What are cannabinoids?
The cannabis plant contains many compounds that have psychoactive and medicinal properties called cannabinoids, which are responsible for its physiological and psychological effects. The cannabinoid that has the psychoactive properties and causes high sensation is THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), while the cannabinoid that exhibits a lot of promising health benefits is called CBD (cannabidiol). One of the most exciting aspects of medical cannabis and CBD oil is the wide variety of medical applications they offer. Generally, these applications fall into one of these three categories: pain management, management of motor disorders, and mental health.
These cannabinoids exhibit their functions inside our bodies through something called the Endocannabinoid system (ECS). They target receptors in our central nervous system (cannabinoid receptors type 1) or in our immune system (cannabinoid receptors type 2). Through this mechanism, cannabinoids can take part in immune regulation and pain and mood control as well as many other functions.
Even though there have been many reports on the efficacy of cannabis for medical use, there is still a paucity of robust scientific research demonstrating its potentiality as a medical therapy. Herein, we will discuss some of the scientific research studies conducted to assess the therapeutic efficacy of cannabis oil in various conditions.
Is Cannabis Oil Beneficial in Treating Symptoms of Dementia ?
To date, there is no FDA-approved medication for the treatment of Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia (BPSD). However, antipsychotics are often prescribed off-label, resulting in just modest improvement and an increased risk of death. Recently, a human trial noted the associated outcome in Alzheimer’s dementia patients who were administered medical cannabis oil at a dose of 2.5 mg daily. The authors reported that cannabis oil can be safely prescribed to patients with Alzheimer’s dementia as well as comorbid BPSD. That being said, these results still warrant further confirmation by double- and triple-blinded clinical trials in order to generalize these findings.
Can cannabinoids be used to treat cancer ?
Little research has been conducted on the use of cannabis oil as a potential cure for cancer. All of the published studies in this matter are all animal and laboratory research with not enough robust scientific evidence to prove the safety and efficacy of cannabis oil in treating cancer. Therefore, in order to properly determine the effect of cannabis oil on cancer, large human clinical trials are necessary.
Can Cannabis Oil Work as an Anti-Epileptic Medication ?
As we all know, CBD has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a medical therapy for certain types of epilepsies and seizures. On the other hand, the research on the medical use of cannabis oil as a potential treatment for epilepsy remains very limited. A recent case report of a five-year-old female patient with a history of refractory seizures (not responsive to treatment) reported that when cannabis oil was given in addition to the regular anticonvulsant medications, the case had a reduction in the frequency of seizures immediately after beginning on medical cannabis oil.
Cannabis Oil and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
CBD oil has shown great effectiveness in managing inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) such as Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis. That being said, the medical literature shows that cannabis oil also exhibits promising therapeutic properties in treating inflammatory bowel diseases. In an observational research study, 15 patients were given cannabis oil while 67 patients weren’t given cannabis for the treatment of their symptoms. Patients were administered cannabis oil once a day for 30 days straight. The authors noted minimal differences in pain level and disease activity in cannabis oil users compared to non-users. However, patients who were given cannabis oil reported improvement in sleep quality, nausea, and appetite.
Noteworthy, all of these promising effects of cannabis oil are based solely on small observational studies, laboratory, and animal research. So, in order to generalize these results to fit the general population, more and more clinical trials are needed to confirm the effectiveness of cannabis oil as a potential therapeutic agent for multiple diseases.