What Will the Future Bring for CBD?
The Future is Bright for Wellness’ Latest Trend
The only government-approved use of CBD is when it’s a treatment for epilepsy, but that doesn’t mean CBD doesn’t have other uses. As scientists learn more about the drug, they’re finding potential new applications that could change the medical world and open new realms of treatment that outperform current alternatives.
Can CBD Help Curb Out-of-Control Opioid Prescriptions?
As Americans continue to struggle with opioid addiction and overdose, legislators are looking all over for solutions to this nationwide problem. Suits have been filed against the pharmaceutical companies who encouraged doctors to use opioids, sometimes without fully explaining the possible negative consequences of heavy opioid use. But even as the government looks for punitive damages from these companies, healthcare providers question what drugs will be used to replace opioids for long-term pain management.
It turns out that CBD might be the answer. Initially the driving reason for medical marijuana laws was the pain-reducing capabilities of CBD, which have received renewed interest as doctors and patients alike look for alternatives to opioids. Though there have been few studies in the field, and many of those conducted were very short-term and had small samples sizes, scientists are finding promising uses for CBD.
Scientists have long known that CBD may have anti-inflammatory properties, which can be vital when it comes to fighting certain types of pain. A recent study tested the effects of a topical CBD treatment on mice with arthritis—and found that after treatment, mice behavior changed to suggest that the subjects were experiencing less pain. With around 20% of adults worldwide suffering from arthritis, a CBD breakthrough could be a huge relief.
Because these studies have been conducted over a short amount of time, scientists do not yet know the long-term effects of using CBD as a painkiller. However, scientists found that among a group of cancer patients with lasting pain, CBD both helped with pain opioids could not and did not necessitate a constant increase in dosage to maintain the effects. If these results can be replicated, and CBD-based drugs created to manage different kinds of chronic pain, opioids may become an afterthought. Unlike opioids, CBD does not even have any intoxicating effects once it has been extracted from the hemp plant, so it is unlikely to lead to difficulties with addiction.
The Research on CBD and Cancer
Of the many leaps forward in cancer research lately, CBD has been an area of renewed interest to the scientific community. Recent studies have found that CBD may be a helpful treatment for many types of cancer. Scientists have found ways to target cancer cells with cannabinoids, which may lead to a departure from the full-body effects of chemotherapy. Models and animal studies using mice have found that CBD can slow tumor growth in cases of breast cancer, help prevent metastasis in cases of lung cancer, and may be able to stop prostate cancer from spreading to bones.
Researchers who have also noted CBD’s painkilling effects, suggesting that the drug could replace opioids as part of a pain management plan for cancer patients. Chronic pain affects more than 75% of late-stage cancer patients and many times opioid-based medicines cannot fully extinguish it. Though the FDA has not approved any cancer treatments that include CBD, as studies continue to highlight the promise of the drug, we may see a push to legalize CBD at the federal level so further studies, pharmaceuticals, and treatment plans can be developed.
Helping Kids with Autism Communicate
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can disrupt the communicative abilities of those it affects, sometimes at very severe levels. No therapies have been shown to reliably decrease the impact of ASD, or to reverse it entirely. That may soon change, as preliminary research has uncovered a link between cannabinoid receptors and genetic factors on ASD.
These receptors can be found all over the human body (whereas most drugs simply affect receptors in the brain) because the human body produces endocannabinoids, chemicals that help our body’s process of self-regulation. In fact, all vertebrates produce endocannabinoids. Because our bodies are full of receptors for these chemicals, cannabis and CBD can interfere in processes in which endocannabinoids play an important role, including fetal development, pain processing, brain chemistry regulation, and more.
Though ASD has only been found in humans, scientists have discovered analogous behaviors in mice. Based on the fact that mice displaying these symptoms have more proteins and receptors for a certain type of cannabinoid, a group of researchers evaluated the effects of introducing THC on subject behavior. They found distinct differences in brain function in mice who had additional cannabinoids introduced to their system.
A later genetic study of people with autism suggested that the cannabinoid receptor targeted in the study with mice also played a large role in ASD development in humans. No official studies have been conducted on whether CBD can help those with autism minimize symptoms, but the tie between cannabinoid receptors and ASD suggests there is much to be learned in this field still.
A Possible Solution to Antibiotic Resistance
Every time drugs are used to treat a bacterial infection, they actually aid in the evolution of that bacteria, which can lead to the strongest bacteria survive to infect others. Antibiotic resistance is a growing problem with at least 2 million Americans infected by resistant bacteria each year. Medical professionals warn that not only will antibiotic resistance result in increased deaths due to infections that were once treatable, other medical procedures that carry a risk for infection (organ transplants, cancer therapy, diabetes treatment) will be affected as well.
When an Australian study found that CBD has antibiotic properties that bacteria cannot resist, people started to listen. Though the substance is not fatal to all kinds of bacteria—infections like salmonella and E. coli were not affected by CBD—it could be a major boon to bacterial treatments. Scientists do not yet understand how CBD works to kill bacteria, and thus advise against self-administering CBD as an antibacterial, but they are looking forward to further studying the chemical and its possibilities.
Is CBD the Next Big Medicine?
While more research is needed for ever application of CBD mentioned here, it’s clear that we’ve only just begun to discover the possibilities. There’s a reason CBD has caught on so fast, and by the look of it, the trend won’t fade any time soon.
In the meantime, check out the fully stocked HRVST inventory and test out some CBD products for yourself.