Full Spectrum CBD (Cannabidiol) and Its Potential Impact in the Treatment and Prevention of Orally-related Disease Modalities.
The Relationship Between Oral and Overall Health.
The links between oral health and overall health in humans is certainly undeniable. New studies are showing a causative relationship between oral health and major disease associated with multiple major organ systems in the human body, especially cardiovascular events and strokes (1). Individuals with a prior history of periodontal disease or tooth loss are generally considered to be at greater risk for peripheral arterial disease (PAD) than those with no such history (2). A 2016 study also identifies a positive association between gum disease and pancreatic cancer (3). Such association may likely extend to other forms of cancer including leukemias, lymphomas and kidney cancer (1).
Periodontal disease, however, is also linked with other diseases. And it may not just be the pathogenic nature of the bacteria associated with periodontal disease, but rather the inflammation caused by the bacteria. As studies suggest, the treatment of this inflammation may ultimately prove a more effective strategy than simply targeting the bacteria itself (2).
Clearly, finding possible solutions which can target BOTH bacterial load and inflammation simultaneously would be a major step forward for the dental space.
The Application of Eon’s-old Medicinals.
CBD is the abbreviation for cannabidiol, one of the many cannabinoids found in hemp. CBD has been shown in many studies to provide significant health benefits. Essentially, industrial hemp and marijuana are the same plant species… Cannabis Sativa. The difference is industrial hemp is cultivated for significantly lower amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), by definition less than 0.3% by dry weight. In addition, industrial hemp generally has a more fibrous stalk and grows taller than marijuana which tends to grow more “bushy”. Other than that, the plants are virtually identical.
Hemp, the common name for a variety of Cannabis (family Cannabaceae) has been cultivated for thousands of years. From ancient times, people have utilized hemp for a wide variety of purposes including making rope, twine and cloth. Hemp proved vital for early seafarers. Riggings and sails were all made from the versatile hemp fiber.
But use of the plant also found its way into ancient, as well as later day, medicinal use for a wide variety of conditions and ailments. In fact, tinctures of cannabis were widely available in apothecaries throughout the developed world as late as the early 1900’s.
While the boom in CBD-related products is a relatively recent phenomenon that can be attributed to certain folks in Kentucky and their interest in bringing back hemp farming, the use of cannabis sativa in tinctures, oils and other preparations has deep historical roots.
In 1969, Dr. Tod Mikuriya wrote that “In India the use of hemp preparations as a remedy was described before 1000 B.C. In Persia, cannabis was known several centuries before Christ. In Assyria, about 650 B.C., its intoxicating properties were noted.”
But its use in the modern era can truly be ascribed to William Brooke O’Shaughnessy, an Irish born physician, scientist and pharmacologist who worked for the East India Company in India in the 19th century, testing these extracts on a number of ailments. Their popularity grew substantially in apothecaries in both Europe and the US roughly between 1840 and the early 1900’s until prohibition began to be enforced.
Then in the late 1990’s along comes Rick Simpson, the “inventor” of RSO or Rick Simpson Oil. Rick, a Canadian, first turned to cannabis to help him overcome the after-effects of a work-related fall. But he began to look for a way to more fully concentrate the benefits of the Cannabis, and using what is widely thought as the original “recipe” from O’Shaughnessy, Simpson produced the classic dark, thick cannabis oil that would become the standard.
It's NOT just CBD
While CBD is likely the most important cannabinoid related to health and healing, it is not the only one that plays a part. Actually, ALL the various cannabinoids play a role when it comes to health. First described in 1998 by Israeli scientists Shimon Ben-Shabat and Raphael Mechoulam, the entourage effect supposes that the multiple cannabinoids and terpenes found within Cannabis Sativa actually work in unison and harmony to produce a better outcome than if they were employed solo.
A presentation given at the International Cannabinoid Research Society Symposium in Montreal seems to leave little room for doubt that this is the case. Dr. Fabricio A. Pamplona, Scientific Director of Entourage Phytolab in Sao Paulo, Brazil compared studies of epileptic patients between 2013-2106 that had used either CBD rich extracts or a purified CBD isolate. What he found was that CBD isolates showed a 43% efficacy in reducing seizures, while CBD rich extracts almost doubled this at 78%. He also discovered that almost 3 times the amount of purified CBD isolate was needed for seizure reduction compared with CBD rich extracts, and that herbal CBD had less than half the amount of reported side effects compared to its isolated alternative.
Pharmacological Effects of CBD
While it has been reported that the pharmacological effects of CBD are many and varied, the most applicable to the discussion at hand is the ability for CBD to reduce bacterial load AND positively impact inflammatory response.
Let’s start with the antibacterial properties of CBD. A recent Dutch study (4) from 2020 found:
By evaluating the colony count of the dental bacteria isolated from six groups, it was found that cannabinoids were more effective in reducing the bacterial colony count in dental plaques as compared to the well-established synthetic oral care products such as Oral B and Colgate.
Cannabinoids have the potential to be used as an effective antibacterial agent against dental plaque-associated bacteria. Moreover, it provides a safer alternative for synthetic antibiotics to reduce the development of drug resistance.
It’s not a surprising finding given the research that exists on the overall antibacterial properties of CBD and other cannabinoids. Recent studies demonstrate the effectiveness of cannabinoids against a whole host of bacterial agents, even being effective against MRSA (5,6).
Rendering bacteria less harmful is not the only pharmacological effect of cannabinoids and may not be one of the most important either. The inherent anti-inflammatory properties of cannabinoids are renowned with one expert I know proclaiming that CBD is the “strongest anti-inflammatory known to mankind”.
But behind the hyperbole is a significant amount of research (7,8,9). One NIH study found that not only was CBD effective as an anti-inflammatory agent, but also showed promise in reducing oxidative stress:
It is believed that the endocannabinoid system, which includes G-protein coupled receptors and their endogenous lipid ligands, may be responsible for the therapeutic modulation of oxidative stress in various diseases. In this context, the phytocannabinoid cannabidiol, which was identified several decades ago and may interact with the cannabinoid system, is a promising molecule for pharmacotherapy.
Potentially, CBD and its related cannabinoids may have the power to positively impact the culprits associated with oral and periodontal disease. While much more research is required, inclusion of full spectrum cannabinoids such as CBD in products used in daily oral care may hold significant promise in the field of dentistry, and may assist in such areas as caries treatment and prevention, prevention of systemic diseases caused by poor oral health and manifestations of periodontal disease.
- https://www.perio.org/consumer/other-diseases, PERIODONTAL DISEASE AND SYSTEMIC HEALTH
- Rostami A., Sharifi M., Kalantari M., Ghandi Y. Oral Health and Coronary Artery Disease, A Review Article. Journal of Cardio –Thoracic Medicine. Accepted: 31 Jan 2016
- Jacob, Julie A. Study Links Periodontal Disease Bacteria to Pancreatic Cancer Risk. The Journal of the American Medical Association online May 31 2016.
- Veronica Stahl and Kumar Vasudevan. Comparison of Efficacy of Cannabinoids versus Commercial Oral Care Products in Reducing Bacterial Content from Dental Plaque: A Preliminary Observation. Published online 2020 Jan 29. doi: 10.7759/cureus.6809
- Appendino G, Gibbons S, Giana A, et al. Antibacterial cannabinoids from cannabis sativa: a structure-activity study. J Nat Prod. 2008;71:1427–1430.
- Blaskovich MAT, Kavanagh AM, Elliott AG, et al. The antimicrobial potential of cannabidiol. Commun Biol. 2021;4:7.
- Mechoulam R., Hanus L. Cannabidiol: An overview of some chemical and pharmacological aspects. Part I: Chemical aspects. Chem. Phys. Lipids. 2002;121:35–43. doi: 10.1016/S0009-3084(02)00144-5. [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
- Burstein S. Cannabidiol (CBD) and its analogs: A review of their effects on inflammation. Bioorg. Med. Chem. 2015;23:1377–1385. doi: 10.1016/j.bmc.2015.01.059. [PubMed]
- Sinemyiz Atalay, Iwona Jarocka-Karpowicz, and Elzbieta Skrzydlewska. Antioxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Cannabidiol. Published online 2019 Dec 25. doi: 10.3390/antiox9010021 PMCID: PMC7023045 PMID: 31881765 2020 Jan; 9(1): 21