Many a research is being conducted to find out what benefits cannabis can bring. The process is hindered by the plant’s status: it is featured in prohibited-to-use things list in many states and other countries. As more and more states are adopting the law enabling people to purchase cannabis-based products to be used for medical and recreational purposes, the scale of research is being increased, with more data becoming available.
Cannabis could be effective at relieving pain in seniors, boosting memory in old animal models, and treating neurodegenerative diseases. However, it appears that the list of cannabis effects is not limited to these ones.
The cannabis compound that is researched most extensively is THC, which is behind the infamous mind-altering effect. Yet it is not the only chemical in the plant that could have medical uses. Cannabidiol, often abbreviated as CBD, has potential too.
If isolated and consumed as a separate substance, CBD does not produce the effect cannabis is known for. That being said, if the studies that are underway prove cannabidiol’s efficacy, it will mean patients will be able to use medications based on cannabis-derived substances without getting high.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is reportedly characterized by various pharmacologic activities: it could have anti-inflammatory, antipsychotic, neuroprotective, antiepileptic, and anxiolytic properties. While most of the studies focused on CBD involved animal models, there is evidence suggesting the compound could be used as a treatment for anxiety. Short-term human studies support this idea.
One of such studies was conducted in 2011. It involved 24 patients suffering from social anxiety disorder and 12 healthy volunteers who comprised the control group. The researchers divided the participants into two groups: some of them took CBD, while others were given placebo; the control group took no drugs. None of them knew what they were taking. After a single dose of CBD of 200 mg, the patients with the disorder that took the real medication underwent a simulation public speaking test, as so did all other participants.
The researchers measured their blood pressure, skin conductance, and heart rate several times; mood and self-statement scales were used as well. They found that taking CBD led to reduction in anxiety and lessening of discomfort in the course of speech. Besides, cognitive impairment associated with anxiety was reduced too. The placebo group’s performance turned out to be poorer. It appears that the compound helped these patients with social anxiety disorder to achieve results similar to those of their healthy counterparts.
Benefits for patients with PTSD and substance abuse
Several CBD clinical trials are being conducted, and their goal is to find out whether the substance can help alleviate PTSD symptoms and get rid of substance abuse, such as opioid and alcohol addiction. The researchers suppose cannabidiol could help avoid relapse and be effective at breaking the habit. While it may sound weird – treating addiction with a cannabis-derived compound – such an approach can be of great use, as CBD, when isolated, does not lead to altered perception, so the risk is minimized.
While lots of researches supporting cannabis medical use pile up, you should be very careful when trying to use cannabis, even if it is legalized in your state. We don’t know how different chemicals found in the plant affect different aspects of our health. Besides, the mind-altering effect can be harmful, so consult your doctor first before you resort to some cannabis- or even CBD-based over-the-counter medication: one of the reasons – behinds evidence scarcity – is that the CBD available on the market is often not pure.