Cannabidiol is a popular natural remedy used for many common ailments. Better known as CBD, it is one of over 100 chemical compounds known as cannabinoids found in the cannabis or marijuana plant, Cannabis sativa. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the main psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis and causes the sensation of getting “high” that’s often associated with marijuana. However, unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive. This quality makes CBD an appealing option for those who are looking for relief from pain and other symptoms without the mind-altering effects of marijuana or certain pharmaceutical drugs. CBD oil is made by extracting CBD from the cannabis plant, then diluting it with a carrier oil like coconut or hemp seed oil.
CBD oil has been studied for its potential role in easing symptoms of many common health issues, including anxiety, depression, acne and heart disease. For those with cancer, it may even provide a natural alternative for pain and symptom relief. Research on the potential health benefits of CBD oil is ongoing, so new therapeutic uses for this natural remedy are sure to be discovered. Though there is much to be learned about the efficacy and safety of CBD, results from recent studies suggest that CBD may provide a safe, powerful natural treatment for many health issues.
Drugs containing cannabinoids may be helpful in treating certain rare forms of epilepsy, nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy, and loss of appetite and weight loss associated with HIV/AIDS. In addition, some evidence suggests modest benefits of cannabis or cannabinoids for chronic pain and multiple sclerosis symptoms. Cannabis isn’t helpful for glaucoma.
The most common uses for medical cannabis include for severe or long-term pain, nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy (cancer treatments), and painful muscle spasms. However, there are several medical conditions for which patients can use medical marijuana, which can vary by state law:
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Huntington’s disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Muscle spasms
- Parkinson’s disease
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PSTD)
- Seizures (epilepsy)
- Severe pain (and if an alternative to opioid use)
- Severe nausea
- Spinal cord injury with spasticity
Cannabis also has some major side effects if you overdose the cannabis it effect your health in a different way. It not suitable for everyone:
Common side effects can include:
- elevated liver enzymes
- lowered appetite.
Long term effects of heavy use can include:
- irritation to the lungs, risk of developing chronic bronchitis and an increased risk of developing cancer of the respiratory tract (more likely to do with smoking).
- exacerbation of the pre-existing cardiovascular disease, as cannabis use significantly raises the heart rate.
- decreased concentration levels, reduced short-term memory and difficulties with thinking and learning (resolved if cannabis use stops).
- decreased sex drive in some people. Chronic use can lower sperm count in males and lead to irregular periods in females (resolved if cannabis use stops).
- dependence on cannabis — compulsive need to use the drug, coupled with problems associated with chronic drug use
- cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome
There is evidence that demonstrates both the harms and health benefits of marijuana. Yet despite the emergence over the past couple of years of very comprehensive, up-to-date reviews of the scientific studies evaluating the benefits and harms of the drug, it’s clear that more research is needed to fully determine the public health implications of rising marijuana use.
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