The Cannabis sativa plant, commonly known as marijuana, contains 480 components, 66 of which are “cannabinoids.” Cannabinoids are chemicals that are only found in marijuana, and not in any other kind of plant. While most people know about THC (also called delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), the substance that causes the psychoactive effects of smoking or consuming marijuana, there are 65 other cannabinoids that affect the body or mind. One group of these cannabinoids is called Cannabidiols (CBD). While Cannabidiols don’t have psychoactive effects the way that THC does, CBD shouldn’t be discounted. It is the most abundant of the cannabinoids, and can make up to 40% of cannabis resin. In this article, we’ll briefly summarize what Cannabidiols do, what kind of benefits they have, and what the side effects can be.
Most people look for marijuana plants that are high in THC, since this is the substance that provides the psychoactive effects marijuana users desire. A plant that contains higher concentrations of CBD rather than THC is therefore considered less potent by the market. This is because CBD actually has the effect of counteracting THC. Cannabidiols may have anti-anxiety benefits, which lowers the intensity of psychoactive THC. And, as the THC levels in cannabis decrease over time, left out or unused marijuana loses its potency because CBD levels are much higher than THC. However, there is a delicate balance that creates the exact potency marijuana users want. A plant that contains too little CBD relative to THC may have too much psychological impact, and actually create unwanted anxiety in the consumer.
Benefits of Cannabidiols
The interest in using marijuana as medicine has exploded recently, and it’s not surprising when one looks at all of the possible medical benefits of CBD. There have been stories talking about CBD oil all but curing children with certain seizure disorders. Scientists are also currently exploring CBD as an option to treat anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, inflammatory diseases, debilitating pain, and even cancer. Some studies show that CBD may have neuroprotective properties, which means that it could be effective against neurodegenerative diseases (including Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease, just to name a few). And, if further studies do prove CBD to be helpful in treating cancer, this could be a huge breakthrough in the field of potentially fatal illnesses, presumably saving hundreds of thousands of lives per year. It is for this reason that CBD oil and marijuana strains containing particularly high concentrations of CBD have garnished the most interest.
Possible Side Effects of Cannabidiols
While studies are still underway concerning the safety of CBD, there have been multiple small tests that show people may take up to 1500 milligrams per day for a short period of time. And, for the most part, CBD seems to be free of negative side effects. The biggest concern about CBD that scientists share is its interaction with other medical procedures and drugs. For example, CBD may change the activity of some of the enzymes in the body, impacting how people metabolize drugs. However, this isn’t a particularly rare side effect; by comparison, grapefruit has the same effect. Other mild side effects may include slightly dry mouth or drowsiness. Because this is still an experimental substance and some studies are inconclusive, neither the full list of benefits nor the full potential side effects are known.
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