From Fool to Cool (Or, how people’s attitude towards these three letters – CBD – have changed)

From Fool to Cool (Or, how people’s attitude towards these three letters – CBD – have changed)

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Global drug prohibition policy in brief

The first anti-drug laws go back to the late 19th century America and span over a century:

  • The 1870s – anti-opium laws directed at Chinese immigrants.
  • The 1900s – anti-cocaine laws directed at African American men in the South.
  • The 1910s-20s – anti-marijuana laws directed at Mexican immigrants and Mexican Americans.
  • The 1960s – drugs became symbols of youthful rebellion which caused the government to halt scientific research on their medical safety and efficacy.
  • 1971 –  President Nixon declared “war on drugs”. It involved the increased presence of federal drug control agencies and such measures as mandatory sentencing and no-knock warrants.
  • 1997 – As a result of the anti-drug policy, the number of people under lock and key for nonviolent drug law offences increased from 50,000 in 1980 to over 400,000 by 1997.

During George W. Bush presidency, state-level reforms finally began to slow the growth of the drug war. Even politicians (e.g., George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Michael Bloomberg, Barack Obama) routinely admitted to having used marijuana, and even cocaine in their younger days. 

Since public opinion has shifted dramatically in favour of drug decriminalisation, cannabis reform has gained unprecedented momentum throughout the United States. As of 2019, it is now legal recreationally in 11 states and Washington DC. Activists, sportspeople and entertainers continue to advocate for further cannabis legalisation. 

Source: Twitter @CynthiaNixon

Global experience with drug prohibition follows a similar storyline. According to a major report by the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC), the United Nations’ drug strategy of the past ten years has been a failure. “This report is another nail in the coffin for the war on drugs,” claimed Ann Fordham, the Executive Director of IDPC, in a prepared statement. Looking at the stats, we understand why:

  • Drug-related deaths have increased by approximately 145% over the last decade,
  • At least 3,900 people were executed for drug offences around the world over the last ten years, (drug crackdowns in the Philippines resulted in approximately 27,000 extrajudicial killings).

In all evidence, the UN efforts to eliminate the illegal cannabis, cocaine, and other drug markets with the radical “War on drugs” approach has had scant effect on the global supply of these substances. Instead, the world witnesses endemic adverse effects on health, human rights, security and development.

In 2016, peer-reviewed journal the Lancet published an article based on the report by the Johns Hopkins-Lancet Commission on Public Health and International Drug Policy. 

Take a look at the key outtakes from the report:

  • Decriminalisation of minor drug offences in European countries led to a better capacity of the police to focus their efforts on high-level trafficking offences. 
  • Drug users in many countries are keen to take advantage of prevention and treatment services. Still, they are often systematically excluded on the grounds of being thought unworthy or unreliable as patients. 
  • It’s possible to reduce overdose deaths significantly by ensuring that people who use opioids have good access to medication-assisted treatment. Also, it’s essential to ensure that people who use drugs or are likely to witness overdoses are trained in delivering naloxone and have access to this medicine.  
  • Increasing numbers of national governments and sub-national jurisdictions (such as US states) are introducing legally regulated cannabis markets. It is a good opportunity for research bodies to start rigorous scientific research and evaluation so best practices for public health and safety can be identified and emulated.
  • Over-zealous drug control policies result in limited access to pain medications for legitimate clinical use in many countries. Governments must find balanced policies 

Rethinking attitudes towards CBD

From the outhouse to the penthouse. From a prohibited drug to a new weapon against drug addiction. It’s not a Hollywood film scenario. It’s the career ladder of CBD. How can that be?

Photo by Dan Meyers

Several studies proved the positive effect of CBD against opioid dependence:

  • In experiments reported in 2009, laboratory rats were trained to press a lever to receive heroin. Although CBD did not influence the amount of heroin self-administration when the rats were taken off heroin and given CBD, drug-seeking behaviour considerably decreased.  
  • In 2015, a double-blind study conducted in opioid-dependent individuals proved that a single administration of CBD, in comparison to a placebo, decreased cue-induced craving of opioids and feelings of anxiety.
  • Another double-blind, placebo-controlled study suggested that acute CBD administration, in contrast to placebo, significantly reduced both craving and anxiety induced by the presentation of salient drug cues compared with neutral cues.

Potential therapeutic use of CBD reaches beyond addiction treatment. Rigorous studies conducted across the globe demonstrate how medical cannabis is used in epilepsy, anxiety and depression, pain relief, and bipolar affective disorder treatment.

  • Drug-resistant epilepsy. A study published in PubMed suggested that “in many cases, there was qualitative evidence that cannabinoids reduced seizure frequency in some patients, improved other aspects of the patients’ quality of life and were generally well tolerated with mild-to-moderate AEs [Adverse Events].”
  • Anxiety and depression. According to the research published in the Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry in 2012, CBD oil works by interacting with the body’s naturally occurring endocannabinoid system (ECS) to soothe and calm anxiety.
  • Pain relief. In 2008, Dovepress published research suggesting that cannabinoids may offer significant benefits beyond analgesia. The benefits include anti-emetic effects, the ability to produce apoptosis in malignant cells and inhibit cancer-induced angiogenesis as well as produce a neuroprotective antioxidant effect.
  • Bipolar affective disorder. In 2005, PubMed published a study stating that the cannabinoids Delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) may exert anxiolytic, sedative, hypnotic, antidepressant, antipsychotic and anticonvulsant effects. 

Final thoughts

We don’t claim that CBD can protect you from coronavirus. Yet, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s essential to stay calm and balanced. Your immune system is on the forefront to combat the virus, and it’s a scientifically proven fact that the CNS physiologically controls peripheral immunity. So why not tinkle a few CBD drops under your tongue to resist the ambient panic?

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