With the green rush in full effect, more and more people are becoming interested in cannabis and its many medicinal benefits. While going full flower might still seem intimidating for some, CBD may be a friendlier gateway for those who are just looking to get their feet wet. For starters, it's not mind-altering like its psychoactive sibling THC. Though it's commonly known as the nonpsychoactive cannabinoid, it is important to note that that holds true as long as you stay within recommended doses. Smoke or consume enough, and it's very much possible to experience adverse effects like paranoia and anxiety — the opposite of what you're likely trying to achieve with CBD. Let's dive into the basics of this cannabinoid and how it can help you.
What Is CBD?
CBD, short for cannabidiol, is an all-natural and legal compound found in the cannabis plant. It will not get you high (in recommended doses) and it will not show up on a drug test. Much, if not all, of marijuana's medicinal benefits are thanks to CBD.
What Forms Does It Come In?
CBD oil is one of the more popular methods of consumption, but it's also available as a vape pen, topical, or edible. These forms can all be found free of THC. However, when it comes to straight-up weed, every strain of marijuana contains different ratios of THC to CBD, and even the most CBD-dominant weed will still contain small traces of THC.
What Are Its Benefits?
- Anti-anxiety: CBD truly hit mainstream once people learned of its anxiety-mitigating effects. This cannabinoid is what helps offset the paranoia that's often a result of consuming too much THC.
- Pain relief: CBD's anti-inflammatory properties make it ideal for treating both muscle and joint pain, making it a great workout recovery aid. It's shown to reduce both neuropathic pain and pain caused by inflammation, such as arthritis. CBD bath soaks or topicals can be particularly effective for treating pain.
- Reduce epileptic seizures: According to neuroscientist Josh Kaplan, PhD, the most well-studied cases of CBD are those related to childhood epilepsies. Recent clinical studies have shown that administering CBD to children with epilepsy significantly reduces seizure frequency.
- Better sleep: CBD may produce alertness in small doses during the day, but it can also help induce sleep in larger quantities. Pain-related insomnia may also be treated with the use of CBD.
The list goes on. Other areas of study include CBD's role in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, and cancer. More research is needed in order to support these other claims, which is why the legalization of cannabis is critical to unlocking CBD's medicinal potential.
What we do know, however, is that CBD seems to counteract the adverse effects of THC. In fact, it wasn't until this active compound was introduced and administered with THC that we began to enjoy the pleasant high we know today. Once strains began to include CBD, it balanced out the effects of THC and made the high more enjoyable. The two complement one another, which is why a 1:1 (THC to CBD) ratio or a CBD-dominant strain is recommended for beginners who'd prefer to smoke flower over other consumption methods.
Long-term use of high amounts of THC may promote plaque development around the heart, according to Dr. Kaplan. However, keep in mind that these tests used synthetic versions of THC, which are often much stronger than that found in cannabis. CBD may act as a protective agent against THC.
"The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of CBD likely leads to pro-heart health effects," Dr. Kaplan told POPSUGAR.
Additionally, CBD may also mitigate the risk of THC tolerance.