Anyone who is a medical marijuana patient already knows the benefits cannabis can bring to the body, from healing chronic pain to calming violent spells of IBD or colitis, or even softening the damaging effects of nephropathy from cancer treatment. But what about the mind? Can marijuana's active compounds, CBD and THC, help the mind by easing trauma, anxiety or even depression? A recent study suggests that CBD does just that.
What is THC?
Tetrahydrocannabinol, often shortened to "THC,” is the cannabinoid most often associated with medical marijuana. THC elicits the psychotropic (“high”) effect in users. The therapeutic potential of THC is significant and expansive. The compound can act as an anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea, appetite stimulant and sleep aid, among other benefits.
Most individuals find the "high" from THC to be very enjoyable in moderation, but others find the feeling to be slightly unpleasant. With that said, medical marijuana still offers significant medical benefits to people who want to avoid the "high" feeling. After all, THC is just one of many cannabinoids. Evidence suggests that use of the cannabinoid CBD can elicit many of the therapeutic benefits of medical marijuana without having the euphoric or dysphoric effects.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol, commonly referred to as “CBD,” is the major non-psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant, and it has been found to offer a wide range of medicinal benefits as an anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, antioxidant, antiemetic, anxiolytic and antipsychotic agent. It also has the potential to provide neuroprotective, immunomodulatory, and anti-tumor effects. Other benefits of CBD include pain and inflammation relief, antipsychotic effects, reduction of anxiety, aid to fight cancer growth, relieving nausea, treating seizures and other neurological disorders, lowering incidence of diabetes, and promoting cardiovascular health.
Although THC does have certain benefits that cannot be achieved through CBD use alone, studies have shown that a combination of high CBD with lower THC levels result in the medicinal benefits of both, without any noticeable psychotropic effects from THC. So, for those who are interested in the benefits of medical marijuana, but are wary of feeling the “high” associated with THC, you can be assured that there are medical marijuana products available to meet their needs.
Rebooting the Brain with CBD
For those unaware, psychosis is a severe form of trauma related to schizophrenia, and is usually triggered by a traumatic event, harsh drug use or a reaction to medications. Patients suffering from psychosis are often easily agitated, aggressive, or visualizing people and things or hearing voices that are not there.
Often, patients suffering from psychosis are not aware of their symptoms, either. And while some medications seem to help with symptoms, many still suffer and seek alternative treatments, from therapy to medical marijuana. That's why a study recently published in Jama Psychiatry shows much promise.
Scientists examined the effects of CBD on patients suffering from psychosis. The study consisted of 33 individuals who were at high risk of psychosis and 19 individuals who were healthy. The patients were placed into three groupings: control group, placebo group and the CBD group. Results showed that patients who took a single dose of CBD saw a notable improvement in brain activation.
What this could mean for patients suffering from psychosis is that a single dose of CBD could help ease the effects of the illness, and it is possible that regular doses could manage the effects of the disorder.
CBD does this by modulating the function of neurotransmitters throughout the body's endocannabinoid system, helping prevent the symptoms of mental ailments like anxiety, depression and schizophrenia. This effectively reboots the brain whenever its chemical makeup goes out of whack.
The Future of CBD
At current, CBD rests in a legal gray area, with some states cracking down on sales of the compound, including Ohio. CBD sold in stores is usually not derived from marijuana, but from imported industrial hemp. CBD that you can find in holistic stores, coffee shops or even your local grocery store does not contain THC, and will not get you "high."
Despite this, CBD remains illegal under federal law, though there may be a few moves toward changing those laws on the horizon. Some states are passing pro-CBD legislation, while some companies, like GW Pharmaceuticals, are challenging marijuana's Schedule I status.
If you'd like to tell your state officials how you feel about CBD, here is a great resource for finding and contacting members of your local government to ask them to back pro-CBD legislation. In the meantime, find out if you qualify for a medical marijuana card in Ohio. THC and CBD products will be found in dispensaries across the state.