A few years ago, parents of epileptic children started making headlines for risking their lives and custody - all for obtaining a non-psychoactive extract of cannabis plants known then as Rick Simpson Oil. The underground medicine was shown by local news reports to have unprecedented effects on treating the disease. It seemed to do the unthinkable: children who had been unable to eat solid food or hold regular conversations because of such severe and constant convulsions were now able to experience these luxuries for the first time in their lives.
A decade later and big pharmacological companies like GW Pharmaceuticals are now patenting and selling very similar products, despite the media war that continues against cannabis and hemp products being considered medicine. As their website puts it:
“GW is the global leader in developing cannabinoid-based medicines. Cannabidiol (approved by FDA as Epidiolex® in the United States) is in development to treat certain rare and catastrophic forms of childhood-onset epilepsy that currently have few treatment options.”
Cannabidiol, or CBD as it's more commonly referred to, is just one of 80 molecular compounds exclusive to hemp and cannabis plants. It is non-psychoactive, meaning it doesn't produce the “high” or euphoric sensation associated with cannabis - but it does boast an outstanding list of diseases it helps to treat.
ProjectCBD, citing Pubmed research, found over 50 different common diseases to be aided by the compound from PTSD to fibromyalgia, migraine headaches to stress.
High enough doses are now conclusively proven to treat intense and previously untreatable conditions like epilepsy. How could such claims be possible because of a little-known physiological system called the Endocannabinoid System.
The Endocannabinoid System is named after cannabis and is found in all mammalian bodies, humans included. The system produces compounds known as cannabinoids that practically identical to the compounds we find in cannabis and hemp plants. The reason that cannabinoids like CBD can be effective in treating such an astonishing variety of illnesses is the extensive nature of the system itself. It is found throughout the body and all over the nervous system including your brain and all of your joints. The endocannabinoid system is responsible for a staggering array of cellular functions that include appetite, energy balance, metabolism, stress response, immune function, female reproduction, autonomic nervous system, analgesia, sleep, physical exercise, and thermoregulation. It's no wonder such a complicated system would be involved in so many medical conditions.
Maybe it's unlikely, but it could be that one day this myriad of medical conditions could be clustered into one set of diseases, all treated with cannabinoids. That condition is now known as Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency or CED for short. In current research published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (an extension of the US government) Ethan B. Russo asserts that:
“Medicine continues to struggle in its approaches to...migraine, fibromyalgia, and irritable bowel syndrome, disorders that may overlap in their affected populations and whose sufferers have all endured the stigma of a psychosomatic label, as well as the failure of endless pharmacotherapeutic interventions with substandard benefit. The commonality in symptomatology in these conditions displaying hyperalgesia and central sensitization with possible common underlying pathophysiology suggests that a clinical endocannabinoid deficiency might characterize their origin.”
With the unbelievable number of conditions that CBD is capable in helping with (check out our other article which lists 50 condition known conditions, or go to ProjectCBD.org) and especially considering that the compound is derived from Cannabis and hemp plants, you might find it surprising to hear that the drug is now commonly sold across the US - even in states that haven't legalized cannabis.
Largely because CBD can be harvested from non-psychoactive industrial hemp plants (the same plants used to make hemp silk and hoodies) an industry has grown entirely-legal, over the counter CBD products.
Not that there hasn't been some controversy. The DEA was upset at the growing popularity of the Chinese import and lashed out in an unauthorized statement to threaten the stability of the marketplace for such products. But as soon as GW Pharmaceuticals released their new Epidiolex - with a compound practically identical to some CBD products already on the market without a prescription- negative press on the matter seems to vanish like a cloud of smoke.
Today, CBD products are becoming more popular than ever and are found advertised and reviewed in major publications throughout the globe, The New York Times even calling CBD “the new Avocado Toast”.
What does that mean, exactly? Well, it's hard to say about the toast, at least, but the figures are in and CBD is sweeping the world by storm.
What we can say, is that CBD only continues to grow in popularity and somehow manages to keep coming out in a variety of new forms, the most recent of which is CBD-infused carbonated water and CBD-infused natural soda. Other CBD infused products will surprise the novice consumer. You have your choice of anything from e-cigarettes to capsules and tinctures, dabbable concentrates to even CBD-infused dog treats and gummy bears. Support the growing interest in this important research and go get medicated without a trip to the pharmacy, you deserve it.