I’ve never tried CBD, but have heard debates on both sides that is either the world’s greatest panacea… or placebo. Despite the varying opinions if the effects of CBD is in the user’s mind or truly measurable, it is still interesting to research how it compares with traditional medicine.
For this client, it is the first of multiple CBD-related content we will produce together. While it is fun to write about topics I know well, I sometimes prefer topics (like motherhood, finance) where I have no experience. What I do have experience in is researching a foreign topic until I am able to possess the perspective of an expert. See below on my CBD findings!
How Does CBD Compare to Traditional Healthcare?
Marijuana has been a mainstay in pop culture since the 1960’s, but in the last few years has become a growing trend in healthcare. Marijuana has two main active ingredients, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC has always been more well-known, causing a euphoric high in those who partake, while CBD offers physical relief without the cerebral effects. Recently, CBD was cleared as the first FDA-approved marijuana-based treatment for natural medicinal purposes.
CBD has proven to help alleviate of multiple ailments including anxiety, digestive health, inflammation, pain, and irregular sleep cycles. These common health issues are treated with an array of traditional prescriptive medicines, yet the benefits of CBD are holistic across issues with the immune, nervous systems and organs alike. Although ideal dosage levels vary, can this one molecule from the cannabis plant really be a healthcare panacea?
Keep reading to explore how CBD can treat well-known, dangerous health concerns compared to their traditional medicine counterparts.
Epilepsy: CBD vs. Valproic Acid
CBD, compared to traditional medicine, has been touted for a plethora of health issues, but the most notable is treating epilepsy syndromes, including Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS). These two ailments don’t respond well to antiseizure medications including Valproic Acid and Felbamate, but CBD has helped reduce, and even eliminate, the epileptic episodes with only 10 milligram doses of CBD. Valproic Acid, amongst other options, are not long term solutions as users quickly build resistance to these drugs. This is supported by the FDA, who have cleared it for Dravet syndrome treatment under the name, Epidiolex.
Cancer: CBD vs. Opioids
It’s hard to find anyone whose life has not been affected by cancer, as the skyrocketing epidemic claiming more than 1,500 lives every day, according to a 2015 study. For those suffering from cancer, finding effective treatments can be even harder to find. Many turn to painkillers, often opioids, to soothe their symptoms, often developing addictions to these drugs. Alternatively, CBD has shown to be as effective, and safer to alleviate pain and nausea, two of the most prominent oncology treatments —without the perilous, common risk of addiction. Opioid abuse in itself is a growing national health crisis, yet deaths from opioid usage have declined in states that have legalized medicinal marijuana. According to a World Health Organization report, “CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential.” This differentiates it from common, high-dose prescriptions with addictive tendencies.
Anxiety: CBD vs. Benzodiazepines
The commonality of anxiety in our modern world has brought mental health to the forefront of modern, yet often intangible epidemics. For those suffering with insomnia and anxiety, potent anti-anxiety fast-acting medicine such as Xanax and Klonopin have become mainstay pharmaceutical preferences. While benzodiazepines may help users short term, they often lead to long-term dependencies, or addictive band-aids instead of a consistent, safe treatment. Marijuana can often be abused by those with anxiety for relief, but the cerebral effects negate these individuals’ ability to be productive. CBD binds with serotonin receptors, part of the “happy” molecular functions targeted by conventional S.S.R.I.s. Since CBD contains all of the anti-anxiety properties without the mental high, users to satiate their anxiety without sacrificing responsibilities, or risking the addiction common in Benzodiazepine abusers.
Physical Pain: CBD vs. Salicylates
To the possible chagrin of the makers of traditional pain relievers like Aspirin. CBD has proven potential to reduce pain and inflammation from arthritis and neuropathic pain. Like Aspirin, CBD is derived from a plant for the anti-inflammatory benefits, yet Aspirin had been used for centuries before becoming a mainstay pharmaceutical medicines, while CBD is still in relatively early research phase. Unlike Aspirin, CBD does not have risks like high chances of asthma, severe swelling, or most commonly, and dangerously, unusual bleeding or blood clots. Much like Epilepsy, CBD is a safer alternative for children, whereas Aspirin can cause Reye’s syndrome, which can be fatal.
A Holistic Takeaway
While CBD research is still at the beginning of its early phases, there is no traditional drug on the market that is as diversely effective as this marijuana extract. The CBD molecule protects neurons from oxidative stress, a common factor in neurological disorders including epilepsy, nausea and anxiety and is becoming the preferred bridge between a medley of different diseases and health risks, providing physical homeostasis for users. When it comes to the effectiveness of CBD, the proof is in the marketplace; the only thing more numerous than the ailments CBD can ease are the number of forms they can be consumed. CBD-infused products are limitless, currently including lotions, capsules, gummies, oils, capsules and suppositories. CBD is more than something people like and prefer, it’s increasingly integral, and safer, for long-term health.