CBD, or cannabidiol, is quickly changing the argument for Cannabis in our health system.
Studies have shown that CBD possesses medical benefits. However, most people are familiar with the compound THC, which is the ingredient in marijuana that gets users high. Nowadays, attention has shifted to another compound in marijuana, CBD — for good reason.
While doctors can’t seem to look past certain side effects of THC, CBD doesn’t appear to present that problem. On the other hand, evidence of CBD’s medical benefits continues to grow.
Here are four facts that you should know about this unique compound:
1. CBD is a key ingredient in cannabis
It is one of over 60 compounds in cannabis that belong to a class of molecules cannabinoids. Of these compounds, both CBD and THC are usually present in the highest concentrations, and therefore scientists recognized and studied them the most.
Their levels tend to vary among different plants. Marijuana grown for recreational purposes often contains more THC than CBD.
However, with selective breeding techniques, cannabis breeders have managed to create varieties with high levels of CBD and next to zero levels of THC. These strains are rare but have become more popular in recent years.
2. CBD is non-psychoactive
Unlike THC, CBD does not cause a high. Although this makes CBD a poor choice for recreational users, it gives the chemical a significant advantage as a medicine, since health professionals prefer treatments with minimal side effects.
CBD is non-psychoactive because it does not act on the same pathways as THC. These pathways are CB1 receptors which carry a high amount of concentration in the brain. They are responsible for the mind-altering effects of THC.
A 2011 review published in Current Drug Safety concludes that CBD “does not interfere with psychological functions.” The authors add that several studies suggest that CBD is “well tolerated and safe” even at high doses.
3. CBD has a wide range of medical benefits
Although CBD and THC act on different pathways of the body, they seem to have many of the same medical benefits. According to a 2013 review published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, studies have found CBD possesses medical properties.
Unfortunately, most of this evidence come from animals since very few studies on CBD have been carried out in human patients.
But a drug company based in the UK recently developed a pharmaceutical version of CBD. The company, GW Pharmaceuticals, is now funding clinical trials on CBD as a treatment for schizophrenia and certain types of epilepsy.
Likewise, Dr. Sean McAllister who led a team of researchers at the California Pacific Medical Center has stated that they hope to begin trials on CBD as a breast cancer therapy.
4. CBD reduces the negative effects of THC
CBD seems to offer natural protection against the marijuana high. Numerous studies suggest that CBD acts to reduce the intoxicating effects of THC, such as memory impairment and paranoia.
It also appears to counteract the sleep-inducing effects of THC, which may explain why it increases alertness.
A patent awarded to the U.S. Health and Human Services in 2003 (US6630507) also covers the use of CBD as a treatment for various neurodegenerative and inflammatory disorders.
Reference Leaf Science http://www.leafscience.com/
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