The Cannabis Derived Compound with Therapeutic Properties that Far Exceed Conventional Drugs
Cannabis, commonly referred to as marijuana, is a natural plant that has been used therapeutically for over 5000 years. However, since the early 1900’s its use has not only been frowned upon, it has been outlawed, and countless people have suffered unnecessarily because of it. Ironically, prescription medications which are completely unnatural and often cause more harm than good, are prescribed for many of the symptoms and diseases that cannabis can treat both safely and effectively. Fortunately, all that is about to change thanks to a compound in cannabis that provides all the medicinal benefits without any of the psychotropic effects that led to its ban.
There are over 85 active compounds found in marijuana all of which belong to a class of molecules called cannabinoids. Tetrahydrocannabinol, which is more commonly referred to as ‘THC’, and cannabidiol, or ‘CBD,’ are usually present in the highest concentrations, and are therefore the most recognized and researched compounds.
Levels of THC and CBD vary among different plants and marijuana grown for recreational use typically contains more THC than CBD. The reason for this, is that THC acts on specific pathways in the brain (called CB1 receptors), that produce psychoactive effects which result in the ‘high’ that is commonly associated with recreational weed.
CBD works on completely different receptors in the brain and it produces essentially no psychotropic effects. In contrast to THC, CBD does not cause fatigue, interfere with motor control, or effect psychological functioning. Not only does CBD not make people feel ‘stoned,’ it actually counters the psychotropic effects of THC.
Why CBD is Gaining Mainstream Approval
CBD is highly therapeutic and its numerous medical benefits are finally gaining the attention that they deserve in medical literature. Health professionals are more open-minded to CBD products than to traditional cannabis because it is not mind altering. It is also well-tolerated, safe and causes minimal side-effects, even at high doses.
Benefits of CBD
Studies have proven CBD helps to lower inflammation and combat inflammatory disorders; relieve pain, reduce anxiety, and prevent spasms. It also has anti-tumor properties; helping to halt the growth and proliferation of cancer cells and killing cancer cells that have already developed. In fact, preliminary research suggests it may be therapeutically beneficial for brain, bladder, colon, breast, endocrine, lung, prostate and skin cancer.
A review of several scientific studies, that was published in the 2013 edition of the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, found that CBD also has the following medicinal properties:
|Medical Properties of CBD||Effects|
|Antiemetic||Reduces nausea and vomiting|
|Anticonvulsant||Suppresses seizure activity|
|Antipsychotic||Combats psychosis disorders|
|Anti-oxidant||Combats neurodegenerative disorders|
|Anxiolytic/Anti-depressant||Combats anxiety and depression disorders|
Current CBD Laws
Selective breeding techniques allow cannabis growers to create plant strains with high levels of CBD and next to zero levels of THC. Currently CBD is legal in the US if it contains less than 0.3 THC. However, there is a major caveat — the CBD needs to be derived from hemp stalks. This is problematic because hemp stalks contain very little CBD, and the extraction methods typically require chemicals and industrial solvents that are harmful for human consumption. Fortunately, many states have passed legislation (state-based commercial hemp programs) approving CBD that is extracted from the cannabis flower and leaves, which is the ideal source for medicinal purposes.
The Future of CBD
Most of the studies on CBD that have been completed thus far, were carried out on animals. However, now that the safety of CBD is indisputable, scientists are beginning to confirm its medicinal qualities with human studies. CBD has a multitude of potential therapeutic effects and it’s likely to become a popular and indispensable nutraceutical in the very near future.
*The above article was based on an interview with Dr. John Hicks.