Full Spectrum CBD and its Neurological Benefits
In 2013, a family that had a five-year-old girl which suffered from seizures began treating her with high CBD cannabis oil. They realized that the high CBD cannabis oil was in fact working to stop recurring seizures. They took to the media to share their story because they wanted to bring awareness to the benefits of CBD. They named a high CBD strain after their daughter, Charlotte, which is known by many as Charlotte’s Web. By going to the media to spread awareness on Charlotte’s web, they were able to get the support needed to give families in the medical cannabis community access to such a CBD oil, hoping they will experience the same results as they did.
Today, many people share similar stories about the therapeutic effects they get when using cannabis such as relief for pain, nausea, and sleep patterns. The ability of the plant to help with a variety of neurological disorders seems to be one of the main topics of interest in health care and scientific research. Cannabinoids are being researched not only for the benefit of minimizing seizures but also for the treatment of traumatic brain injury, and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s Diseases.
Experience the whole plant
Researchers Scott Smid and John Staton Laws III from the University of Adelaide mention that there is a wide range of cannabis-derived phytochemicals like cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other antioxidants that have shown neuroprotective effects. Cannabinoids are known to interact with the endocannabinoid system which helps to regulate other physiological functions. These phytochemicals speak through the endocannabinoid system connecting to molecular and cellular pathways in the brain. The researchers continued to mention that while there are over hundreds of terpenes, cannabinoids, and flavonoids, they all have different effects in the body. Many phytochemicals have been shown to have neuroprotective properties like CBD, CBC and the terpenes limonene, myrcene, linalool, alpha-pinene, and beta-caryophyllene.
Both Scott Smid and John Staton Laws III have provided great research to show the potential benefits of CBD. Their research can also tell us that using specific cannabinoids for specific conditions will be the new wave of CBD therapy. There are still little clinical studies to prove the evidence that this may be the case, but it is believed that using cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids together can increase their effectiveness. More clinical studies with humans and the consumption of high concentrations of cannabis need to be done to help support the research currently available.
Studying CBD and the brain
A recent review published in the Molecules journal in August focused on the functions of CBD and its effect on inflammation in the brain. The review mentioned combining CBD with other synthetic derivatives to reduce neuroinflammation mediated by microglia which are immune cells of the nervous system that are known to be regulated by the endocannabinoid system. What we can learn from this study is that since many neurological disorders are associated with inflammation occurring in the brain, cannabinoids can potentially support the prevention and treatment of these diseases by reducing the pro-inflammatory response of microglia.
Further clinical and preclinical evidence are continuing to support the assumption that CBD can help to decrease inflammation in the brain. The researchers state, “CBD has promising therapeutic effects for neurological disorders such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, ischemic brain injuries, neuropathic pain, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s disease.” They also mention “a number of preclinical studies suggested that CBD exhibited potent inhibitory effects of neurotoxic molecules and inflammatory modulators, highlighting its remarkable therapeutic potential for the treatment of numerous neurological disorders.”
Understanding how CBD can reduce inflammation in the brain through microglia is very complex and still needs to be further studied. Researchers also believe that using CBD with other synthetic compounds or with THC can help to increase its effectiveness. Further research needs to be completed to support this, but they believe this too will have promising results.
The power of full spectrum extracts
Full-spectrum CBD is a type of CBD which can be extracted from the entire hemp and cannabis plants. During the extraction, a distillate is formed which is comprised of cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids and other minerals. Full spectrum CBD also contains a very small trace of THC (below 0.3%) which some may find concerning because of the potential to get high. However, that is not the case. Using CBD and THC together can be beneficial to the effectiveness of cannabinoids in the body. The psychoactive effects of THC can be reduced by other cannabinoids and the result of this does not cause the ‘high’ feeling when using a full-spectrum CBD product. The cannabis world calls this theory, the entourage effect and many researchers base their clinical studies on the use of a full-spectrum CBD because of its promising results.
Recent papers coming out of Italy and Spain were based on the potential neuroprotective properties that cannabis products may have. One of those papers was published back in the Frontiers in Pharmacology, which outlines a study conducted on mice that were given a specific strain of industrial hemp with high concentrations of CBD but 0.1% concentration of THC. The researchers chose to not only study cannabinoids but also the benefits of terpenes, alkaloids and flavonoids.
The researchers concluded “striking” and “interesting” results that show the true potential of CBD on neurodegenerative disorders. The promising results showed that humans in fact can benefit from taking a full-spectrum CBD product for its neuroprotective properties.
The second paper which was published in November in the Fitoterpaia, used a different strain of full-spectrum cannabis extract which had a different terpene, alkaloid, and flavonoid profile. The purpose of this study was to also conclude the benefits of using cannabis extracts as a neuroprotectant. Researchers showed that the full-spectrum cannabis extract had promising results for treating neuroprotective disorders. They also mentioned that using a full-spectrum cannabis extract compared to an isolate extract was more effective.
- Young, Alexander P, and Eileen M Denovan-Wright. “The Dynamic Role of Microglia and the Endocannabinoid System in Neuroinflammation.” Frontiers in pharmacology vol. 12 806417. 4 Feb. 2022, doi:10.3389/fphar.2021.806417
- Cásedas, Guillermo et al. “Evaluation of two different Cannabis sativa L. extracts as antioxidant and neuroprotective agents.” Frontiers in pharmacology vol. 13 1009868. 13 Sep. 2022, doi:10.3389/fphar.2022.1009868
- Borgonetti, Vittoria et al. “Investigation on the neuroprotective effect of a cannabidiol-enriched non-psychotropic Cannabis sativa L. extract in an in vitro model of excitotoxicity.” Fitoterapia, vol. 163 105315. 27 Sep. 2022, doi:10.1016/j.fitote.2022.10531
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