1. Depression and Anxiety
Has consuming cannabis ever made you feel more anxious? Well, the problem might be too much THC, not enough CBD. CBD and THC work opposite of each other; one a stimulating psychoactive, the other a compound that works to quell unnecessary psychoactivity.
CBD’s relationship to anandamide may play a big role in helping us understand anxiety in the future. According to a recently published New York Times editorial, patients feel less anxious when they have more anandamide in the body. Because CBD inhibits the enzyme that breaks down anandamide, it allows you to have more of this feel-good chemical floating around in your body at any given time.
CBD’s ability to increase feel-good compounds in your body make it extremely effective against depression and anxiety. It creates a calm, subdued, pleasant sensation that lets you go about your day without a psychoactive high. Arguably, CBD is more effective at managing a wide range of mental health conditions.
THC works well for some people, but CBD provides the same results without the risk of increased anxiety.
2. Epileptic Disorders
As the anecdote about Charlotte Figi has hopefully made clear, the endocannabinoid system may play a key role in the future treatment of epilepsy.
One way CBD reduces seizures is through its mediation of a neurotransmitter called GABA. This neurotransmitter has calming effects, it dampens excitability in the brain. When GABA levels drop too low, you’re likely to have a seizure. CBD is a GABA uptake inhibitor, meaning that it creates a surplus of GABA in the brain.
Both THC and CBD inhibit synaptic transmission, or changes the way that neurons in your brain release and absorb other chemicals. CBD has also been found to help increase the efficacy of other common anti-epileptic drugs and is known to be neuroprotective. It helps keep brain cells healthy and reduces cell damage.
GABAs role in seizures only represents a small piece of epilepsy’s complicated puzzle. More research needs to to be done to test CBD’s efficacy in various types of epilepsy. As we learn more, additional mechanisms of action are sure to be discovered.
3. Schizophrenia and Psychotic Disorders
The topics of schizophrenia and psychosis have long been major points of contention in cannabis medicine. You might find it surprising, then, that CBD is anti-psychotic. A 2015 article published in Schizophrenia Research suggested that CBD’s ability to reduce the psychoactive qualities of THC may also be helpful for schizophrenia patients.
THC affects brain regions like the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex, leading to its psychoactive effect. These are the same brain regions that are affected by schizophrenia. CBD, however, has the exact opposite effect of THC on these exact same regions, causing many researchers to label CBD as anti-psychotic.
Coupled with traditional medication, early trials with CBD as a supplemental treatment for schizophrenia were successful with an impressive safety profile. The potent anti-inflammatory properties of CBD may also lend to its anti-psychotic properties. Psychosis has been linked to increased inflammation in the brain.