CBD Threatens Big Pharma in a Number of Ways

Posted by Desiree Jones on

CBD Threatens Big Pharma in a Number of Ways-     

How one of the most popular cannabinoids is undercutting the pharmaceutical industry by providing plant-based relief to people.

There was a time when Yahoo! Search was the place to go to find an answer online to a specific question; now, we colloquially call it ‘googling an answer.’

Toys R’ Us used to dominate the toy market; now, people shop on Amazon instead of going to a physical store. In September of 2017, Toys R’ Us filed for bankruptcy.

For ages, Big Pharma has been treating diseases while curing very few. In fact, in a report done in April entitled, “The Genome Revolution,” Goldman Sachs analysts questioned if curing people is a route pharmaceutical companies should even consider. “‘One shot cures’...offer a very different outlook with regard to recurring revenue versus chronic therapies,” they said.

The stance seems to be that pharmaceutical companies should focus more on developing treatments that fight symptoms, not cure diseases. The analysts added, “[Curing people] could represent a challenge for genome medicine developers looking for sustained cash flow.”

In other words, Big Pharma makes more money when they focus on developing drugs that don’t cure illnesses. They even pointed to the fact that when Gilead Sciences created a drug that effectively cured Hepatitis C, the profits had their peak a few years back and have since dramatically declined as the incidence pool has dropped.

Unfortunately for the pharmaceutical industry, they’re facing their own Yahoo! and Toys R’ Us moment: the rise of CBD.

A New Competitor in Treating Symptoms and Ailments

Big Pharma makes a lot of their money developing products that combat inflammation and pain, treat anxiety, and fight chronic illnesses like multiple sclerosis and cancer.

The number one selling drug in 2016 was Humira, according to an article in Axios that came out late last year. Apparently, selling a drug that treats arthritis netted nearly $14 billion in 2016 alone.

Other drugs on the top-20 list—and how much their companies made off of them—included:

  •     Lyrica ($4.4 billion): used to treat epileptic seizures, neuropathic pain, and general anxiety disorder.
  •     Crestor ($4.2 billion): prevents cardiovascular disease, among other heart and cholesterol related diseases.
  •     Copaxone ($4.1 billion): used to combat multiple sclerosis.
  •     Tecfidera ($3.7 billion): works against psoriasis and multiple sclerosis.
  •     Vyvanse ($3.1 billion): used to combat ADHD and binge eating disorder.
  •     Avastin ($3.1 billion): an anti-cancer drug.
  •     Symbicort ($3.0 billion): treats lung-related diseases like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD).

On those drugs alone, Big Pharma brought in nearly $40 billion in 2016.

With so many of their drugs making them so much money every year, what do pharmaceutical companies have to fear?

Their fear is that plant-based medicines will eat into their profits.

But why would such profitable companies be afraid of a plant-based medicine? One word abbreviated down to three letters, cannabidiol, CBD.

The Many Medicines of CBD

CBD is just one of the many cannabinoids found in the Cannabis plant.

When it comes to eating into the profits of the aforementioned pharmaceuticals, CBD could take a significant chunk of each. In fact, a recent study performed by a cooperation between HelloMD and Brightfield Group iterated several fascinating insights.

First, among people who use CBD to treat medical conditions, 90% are satisfied with their treatment and will continue to CBD as their medicine.

Second, where the pharmaceutical industry finds trouble in this report is that 40% of CBD-using patients have entirely stopped using their pharmaceutical products.

Many of them report using CBD for the ailments listed above—as opposed to using the pharmaceutical counterpart. 

CBD helps people with a wide array of ailments, let’s break down how it does that.

CBD Treats Epilepsy and Other Seizure-Inducing Diseases

Perhaps even more important than people replacing Lyrica with CBD, is that CBD oils and tinctures can be used to help children who suffer from epileptic seizures.

A 2017 article that appeared in the Journal of Epilepsy Research explored how CBD treats epileptic seizures. The researchers noted that CBD does improve the outcomes of convulsive activities, but that the exact mechanism by which CBD works is still not yet known.

They indicated that CBD provides relief to convulsions in several ways:

  •     With protective mechanisms against temporal lobe seizures.
  •     By increasing afterdischarge threshold while reducing afterdischarge amplitude in electrically-induced convulsions.
  •     By inhibiting epileptiform potentials.

In other words, “review of the available studies suggests that CBD-enriched cannabis may have anti-seizure effects,” according to the researchers.

The research also showed that using CBD to treat diseases like Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome is likely a viable option for people afflicted with those diseases.

Likewise, for other diseases where people suffer from seizures, CBD may present itself as an effective treatment against the symptomatic convulsions.

Such diseases include:

  • Tuberous sclerosis complex
  • Febrile infection-related epilepsy syndrome
  • Sturge-Weber syndrome
  • Malignant migrating partial seizures in infancy
  • And more

The author of the study, Emilio Perruca, concluded that CBD is likely the best cannabinoid for treating convulsions. “Compared with THC, CBD shows a better defined anticonvulsant profile,” he said.

Finally, he expressed optimism for future research—as CBD has recently been legitimized by the World Health Organization—by saying, “we are very close to obtaining conclusive evidence of their efficacy in some severe epilepsy syndromes.”

CBD Treats Pain Better than Opioids

When it comes to pain, there are many types:

  •     Neuropathic
  •     Muscular
  •     Tissue
  •     Localized pain to joints, tendons, ligaments
  •     Emotional and spiritual
  •     And more

Of course, we’ll focus on the physical properties of pain that CBD can treat; the same pain that is treated by opioids.

A 2007 meta-analysis of double-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trials in Current Medical Research and Opinion showed that cannabinoids, including CBD, are effective against neuropathic pain.

Specifically, the researchers looked at the pain that arises from MS. That means drugs like Copaxone and Tecfidera are at risk of being undercut.

In the British Journal of Pharmacology, researchers discovered that CBD reduces paclitaxel-induced pain that arises from chemotherapy. The 2014 study concluded that CBD should be used in these situations because it does not negatively impact the effectiveness of the chemotherapy treatments.

When considering pain, it’s important to realize that pain can’t be measured without patient input. Therefore, pain is individualized and subject to each person’s interpretation of it.

In the HelloMD and Brightfield Group survey, it was clear that many people who start using CBD to treat pain never want to go back to pharmaceuticals. 

CBD Kills Cancer Cells

There’s perhaps no more frightening diseases than cancer. Its name gives images of decrepit bodies soon followed by a painful death.

Understandably, Big Pharma makes a lot of money off cancer patients trying to beat their disease by selling drugs like Avastin. Unfortunately, despite their efforts, they don’t seem to do a very good job of combatting it.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about CBD is that it has anti-cancer properties.

In 2013, the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology released a staggering report.

In it, the researchers opened their conclusion by saying, “collectively, the non-psychoactive plant-derived cannabinoid CBD exhibits pro-apoptotic and anti-proliferative actions in different types of tumors and may also exert anti-migratory, anti-invasive, anti-metastatic and perhaps anti-angiogenic properties.”

In other words, CBD kills cancer cells, prevents them from spreading to other parts of the body, and eliminates cancer’s ability to commit further damage to the body.

A year later, a study in Oncotarget supported those claims. The researchers looked at lung cancer, breast cancer, glioma, and skin cancer.

In each case, their conclusions remained the same: CBD kills cancer and fights its invasive properties.

CBD Combats Many Types of Ailments

CBD has the ability to replace drugs like Crestor, Symbicort, and many others.

For example, for people who suffer from asthma, allergens can often play a significant role in their asthmatic attacks. A 2015 study in Mediators of Inflammation showed that CBD decreases the levels of cytokines in the immune response to allergens.

This reduction in cytokines prevents the buildup of inflammatory agents in the lungs of asthmatics during flare-ups. As a result, the researchers indicated that CBD may help control the exaggerated inflammatory response in the lungs that plagues people with asthma.

Is CBD a Panacea?

While CBD is far from a cure-all, it’s obvious that the pharmaceutical industry has much to fear from this plant-based derivative.

CBD may treat pain in people who’d rather not take a synthetic pill.

It could help battle cancer by killing cancerous cells and preventing their spread.

By reducing convulsive issues, CBD may combat Parkinson’s, MS, epilepsy, and a host of other seizure and spasm-inducing diseases.

Since Big Pharma makes so much money off of these types of illnesses and symptoms, it’s clear to see that pharmaceutical companies may not be as wealthy in the future as their analysts wish they would be.

If you’re interested in learning more about how CBD may improve your quality of life, feel free to contact us today!

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