There has long been a case for using cannabis for medical purposes. There is evidence that it can relieve pain because of the THC in cannabis component for a start, it could well have beneficial effect on the development and treatment of glaucoma, might help control epilepsy and there’s even a growing belief that it could help stop some forms of cancer from spreading.
One, and perhaps more important, component of cannabis is cannabidiol or CBD which doesn’t get users high but could well benefit their health.
What is Cannabidiol?
Cannabis & cannabis seeds have about 60 different components, of which CBD is one. There are different seed types coming onto the market which are being bred to produce higher levels of CBD than THC, the compound that gives you a high. This has the advantage of producing something that has little or no psycho-active effect, which makes it ideal for those who just want to take cannabis for therapeutic reasons.
We have cannabinoid receptors in cells all over our bodies and in every major organ. CBD is able to interact with these cells because it has similar properties to chemicals that our body produces naturally.
Many more medical cannabis researchers are starting to see it as a possible tool for dealing with a number of medical conditions. There is potential here for producing a drug that can help with everything from arthritis and diabetes to chronic pain and psychosis. There is other research however that says THC is a more important compound.
In the past, breeders have been more focused on producing products and seeds that are high in THC rather than CBD. That’s beginning to change now, particularly as we start to learn about the potential of this compound.
But does CBD deserve all the hyperbole that you find online nowadays? And can it help therapeutically if you have a particular condition?
The Benefits of CBD
So far there is compelling but by no means conclusive evidence that CBD can help in numerous medical situations. The most common cited are:
- It works to reduce nausea and vomiting.
- There are anticonvulsant properties which mean it could be used to reduce seizures, for example, for conditions such as epilepsy.
- There is some evidence that CBD could have anti-psychotic and anti-depressant properties and could be used in mental health treatment.
- There are anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties as well.
- Recent evidence has suggested that it may play a role in reducing the spread of cancer in some patients, though the majority of this has been carried out in laboratory conditions.
- There’s a good deal of evidence that CBD can also act to influence and dampen the psycho-active properties of THC
All this sounds well and good and you may be forgiven for thinking that CBD is one of the major medical developments of the 21st century. However, these are still early days and there is a great deal of research still to do. Most of the current data available has been gathered from research carried out on animals and not humans.
This is beginning to change, however. A UK pharmaceutical company has developed its own CBD product and is now looking to run clinical trials as a potential treatment for schizophrenia as well as researching its impact on epilepsy. In the US, despite it being classed as a schedule 1 drug in some states, FDA approval has been given for a trial with children who suffer from epilepsy.
Many places now sell oil which can be used in vapers or ingested orally via drops and you can easily obtain the product online. The legalisation of cannabis in many states across the US in recent years and greater exposure on mainstream TV has led to a more focused interest in CBD and it’s therapeutic properties. In the UK, cannabidiol is now used in some medicines but any product that purports to provide medical treatment needs to be licenced. In places like Australia and Canada, CBD is only available via prescription also.
CBD: The Evidence
There’s generally a trend to give substances like CBD a little more kudos than they deserve but there is certainly evidence that it has more to give us as the research increases. Users in a small smoking cessation study showed that those who were given a CBD inhaler as opposed to a placebo were likely to smoke less cigarettes. Another study found that it might have an impact as a topical application for acne. That anti-inflammatory property might also work in cases of fibromyalgia while the anti-anxiety component could well help with mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder.
There’s plenty of anecdotal ‘evidence’ out there with people stating that the drug has helped them get a better sleep and lower levels of anxiety. Most people don’t realise that CBD is produced by our bodies naturally by the endocannabinoid system and has a role to play in homeostasis.
There are two options if you want to get a dose of CBD. You can choose to buy CBD rich products to vape or smoke or you can buy cannabis oils which have varying levels of concentration. Better breeding has now produced plants that are high in CBD compared to THC and there may be what scientists call an entourage effect which makes this more effective than oils.
As with many products on the market nowadays, you should be careful about where you buy CBD oil or seeds if you hope to grow your own plants. There are products out there that don’t contain any CBD and not all companies are as above board as we might hope, mainly due to lack of regulation.
If you are going to buy online, then make sure that you do so from a reputable supplier. There are good products out there such as Cannawell’s Hemp Extract. Another thing you should be aware of is that opting for a low price is usually a bad economy – it’s better to pay a little more for a quality product. The best way to get the CBD level that you are looking for, however, is to grow your own product, choosing seeds that have been bred for this purpose.
It’s highly probable that CBD has a number of potentially life changing and therapeutic effects. While the evidence base needs to improve, many anecdotal accounts are beginning to surface that point to an important compound which could well be used by a lot of people in the future for a whole range of ailments.