With much thanks to research, we are all becoming more aware of the potential benefits of various cannabinoids for debilitating conditions. Understanding these benefits has brought more individuals to Realm of Caring recently to ask: can cannabinoid therapy support my overall health and wellbeing? The short answer is that research is pointing towards cannabinoids, like CBD, as strong candidates for antioxidant, preventative, and recovery benefits.
Let us first discuss the more well known cannabinoid, cannabidiol (CBD). CBD is one of the many phytocannabinoids, or cannabinoids from plants, found in cannabis and hemp and has been researched for its therapeutic benefits. CBD works as a modulator of cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2, for example, as well as non-cannabinoid receptors such as the 5-HT1A serotonin receptor.
Among others, the researched therapeutic actions of CBD are as an:
Clinical endocannabinoid deficiency (CED) was first presented in 2001 by Dr. Ethan Russo and has been further explored since then. This theory helps us to gain some understanding of why various phytocannabinoids have so much therapeutic potential. Endocannabinoids, specifically the endocannabinoids AEA and 2-AG, are generated by our cell membranes and either bind or activate cannabinoid receptors within our endocannabinoid system. These endocannabinoids are involved in different physiological and pathological processes such as regulating food intake, immunomodulation, inflammation, pain, cancer, addictive behavior, seizure disorders and more. Therefore, it would seem that if the levels of the endocannabinoids, or endocannabinoid function, were decreased, then we would witness a disturbance in digestion, pain threshold, mood, sleep, and others.
The greatest evidence for clinical endocannabinoid deficiency is present with PTSD, IBS, fibromyalgia, and migraines as they have common pathophysiological trends, one being that they all display elevated incidences of anxiety and depression. Another piece of evidence seen is that, for the most part, these conditions are treatment-resistant. There may be pharmaceutical drugs available to alleviate certain associated symptoms, resulting in one taking several different medications to target the various symptoms, but not one conclusive treatment.
Through Dr. Russo’s research and the clinical trials that have taken place and continue to take place, we have seen the ability of cannabinoid therapy to offer potential relief to the researched examples of endocannabinoid deficiency among many others.
Just as our bodies are naturally designed to produce these endocannabinoids to maintain homeostasis, or regulate processes throughout our bodies and brains; our bodies are also naturally designed to eliminate toxins through detoxification. CBD may help enhance the body’s natural detoxification system.
Oxidative stress takes place when potentially harmful free radicals, which are atoms that may cause damage to cells, proteins, and DNA, overwhelm the body’s natural antioxidants. We consume antioxidants through foods and supplements to assist our body in the prevention of or to decrease oxidative stress. The antioxidants safely interact with the free radicals before molecules become damaged. Endogenous antioxidants you may be familiar with are vitamin e, vitamin c, beta-carotene, and zinc; which many of us find in fruits and vegetables or as supplements.
Research has shown the ability of CBD and THC to be equally successful at blocking or modulating toxic levels of glutamate. Glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter that is released by nerve cells in the brain and responsible for sending signals. Glutamate plays an important role in our learning and memory, however, it can also be damaging to nerve cells and the brain as a whole. When there are abnormally high concentrations of glutamate or when the receptors are overly sensitive (meaning less glutamate is needed to excite the cell) then the cells can become over-excited leading to their damage or death, in other words, oxidative stress.
When studied, the effects of CBD and THC on toxic glutamate levels were comparable to the industrial antioxidant known as BHT, suggesting their role as an effective antioxidant. This also shows promise for the CBD as a neuroprotectant, which leads us to preventative benefits.
Movement disorders, like Parkinson’s Disease, are debilitating conditions linked to oxidative stress, neurodegeneration, and inflammation. Data reviewed in several studies carried out, mostly with rodents, have pointed to the role of CBD and THC in the prevention of certain movement disorders as they appear effective for primary and secondary dystonic movements.
The reduction of oxidative stress by CBD has further shown in research that it may prevent nephrotoxicity, or liver toxicity, in mouse models.
Cannabinoids have become a strong candidate for the prevention of several conditions. The anxiolytic effects of CBD and CBDA for example may prevent stress and anxiety, which studies have shown effects more than just that behavioral component as it may prevent abnormal increases in blood pressure and cardiac output.
As an antiemetic CBD and, possibly moreso, CBDA may prevent vomiting or nausea caused by motion sickness, but also anticipatory nausea.
Cannabinoids have been researched to be anti-inflammatory, in fact researchers use terms such as “novel” and “potent” to describe their anti-inflammatory actions. This can have an effect on the prevention of several inflammatory conditions as well as assist our body processes in decreasing harmful inflammation, one being our immune system as cannabinoids may be able to suppress cytokine production and induce T-cell activity to help fight off infections.
The cannabis plant not only has anti-inflammatory cannabinoids such as THC, THCA, CBD, CBDA, CBC, and CBG (to name a few) but it also contains anti-inflammatory terpenes such as caryophyllene, borneol, nerolidol, linalool, limonene, and pinene among the most popular. In addition, the other, less studied, compounds of the cannabis plant are the flavonoids that share the same mechanisms of some of these terpenes. Cannflavins A, B, and C are among some of the flavonoids with researched anti-inflammatory actions. When working together in a full-spectrum product, for example, each cannabinoid, terpene, and flavonoid may enhance each other’s actions – a concept known as the entourage effect.
Speaking of inflammation, CBD, as well as other anti-inflammatory cannabinoids may be helpful in reducing inflammation of the muscles and tissue as a part of post workout recovery, which may aid in preventing injury. The potential of alleviating the muscle inflammation may be able to enhance recovery time by decreasing muscle tension, soreness, and pain.
When it comes to recovery, having quality sleep is very important. The first way cannabinoids may assist in improving our sleep is by mitigating the conditions that may be keeping us awake, such as pain, anxiety, and inflammation-related autoimmune disorders including arthritis, diabetes, IBS, and Crohn’s disease. All of these may have an effect on our body clock function, therefore leading to sleep disorders.
Another way cannabinoids may assist is when we consider the actions of each. For example CBD may directly assist in aligning our circadian rhythms, one of which being the sleep-wake cycle. The actions of our endocannabinoid system appear aligned with our circadian rhythms, therefore may modulate them. CBD, being a modulating molecule, has the potential to improve our sleep wake cycles, leading to an increase in the percentage of total sleep overtime.
THC on the other hand, has shown in studies as having an effect on mental and physical sedation as well as lessening nightmare presence and intensity in PTSD study participants. In addition, THC shares properties of our endocannabinoid known as Oleamide, which is known to benefit apneic events.
CBN has become a popular cannabinoid when discussing sleep benefits. And while the CBN molecule itself does not show as providing sedating effects in what research is available, when it is presented in combination with THC, higher levels of drowsiness were observed. In addition, CBN, being aged THC, contains heavier terpenes that are slow to evaporate known as sesquiterpenes. These specific terpenes can be naturally more calming, such as nerolidol and caryophyllene oxide.
Starting your cannabinoid therapy journey
If you are wondering if cannabinoid is right for you on your wellness journey, our care specialists are here to talk with you one-on-one. Reach out by calling 719-347-5400 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Realm of Caring Foundation specifically invokes the first amendment rights of freedom of speech and of the press without prejudice. These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. the products discussed are not intended to diagnose, cure, prevent or treat any disease. Realm of Caring always recommends when and wherever possible that licensed local healthcare professionals be consulted.
The Realm of Caring Foundation is an independent nonprofit with its own governing board. We do not produce or sell cannabinoid products, nor do we receive funds from the sale of other company’s products.