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Did you know the Cannabis plants are chemical powerhouses that produce more than 400 different compounds? That is amazing itself! Of those 400 compounds, more than 60 of them are totally specific to the plant Cannabis. These special compounds are what scientists call “Cannabinoids.” But not all are created equal. The one that we hear a lot, cannabidiol, aka CBD, holds key to the wide variety of medicinal and
therapeutic effects marijuana offers.
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What exactly is cannabidiol (CBD) and more importantly, what does it do?
The more we learn about CBD, the more we gain to recognize the revolution of this medicine.
- Cannabidiol isn’t psychoactive.
One important and most crucially important qualities of CBD is that, it lacks psycho-activity, aka it will not get you high.
THC: the cannabinoid with the legendary power of producing euphoric sensations.
CBD: is inert.
So when taken on its own, users experience none of the sensations of being stoned. And this is the single most important property of the cannabinoid from the medical—and legal—perspective
- Cannabidiol is Legal Almost Everywhere!
That’s right, it’s because CBD doesn’t get you high. Only THC, the cannabinoid, gets you high, which in turn is illegal.
When you take a drug test, the aim is to detect THC in your body, not “cannabis.” If you possessed weed without any THC in it, technically you wouldn’t be in violation of the law. Because “weed” without THC has a different name: hemp. And the rules governing hemp are quite different from the restrictions placed on cannabis.
Here’s What CBD Can Really Do—And The Research Backing It Up
1. CBD can stop Epileptic seizures.
In 2012, researchers with the British Epilepsy Association published a paper called “Cannabidiol exerts anticonvulsant effects in animal models of temporal lobe and partial seizures.” Their conclusion? “The evidence strongly supports CBD as a therapeutic candidate for a diverse range of human epilepsies.”
2. CBD Can Treat Serious Neurological Diseases Like Alzheimer’s, Multiple Sclerosis, and Parkinson’s
Researchers are still trying to figure out the exact mechanisms behind neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. We know it has to do with a protein pathway, and that’s exactly the pathway this 2006 study investigates.
Taking a look down to the molecular level, researchers discovered that CBD can actually protect nerve cells from degenerative diseases. Scientists call this CBD’s “neuroprotective effect,” and it’s one of the most promising aspects of the cannabinoid.
3. CBD Can Relieve Pain
Medical cannabis is quickly becoming the go-to alternative to dangerous and addictive prescription painkillers, like the opioids that are causing an epidemic of overdose deaths in the United States.
A lot of weed’s pain-killing power stems from its psychoactive cannabinoid, THC. But cannabidiol is also a potent pain reliever. 2015 saw the most important study to uncover the pain-relieving effects of CBD. In that study, researchers compared cannabidiol to morphine.
To their surprise, CBD worked well in combination with morphine and counteracted the latter’s risky side effects. This means cannabidiol can help treat acute pain conditions, along with more long-term benefits.
4. CBD Can Fight Cancer
It sounds too good to be true. But indeed, pre-clinical trials have shown that cannabidiol has a powerful anti-tumor effect.
The most important study to reveal these powerful tumor-inhibiting effects came out in 2015. In fact, this study looked at a range of non-psychoactive cannabinoids, including, of course, cannabidiol.
In a landmark for medical cannabis research, this study concluded that “CBD slows the progression of many types of cancer, including breast, lung, prostate and colon cancer.”
How that works is pretty incredible. Cannabidiol actually makes it harder for cancer cells to grow. In some cases, this causes an increase in cancer cell death. No wonder stories abound about “miracle” CBD cures that shrink tumors.
5. CBD Can Reduce Inflammation
Cannabis is widely-valued as a treatment for inflammation. Credit goes to both THC and CBD in that regard, but cannabidiol has some special anti-inflammatory properties of its own.
Specifically, cannabidiol binds with the endocannabinoid system to produce a response that reduces nerve inflammation. This is another of its “neuroprotective” qualities and a major reason why CBD is such an effective treatment for neurological diseases.
6. CBD Can Treat Mood Disorders
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) affects nearly 8 percent of all American’s during their lifetime. Women are twice as likely as men to suffer from it. Finding an affordable, safe, and reliable treatment for PTSD would profoundly impact the lives of millions of Americans every year.
To that end, a pathbreaking 2013 study found that cannabidiol improved people’s abilities to forget their traumatic memories. These findings are incredibly important and could be relevant for figuring out how cannabidiol can treat other anxiety and stress disorders.