CBD: A Healing Compound
What is CBD?
CBD has been a hot topic in the medical marijuana community recently, and for good reason. The compound cannabidiol (commonly referred to as CBD) has a remarkable potential to combat a plethora of ailments, from depression to epilepsy and depression.
You probably already know that THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the active compound in cannabis that produces the majority of its psychoactive effects. It’s the main culprit for getting you high, and a higher THC content means a stronger buzz. What you may not know is that THC is only one of many cannabinoids, naturally occurring compounds that are present in the cannabis plant. There are at least 85 of these compounds, and more are being discovered all the time. THC is present in cannabis in the highest concentration, and CBD is the second-most prevalent. In contrast to THC, CBD does not produce psychoactive effects. This means that on its own, it will not get you high, and thus has huge potential to benefit children, animals, and adults who simply don’t want to be stoned in order to experience the medicinal benefits of cannabinoids.
For years, the presiding strategy among cannabis growers and breeders was to maximize THC output by any means necessary. The higher the THC levels, the more potent the product, which is what consumers were looking for. This selective breeding process meant that most strains now produce pretty insignificant amounts of CBD. However, with the cavalcade of research indicating the benefits of the compound, members of the cannabis industry are beginning to change their strategy, experimenting with products that focus on CBD while minimizing the presence of THC. With advanced testing for cannabinoid profiles becoming more accessible, growers are beginning to breed cannabis plants for high CBD production, often at the cost of THC potency. A variety of high-CBD products are beginning to hit the market, such as oils, capsules, tinctures and topical balms and sprays for muscle aches. There is even a company producing bottled water enriched with pure CBD. The more we learn about the power of this compound, the more demand grows for products that utilize CBD to treat ailments and improve people’s quality of life.
Medicinal Applications of CBD
A groundbreaking study published in 2011 detailed the wide-reaching potential of CBD as medicine, stating that “[The] non-psychotropic cannabinoid cannabidiol […] offers promise as a prototype for anti-inflammatory drug development.” It goes on to conclude that “cannabidiol may have utility in treating a number of human diseases and disorders now known to involve activation of the immune system and associated oxidative stress […] These include rheumatoid arthritis, types 1 and 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, ischemia-reperfusion injury, depression, and neuropathic pain.” This is far from the only research that has yielded similar conclusions, and there is plenty of evidence to suggest that CBD may very well have wide-reaching benefits that may change the way the public, the scientific community and lawmakers view cannabis.
In Colorado, one of the first states in the US to legalize cannabis, hundreds of families have come from all over the country to access CBD oil to treat their sick children. Parents of children with autism, Crohn’s disease, cancer, and epilepsy have begun migrating to the state, where they can access cannabis oils high in CBD to hopefully achieve some relief for their kids.
Colorado is the only state in the US in which children are able to access medical marijuana legally, but the families taking part in this program are still committing a federal crime. It is unclear what percentage of the children who have begun using CBD as a treatment are getting the results they hoped for, but one thing is certain: for at least some of these kids, it is the only thing that has provided relief. CNN has aired stories about this phenomenon, and the Denver Post has published a lengthy 3-part report on these children and their families.
With mounting evidence that CBD has the potential to help children and adults with debilitating illnesses, there are 11 US states that have legalized the compound specifically. This means that even in states that do not have medical marijuana programs, legislation is now in place that recognizes the medicinal benefits of CBD, which is a huge step in the acceptance of cannabis as a legitimate pharmaceutical. The revelation that we are able to isolate the medicinal compounds in cannabis from the ones that cause psychoactive effects is resulting in a rethinking of the stigma that has plagued the medical marijuana cause for decades, and making the benefits of cannabis accessible to a much wider range of patients.
CBD and Anxiety
In recent studies, CBD has shown tremendous promise as natural anxiety reliever, and may be effective in combatting a number of psychological disorders, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and social anxiety. Also, for those who sometimes experience anxiety from smoking cannabis (strong Sativa strains in particular have been known to elicit this reaction in some people), high-CBD strains are a fantastic alternative. Cannabis with varying THC-to-CBD ratios are becoming more widely available, giving patients and recreational consumers more choice when it comes to achieving their preferred balance. In US states where recreational cannabis is legal, it is commonplace (and in many cases, legally required) for products to be tested for a variety of cannabinoids, meaning that THC and CBD levels are available for almost all marijuana products. Unfortunately, that kind of testing has not become readily available for dispensaries in Canada yet, but as the legalization of cannabis in the Great White North seems more inevitable, we can likely expect the same kind of scientific testing to become standard practice here as well.
CBD for Pets
Humans are not the only ones benefitting from these groundbreaking discoveries about the power of cannabidiol; you can now buy high-CBD products specifically formulated for your pets. This may sound far-fetched (pardon the dog pun), but for the roughly 1-5% of dogs that suffer from seizures, there are hemp oils that have had a great deal of success in managing their symptoms. You may have heard horror stories about pets accidentally ingesting cannabis in the form of bud or edibles, but these pet-specific CBD treatments don’t carry the risks of negative impacts on your dog or cat. The CBD in these products is derived from industrial hemp, the male cannabis plant that produces negligible amounts of THC, not enough to produce a negative reaction in pets. Companies like Canna-Pet offer CBD products for cats, dogs and even horses in the form of biscuits, liquids, and hemp oil capsules to treat a wide range of symptoms.
If you’re interested in learning more about CBD, or you’d like to try some high-CBD products for yourself (or your pet!), the staff at Wealth would be more than happy to point you in the direction of something that may work for you!