- For proponents of the medicinal cannabis herb and proponents of legalization, whether complete or only for health purposes, 2017 was full of significant, turning points.
- The new discovery and understanding of the multifaceted effects of this remarkable plant now serves as a new argumentative "weapon" for many arguments, as many studies in both animal and human subjects have irrefutably confirmed that medical marijuana is indeed capable of helping with a variety of ailments.
Today we will look at the most important studies, from epilepsy to autism and beyond. In the first part, we will focus mainly on new findings dealing with the effect of CBD on human health.
1.CBD has passed the third round of clinical trials for the treatment of pediatric epilepsy
Successful confirmation of the positive effects of CBD in the third round of clinical trials is a very significant achievement for cannabis.
One of the most common, negative arguments for the effects of cannabis is that the effectiveness of its use in a sufficient number of official, double-blind studies, which are the standard of clinical research, has not yet been confirmed. However, this argument was significantly weakened by the success of CBD and its positive effects for the treatment of pediatric epilepsy in the third round of clinical trials.
"CBD reduced the number of monthly seizures in children with epilepsy by as much as 39%, compared with only 13% and those given placebo."
In this particular study, the researchers focused on treating Dravet's syndrome (using a cannabis-based medicine called Epidiolex ). Symptoms of Dravet's syndrome, as you may be guessing, are common, uncontrollable seizures caused by a genetic mutation in the nervous system. Traditional antiepileptics are very often ineffective and unable to prevent much of the seizures. However, along with the spread of medical cannabis, the stories of parents of children who began to heal their children with various cannabis products also began to spread.
For this reason, researchers have focused on cannabis, especially CBD. During the tests, patients were given CBD as an oil for fourteen days. The average result was a reduction of epileptic seizures by as much as 39%.
Thanks to the minimal effects of CBD on the mental and physical condition of a person, the results were also achieved without adverse side effects. The only problem was the rare occurrence of dizziness and nausea. Although some of these side effects may seem problematic, there is minimal risk compared to traditional pharmaceutical treatment.
CBD as adjunctive therapy
Another criticism of this study is the fact that in most cases, cannabis oils were used as adjunctive therapy for 14 days and there was no complete discontinuation of the original drugs. However, the in-depth system of this placebo study (double-blind study) as well as the large number of participants (61 received cannabis and 59 placebo) is a significant improvement over previous trials where both patients and researchers were aware that CBD was used, as a result, it may obscure the final judgment.
This study is the most significant research to date in the treatment of Dravet's syndrome with medical cannabis, and it is quite possible that it will persuade a sufficient number of physicians to consider cannabis as a treatment option where traditional methods fail.
2. Treatment of Autism with cannabis extract CBD
Autism is the result of the brain's inability to filter a large number of stimuli, which leads, among other things, to increased sensitivity to light, sounds, touch and smell, and consequently to abnormal behavior in those affected. People with autism have a whole spectrum of severity for this disorder, and some also develop epilepsy. Thus, in some cases, researchers are able to investigate the potential treatment of both diseases at once.
Shortly after the CBD's ability to reduce the number of seizures in children with epilepsy became apparent, the University of Washington became interested in medical cannabis. University researchers have begun research into medical cannabis as a treatment for autism and cannabis modeled on mouse subjects.
As mentioned above, the disadvantage of the Dravet's syndrome study was the fact that, for ethical reasons, patients were treated with their previous drugs and cannabis at the same time. This leads skeptics to conclude that cannabis does not actually cure, but only in some way complements traditional therapies. In order to clarify this shortcoming, the researchers in the following study sought to model treatment cases using CBD alone, with the difference that they were modeled cases in mice.
"Among other things, CBD has improved the social behavior of mice - autistic mice have alleviated the symptoms of social anxiety and a greater susceptibility to contact with other mice."
During testing, it was found that a separate extract of CBD , without added pharmaceuticals, is able to help against symptoms in mice. It has also been shown that CBD is able to reduce the symptoms of autism by blocking the brain receptor GRP55. Now, with the promising results of using CBD as a stand-alone treatment, researchers are beginning to look at new clinical trials to see if CBD is able to help epileptics on its own.
However, in epilepsy, the promising effects do not end. In connection with epilepsy, autism is quite common in children. In a previous study, researchers had the option of focusing only on patients with epilepsy, but in this study it was already possible to observe an effect on both diseases at once. A very interesting result was the observation of a reduction in the symptoms of social anxiety in mice as one of the symptoms of autism - the treated mice showed a much higher interest in social intercourse. Another critical finding is that improvements have been made in both older and younger mice.
It is also interesting to note that this was the very first observation of the effects of CBD on improving the social symptoms of autism. Observations of the therapeutic abilities and effects of CBD in a study by researchers at the University of Washington led to the development of a basis for current clinical research by physicians from Israel, where the effects of CBD are studied in exactly 120 patients.
3. Fear of drug tests: Is it possible that CBD in the blood turns to THC?
In 2016, a report was published claiming that after consuming CBD, the body will transform and have a positive THC content in the blood, which, of course, raised a wave of uncertainty and mistrust on the part of both recreational users and patients. CBD has been on the rise for some time in 2016, and parents of sick children and patients looking for an effective, alternative form of treatment have become interested in its health effects.
However, if the CBD in the blood changes to THC, there may be negative effects on perception (reduced attention) or impaired cognitive development in children.
As soon as the report was published, of course, many users and observers began to say, "If CBD is really converted to THC in the blood, then shouldn't the psychological effects of THC associated with intoxication logically occur?" .
An attempt to clarify this rumor was enthusiastically undertaken by a group of Italian researchers, who began to administer high doses of CBD to experimental mice without hesitation. After subsequent measurement of the cannabinoid content in the blood of mice, the presence of THC was not detected in any of the cases.
In the second part, we will look at studies dealing with the fight against the opiate epidemic, the effects of small doses of THC on slowing the aging of brain cells, treating neurodegenerative diseases or even improving sexual appetite.