Can CBD really be useful in the treatment of various disorders, from chronic pain to sleep problems and even mental health? Faced with the growing public interest in these questions, we delve into the subject, focusing on what is behind this scientific name and the effects of CBD on certain disorders that have been the subject of research.
Until now less publicized than THC, the main psychoactive molecule of cannabis, cannabidiol (CBD) is now everywhere. Shops dedicated to the sale of cannabis-based products rich in CBD, herbal teas prepared to fight against insomnia or even oils to ingest against anxiety and dried cannabis flowers to smoke or vaporize… Many very varied products are available on the market today. Edens herbals, for example, the best CBD softgels on the market.
While some countries have just launched some experiments relating to cannabis for medical use (with products composed of both THC and CBD) and the craze for CBD-based products continues to be confirmed, it seems relevant to look at what the science is saying right now.
What does the scientific data published to date really show? Can CBD really be useful in the treatment of various disorders, from chronic pain to sleep problems and even mental health?
CBD, THC: some benchmarks
Cannabis (or hemp) is a plant native to equatorial regions. Several species exist. Those consumed for their psychotropic properties, that is to say capable of modifying the functioning of our central nervous system, come from the Cannabis sativa family. Nearly 500 compounds of the plant are known, including about sixty cannabinoids.
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The main psychoactive compound in cannabis is the cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (commonly known as THC). Cannabidiol (CBD) is also present in large quantities in the plant, and is not legally classified as a psychotropic although it also exhibits psychoactive effects via an interaction with the serotonergic system. This would also explain the “soothing” effect put forward by sellers to help people with anxiety, sleep difficulties but also chronic pain.
It should be noted that the products offered commercially and sold under the CBD label come in the form of natural extracts of flowers or whole cannabis flowers. They contain mainly CBD but always also a little THC (even if this is sometimes present in minute quantities). We reduce this to “CBD products” in everyday language, but this does not reflect the reality and the complexity of the composition of the products sold and consumed.
For the past ten years, the interest of the scientific community for CBD has been growing, this molecule being suspected of being involved in some of the potential therapeutic effects of cannabis. However, most of the data available to date comes not from large, rigorous clinical trials, but from the recognition by scientists that CBD could act on many biological targets in the body.
Severe epilepsy in children
It was a documentary by the American channel CNN that first put CBD in the spotlight in 2013. The film told the story of Charlotte, a girl with Dravet syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy. In the absence of an effective treatment for the hundreds of seizures she suffered each week, these parents turned to an alternative solution: a cannabis oil particularly rich in CBD.
Today, while the use of cannabis for therapeutic purposes is authorized in many countries, the only pharmacological treatment based on CBD that has been rigorously tested in clinical trials in the United States and has received authorization from the FDA is Epidiolex, indicated in the treatment of pediatric epileptic seizures.