The issue of legalizing marijuana, at least for medical purposes, continues to be framed around political, moral, social and cultural concerns. However, the focal point of the question, real and perceived medical benefits, is now receiving serious medical attention. One of the key reasons for this new perspective is research and results related to cannabidiol. While many think of the chemical THC when marijuana is mentioned, it is only one of more than 60 compounds found in cannabis. Of these, CBD is lesser known, although it is often of an equal or greater concentration than THC. At least five facts about CBD give it a unique status in both medical circles and non-medical proponents of its use.
Searching for Proof: The Benefits Outweigh the Disadvantages
As states experiment with the effects and implications of legalized medical marijuana, scientific data continues to present a contradictory analysis for its use. The Institute of Medicine, created by the National Academy of Sciences, recently reported its clinical findings that use of marijuana can help control pain and nausea. However, it also includes mention of a number of health hazards and risks, including lung damage and a weakening of the immune system.
Proponents note that many of these problems are most closely related to the THC content of cannabis, and this has researchers looking more closely at CBD. In fact, many alternative health sites are now strong advocates of infusing various natural oils with CBD, such as offerings of CBD coconut oil, as well as other edibles and ointments with CBD.
For those who are now looking beyond THC as the primary active compound in cannabis, there are several basic things worth knowing about CBD. These include:
- CBD is not psychoactive. The reality that CBD may deliver medical benefits without creating "stoned patients" is a major point for many advocates.
- CBD actually counters the impact of THC on the body. Rather than creating a high, CBD has been shown to actually reduce the intoxicating effects of THC.
- CBD does not present a danger of lethal overdose. The use of a concentrated form of the compound is not seen as dangerous or capable of overuse in even large quantities.
- CBD has more support for claimed medical benefits. Clinical studies have found numerous medical benefits in animals, and are now being conducted with humans for use to treat schizophrenia, epilepsy, and even breast cancer.
- CBD, even as an extract, remains illegal. Notwithstanding its current status, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a trial of a pharmaceutical version of the compound, and another cannabis-based drug is already approved in 24 countries to treat multiple sclerosis.
Both researchers and advocates are hoping ongoing research and testing will provide a solid scientific basis for the use of CBD, if not for medical marijuana itself.