Cannabis has been used for more than 3000 years in places such as China, for its natural medical properties. Cannabidiol, more commonly known as CBD is one of the 100+ cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. In the recent years, the therapeutic properties of this specific cannabinoid have been thoroughly researched and to the benefit of many people, the research has led to some significant breakthroughs. However, there is still a large stigma surrounding the world of medical cannabis as people still believe that it is a ‘harmful drug’. Due to the fact it has no psychoactive properties CBD is now legal in the majority of countries, which is a step in the right direction, however this post is aiming to clarify some of the misconceptions surrounding this therapeutic cannabinoid and its properties.
CBD is the only cannabinoid that possesses therapeutic properties.
There are still cannabinoids that are yet to be discovered, however out of the 100+ cannabinoids that have been studied the vast majority of them are said to have medicinal properties, such as CBN, THCA, CBC and many more, although some have similar properties there are no two that are the same. That being said, whilst THC is well-known for inducing a psychoactive feeling the most prominent cannabinoids that have therapeutic effects are both CBD and THC and which are primarily known for their anti-inflammatory, analgesic and anti-epileptic effects.
CBD is the same as synthetic marijuana
CBD oils are commonly made from hemp flowers due to their high CBD content and low levels of THC, which is what makes it legal to cultivate in more countries than the cannabis sativa plant. Synthetic CBD is made in the lab and while it has been used in some medicines it does not possess the same natural properties as the original cannabinoid. Pharmacology and Pharmacy published a report in 2015 to test the analgesic effects of CBD and synthetic CBD in lab rats; researchers found that the rats needed much higher doses of the synthetic CBD in order to match the pain relieving effects of the natural CBD.
CBD turns to THC in the body
In the past it has been said that CBD can change to THC when it is immersed in gastric acid. There have since been many human trials that have shown that this is in fact not the case and that it has never been known that an enzyme could transform inside the body. The sets of findings that suggested this, were inconsistent and the ‘stomach acid’ used in these experiments were not portrayed accurately.
CBD only works on its own
In fact CBD and THC complement each other very well and are commonly used in combination to treat a variety of conditions, as they are able to interact synergistically in order to enhance each other’s therapeutic effects. Scientists found that when the effects of CBD and THC were tested together for the treatment of brain and breast cancer that they had more potent effects than when they were tested separately.
CBD is a sedative
Whilst studies have stated that CBD may be useful for treating sleep disorders such as insomnia, it has recently been found, according to Dr Russo that in small doses CBD alone may be an effective stimulant. It has also been found to counteract the sedative properties of THC which may be useful for patients who are prescribed a combined treatment. Russo found that the terpene responsible for these sedative and ‘couch locking’ effects is in fact myrcene.
CBD will never be as effective as pharmaceutical medication
Whilst in some cases pharmaceuticals may be stronger, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they work better. There have been many studies to test this misconception; in 2015 a research group found that when CBD and painkillers were used in conjunction with each other the effects of both were enhanced, patients were then able to start reducing the amount of prescription medication they were taking and were able to eventually completely it with CBD, a natural alternative that unlike the majority of pharmaceuticals does not produce any side effects or lead to a harmful addiction.
Cannabidiol has the ability to help thousands of people across the world, but the views surrounding the cannabis plant are clouding the judgement those in a higher authority. Whilst there has been significant findings and many anecdotal claims to support its use as a therapeutic product, misconceptions such as these are what are increasing the negative stigma around this plant and alternative medicine.