Unlike THC, CBD will not make you high. That said, this doesn’t mean CBD is not at all psychoactive, as many assert, says Jahan Marcu, PhD, director of experimental pharmacology and behavior at the International Research Center on Cannabis and Mental Health in New York City: “CBD does change cognition. It affects mood, which is why people take it for anxiety. And some find that it makes them more alert.”
The current trend in the cannabis-related area of research started in the late sixties and early seventies when products derived from cannabis (especially marijuana) were placed on the list of controlled substances in the US, under the Nixon administration. This move was retroactively interpreted as being part of the conservative reaction to the liberalizing spirit of the sixties.
If you live in a state where CBD is legal for your condition, it’s best to buy it from a state-regulated dispensary. But even there, oversight is uneven. “I feel safe being a cannabis consumer in Colorado, since the state tracks everything from seed to sale, but I didn’t the first few years after cannabis became legal,” when the rules were still taking shape, says Robyn Griggs Lawrence, the Boulder author of The Cannabis Kitchen Cookbook, which features recipes for cannabis edibles.
The inquiry upon the manner in which THC produces its psychoactive effects on the human body led, in the 1980’s, to the discovery of the endocannabinoid system – a rather loose complex of nerve receptors which under the influence of compounds called cannabinoids trigger many physiological and psychological reactions. Because cannabinoid receptors are present in almost every tissue of a mammal’s body (although they are not limited to mammals), it has wide-ranging influences on the well-being of an organism. Therefore cannabinoids are definitely substances that deserve further attention from scientists.
But it also requires careful research before making a purchase. Because the cannabis plant readily absorbs pesticides, heavy metals and other chemicals that are in the soil and water, it’s so important that cannabis plants are frequently tested while they are growing. And it’s up to manufactures to test CBD products, too. When you are shopping for CBD oil, look for products that have been tested for contaminants and for CBD vs. THC levels.
A study performed at the Italian Piemonte University and published in 2008 implied that all cannabinoids help the immune system to fight bacteria. Especially potent are five cannabinoids (including CBD), with the study focusing on antibiotic-resistant strains of the Staphylococcus Aureus, a relevant example of the antibiotics abuse the last few decades have witnessed.
Then there is the matter of which part of the plant is used. THC tends to be more concentrated in the leaves of the plant, while CBD in its stem and seeds. It should be noted that these aspects are relative. Some degree of agreement exists that for the purest CBD, the stalk of a hemp plant (varieties of cannabis generally grown for fiber manufacturing, low in THC), or much less often the seeds. Taking into account the fact that CBD supplements are usually in an oil form, one may fathom the origins of the nearly ubiquitous hemp oil dietary supplements.
Some studies have investigated the role of CBD in preventing cancer cell growth, but research is still in its early stages. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) says that CBD may help alleviate cancer symptoms and cancer treatment side effects. However, the NCI doesn’t fully endorse any form of cannabis as a cancer treatment. The action of CBD that’s promising for cancer treatment is its ability to moderate inflammation and change how cell reproduce. CBD has the effect of reducing the ability of some types of tumor cells to reproduce.
A study published by David Cheng, Postdoctoral Scientist, Neuroscience Research, University of New South Wales, NSW, Australia, says that CBD has a potential as a preventive measure against symptoms of Alzheimer’s. This presents yet another exciting development for medical researchers, given the persistent challenges to finding effective solutions for this condition.