This year, California became the ninth state to legalize recreational marijuana. Currently, thirty states allow people to use it to treat various medical conditions. Widespread legalization of weed and several cultural factors have significantly influenced the public’s views on the drug. In fact, 61 percent of Americans favor legalizing weed, according to a survey conducted by Pew Research Center.
Even before marijuana gained mainstream acceptance, it already built quite a reputation for itself. Thanks to popular stoner films like Pineapple Express, Up in Smoke, and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, the mere mention of weed brings to mind spacey dudes embarking on rollicking adventures. Marijuana’s notable high is caused by tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is an active compound, known as cannabinoid, that interacts with receptors in the brain.
THC is just one of at least 113 cannabinoids found in cannabis. Another equally interesting cannabinoid is cannabidiol (CBD). While it does not have any psychoactive properties like THC does, CBD is very potent, and many scientists are investigating its therapeutic effects on the body.
Here’s what you need to know about CBD and why you should consider using it to improve health.
Medical reviews published in 2017 and 2018 have concluded that CBD is an effective way to treat epilepsy. In addition to this, the case of Charlotte Figi helped shine the light on the effectiveness of CBD as a treatment for seizures.
Charlotte had been having seizures since she was three months old with her condition getting worse as the years went by. Her seizures became so debilitating and frequent that doctors suggested putting her in a medically induced coma to help her rest. Her parents tried various drugs and treatments to no avail.
Charlotte’s condition only significantly improved after her parents treated her with cannabis oil extracted from a marijuana plant that was high in CBD and low in THC. Since getting treated with marijuana oil, Charlotte’s seizures have dramatically dropped to only two to three times monthly and they usually happened while she slept. Recently, the US Food and Drug Administration has approved a CBD-based solution to treat Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, rare forms of childhood epilepsy.
Pain relief is one of the most well-known benefits of CBD. According to studies, its pain-relieving properties are made possible by cannabinoids inhibiting neuronal transmission in pain pathways.
That makes it a viable option for treating chronic pain and managing pain associated with many serious conditions, including cancer and multiple sclerosis (MS). About 50 to 70 percent of MS patients suffer from debilitating pain. A 2007 study in Canada has found that buccal spray that combined CBD and THC helps treat the neuropathic pain associated with multiple sclerosis.
Anxiety is a growing problem around the world. In fact, a recent poll by the American Psychiatric Association finds that almost 40 percent of Americans report feeling more anxious than they were compared to the previous year. Many patients rely on antianxiety medication to treat their condition, and while these are effective, they also come with a host of serious side effects including headaches, drowsiness, vomiting, weight gain, and nausea.
The good news is that the effects of CBD are comparable to those of antianxiety medication and antidepressants. As a result, CBD has become a good alternative treatment for anxiety-related disorders like panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Studies at Sao Paulo University have also found that CBD can help treat patients who are struggling from social phobia.
Helps Prevent Cancer
There have been a number of scientific reports that show CBD’s ability to inhibit the migration, adhesion, and invasion of cancer cells. Aside from preventing cancer, some studies have also shown that cannabinoids like CBD cause the death of cancer cells and that they have antitumor effects.
It is equally important to note that CBD acts like a nontoxic compound, and studies suggest that prolonged use of it as cancer treatment does not cause any toxicity in the human body, unlike other harsh cancer treatments and drugs.
Keep in mind that marijuana legislation varies across states. Additionally, some employers still maintain a zero drug-tolerance policy in the workplace and may require employees to pass a drug test. Always stay informed on the drug policies in your company and state before trying out any cannabis-based treatment.
Consider too that your preexisting conditions and your body’s own response to chemicals and substances also affect the effectiveness of CBD (or any drug, for that matter) on you. Always consult a doctor before deciding to resort to CBD. Never self-medicate.