We have no doubt about the benefits that medical cannabis (and all the byproducts Cannabis Oil for example) has on various illnesses and diseases.There is good evidence in robust human clinical trials that CBD is of benefit for specific epilepsies, such as Dravet syndrome and Lennox Gastaut syndrome.
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The pace of cannabis research continues to escalate as we’ve hit midway through 2018. Perhaps unsurprisingly, cannabidiol (CBD) continues to be a hot topic in medicine. Here are five medical research studies from the last quarter that made particularly important strides.
CBD Treats Brain Changes Caused by Regular Cannabis Use
Regular THC-rich cannabis use can change the way the brain functions. These changes are not always for the better, and they often involve changes to a particular brain region known as the hippocampus.
The hippocampus is involved in many brain functions including cognitive performance, control over anxiety, and resilience to stressors. Studies that have imaged the brain by MRI have revealed that regular THC-rich cannabis use alters the structure of the hippocampus. However, it’s becoming increasingly appreciated that CBD can protect the brain against THC’s effects, and therefore, may serve as a protective tool to prevent THC-induced changes or help the brain recover.
Neuroscientists from Australia tested whether CBD (administered in four 50mg capsules/day) affected hippocampal anatomy in regular cannabis consumers. As expected, parts of the hippocampus were smaller than those of cannabis-abstinent subjects. But after 10 weeks of CBD treatment, many of those regions markedly increased in size. Furthermore, those who had more CBD in their plasma at the end of the 10 weeks had greater brain changes.
Importantly, consumers continued to use cannabis throughout the study, suggesting that CBD can rescue some of the harmful effects of THC without abstinence.
CBD’s ability to recover hippocampal size is significant for a number of reasons. For one, it suggests that CBD could be a promising therapeutic or preventative tool to combat some of the long-term negative consequences of THC. These findings also highlight CBD as a promising treatment for a range of clinical disorders such as depression and Alzheimer’s disease that are associated with an impaired hippocampus.
Transdermal CBD for the Treatment of Non-Opioid Addictions
CBD-rich cannabis has emerged as a promising strategy to combat opioid addiction. However, it’s unclear if CBD’s anti-addiction abilities extend beyond opioids to other drugs of abuse.
In a recent study, scientists investigated CBD’s ability to protect against factors that promote relapse to alcohol and cocaine use. Several factors promote relapse to drug seeking, including heightened impulsive behavior and profound withdrawal symptoms like anxiety. Since CBD doesn’t have any addictive properties, it could be a promising anti-addiction tool if it helps reduce impulsive decision making and dampen anxiety that stems from drug withdrawal.
This study administered CBD transdermally (i.e., similar to a gel or patch in humans), which makes it unique from the standard injection method often used in rodent research. The scientists found that CBD reduced impulsive decision making and anxiety, two core features the promote drug relapse.
Critically, CBD also reduced the animal’s cocaine or alcohol seeking when returned to the environment they initially received the drug. (That’s like if an alcoholic trying to quit was less likely to drink if returned to their favorite bar.)
Plant-Derived Cannabinoids Improve the Efficacy of Cancer Treatment
Cannabinoid-based cancer treatments just got a supportive boost. One of the limitations in the cannabis-cancer research field is that most studies have been conducted on cultured cells, and not in live rodents or humans.
A recent study investigated the effect of cannabinoids on cancerous pancreatic and lung tumor growth and animal survival in mice. They sought to answer whether cannabinoids affected the effectiveness of the traditional radiation treatment strategy and identify delivery methods that could optimize cannabinoids’ anti-tumor properties.
Scientists used a novel drug delivery mechanism that slowly released cannabinoids into the body which increases the amount of time they come in contact with the tumor cells. Mice treated with radiation therapy or slowly-released cannabinoids had better overall survival than untreated animals, but those who received both forms of treatment had the best outcomes. Mice that received a combination of cannabinoids and radiation therapy had smaller tumors and better survival than untreated animals or those who only received one form of treatment.
This article was first published on https://www.cannabisimp.com.