We, at some point or the other, in our lives, have had a doctor prescribing steroidal medication. Steroidal medications are, after all, the one-stop-shop for all things inflammation. It is used in the case of infections and allergies, and even in those tough situations where the doctor can’t decide on what to give the patient. When you do end up taking them, the effects are often immediate – rashes disappear, appetite is back on the menu, the pain and inflammation are out the window. However, steroidal medications have a host of side effects that don’t surface much later. This is why there is a need for a contender to go head to head with steroidal medication, and that contender is none other than CBD.
The World Became Mad About Steroids
Steroidal medications in the form of corticosteroids came into the scene after its first documented use in treating the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. It later came to become the main immunosuppressant treatment that patients can bank on to prevent excessive inflammatory conditions or during the body rejecting after an organ transplant.
As a crowd-pleaser with the patients, doctors began to excessively prescribe these. However, the reality soon caught up to speed, and the morbidity and increased issues that steroidal medication brought about became apparent. The use of steroidal medication became sparing, but it is without a doubt still being prescribed to patients to this day. The blame cannot be thrown on the doctor- they have no other alternative in place of steroids to give to the patients.
Understanding What Steroids Are
The human body produces hormones in the adrenal gland that alleviate pain that is associated with common ailments like rheumatoid arthritis. Drugs such as cortisone, prednisone, and hydrocortisone mimic bodily hormones or endogenous steroids. However, this can’t be all too good to be true and are often accompanied by life-threatening side effects like increased risk of osteoporosis, fragile skin, slower healing, diabetes, higher blood pressure, sudden weight gains, fluid retention in the lungs, increased risk of cataract and glaucoma.
Due to the obvious, doctors only prescribe steroidal medication on a short-term basis. Doctors generally give these to patients who are suffering from autoimmune diseases like Crohn’s disease that are subjected by sudden flare-ups and require quick immunosuppressant action in place. Nonetheless, for those patients who have been taking steroidal medication for a while irrespective of dosage, are often affected by steroidal withdrawal syndrome.
For such patients, it is important to slowly weaken the body’s dependence on these medications and gradually tapering them off. The withdrawal symptoms include loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhea, headache, fatigue, and lethargy.
Welcome CBD As The Steroidal Sparing Drug
Steroidal sparing drugs are those drugs that allow the reduction in the number of steroids taken or can even entirely be the substitute to suppress the immune system. Most of these steroidal sparing drugs such as methotrexate, mycophenolate, cyclosporine, sirolimus among others cause many first month symptoms such as hair loss, abdominal bloating, disrupted menstrual cycle, mouth ulcers, and increased risk of urinary tract infections. There have also been studies that link long-term use of immunosuppressants to increased risk of cancer much later in life.
This is where CBD is beginning to lead the pack. The science and research that support the claim of CBD as an immunosuppressant are piling up. The therapeutic benefits of CBD are some of the best and safest ways of getting them, and that too without the ‘weighted baggage’ of side effects that you need to carry for the rest of your life. CBD does not have the risk of intoxicating or lethargy as a result of intaking, and you won’t experience withdrawal symptoms. CBD is not addictive and you can discontinue use whenever you deem fit and go about your day.
CBD’s Function As An Immunosuppressant
CBD benefits surface as a result of the interaction of the cannabinoid with various receptors especially those belonging to the endocannabinoid system. CBD is particularly able to bring about these effects of anti-inflammation and immunosuppressants by reducing the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and further inhibiting T-cell function. This all makes it a fabulous prospect for those that are battling autoimmune diseases such as Crohn’s disease, Osteoporosis, and Rheumatoid arthritis, etc. CBD helps in alleviating many of the symptoms that are associated with these diseases.
There are clinical trials held to truly understand the extent and range of this immunosuppressing ability of CBD, and one notable experiment was conducted by Israeli researchers for graft-versus-host-diseases (GVHD) in steroidal resistant patients. This condition occurs when the bone marrow transplant is unsuccessful and it leads to the body rejecting the donated bone marrow, attacking it. 9 out of 10 subjects responded positively to the CBD treatment.
There are many such studies that cement CBD’s climb as THE immunosuppressant of the possible future. Until then, all we can do is hope that cogs of science, turn fast enough.