Curious about cannabidiol (CBD) and its potential benefits? Wondering if CBD comes with any psychoactive effects or other types of adverse effects? Trying to decide if you want to purchase CBD-rich products or THC-rich ones? Well, keep on reading, as this article will address all of these issues and more!
What is Cannabidiol (CBD)?
Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the two most prevalent cannabinoids found in cannabis plants.
While there are other plants that are known to contain cannabinoids, cannabis is the ONLY one to contain THC, which is what gives cannabis its psychoactive and relaxing properties that are said to make users feel “high.”
CBD, on the other hand, can be derived from both hemp and non-hemp plants, and does not result in users feeling impaired, aka “high.” In short, “hemp” is any part of the cannabis sativa plant that does not contain more than 0.3% of THC.
Thanks to CBD’s soothing and non-psychoactive properties, it is a vital component in medical marijuana. In fact, according to the World Health Organization (WHO): “CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential…. To date, there is no evidence of public health related [sic] problems associated with the use of pure CBD.” As such, this is, in part, why states that have yet to legalize recreational marijuana, have allowed those with qualified medical conditions to be able to at least access CBD-rich products.
A Brief History of CBD Usage in the Medical Arena
While the use of medical marijuana as a form of medical treatment for various health-related issues may seem like a modern and recent practice, the truth is that it has been used at varying intervals throughout the centuries to treat pain since at least 2900 BC, with its use thought to have originated in East Asian medicinal practices.
In the centuries that followed it continued to be common practice to use it, even in the United States, and it wasn’t until 1937 when the U.S. federal government chose to tax and criminalize it, and then remove it from the U.S. pharmacopeia in 1942, followed by eventually changing its legal status and criminalizing it as a Schedule 1 substance in the 1970s that medical marijuana as a form of potential treatment for various health conditions that it fell out of common usage for the following decades.
The Endocannabinoid System
Without bogging you down with too much information, a network of cannabinoid receptors, which are part of your endocannabinoid system, exist within your brain and body, and these loops of protein impact how you feel/experience temporary and chronic pain.
So, when you inhale or consume marijuana or cannabis-derived products, the cannabinoids that they contain seek out these receptors in your body and change how they work. It is thought that in the process of doing so, they then help to calm pain signals, and may even have the potential therapeutic effect of reducing inflammation and soothing chronic aches and pains; mental health issues; and other physical ailments, like various forms of epilepsy and cancer-related symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and pain, by interacting with your body’s endocannabinoid system’s neurotransmitters.
Potential Health Benefits of Using CBD
Please note that all of the potential health benefits of CBD, while studied and researched, are still considered to be anecdotal as much more research is required. As such, it is of vital importance that you not only never self-diagnose, but that you never self-prescribe THC- or CBD-rich products without first going to and speaking with your registered and licensed healthcare provider.
Types of Epilepsy
According to the Epilepsy Foundation: “… not everyone with epilepsy should or would consider medical cannabis or cannabidiol (CBD) as a treatment option, some people living with uncontrolled seizures have reported beneficial effects and reduced seizure activity when using medical cannabis, especially strains rich in CBD.” They go on to state that while more research needs to be conducted, medical cannabis, when prescribed by a healthcare provider, may be the best option for patients living with treatment-resistant epilepsy and uncontrolled seizure disorders.
Further backing up these claims is a study that was conducted by researchers at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine that found that CBD blocks signals “carried by a molecule called lysophosphatidylinositol (LPI). Found in brain cells called neurons, LPI is thought to amplify nerve signals as part of normal function, but can be hijacked by disease to promote seizures.”
In short, these findings point to the belief that LPI can also weaken signals that counter seizures, which adds to the argument for why CBD just may be invaluable to those with otherwise treatment-resistant epilepsy.
Other Neurological Disorders
CBD has been shown in various studies to have positive effects on the body’s nervous system, which is why it has also become a prescription product by healthcare providers in states where medical marijuana is legal for other neurological disorders like Parkinson’s as it seems to help relax the central nervous system and soothe muscle, ligament, tendon, and joint issues.
The leading cause of strokes, heart attacks, and other heart-related health conditions is that of high blood pressure. The reason that CBD is thought to be helpful to those with high blood pressure levels is because it may impact heart muscle contractions as well as help to widen blood vessels.
One example cited is from a 2020 study where 26 healthy volunteers (male) were given 600 mg of CBD for seven days, which resulted in significant reductions in their blood pressure levels. However, it is also important to point out that these effects dissipated after the seven-day trial.
Social Anxiety Disorder
According to this study in Frontier in Psychology, accumulated evidence demonstrates that CBD “reverses anxiety-like behavior.” In short, the efficacy of CBD treatment for Japanese teenagers aged 18-19 suffering from social anxiety disorder (SAD) was assessed. Over the course of four weeks, the otherwise healthy volunteers, were given CBD oil that contained 300 mg CBD, and it was shown that the CBD significantly decreased their SAD levels to the point that researchers speculate that CBD may serve to reverse SAD-induced behaviors.
Other Potential Health Benefits of CBD
- Sleep: CBD may help those with sleep disorders like insomnia, sleep apnea, etc. get a good night’s sleep. Plus, since there are no known occurrences of people becoming addicted to CBD or overdosing on it, CBD is considered to be a pretty safe option.
- Substance abuse: It is possible that CBD may help to alleviate the anxiety and depression commonly associated with breaking one’s dependence on certain drugs like heroin!
- Relief for cancer patients: As mentioned earlier, medical cannabis is often prescribed to cancer patients who are undergoing the harsh, yet necessary, treatments of radiation and chemotherapy as it seems to help lessen the common side effects, like nausea, vomiting, and pain that come with these treatments. Note that because smoking medical marijuana involves the inhaling of carcinogens, it is generally recommended that cancer patients instead ingest their CBD and cannabis-derived products in other forms like an edible or oil, etc.
- Mood regulation: Not only is CBD thought to help individuals with SAD, but it is also believed to help regulate ones mood. This is because, CBD interacts with the brain’s receptors that produce serotonin, and serotonin is responsible for things like balance, memory, learning, AND feelings of elation.
Adverse Effects of Cannabidiol (CBD)
The Mayo Clinic has stated about CBD’s potential negative side effects that: “Though it’s often well-tolerated, CBD can cause side effects, such as dry mouth, diarrhea, reduced appetite, drowsiness and fatigue. CBD can also interact with other medications you’re taking, such as blood thinners.”
In addition, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has “warned” that using CBD-rich products that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) have not gone through clinical studies and so may greatly differ in composition compared to CBD-rich products that have gone through clinical studies.
Basically, if you have any safety concerns about using a CBD-based product, then the best advice would be to speak with your physician.
High CBD-Strains From Growers Choice
Provided below are a few of the many CBD-rich strains available via Growers Choice Seeds.
1. Midnight: This is a near-evenly balanced, high CBD medical-grade strain that has the potential to effectively manage or even eliminate stress. In addition, due to containing 12.5% CBD, Midnight is regarded by some as being potent enough to help those who suffer from seizures. It is also said to relieve chronic pain, inflammation, nausea, loss of appetite, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and low-grade cases of insomnia.
2. Valentine X CBD: This potent 50/50 hybrid, which has a mind-blowing 25:1 CBD to THC level, is said to reduce symptoms connected to chronic seizures, as well as having the potential to significantly relieve chronic stress, depression, inflammation, migraines, headaches, chronic muscle spasms and pain, and joint pain.
3. Harlequin CBD: This sativa-dominant strain has a high CBD content that can be as much as 16% and is considered to be an effective daytime strain for medical users who don’t want to find themselves drifting off to sleep.