We’re prone to associating the term “Cannabis” with weed, and subsequently, with the act of getting high. However, as of the 2018 Farm Bill, Hemp has finally been distinguished from the marijuana plant we associate with weed and is now completely legal to grow for commercial products. Since then, hemp products have flooded the market, reporting benefits ranging from appetite stimulation to sleep assistance. While the effectiveness of most of these “over the counter” products is under review, the cannabinoid fueling most of these claims, CBD, has been researched to alleviate symptoms of illnesses ranging from rare diseases like Huntington’s and Parkinson’s to chronic, recurring conditions like IBS. This article will look at some of the more well-documented benefits of cannabinoids and assess what these treatments could imply for the future.

CBD as a Neurobiological aid

CBD and mother compound CBG is currently under research for their ability to cure illnesses that attack the brain. Chief among these trials aim to establish CBD as a cure for Glioblastoma Multiforme, one of the most aggressive known brain tumors. Tests have shown that CBD impairs the growth of, and in some cases leads to a recession of, cancerous cells within specific brain regions (such as the hippocampus). Other similar avenues for research include Parkinson’s and Huntington’s, both of which impact nerve cells in the brain. Both compounds begin to reduce motor and cognitive impairment. That discovery has recently led to CBD moving to orphan drug status, facilitating future research into the cannabinoid’s ability to treat rare diseases.

CBD as an antibacterial agent

CBD continues research for its ability to counteract antibiotic-resistant infections and diseases. MRSA (Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus) and MSSA (Methicillin susceptible Staphylococcus aureus) have responded favorably to cannabinoid treatments, meaning the results are promising. At present, CBD attacks the outer cell wall of these microbial disorders, but research is ongoing to determine precisely how it does this. This fact would also have implications for gonorrhea, another Gram-negative bacteria that quickly develop resistance to antibiotic treatment.

CBD for pain relief

CBD and other cannabinoids have anti-inflammatory properties and help curb pain and other adverse effects of diseases like arthritis and irritable bowel syndrome. While not yet known to be a viable treatment means, mouse studies have found the cannabinoid to reduce abdominal pain and pain associated with the joints.

Research into the curative properties of individual cannabinoids has taken off in recent years. Some of it, such as research into THC and its ability to improve pancreatic function, bear promising implications for the future of diabetes and obesity epidemics. CBD leads the charge amongst medicinally relevant cannabinoids. Many researchers are confident that CBD will continue to reveal additional benefits.