If you’ve set foot inside of a dispensary anytime recently, chances are you’ve heard about CBD. Word has spread fast about the research on cannabis’ lesser known, but equally beneficial chemical component, with special attention given to its ability to treat symptoms sans the psychoactive effect. Many have touted its laundry list of medicinal benefits because much of the research has been extremely promising. Turns out, THC had a secret accomplice we’re just now beginning to understand.
In various studies, CBD has been shown to reduce nausea, relieve chronic pain, and reduce inflammation. It also acts as anti-psychotic, anti-anxiety and anti-depressant, making it of special interest to the psychiatric community and those suffering from mental disorders. Its antioxidant properties act as a neuroprotective agent and can help to minimize damage from brain injuries. CBD has been observed to reduce the growth of cancer cells in mice, a claim that is currently being further researched at multiple academic facilities internationally. It comes as no surprise that CBD has become the breakout star of the cannabis world, with study after study producing encouraging results.
All the medicinal potential CBD holds has understandably attracted a great deal of attention. A powerful turning point in public opinion came after a CNN report from the U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who had publicly reversed his previously-skeptical stance on cannabis. He featured a story about a young girl suffering from epileptic seizures whose condition improved significantly from using CBD-rich cannabis extracts. Additionally, Stanford found that 84% of severely epileptic children surveyed experienced remarkable reductions in seizure activity from CBD therapy. Dr. Gupta’s profound and public shift in perspective, backed by various findings from prestigious research centers, forced the mainstream to collectively re-examine its outdated beliefs on the real medical value of cannabis.
While a key talking point about CBD has been focused on its ability to treat a host of conditions sans the psychoactive effect, it’s important to remember that cannabis is actually an integrative medicine. THC and CBD, along with 60+ other cannabinoids, work in tandem to maximize the positive benefits it can have on the body. Each element plays an important role and works together, giving cannabis the therapeutic versatility it’s known for. This theory has been dubbed “The Entourage Effect” emphasizing value on the whole plant, as opposed to isolating any one particular ingredient. Project CBD, a non-profit dedicated to promoting the research and medical uses of CBD, deems THC and CBD as the “power couple” of cannabis, “interacting synergistically to enhance each other’s therapeutic effects.” One is not superior to the other and furthermore, the psychoactive effects of THC doesn’t have to mean that it has less intrinsic worth as a medicine.
But if the psychoactive effects of THC aren’t your flavor, that doesn’t necessarily mean that CBD products that contain THC should or need to be entirely avoided. The presence of CBD, when used in combination with THC, counteracts the negative effects of THC, including memory impairment and paranoia while providing a calming, sedative effect — a comforting notion to those new to cannabis or averse to the “THC high.” It’s all about finding the right ratio. CBD and THC both bind and interact with endocannabinoid receptors in the brain and other parts of the body, while activating their plentiful healing assets. Whereas THC binds to a CB1 receptor, communicating information upon stimulation, CBD lands on the CB1 receptors and regulates the way THC’s information is received (dimming or increasing certain effects). In reality, both are “psychoactive” but just in different ways. Some will dismiss CBD because it is non-psychoactive like THC and will completely miss out on the unique benefits CBD provides, while others might attempt to forego THC, without realizing that they work best as a team.
The ability for CBD to be tolerated in high doses without the “high” associated with THC make it a viable treatment option, and many are replacing conventional pharmaceuticals with cannabis. With such a dramatic shift happening in the way we treat common symptoms and disorders, it’s important to stay informed on the ever-emerging and continually evolving information train. Equipping oneself with researched-backed knowledge can help decide what treatment path is right for you as an individual. It will also open you up to alternative options you might not have once considered. We’re just now beginning to understand the breadth of potential that lies within such a potent and intelligent plant medicine. It’s only a matter of time until we see CBD become a staple in medicine cabinets everywhere.