CBD, or cannabidiol, is a chemical found in marijuana that is changing the discussion about whether marijuana should be used as medicine.
The proof of CBD’s medical benefit continues to grow day by day.
The first thing that comes to mind when marijuana is mentioned is THC (the chemical that gets users high), but recently, an ingredient called cannabidiol (CBD) rightfully takes almost all the attention. CBD doesn’t appear to have the problem and the side effects that doctors can’t look past in THC.
Here are 5 must-know facts about cannabidiol:
- CBD is the main compound in cannabis
There are 85 known compounds found in marijuana called cannabinoids. CBD, along with THC are the cannabinoids present in the highest concentrations, therefore most recognized and most studied.
THC and CBD levels vary in different plants, for example, marijuana grown for recreational purposes tend to contain more THC than CBD. However, marijuana breeders, using their selective techniques, have successfully created varieties with almost zero THC and large amount of CBD. These strains are rare and of great medical value.
2. CBD is non-psychoactive
CBD, unlike THC does not cause a high. This property gives CBD a notable advantage as a medicine, since doctors prefer treatments with minimum side effects.
A review from Current Dug Safety, from 2011, states that CBD “does not interfere with several psychomotor and psychological functions.” In that review, authors also conclude that CBD is “well tolerated and safe” even at excessive doses.
CBD is non -psychoactive because it does not affect the pathways in the same way as THC. These pathways are highly concentrated in the brain and are called CB1 receptors. They are culpable for the mind – altering effect of THC.
3. CBD has great medical value
While CBD and THC act on different pathways of the body, they appear to have a lot of the same medical benefits. Studies published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology in 2013, show that CBD possess the following properties:
- Antiemetic – Reduces nausea and vomiting
- Anticonvulsant – Suppresses seizure activity
- Anti-inflammatory – Combats inflammatory disorders
- Antipsychotic – Combats psychosis disorders
- Anti-oxidant – Combats neurodegenerative disorders
- Anti-tumoral/Anti-cancer – Combats tumor and cancer cells
- Anxiolytic/Anti-depressant – Combats anxiety and depression disorders
However, most of this evidence comes from animal trials, since not many studies on CBD have been implemented in human patients.
4. CBD reduces the negative effects of THC
Memory impairment and paranoia are famous intoxicating effects of THC. CBD, as shown in number of studies, acts as natural protection against the marijuana high and reduces the intoxicating effects of THC.
Another effect known for CBD is that it neutralizes and counteracts the sleep-inducing effects of THC, which is why some marijuana strains increase alertness.
A known fact is that both THC and CBD present no risk of lethal overdose, however, to avoid potential side effects, medical users are recommended to use marijuana with higher levels of CBD.
5. CBD is illegal
Although CBD has great medical value and shows great potential as medicine, it is unfortunately still illegal in many parts of the world. CBD is classified as Schedule 1 drug in the United States.
On the bright side, the FDA approved a request to trial a synthetic version of CBD in children with rare forms of epilepsy. The drug is called Epidiolex, and according to the company (GW Pharmaceuticals) that made this drug it consists of more than 98 percent CBD, trace quantities of some other cannabinoids, and zero THC.” GW Pharmaceuticals also makes another marijuana– based drug called Sativex, a drug prescribed as a treatment for multiple sclerosis in 24 countries around the world.