While the debate about medical marijuana has come to the forefront in recent years, it is a concept that is still misunderstood by many. While the predominant image is of someone getting high, with the tentative excuse being the drug has medical benefits, that only represents a tiny part of medical marijuana research. In fact, most of the research is into a substance not necessarily derived from marijuana, cannabidiol. Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is one of the hundreds of different elements contained within the marijuana plant, and can also be derived from hemp. Because hemp is entirely legal, CBD oil is too.
CBD largely works so well because we have a system in us that is designed to interact with cannabinoids, the endocannabinoid system. One of the advantages of specifically CBD over other cannabinoid based treatments is that it is non-psychotropic. Psychotropic substances are ones that alter the mental state, making them narcotics. CBD is psychoactive, meaning it interacts with the brain, but it does not produce any euphoric effects, making it safe to use, even in children. CBD has many different qualities affecting a broad range of diseases and disorders, which, along with its lack of side effects, makes it a potent medicine.
Painkillers such as Advil and Tylenol work as anti-inflammatories, shutting down inflammation to deal with pain. CBD works in the same way, except it doesn’t come with the whole host of side effects that those painkillers do, even non-prescription ones. That makes it a much safer option to use for pain management in the long term. It also serves as an excellent alternative to opiates, a more serious side of the painkiller family. Opiates have been proven to be highly addicting, sometimes causing dependency over the course of one prescribed round of taking them. In fact, over-prescription and subsequent restriction of opiates have been the number-one contributor to the ongoing heroin epidemic.
CBD also may provide long-term benefits for those with chronic inflammation, linked to diseases such as many cancers, type II diabetes, and heart disease. Researchers theorize that CBD’s anti-inflammatory qualities can decrease your chances of developing such diseases, although there haven’t been enough studies to prove or deny this claim. There have been enough studies to show that CBD not only is non-addictive, but it also can deal with pain as efficiently as other anti-inflammatories without the body building up a tolerance.
CBD has strong neuroprotective qualities as well. One of the most studied areas of CBD research have been surrounding epilepsy and in CBD’s ability to treat it. While results have varied, CBD has reduced seizures in the majority of people living with epilepsy, and eliminated them in some. There is also a growing body of evidence that CBD can help prevent stroke, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, ALS, and multiple sclerosis. It has been used to treat insomnia as a sleep aid and has been shown to decrease drowsiness and fatigue.
CBD is one of the most effective nausea medications available. Nausea originates in both the brain and the digestive system, and most medicines address one or the other, while CBD addresses both. It acts fast, works well, and lasts longer than other anti-nausea medications. However, too much CBD can reverse the benefits and increase nausea. CBD also can function as a digestive aid by binding to the cannabinoid receptors along the gastrointestinal tract. As an appetite stimulant, it can also help deal with the loss of appetite caused by disorders like Crohn’s or treatments like chemotherapy.
Anxiety and depression medications dominate a large part of the pharmaceutical market in America. Such drugs are for short-term use, however, usually dealing only with the symptoms of the problem, while subjecting the patient to a significant risk of addiction. CBD oil can work as a natural alternative to anti-anxiety or anti-depressant medication. Not only does it come with no risk of dependency, but by binding to the cannabinoid receptors in the brain, CBD can also do more to combat the cause of anxiety and depression than pills can. Some research has shown that CBD can also be effective against panic attacks, OCD, and PTSD, and can lower discomfort and cognitive impairment in those suffering from social anxiety.
Oxidation is essentially the most common form of decay in the universe. When a fire burns to ash, that is oxidizing. A statue rusting is oxidation as well. In any system with oxygen, it is the ultimate fate of molecules to oxidize. Inside the human body, oxidization can damage cells, and over time, it can lead to a significant number of illnesses. CBD’s capacity as an antioxidant can slow down the oxidization process, preventing many autoimmune, ischemic, and age-related disorders.
One study shows that CBD’s anti-proliferative properties could prevent the growth of breast cancer cells.
CBD has a similar effect to prescription antipsychotics, without the side effects. A recent study shows that CBD can relieve symptoms of schizophrenia, and some believe it may help combat a broad range of psychotic disorders.
If the health benefits of CBD seem questionable, that’s entirely fair. Some evidence shows that CBD can lower instances of diabetes in both mice and people. Another study shows a decrease in acne caused by CBD oil. The problem is, with so little research allowed, we just don’t know for sure exactly what the benefits are. The way we learn isn’t through individual studies telling us exactly what the truth is, but by a lot of researchers and scientists, looking over each other’s shoulders and checking their mistakes. Fortunately, the tide is turning, and recent years there has been more and more research into the countless benefits of CBD.
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