Cannabidiol (CBD) is an active substance found in marijuana that has shown promise in treating epilepsy, seizure disorders, and types of chronic pain. In fact, this substance in weed has been the star of many newly found medical treatments despite the lack of public attention.
If you or a loved one uses medical marijuana or any of its counterparts, knowing what cannabidiol does and how it interacts with the human can go a long way in understanding how this alternative medicine actually works.
- CBD is a key ingredient in cannabis
CBD is a cannabinoid, a group of substances found in marijuana that can interact with our brain and nervous system. These chemical can bind themselves to a group of receptors found inside our body known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system regulates several physiological functions such as pain, the immune response, wound healing and even our reactions to stress and physical damage. CBD is usually found in small percentages in the cannabis plant (around 0.6% to 1%), and is the second most important cannabinoid right after tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
- CBD mitigates the effects of THC
As we just said, the most important cannabinoid is THC since it’s found in much higher percentages (10% to 20%). THC is a psychoactive substance that is responsible for many subjective sensations including the famous “high” or “stoned” effect. On the other hand, higher percentages of CBD in a given strain might help mitigating those effects. Recreational strains are, in fact, rich in THC and low in CBD. Consuming high CBD products such as the oil, can fight off the psychoactive effects of THC and help you get back to normal.
This is largely why many patients who are managing seizures opt for high CBD strains, edibles, or oils to get through their daily lives.
- CBD is not a psychoactive substance
CBD has no psychoactive effects since it does not act on the same receptors affected by THC. Pure CBD oil has almost no psychological or psychomotor side effects, making it a safe substance even when used on epileptic children. Nonetheless, CBD has is able to regulate many other body functions, can help treat many conditions such as seizures and chronic pain, and might even have a protective effect against cancer.
- Studies found CBD to be effective
Many studies found that CBD is a safe and effective substance to treat a vast plethora of conditions. However, the vast majority of them just tested it on animals, although many universities started extending these trials to human subjects. In 2013 a large review of many of these trials has been published on the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. CBD has been found to be effective against:
- Nausea and vomit
- Epilepsy and seizures
- Anxiety and depression
- Neurodegenerative disorders
- Chronic pain
- Autoimmune disorders
- Some forms of psychosis
- CBD oil can be used on children
Probably the most groundbreaking discovery about CBD is its unexpected effectiveness in treating some drug-resistant types of epilepsy in children, such as the Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and the Dravet syndrome. This extraordinary effect got the attention of the media when a five years old child named Charlotte Figi, suddenly recovered from an intractable form of epilepsy that devastated her life. Many studies proved CBD oil’s effectiveness in stopping seizures and increasing the efficacy of other antiepileptic drugs.
- CBD oil is helpful for many psychological conditions
If you suffer from a mental disorder, CBD oil may have a beneficial effect. Studies found that CBD can interact with brain receptors that are responsible for the symptoms of several psychological disorders, including anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and even some forms of psychosis. Always ask your doctor’s opinion before taking CBD, however. A co-administration of this substance can help reduce the side effects of traditional medications or improve their efficacy.
- CBD oil is legal in California
Thanks to the Ballot Proposition 215 approved in 1996, all pharmacologic cannabis products can be legally used for medical purposes. To qualify, a patient requires a written medical certificate or a legitimate recommendation from a marijuana doctor. Medical weed derivatives, including CBD oil, can be prescribed for many conditions, including chronic pain, seizures, cancer, anxiety and depression. Medical marijuana in San Francisco can be purchased by any licensed dispensary, including one of the many online ones you can find on the Internet.
If you suffer from one of the many conditions that CBD might cure, you should give it a try. Seek your doctor’s advice before changing your medication plan, and take your time to explore the many properties of this natural remedy. It can finally provide you with the help you were looking for.
Article by Dr. Claudio Butticè, Pharm.D.
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