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When they hear about marijuana many people only think of it as of something negative: a drug only addicts would use, but it’s not as definite as you might think. For example CBD oil extracted from marijuana can be used to treat epilepsy, parkinson’s disease, and even ease some cancer treatment effects. Those properties are not recognized across many countries though.
At the moment only 30 states have already legalized marijuana or it’s extracts like CBD and THC for medical or recreational use.
More on this later, for now let’s recall what countries are allowing marijuana in general.
Legalization of marijuana in the world
It could come as a surprise, but marijuana is legal in a number of countries. Legalization went through in different time periods and with varying reasoning behind it.
In USA the process began in 2016 when 9 states held referendums on marijuana legalization. Some states had citizens vote for use in recreational purposes, some voted for medial-only use. Interestingly enough the states were one of the first countries to actually ban the use of marijuana in the first place. After Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 it started appearing in medical uses only in year 1996 and still remains illegal in a number of states to the day. Trump’s politics imply every state should regulate the use of substance on it’s own.
Uruguay was one of the first countries of the world to allow selling, buying and production of the smoking substances. The legislation to permit this was established in 2013. The argument behind the law was killing off the drug dealer’s income stream. Only registered companies are allowed to produce marijuana in Uruguay, it’s only sold in drug stores too. To combat drug business the government is allowing authorized sellers lower the prices, making drug business unprofitable.
North Korea can surprise everybody when they learn marijuana isn’t prohibited there. The country is viewed as a completely totalitarian state, yet the plant itself is growing there like a common herb and local population smokes it freely.
In Australia marijuana is legal from year 2016. Companies who wish to produce the product have to get a license from government. Cannabis was allowed in pursuit for medical uses.
Argentina‘s relationship with marijuana changed drastically multiple times from strictly negative to legal. From 2009 the substance is excluded from the list of banned ones.
Official statement of Belgium says marijuana is harmless and therefore allowed from 2003.
In Canada from year 2001 government allowed the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Later in 2018 it was allowed the use for smoking and other uses too.
Columbia has legalized not only marijuana but also cocaine.
In 2009 Mexico accepted unprecedented legal act that allows citizens to store and transfer 6 psychoactive substances.
Netherlands divide narcotic substances into heavy and light. Light ones are allowed and marijuana is one of them.
A 2008 referendum in Switzerland had 68% of the population vote for official sell of heroin with doctor’s prescription. Marijuana is allowed there for both medical and recreational use.
Czechia allowed storing small amounts of marijuana in 2010.
What do we know about CBD and THC
As we can see the reasoning behind accepting marijuana varies drastically across countries.
We are only looking at some aspects of its use though, the use of cannabinoids to be precise.
Cannabis contains a unique group of substances called cannabinoids. There are over 80 kinds and CBD and THC are the most known of them. For long time the substances were not discovered very well and the active research on them started only after legalization of it in a range of countries. Today the two components are researched very actively. Through those researched some interesting facts were found, let’s go in detail about them.
It appears that CBD does not give the “high” or any psychological effect in general that is tied to the use of marijuana. THC on the other hand does give the very effect, and at this point it’s clearly determined why. The THC compound has the property allowing it to connect with CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain. CBD does not have a property to bond with those receptors even though it does have its curative effect, that is achieved however in another way.
Because of CBD’s properties, the compound can be used as a remedy for workers who need quick mind and fast reaction. People are used to the idea that drugs would either have side effects, cause adaptation, or not that rarely both. CBD itself does not cause any kind of adaptation at all. Side effects such as diarrhea, change in appetite, and fatigue are temporary and very weak.
What’s interesting is that cannabinoids are produced in our very organisms. There is a whole system called endocannabinoid system responsible for this process. It’s linked with regulation of sleep, appetite, pain and immune system. Researchers believe the source of a range of illnesses could actually be due to lack of cannabinoids in the organism, and CBD oil could be used to fulfill the missing amounts of the substances. Increasing amounts of the cannabinoids could solve the issue with many diseases without many side effects.
Studies have already discovered effective influence on diseases such as:
- Parkinson’s disease.
Researches are conducted that aim at to confirm a suspicion, CBD oil could potentially also treat some “untreatable” diseases:
- Chronic neuropathological pains.
It’s been discovered that animals produce cannabinoids too, but the system is developed so much better in them, they don’t need as big amounts supplemented as a human would.
CBD oil influences some neurotransmitter receptors and can improve quality of life reducing pain, regulate appetite, sleep, reduce anxiety, nausea, inflammation etc.
By the way CBD is only one of the most studied substances. There are over 400 such substances found in cannabis that generally produce healing effects. Because of that it’s important what sort of cannabis is used for CBD extraction. There are different kinds of cannabis with varying proportions of CBD, THC and other cannabinoids.
It’s observed that THC generally helps more against muscle spasms and convulsions, while CBD is good against inflammation. Marijuana based medical drugs usually contain the mix of THC and CBD. It’s important to note that for cases when those drugs do have side effects THC is the one substance to cause them. Some countries allowing CBD do not allow the use of THC.
It’s established that CBD is effective against epilepsy seizures. According to a study, patients with over 10 seizures a day noticed a reduction in seizures amounts.
Taking in consideration child cases of epilepsy who are commonly prescribed to take a huge amounts of drugs with side effects, the use of non-toxic CBD oil could be a really good solution for them.
What else is known?
CBD can help with mental illnesses:
- Can replace antidepressants, that could cause suicidal tendencies.
Researches are also conducted to study the influence of the CBD oil on cancer propagation reduction.
If we compare CBD and THC again, THC can cause reduce in memory and paranoia attacks, but CBD can reduce the very same symptoms.
Let’s sum up the features of most used in medicine marijuana extracts.
- Non-intoxicating marijuana extract.
- Has well established medical uses.
- Reduces negative effects of THC.
- Has antipsychotic effects.
- Serves as a neuroprotective agent.
- Combats tumors.
- Combats diabetes.
- Does not invoke an addiction.
- Has calming effect.
- Can reduce convulsions and spasms.
- Is an analgesic.
- Has an effect against vomit.
- Can create fatigue and drowsiness.
- Is the source of marijuana “high”.
- Has neuroprotective features.
- Is an effective analgesic.
- Stimulates appetite.
- Has effect against vomit.
- Resists tumors.
- Can induce anxiety.
- Can cause panic attacks.
- Increases heart rate.
- Creates some (weak) addiction.
- Can provoke continuous vomit syndrome.
Selectionners create hemp varieties with minimal content of THC, but let’s also not forget that THC also has influence on healing effect, it’s important to keep the dosages.
THC is known to have too many side effects to be used in medical purposes, we are likely to hear more about it in future, researches are putting more efforts in CBD as it’s oil shows remarkable effects not to be put aside.
Through all the variety of research the one most interesting one is the case for treating child epilepsy showing the most strong evidence in effectiveness against it. The desire to start the more common use of CBD is limited though with pressing regulatory issues of the oil production and use.
Most effective uses of CBD
CBD oil is recognized with many confirmed positive effects on human health. CBD oil is a substance received after mixing the extract of cannabis with carrier oil like coconut or hemp seed oil. It usually comes in form of edibles, tinctures, vaping cartridges, topicals, beverages etc. There are multiple methods of getting the oil from cannabis. Because CBD is a terpenophenolic compound, it can be dissolved in both oils and alcohol.
Intake of CBD oil leads to substantial relief of chronic pains especially for patients with multiple sclerosis. This effect was very well studied on mice which sets some plans for future discoveries in this area. It’s worth adding that lowering pain syndromes for people with sclerosis and arthritis was most effective when they were administered a cannabinoid solution of CBD and THC combined.
Treating depression and anxiety
These mental illnesses are the major source of disability and productivity reduction in modern society. A great number or organizations recognize them as a real threat to productivity and quality of life. Currently there are many antidepressant drugs on the market, but traditional medication options have many side effects such as sleepiness, insomnia, sexual dysfunction, headache, etc. Moreover, many of them can also develop addition. Compared to all of that CBD looks very promising as a healthier way to normalize mental state with almost non-existing side effects.
Such properties of the drug could be interesting for people suffering from increased anxiety when taking part in activities known to involve overcoming psychological barriers of some sort. During a study with 23 participants suffering from public speech induced social anxiety CBD oil showed positive influence on their stage performance.
Lighten the effects of chemotherapy
Application of CBD oil showed an effect of reducing symptoms from chemotherapy. This was confirmed in a range of studies.
Possible reduction of acne
9% of population are affected by a skin disease. There are many reasons for this including genetics, bacteria, inflammation, disruptions in sebaceous glands. CBD oil helps to improve skin condition and reduce acne. It’s believed to happen because of oil’s anti-inflammatory properties and effects on reducing sebum production.
Researchers believe CBD to have an effect on endocannabinoid and brain signaling systems which helps it treat neurological disorders. This belief is based on great success in epilepsy and sclerosis treatment. One of the experiment had patients suffering from sclerosis and spasms take the substance. Those patients had resistance to traditional medication. Only the use of Sativex, an oral spray made by combining CBD and THC, provided strong effect in reducing both symptoms.
Thanks to CBD oil’s property to reduce blood pressure, it can be used to solve a range of problems with heart related health issues reducing risks of heart attack, stroke, and metabolic syndrome.
Neurological and other disorders
There are reasons to believe CBD oil could be effective against schizophrenia and drug addictions. CBD also proved capable of modifying brain circuits linked to addictions leading to potential use in reducing drug abuse.
Main issues around CBD
The biggest issue there is about CBD so far is the absence of unified regulation with standards and normatives. This is very important, despite its undoubted effectiveness, production of CBD based products is performed in no accordance with worldwide medical society. For example, FDA recently recommended approval of Epidiolex for treatment of childhood epilepsy, but with current state of things the only recommendation is not enough to make its spread and use possible in all the places it’s required. It’s the exact issue professor Marcel Bonn-Miller is so concerned about. He compares this new industry with the “Wild West”. A company can start producing CBD based product without abiding to any regulations and put anything on the label.
When checking the conformity of label and the actual concentrations, almost 70% showed divergence from the advertised amount. In 43% the content was lower and in 26% it was higher.
Around one of 5 CBD based product also contained THC which carries a substantial risk. THC can increase anxiety and worsen seizures when taking the drug. If I were a customer buying the medication for my children I’d like to know more precisely what is offered and even get it tested before usage as the label is not to be trusted, says Bonn-Miller. When consumed orally only 20% of the CBD is actually absorbed. Considering the case with incorrect concentrations labelled and the fact most of the products are sprays or oils it’s just too easy to miss the mark completely on the dosage.
Closest plans on CBD research
The most promising usages for CBD in near future according to specialists are:
- treating social anxiety,
- using it as an effective anti-inflammation solution,
- use as an antidepressant with minimal side effects,
- use as a safe dormitive.
Besides that, an important topic of research is compatibility with other medication. In some cases, there was an effect observed of higher concentration of anti-epilepsy drugs in blood when patients were under CBD. This would mean dosage would have to adjusted downwards for such patients. Using CBD with other substances might also lead to side effects. One of such effects could be risk of liver damage. During already conducted experiments about 2% of subjects had to stop the experiment due to high liver enzymes.
The job upcoming is not an easy one, regarding social anxiety, they have conducted studies with adults already, but plans exists on future work because data collected is not really comparable to the extensive research done for the epileptic cause. The anti-inflammatory effects are predicted to be truly overwhelming, but so far experiments have only been conducted on animals. Other usage directions have good potential too, but unfortunately even less research have been put into them.
In general, all the researches conducted can not be called final or complete.
Major flaws of the ones existing today are:
- Not having a control group.
- Only testing on animals.
- Insufficient amount of participants.
The researches could be performed way faster and more efficient if not some obstacles on their way. Main one would be the origin of substance itself and the fact of it being illegal. This makes it harder to organize a study in some countries where even research of cannabis related substances is prohibited.
Possible side effects
CBD is generally considered safe and well tolerated substance. During experiments however some side effects were observed. Commonly noted ones are following:
- Change in appetite.
It is of course possible that more side effects are discovered over future studies, but so far the useful healing properties vastly outweigh the negligible side effects we know about. And conducting studies is important, more than that, it’s important to inform other countries with the results to avoid time and effort of repeated experiments just because previous attempts were not published and were not known about. This culture itself is one surrounded with legends, tales, and rumors.
Rumors and reality
Marijuana is in the middle of rumors entitling it to miraculous properties than in reality are only on the brink of discovery. This is primarily the case of prolong ban of this culture. In such state of things some researches being held during the periods of restrictions could not be spread or published the property, making passed around and distorted in process rumors the only source of knowledge about those researches.
Marijuana’s fame as a healing herb lead individuals around the world to the idea of testing it on terminally ill people. There were cases of recovery, but those are hard to reason about as it was never an actual experiment which could allow to take into account all the circumstances.
It is told people could to heal with marijuana in the past and it was effective. In ancient times it was applied to treat upper airway, genital diseases, to prevent tumors and cardiovascular diseases.
If there was no ban on the marijuana itself the whole research would go way faster. It’s because of bans and restrictions it was not possible to publish discoveries forcing new studies to repeat older ones just to prove and document certain observations. Scientists were already talking about marijuana as of an undeservedly forgotten healing herb. Cannabis was used as anti-inflammatory treatment and to reduce pains in times way before the restrictions. After WWII the inflammations were beginning to be treated with new methods such as antibiotics.
This substance was often taken in consideration by patients who lost their hope is less effective medication.
Today it’s common to see sharp statements about drug dealers together with medics hiding from people the true anti-cancer medication that is CBD oil. Rumors have it, the oil can even treat 4th grade cancer. But the those are only single cases of terminally ill making desperate attempts. Known researches conducted with all the requirement of standard procedures can’t state about capabilities of CBD oil so loudly even though anti-cancer properties have been discovered. Who knows, it could be by the virtue of this substance humanity will be able to fight one of the most horrifying diseases.