For centuries, components of the cannabis plant have been used experimentally in the alternative medical field. Modern researchers have found that certain cannabinoids—chemicals that restrict neurotransmitter activity—may possess underlying solutions for select medical conditions. Particularly, cannabidiol (CBD) has garnered public interest as a treatment for early onset epilepsy. When administered as an oil, studies and individual success stories report a significant rate of improvement in children suffering from otherwise treatment-resistant Dravet Syndrome. For this primary reason, among other alleged benefits, cannabis oil has become legalized for medical usage in several states across the United States.
Due to the controversial nature of cannabis, research at this time is limited to a handful of controlled trials. One such trial in 2012 confirmed that cannabis oil does not contain significant amounts of the chemical compound responsible for marijuana’s psychoactive impact, known as tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Cannabidiol, then, does not produce a “high,” nor were there reports of any other negative side effects. Later trials of a drug Epidiolex, derived from cannabis oil, averaged a 53% decrease in seizures over the course of twelve weeks. In animal trials, cannabis oil has been similarly identified as a potential anticonvulsant.
The benefits of cannabis oil are not limited to epilepsy. The biology of THC and CBD is simple: THC bonds readily to certain receptors of the brain, while CBD is less compatible with those receptors. This results in a myriad of therapeutic capabilities without impairing judgment, memory, or coordination. Where recreational marijuana is abused for its euphoric psychological effects, then, CBD has been found useful in counteracting psychotic symptoms. Recent small-scale experiments have implied that cannabis oil may alleviate psychosis in cases of schizophrenia and Parkinson’s disease. Additionally, CBD has shown promise in reducing anxiety, both in human and animal patients, on physiological and behavioral levels.
More tangibly, cannabidiol oil interacts with the brain in a similar manner to opioid drugs, which are predominantly used to reduce pain. Cannabis oil is suspected to be a potentially powerful analgesic, and studies have indicated that anti-inflammatory properties are present as well. Combining these two effects could result in a natural, alternative medication for arthritis pain, and its anti-inflammatory component alone could combat stubborn acne.
A number of miscellaneous other benefits abound from cannabidiol’s chemical composition. CBD is considered to be an anti-oxidant, possibly even capable of slowing degenerative diseases and easing the negative symptoms associated with aging. Parents and doctors worldwide increasingly hold CBD oil in high esteem, having witnessed miraculous improvement in their children’s epileptic episodes. However, in-depth studies are limited by federal barricades and financial barriers, and conclusive results on the exact benefits of cannabis oil have yet to be achieved. The stigma surrounding cannabis products is slowly eroding and can even be purchased from online stores such as BTB, and only when the public and health professionals alike see the value in clinical testing of CBD, will we begin to understand and use its full potential.