When discussing the potency of a cannabis strain, most people concentrate on THC content. Of the more than 85 cannabinoids found in cannabis, THC, or Tetrahydrocannabinol, is the most prevalent substance and main psychoactive component in marijuana. But having a high THC content by itself does not necessarily deem a cannabis strain as the most potent or even the best.
In fact, many doctors and medical professionals have growing concerns about some of the side effects of THC such as potential memory loss, paranoia, and heavy sedation. But research suggests a cannabinoid called Cannabidiol (CBD) not only counteracts the negative side-effects of THC but has also proven to have some remarkable medicinal benefits.
Like THC, CBD is another dominant cannabinoid found in cannabis. Unlike THC, however, CBD is non-psychoactive and doesn’t contribute to the head high of THC-dominant strains. This makes it a great option for individuals looking to use cannabis as a medical treatment rather than recreationally. It also makes it a great option for young children who are in need of cannabis treatment for epilepsy and other conditions, but who should not be subjected to the psychoactive effects of THC.
THC has been found to provide many therapeutic effects such as treating mood disorders, insomnia, loss of appetite, and moderate chronic pain. But when used alone, THC can actually cause disorientation and anxiety as it continually antagonizes and over stimulates the high concentration of CB1 receptors in the brain. Therefore, the best results seem to come from using marijuana that has a mix of both THC and CBD since CBD shows indifference toward these same CB1 receptors. Consumers still receive the therapeutic benefits but without the associated lethargy or dysphoria.
CBD is also gaining support as research shows its efficacy in treating a wide range of difficult-to-control conditions. Early clinical studies indicate that CBD has the potential to decrease seizure activity, relieve nausea and vomiting, ease the pain of inflammatory disorders, combat neurodegenerative and psychosis disorders, and even reduce the growth of tumors and cancer cells. This incredible list of potential uses for CBD has scientists and doctors all over the world excited about the potential for medicinal marijuana treatments.
As the popularity and legitimacy of medical marijuana continues to grow, proponents are encouraged by the FDA’s approval of a pharmaceutical version of CBD, Epidiolex. Clinical trials to treat pediatric epilepsy are currently underway.
In the meantime, many states are already legalizing CBD-infused products derived from industrial hemp. These products come in a variety of forms including oils, edibles, and lotions. Still, Cannabidiol derived from medical marijuana remains classified as a Schedule I drug in the U.S. and is only available at legally licensed dispensaries. This creates difficulties for many patients across the country who need access to these medicines, but are unable to relocate to a legalized state in order to obtain them. Hopefully, as more and more states join the legalization wave, this gap will be bridged and natural cannabis treatments will be available for all.