CBG, The New Cannabinoid

CBG, The New Cannabinoid

Countless consumers have already heard of CBD. It’s popularity is spreading and availability is becoming more accessible as it hits the shelves in stores across the country. But cannabis doesn’t only produce two cannabinoids, even if THC and CBD are currently the most popular. The cannabis plant produces more than one hundred other cannabinoids, each having its own distinct chemical properties. 

One of the most promising cannabinoids is called cannabigerol, or CBG. Anecdotally, CBG has already been said to be a better anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety treatment than CBD or marijuana [1]. Offering many potent therapeutic benefits, CBG could be the next rising star of the cannabis plant. 

The Endocannabinoid System

Before getting into the details of CBG, it’s important to understand how CBG and other cannabinoids work with the body. Cannabinoids have a very specific effect on the human system. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) functions as a way to stabilize the body and return to homeostasis when trauma or danger are introduced. If some sort of disruption is introduced in the body, the ECS will activate and control the situation to make sure all systems it controls remain at an optimal level. This is a fundamental function of human physiology because all the internal systems need to be in a state of equilibrium to work effectively.  

There are three primary elements that make up the endocannabinoid system:

    • Endocannabinoids: Compounds that are produced by the body, but are very similar to the chemical compounds in cannabis, like CBD or CBG.


    • Cannabinoid Receptors: Receptors found on the surface of cells throughout the body. Any endocannabinoids or ingested cannabinoids will bind to these receptors. The action of binding allows them to communicate with different systems in the body, helping the ECS maintain an equilibrium in each of the specific systems.


    • Enzymes: After endocannabinoids attach themselves to the cannabinoid receptors and the ECS has maintained stabilization, enzymes break down the endocannabinoids to prevent overcorrection. Each type of endocannabinoid has a specific enzyme that works at breaking it down effectively.


The endocannabinoid system maintains equilibrium in the immune, digestive, and nervous systems. Because cannabinoids can so easily interact with the ECS they are able to have an effect on any number of issues that may arise within those systems, making them potentially powerful tools to use when battling certain conditions and diseases.

What is CBG

Like CBD or THC, CBG comes from the cannabis plant. In the hemp plant, CBG is present in much lower quantities than CBD, yet is still one of the most important compounds because it is the “mother” cannabinoid that all other cannabinoids are synthesized from. It is only measurable at around 1% in most cannabis, so CBG would be what’s considered a minor cannabinoid however it still offers exciting potential for therapeutic benefits. 

CBG is created when specific enzymes break down the CBGA of the plant and then direct it to one of three different places. These broken down acids are exposed to either ultraviolet light or heat and become the cannabinoids THC or CBD. Most of the time CBGA is converted into THCA or CBDA, meaning that the more THC a product has, the less CBD it will also have. This ratio can also be reversed and at its core is simply a product of nature and how the products are synthesized. 

Some breeders are even experimenting with CBG and genetic manipulation in order to obtain strains that produce more CBG. Scientists are able to extract high levels of CBG from plants simply by pinpointing the optimal time for extraction, which is usually about six to eight weeks into the flowering cycle. Being able to determine the best time to extract and optimize the process means consumers will likely be able to get their hands on CBG products sooner than later. With all of the potential uses for CBG, this is very important to many people.

Research has found CBG helps very specific systems and problems, including:

    • Glaucoma. Endocannabinoid receptors are abundant in the eye structures, giving CBG the opportunity to attach to them and increase its ability to alleviate intraocular pressure, a common issue with glaucoma. CBG also acts as a vasodilator and offers neuroprotective effects, all of which benefit those suffering from glaucoma [2].


    • Inflammatory bowel disease: In animal experiments, CBG was found to be effective in reducing bowel inflammation in those subjects suffering from IBD [3].


    • Huntington’s disease: In a recent study, CBG was shown to protect neurons in mice with Huntington’s disease, possibly easing cell degeneration in the brain [4].


    • Cancer: CBG has shown the potential in the fight against cancer. Specifically, it may be able to block receptors that cause cancer cell growth. In one study of mice, it did inhibit the growth of colorectal cancer cells, actually slowing the growth of colon cancer. The study found that CBG hindered tumors and colon carcinogenesis, opening up interesting possibilities for the use of the cannabinoid in the treatment and curing of colon cancer [5].


    • MRSA: Studies have shown CBG may be a very effective antibacterial agent, especially against Staphylococcus aureus, better known as MRSA. MRSA is notoriously difficult to treat and resistant to many different types of drugs, so being able to use a topical CBG treatment for relief is potentially life-changing to many patients living with MRSA [6].


    • Cachexia: Recent research has shown that a very specific form of CBG that has been purified to remove even trace elements of THC can effectively stimulate appetite in rats. This opens up the possibility of treatment for the muscle wasting and weight loss seen in late stage diseases like cancer [7]. Because the treatment would also be non-intoxicating, it may prove especially beneficial for a great number of people.


    • Bladder dysfunction: A study focused on CBG and bladder dysfunction showed that the cannabinoid tested best at inhibiting muscle contractions, adding potential for the compound to work effectively in preventing many bladder dysfunction disorders [8].



As mentioned earlier, CBG is known as the mother cannabinoid because all other cannabinoids come from it. Molecularly they are different compounds that come from the same plant, yet they are very similar in many other ways. 

Both CBG and CBD are non-psychotropic, making them especially interesting options for people looking for relief without the need or desire to also feel intoxicated. Both compounds are actually able to counteract the intoxicating effects of marijuana and THC products when taken together.

It is possible that CBG will increase a person’s appetite while CBD hasn’t shown that effect in any current studies. 

These two compounds are more closely related than not, so the benefits of both will be somewhat balanced to the other, yet studies are slowly showing that each has its own benefits and additional strengths when compared to the other. 

The two will also work together to give maximum benefits using something called the entourage effect. While each of these cannabinoids on its own has the potential to be a powerful and healing compound, when they are all combined together they can bring additional benefits. All of the cannabinoids work together synergistically and have the ability to amplify the combined effect. Research has shown that removing even one of these compounds may reduce the effectiveness of the compounds compared to the results when they are allowed to work together [9]. This is a powerful benefit and something to consider when deciding whether to try one or both of these compounds. 


Expect to see more CBG isolated products hit the shelves in the coming years as research and technology progress. The benefits of CBG are still being realized and as time goes on, users will likely find more reasons to try this specific cannabinoid product. While many may opt to continue with CBD products or products containing all the cannabinoids for the full entourage effect, many will find exactly what they need in CBG alone. It’s an exciting time for the cannabis plant and all of its byproducts and CBG is yet another on that list. Soon its name will be as well known as its cousin CBD.

CBN, The Next Cannabinoid

CBN, The Next Cannabinoid

Most people have undoubtedly heard of CBD at this point. It’s showing up in almost every store, on televisions across the country, and in a variety of daily conversations. The therapeutic properties of this powerful cannabinoid have been studied and applauded by many and CBD has created quite a following for itself based on success story after success story of its medicinal uses. But what about some of the other cannabinoid compounds found within the cannabis plant?

Cannabis produces more than one hundred cannabinoids, many of them found in much smaller quantities than the popular THC or CBD. Because the level of these cannabinoids is so much lower than those of THC and CBD, it’s difficult for researchers to know exactly how many other cannabinoids exist in the cannabis plant but they have been able to gather data on the handful of cannabinoids that are present in more substantial amounts. What they’ve found about one cannabinoid called cannabinol (CBN) in particular is especially promising. 

The Endocannabinoid System

Before getting into the details of CBN, it’s important to understand how CBN and other cannabinoids work within the body. Cannabinoids have a very specific effect on the human system. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) functions as a way to stabilize the body and return to homeostasis when trauma or danger are introduced. If some sort of disruption is introduced in the body, the ECS will activate and control the situation to make sure all systems it controls remain at an optimal level. This is a fundamental function of human physiology because all the internal systems need to be in a state of equilibrium to work effectively.  

There are three primary elements that make up the endocannabinoid system:

    • Endocannabinoids: Compounds that are produced by the body, but are very similar to the chemical compounds in cannabis, like CBD or CBN.


      • Cannabinoid Receptors: Receptors found on the surface of cells throughout the body. Any endocannabinoids or ingested cannabinoids will bind to these receptors. The action of binding allows them to communicate with different systems in the body, helping the ECS maintain an equilibrium in each of the specific systems.


      • Enzymes: After endocannabinoids attach themselves to the cannabinoid receptors and the ECS has maintained stabilization, enzymes break down the endocannabinoids to prevent overcorrection. Each type of endocannabinoid has a specific enzyme that works at breaking it down effectively.


    The endocannabinoid system maintains equilibrium in the immune, digestive, and nervous systems. Because cannabinoids can so easily interact with the ECS they are able to have an effect on any number of issues that may arise within those systems, making them potentially powerful tools to use when battling certain conditions and diseases.

    What is CBN

    Just like CBD and dozens of other cannabinoids, CBN is a chemical compound that is found within the cannabis plant. This particular compound comes from the process of breaking down the THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) molecules. Even though CBD and THC so far seem to be the stars of cannabis, CBN is slowly making its way to the front of the pack as well. 

    Like most of the other cannabinoids, cannabinol is non-intoxicating, but the CBN compound is actually created by the process of THC aging. This means CBN is generally found in higher quantities in older cannabis flowers that contain higher levels of THC. Some users actually seek out older cannabis in order to get the additional benefits of the larger quantities of CBN in the aged plant. 

    Research has found CBN to have the following benefits:

        • Anti-bacterial: Recent studies have shown CBN to be a powerful antibacterial compound. Researchers tested CBN on patients with various strains of MRSA and found it to be a potent treatment for the bacteria. This is especially important as MRSA is a notoriously antibiotic resistant ailment. This opens up the possibility that perhaps in the future CBN will be helpful in treating conditions otherwise untreatable by traditional antibiotics [1].


        • Neuroprotectant: A study on rodents found that CBN could be successfully used as a preventative treatment for ALS, otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Using CBN was found to actually delay the onset of the condition. Human studies are still needed, but this does suggest that perhaps CBN can act as a powerful weapon against ALS and many other neurodegenerative diseases [2].


        • Appetite stimulation: Studies performed on rodents noted that giving the subjects CBN increased the amount of food they ate. This could suggest that CBN works as a powerful appetite stimulant much like THC. However, unlike THC, CBN does not contain psychoactive properties that cause intoxication. Potentially meaning that CBN could be used for those seeking an alternative way to to increase appetite without feeling high [3].


        • Glaucoma: Researchers performed a study on rabbits and found that administering CBN reduced intraocular pressure in the test subjects. Intraocular pressure is the biggest risk factor for glaucoma, so being able to control it would mean having some sort of control over the introduction of glaucoma. It should be noted, however, that research is still very new and at this point CBN has not been shown to be more powerful than other medication currently being used to treat glaucoma [4].


        • Anti-inflammatory: Like other cannabinoids, CBN has the potential to be a powerful anti-inflammatory, especially helpful to those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. One study in particular found that CBN was successful in reducing arthritis in rats. Like other cannabinoids and treatments, this needs more studies performed, but so far the results are promising [5].


      Because it occurs naturally in the plant and is easily produced by simply heating THC or exposing it to oxygen, CBN is gaining traction as another cannabinoid with incredible therapeutic properties. 

      CBN vs CBD

      These two compounds may seem similar, but fundamentally they are two totally different molecules with two different origins. Traditionally, CBD comes from hemp plants as they hold the highest concentration of CBD making for the easiest and purest extraction. On the other hand, CBN comes from THC, meaning it can only come from marijuana plants. The amount of CBN present also depends heavily on the amount of heat and light the cannabis flower is exposed to and the age of the plant. CBN is simply a product of oxidation and degradation. 

      However, even though they are different at a molecular level, they do share a lot of the same properties and very similar therapeutic benefits. Neither are psychoactive, giving them both the opportunity to be helpful to individuals without an intoxicating effect. 

      Overall CBD has been found to have many more therapeutic benefits than CBN, however there haven’t been as many studies performed on CBN as have been on CBD so it’s possible that number could change rapidly as scientists spend more time looking into this promising cannabinoid. 


      As mentioned above, CBN is typically found in older marijuana plants. It occurs naturally when the THC-containing flowers are exposed to oxygen, however that is not the most efficient way of obtaining CBN products. You can already find CBN products online and in your local dispensary that are well suited to both newcomers and experienced users. These are typically in the form of tinctures or edibles. As the therapeutic benefits of CBN are further explored, we’re likely to see more and more products hit the shelves with specialized formulations and consumption options. This is truly just the beginning for CBN and its future as a powerful therapeutic cannabinoid is certain to keep moving forward and upwards.

Biphasic Effect of Cannabis

Biphasic Effect of Cannabis

Cannabis has been around for centuries, but it’s only been over the last decade or so that it’s become mainstream and commonly accepted as a product with strong therapeutic benefits. Some people are discovering cannabis for the first time, and some are coming back to it after years away. Marijuana is often experimented with at some point in a person’s life, however it’s common for people to react differently to it than their peers. Sometimes it’s a biological issue, and sometimes it’s simply that people are taking too much of it, resulting in less than optimal results. 

While a person can’t overdose on cannabis, it is extremely common for users to feel the effects of the biphasic nature of cannabis when they take more than they should at any given time. This process is also seen in other substances, like alcohol for example. A person can have one glass of wine to unwind and relax, but if they drink an entire bottle they will find themselves stumbling and slurring. The biphasic effect of cannabis isn’t harmful or dangerous like that of alcohol, and can actually be used to benefit the user if they know how to do it. 

Biphasic Explained

Cannabis, especially products with THC like marijuana, are often used for therapeutic purposes. However, some people have noticed that while they can feel completely relaxed and calm after taking a couple hits from a joint, if they smoke the entire thing they will start to feel anxious and paranoid. This is due to the biphasic effect of cannabis. Simply put, low doses of cannabis create a very different effect than a high dose. 

A compound that has a biphasic effect will relieve physical issues in small doses, but can actually intensify those symptoms if too high a dose is consumed. For cannabis, this is often seen in those looking to use THC to relieve their anxiety. THC has strong psychoactive potential and when too much is consumed, it can quickly send the user into fits of paranoia and heightened anxiety [1]. This effect is less likely with CBD since it has no psychoactive potential. It’s common to find that a small dose of CBD can calm and clear the head, while a larger dose can make the user feel sedated and relaxed [2]. 

The Endocannabinoid System

The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is an essential aspect of physiology. First and foremost, it’s responsible for maintaining the body’s state of homeostasis. When an interference happens in the body, the ECS steps in to correct and stabilize the systems and return the body to perfect homeostasis. 

There are three primary elements that make up the endocannabinoid system:

  • Endocannabinoids: These are compounds that are produced naturally by the human body, but are very similar to the chemical compounds in cannabis, like CBD.

  • Cannabinoid Receptors: These are found on the surface of cells throughout the body. The endocannabinoids the body produces, and any cannabinoids ingested from cannabis plants will bind to these receptors. The action of binding allows them to communicate with different systems in the body, helping the ECS maintain an equilibrium in each of the specific systems.

  • Enzymes: After the endocannabinoids attach to the cannabinoid receptors and achieve stabilization in the body, they start breaking down the endocannabinoids to avoid a possible overcorrection. Each type of endocannabinoid has a specific enzyme that works at breaking it down effectively.

In regards to the endocannabinoid system and the biphasic effects of cannabis, it all comes down to how the ECS processes cannabinoids. Within the ECS is an equation called the endocannabinoid tone. The endocannabinoid tone includes the total number of endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes it takes to metabolize the cannabinoids. Research has uncovered that if the receptors are oversaturated, the body actually turns them off, releasing an increased number of enzymes into the blood to metabolize the cannabinoids. Once homeostasis is again achieved, the receptors will turn back on. The goal of any new medication or treatment plan is to find that sweet spot, or the exact point of homeostasis [3].  

How to Deal With It

In general terms, biologically humans are all the same. However each person has their own unique brain chemistry. This makes it difficult to know what each person will feel when trying new medication or new medicinal substances like cannabis. 

No one wants to amplify the symptoms they are trying to treat, so the easiest way to ensure none of those adverse effects are felt is to start slowly when beginning a new cannabis treatment — or any new treatment for that matter. Start with the lowest dose of cannabis possible and then wait until the effects are felt. If there is still room for more relief without negative results, add more or try a larger dose next time. 


Taking small doses of therapeutic compounds is called microdosing and is a popular method for those who want to get the benefits of a particular therapy, but don’t want to risk the intoxicating elements. Users commonly report a better mood, less anxiety, and reduced pain after microdosing [4], making it a great alternative for those who need the benefits and none of the psychoactive effects. 

Microdosing has been a somewhat underground method of medicating for years now, but as cannabis starts to take off recreationally in many states across America, more people are learning about the power of this process and how it can benefit their health. There are a handful of basic steps to take when beginning a new microdosing routine. They are as follows: 

  1. Obtain the cannabis product, be it marijuana or CBD. If residing in a state where recreational cannabis is legal, this is as simple as a visit to the local cannabis store. If a person is located in a more restricted state, they may need a prescription from their doctor first.

  2. Take the initial dose. Start small on the first day. It’s generally recommended to start with a small percentage of a normal dose while introducing the body to this new substance.

  3. Pay attention to the body. If possible, it’s best to just sit back and relax and observe the overall body feel after the initial dose. Users should note how close this first dose is to relieving the symptoms they’re experiencing. It’s sometimes helpful to keep a journal or written log about the results during the early stages of microdosing.

  4. Adjust the dose. If the dose doesn’t seem to be doing what it’s meant to do, either because it’s too much or too little, adjust the next dose accordingly.

  5. Make it a routine. Once the sweet spot for dosage has been found, make it a daily routine. Users will likely start to build a tolerance to the cannabis product over time, so it is advisable to revisit the treatment plan and microdosing schedule if results diminish over time. 

An important note for THC: Even though very small quantities of cannabis are being consumed, it can and will still be detectable in a blood or urine test. Trace amounts can be found in the system as long as 30 days after the last dose. 

Treatment Plan

As with any new medication, users should speak with their doctor before adding it into their routine. If they’re concerned about the possible biphasic effects of cannabis or THC, they should start with small doses and be ready for some trial and error experiments as they work out what dosage works best for their needs. Even if someone feels their tolerance may be higher than others, it’s still a good idea to start slowly to make sure there are no surprises. 

Always remember that what works for one person may not and probably won’t work for someone else, and vice versa. Don’t be discouraged if it takes time to find the best treatment plan. Instead, enjoy the journey of finding that perfect dosage and treatment plan that works specifically for one specific person’s body and needs. 

Pollutants in the Endocannabinoid System

Pollutants in the Endocannabinoid System

The human body is a complex system that requires almost constant upkeep and maintenance. It’s the reason that one simple complication can equal disaster if it’s not dealt with swiftly and effectively. One of the reasons the body is able to maintain a strong state of homeostasis is because of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and its ability to detect issues and move quickly to correct them. 

However, the ECS itself is susceptible to damage if it’s not maintained properly, which would start a domino effect of other systems also failing to maintain proper stability without the assistance of the endocannabinoid system. One of the most common issues with the ECS is pollutants making their way in. In this article we’ll explain what that really means and how it can be avoided. 

The Endocannabinoid System

To begin with it’s important to have an overview of the ECS. As mentioned, the endocannabinoid system maintains homeostasis within the body. If one of the systems it controls experiences some sort of disruption, the ECS will step in and correct the imbalance to bring back equilibrium to the affected system. Human bodies are complex and changes can happen at any time, so conditions need to be kept stable in order for cells to maintain optimal performance.

Within the ECS are endocannabinoids, which are small molecules that bind to receptors and active them. These molecules are very similar to the cannabinoid compounds produced by cannabis plants. The two major endocannabinoids found in the ECS are anandamide and 2-AG. These compounds are made up of molecules within cell membranes and the body is able to produce them on demand.

Endocannabinoid receptors are found on the surface of cells and are used to monitor conditions outside the cell and transmit any information about changes happening within the environment surrounding it. If a large enough change is reported, the ECS will receive the message communicated by the receptors and initiate the proper response to balance the system. Endocannabinoids are able to bind to either of the two main receptors, but the result will depend on where the receptor is located and which endocannabinoid it binds to. 

The ECS also contains special enzymes known as metabolic enzymes. These are used to destroy endocannabinoids within the ECS systems once they have successfully achieved homeostasis within the body. This helps ensure no overcorrection will be able to occur after the need for the endocannabinoid has ended.

While research is still ongoing, studies have so far found the endocannabinoid system to be linked to processes like appetite, metabolism, pain, the immune system, memory, sleep, reproductive function, nerve function and mood and anxiety [1].

The Endocrine System

The human endocrine system consists of a series of glands that produce hormones and also secrete them. These hormones are used by the body for a wide variety of necessary functions, including respiration, metabolism, reproduction, movement, and growth. The glands within the endocrine system produce hormones which are then sent into the bloodstream by tissues within the body. These hormones send specific signals to the tissue, telling them what they should be doing. If the glands produce incorrect hormones or an incorrect amount, diseases can develop leading to health complications down the road. The endocrine system is extremely important to healthy living and any disruption within it can be catastrophic to the rest of the systems within the body, including the ECS. 

Endocrine Disruptors

Researchers have begun exploring the link between common pollutants and how they cause a disruption in the endocrine system, which can then lead to a dysregulation of the endocannabinoid system. These disruptors are a large class of chemicals that are defined by how they act in the human body. Endocrine disrupting chemicals have the ability to mimic, block, or interfere with important naturally occurring hormones like estrogen and androgen. The disruption can throw the entire body off balance and trigger a multitude of unfortunate health effects, some of those not appearing for years after exposure.

It’s a difficult process understanding how and why these chemicals have such a dangerous impact on our health and researchers are still studying the effects of them on diseases like cancer and diabetes. They are also studying the link between the endocrine system and the endocannabinoid system. The link between the two systems is clear, with both working to maintain a level of homeostasis within the body and both routinely working alongside other major systems on the body. Both of these systems are also very sensitive to added chemicals, such as the case with the well documented effects of cannabinoids on the endocannabinoid system.


There are unfortunately a number of toxins that humans come in contact with on a daily basis that have the potential to act as endocrine disruptors, but some of the most common and most destructive include:


Also known as bisphenol A., BPA is a well-known chemical that has been used to manufacture industrial plastic for decades. It’s most often found in polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins, such as food and water storage containers. 

BPA can seep into food or beverages that are held within storage containers, especially if they are exposed to heat. 


Diisononyl Phthalate belongs to the phthalate family of plastics, which are commonly added to plastics to make them flexible. DiNP is the most frequently used of the family and is common in many plastic products. It can also be found in items that contain vinyl, wire insulation, gloves, tubing, hoses, and even shoes. It has also been used in inks and pigments, adhesives, sealants, and paints. 

DiNP can be gradually released from these products where it makes its way into indoor environments like homes, schools, and offices. It will often settle on floors and other surfaces, while also accumulating in dust and in the air. 


Parabens are most commonly found in cosmetics where they are used as preservatives. The most common types are methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, and ethylparaben which act to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold in cosmetic products. 

Because of the nature of the products they are contained within, exposure to parabens generally comes from skin contact. Since parabens are commonly found in products like makeup, moisturizers, hair care products, and shaving products, it’s common for contact with the skin to be a daily occurrence. 


A recent study on fish tested the theory that exposure to toxins would cause a disruption to not only the endocrine system, but also the endocannabinoid system. In the experiment, the fish were subjected to the known endocrine disruptors of BPA and DiNP. After 21 days the researchers concluded that the levels of the ECS were altered, specifically in the brain, liver, and gonads as a result of these endocrine disruptors [2].

Another study examined how common pesticides could inhibit the ability of the endocannabinoid system and found that chlorpyrifos and other organophosphate pesticides were in fact able to inhibit the work of the CB1 receptor, an important part of the endocannabinoid system and the receptor that interacts with cannabinoids from cannabis the most often [3]. 

Another later study noted that organophosphorus chemicals actually blocked the endocannabinoid enzymes MAGL and FAAH, which leads to elevated levels of endocannabinoids in the brain and ultimately threw the cannabinoid receptors out of balance [4].


Maintaining a health endocannabinoid system and a healthy endocrine system are essential to a good life. By avoiding potential pollutants that could endanger both is the first step to keeping the systems in check. Human trials are only just beginning on this topic, but as scientists learn more about the endocannabinoid system and the way it is able to interact with the rest of the body, studies such as these will become more important to understanding the effects of dangerous chemicals and the potential for therapeutic treatments to help assist these systems in maintaining a healthy function. 

Cannabinoids and Infections

Cannabinoids and Infections

In the year 2020 we’ve found ourselves caught up in a global pandemic unlike the world has seen in 100 years. People are scared of the coronavirus called COVID-19, yet curious about what they can do to better protect themselves and their families from it as it makes its way through most countries and populations. There is no vaccine for COVID-19 and this has left many doing their own research for medications and natural remedies that might be able to aid in the fight against this virus. Understandably this has led some to question how effective cannabinoids — specifically CBD — are when it comes to protecting them from this or any coronavirus, or fighting off the infection if they happen to catch it. CBD research is still in its early stages, so in this article we want to discuss what current research has shown about CBD and its impact on infections, and whether or not it can be helpful as a preventative measure against viral infections.

Cannabinoids For Infections

Current research has shown that cannabinoids can be powerful antimicrobials, suggesting that they are agents that can kill microorganisms or stop them from growing 1. Antibiotics and antifungals are well known and commonly used antimicrobials, however research has also shown CBD to be helpful against certain types of infections. We’ll discuss those in more detail below.

Cannabinoids For Bacterial Infections

In the 1950s researchers studied cannabis as a potential treatment for tuberculosis and other diseases [2], however the research hit roadblocks as cannabis became more heavily regulated and was eventually classified as a Schedule 1 drug. More recently, studies have found cannabinoids – the chemical compounds found inside cannabis — to be useful for treating MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) in humans. MRSA is a bacteria known for being difficult to treat and for being unresponsive to many antibiotics. MRSA can often result in death for individuals with weakened immune systems or compromised health.

A study by scientists in Italy and the United Kingdom found that by applying extracted cannabinoids to bacterial cultures from six different strains of MRSA, the cannabinoid compounds successfully killed the Super bugs. In fact, it was just as helpful as the most popular and potent antibiotics that are commonly prescribed for the treatment of MRSA.

The researchers tested five specific cannabinoids and found the two that were the most powerful were also non-psychoactive, meaning they can be extracted from a hemp plant instead of a marijuana plant. Since marijuana is still considered illegal in many places, being able to harvest these beneficial cannabinoids from the legal hemp plant means the access to cannabinoid therapy could be easier and more affordable for those who would be otherwise unable to obtain it [3].

Cannabinoids For Fungal Infections

Fungal infections are often extremely uncomfortable and sometimes embarrassing for those suffering from them. They normally occur on the skin or within the body and frequently overwhelm the immune system. Usually antifungal medications are prescribed, including those with steroid properties. In an attempt to search for alternative treatments or to avoid steroids altogether, people have turned their attention to cannabinoids as a more natural remedy.

Researchers have found that some cannabinoids have moderate antifungal properties, specifically three types of cannabinoids [4]. Much like the cannabinoids used for bacterial infections, these three cannabinoids don’t cause the user to feel intoxicated. They naturally boost the effects of a specific type of oxide inside our bodies, which in turn works as an extremely powerful antifungal.

Cannabinoids For Viral Infections

With compelling evidence that cannabinoids can work for bacterial and fungal infections, some are rushing to conclusions about what that means for its usefulness against viral infections. It’s important to remember that just because they might be successful against certain types of bacteria and fungus, does not mean they will be useful against viruses.

There are currently very few studies about the effectiveness of cannabinoids and viral infections. The only such study that exists at this time is related to using cannabidiol (CBD) to treat viral hepatitis. The research shows that while CBD doesn’t seem to have any effect on hepatitis B, it was shown to actively assist in treating hepatitis C. This is especially important since hepatitis B has a vaccine and hepatitis C does not. Since there is no vaccine for hepatitis C and it has shown resistance to drugs, treatment can be costly. Even though the research is only just beginning on using CBD to help treat hepatitis C, the possibility of it being a beneficial treatment could open a lot of doors for those who suffer [5].

CBD For Stress and Anxiety

These are troubling times. That much we know to be true. The world is worried right now and that can have repercussions on our health. In response to this outbreak, the CDC has published an article highlighting the damage that stress can have in our lives and in our bodies. In this guide they note that stress can lead to the worsening of chronic health problems [6].

Stress can do a lot of damage to our bodies. In a time when we need to focus on maintaining our overall well-being, suffering from stress can be exceedingly dangerous. Stress can cause a person to have headaches, stomach problems, or trouble sleeping. Someone suffering from stress might turn to drugs, alcohol, or unhealthy eating habits. Many can feel fatigued, sad, or overwhelmed when stress consumes them. These behaviors are damaging to our immune system and can make us more susceptible to viral infections [7].

Likewise, there are many who suffer from chronic anxiety, and now those who are feeling newly anxious as the pandemic becomes part of our daily lives. Since so many of the same symptoms of stress show themselves in those who are suffering from anxiety, researchers believe there might also be a connection between anxiety and our immune systems [8]. The research is still ongoing and there haven’t been any solid conclusions at this point, however with such terrifying symptoms associated with feelings of anxiety, relief from it could be very important to those who suffer. This is especially true during these trying times.

CBD has been heavily researched and reported for its value in the treatment of stress and anxiety in both animals and humans. It is effective in reducing both the behavioral and physiological aspects of stress and anxiety, meaning it can help to calm the mind when it won’t stop running, and the heart when it won’t stop pounding [9]. During a time when so many stressful events are happening on an almost daily basis, gaining control over our stress level is important and could mean a healthier immune system.

Will CBD Protect Me From Viruses?

In a word? No. The research is still ongoing and no solid conclusions have been drawn yet. In regards to the COVID-19 virus, there is no vaccine or known cure for it. There are no known medicinal or therapeutic preventative measures. The best line of defense is maintaining social distance and doing your absolute best to keep yourself healthy. This can mean eating healthier foods, exercising, and managing your stress levels.

Experts have already warned the public about outlandish claims by those declaring they have some sort of miracle cure for COVID-19, which includes claims that cannabis or CBD are cures for the virus [10]. Unfortunately there are always people who will prey on others during hard times, and right now we need to be diligent about making sure we have all the facts and finding treatment plans that can work for us without someone else pushing it on us.

So while CBD has been shown to be powerful in the fight against stress and anxiety, there is no proof showing it has any effect on most viruses. If you find yourself struggling with stress or anxiety during this troubling time, perhaps CBD has a place in your life. The effects stress has on your body can be immensely damaging and could potentially make you more susceptible to infections. Getting a handle on that stress before it causes harm is just another tool in your toolbox when it comes to fighting off any viral infection, including COVID-19.