in spatial learning and memory, recognition memory, and associative learning. Read more or download PDF on the CED Foundation Archive: http://bit.ly/2W1PpW8
In this same review, further investigating the effect of the non-psychoactive cannabidiol (CBD) on cognitive function suggests CBD counteracts the cognitive deficiencies induced by the psychoactive component of cannabis, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Studies performed on humans and rat models demonstrated that CBD can improve episodic and recognition memory, verbal and visual learning and memory, and working memory, all skills which are usually impaired by THC content. For patients looking to reduce the aforementioned undesirable effects of cannabis, strains or products with high CBD and low THC content may be a viable solution.
Benjamin Caplan, MDA systematic review of the effect of cannabidiol on cognitive function: Relevance to schizophrenia