The Pros And Cons Of CBD
CBD is “short for cannabidiol, is a chemical compound from the Cannabid sativa plant, which is also known as marijuana or hemp. It’s a naturally occurring substance that’s used in products like oils and edibles to impart a feeling of relaxation and calm. Unlike its cousin, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the major active ingredient in marijuana, CBD is not psychoactive” ~ medlineplus.gov. CBD has been a controversial topic for years now without a definitive stand from FDA (Food and Drug Administration) as of yet. Regardless of its status quo, CBD has been a very popular health remedy. Which brings us to the question – what are the pros and cons of CBD?
The Hemp Law of 2018
Cannabidiol, or CBD, has become very popular these last few years. The main reason for this was the legalization of industrial hemp in 2018. It used to be illegal because it shares the same genus as marijuana. However, CBD does not produce the psychosomatic effects given by tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a key compound in marijuana. Basically, hemp is used to make rope and paper, not to get you high, and the CBD extracted from hemp will not get you high.
You are likely reading this article because marijuana is not legal in your state, but you still want the relaxation benefits it gives. Or maybe you don’t like the feeling you get from smoking marijuana and want to try something that is no psychoactive. You’ve come to the right place!
Pro: Reduced Anxiety and More
According to WebMD.com, “Cannabidiol seems to prevent the breakdown of a chemical in the brain that affects pain, mood, and mental function. Preventing the breakdown of this chemical and increasing its levels in the blood seems to reduce psychotic symptoms associated with conditions such as schizophrenia. Cannabidiol might also block some of the psychoactive effects of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Also, cannabidiol seems to reduce pain and anxiety.”
In other words, there is science behind your brain and body’s reaction to CBD. It seems to have an effect on pain, anxiety and psychotic symptoms that is not a placebo.
Con: Not To Be Used As Substitute For Medical Or Psychiatric Care
There is insufficient evidence to support CBD having any effect on bipolar disorder or other mental health conditions. The evidence is shaky on CBD helping with Multiple sclerosis, withdrawal from opioid drugs, Parkinson disease, schizophrenia, and quitting smoking. If you suffer from any of these, please consult a medical professional before self-treating. CBD could help you, but the science is still out.
Pro and Con: Legal And Illegal By State
CBD can be derived from hemp or the marijuana plant (marijuana-based CBD). Ever since hemp got off the list of controlled substances in the United States, CBD derived from hemp has made waves. Marijuana, on the other hand, is illegal for recreational use in many states and requires a medical card in others.
In most states in America, marijuana-based CBD for recreational use is illegal, so you must have a medical marijuana card to get it and use it legally. It’s a good idea to review your state’s laws so you know what you have access to.
Con: Possible Negative Side Effects
CBD’s side effects tend to come only at high doses. Make sure to start with a low dose and work your way up to your desired outcome. If you feel any of these side effects no matter your dosage, then CBD may not be for you. CBD’s side effects include appetite changes, fatigue, weight loss, dizziness, and diarrhea.
Pro: Has Been Shown to Help With Epilepsy
According to WebMD.com, “A specific cannabidiol product (Epidiolex, GW Pharmaceuticals) has been shown to reduce seizures in adults and children with various conditions that are linked with seizures.”
Con: More Research Is Needed
At the end of the day we have only been researching and consuming CBD on a large scale for a couple of years. That’s not very long when it comes to science. Only time will tell the long term effects of regular CBD uses, for better or for worse.
CBD Versus THC Products
The rise of Cannabidiol (CBD) products came after the United States made hemp legal in 2018. For years hemp got a bad reputation for its close genetic relationship to marijuana. The two plants look very similar and are found in the same genus, Cannabis. The differences are complicated, but it mainly boils down to chemicals. There is a huge difference between cbd and thc oil.
According to Healthline.com, “Hemp and cannabis come from the Cannabis sativa plant. Legal hemp must contain 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or less. THC is the main psychoactive compound in cannabis that produces the high sensation. It can be consumed by smoking cannabis.” So basically, CBD products don’t get you “high,” but they do provide many other benefits.
Healthline.com outlines the chemical makeup of both CBD and THC. “Both CBD and THC have the exact same molecular structure: 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and 2 oxygen atoms. A slight difference in how the atoms are arranged accounts for the differing effects on your body.” They can also both interact with your body’s cannabinoid receptors. That interaction is what causes changes to your mental state.
What Happens In Your Head
In our brains we have a cannabinoid called CB1. THC binds with it to produce a high. CBD, on the other hand, binds to CB1 weakly if at all. When taken with THC, CBD can bind to CB1 receptor and reduce some of the effects of THC.
In short, THC products make you high. You may receive feelings of euphoria, zone out, and food and music may become more awesome than usual. Unfortunately, you may also experience paranoia and the substance is not legal in every state.
CBD, on the other hand, can mellow out some of THC’s harshness when taken alongside it. When taken alone, CBD has shown to reduce stress, anxiety, and even depression. You also do not have to smoke or vaporize CBD products, which is better for your lungs.
Hemp has been removed from the list of controlled substances, so CBD derived from hemp is generally legal. CBD derived from marijuana plants contain higher levels of THC and fall under a more gray legal area.
Many states along with Washington DC have passed medical marijuana laws, but you usually have to go through a doctor to get cannabis with high levels of THC. Of course, a growing number of states have legalized recreational use of THC. In those legal areas, both THC and CBD products can be found and purchased legally.
These laws are constantly changing. Before you acquire any CBD or THC products, research your state’s particular laws for possession and purchase of CBD and THC. If you are found to possess these substances in a state where they are illegal, you may face legal penalties.
The FDA has approved a CBD based medicine called Epidiolex which helps people suffering for epileptic seizures. Many also report that CBD helps them with seizures, inflammation, pain, psychosis or mental disorders, inflammatory bowel disease, nausea, migraine, depression, and anxiety. It does so in milder ways than THC which takes you on a full ride with euphoria and risk of paranoia.
THC also reportedly helps with pain, muscle spasticity, glaucoma, insomnia, low appetite, nausea, and anxiety.
Research about these substances is always evolving and just because a group of people reports an effect associated with one or the other does not mean it will be the same for you. Make sure to consult a medical professional before you use THC or CBD to treat a mental or physical illness.
There is also a slew of side effects associated with both including increased heart rate, coordination problems, dry mouth, red eyes, slower reaction times, memory loss, and anxiety for THC.
CBD’s side effects only tend to occur at higher doses, but be aware of appetite changes, fatigue, weight loss, dizziness, and diarrhea.
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