As states move toward legalized marijuana, most of the fuss so far is about pot as recreational drug, all of which has to do with the THC ingredient, the key to the marijuana high. But marijuana also contains another ingredient, CBD, which doesn’t generate a high, but may offer interesting health benefits as a happy byproduct of marijuana becoming more readily available.
Research on benefits of CBD extracts has been severely limited because of the legal issues around marijuana. The US Drug Policy Alliance says (In a paper published last year):
Emerging research on CBD is quite promising. Evidence of varying quality supports the use of CBD for a wide range of serious medical conditions, including Alzheimer’s, anorexia, anxiety, atherosclerosis, arthritis cancer, colitis/Crohn’s, depression, diabetes, epilepsy/seizure, fibromyalgia, glaucoma, irritable bowel, multiplesclerosis, neurodegeneration, obesity, osteoporosis, Parkinson’s, PTSD, schizophrenia, substance dependence/addiction, and stroke/traumatic brain injury.
That piece is published by an organization with an agenda; but the source document cites specific research for each word of it. And then there’s Why I changed my mind on weed, in which respected MD, neurosurgeon Sanjay Gupta, a familiar face of CNN, recognizes the health benefits already verified, and calls for legalization as well as more research. He wrote:
We have been terribly and systematically misled for nearly 70 years in the United States, and I apologize for my own role in that. When marijuana became a schedule 1 substance, there was a request to fill a “void in our knowledge.” In the United States, that has been challenging because of the infrastructure surrounding the study of an illegal substance, with a drug abuse organization at the heart of the approval process. And yet, despite the hurdles, we have made considerable progress that continues today. Looking forward, I am especially intrigued by studies like those in Spain and Israel looking at the anti-cancer effects of marijuana and its components. I’m intrigued by the neuro-protective study by Raphael Meschoulam in Israel, and research in Israel and the United States on whether the drug might help alleviate symptoms of PTSD. I promise to do my part to help, genuinely and honestly, fill the remaining void in our knowledge.
You can click on the image here for a three-minute video summary.
There are still hurdles. Where I live, in Oregon, I can buy old-fashioned pot legally and with relative ease. And finally, as of just this month, I can also buy an ointment to treat joint pains, based on CBD oil primarily, which has no high or buzz whatsoever. Oregon legalized Marijuana last year, but regulations for oils, extracts, and edibles took a few months longer.
I’m optimistic, and thinking this is a good opportunity waiting in the wings, with the final legal changes likely to come soon. I became interested because I know some people who are already gearing up for CBD businesses here in Oregon. Given the likelihood of verifiable health benefits, and the way things are changing, I think that’s a good bet.