Contributor: KC Scannell
The miracles of marijuana seemingly know no bounds. It feels like with every passing week, the cannabis community is learning about yet another benefit of this tremendous plant. And, with cultivation techniques and growing methods becoming more and more scientific, it appears as though the realm of marijuana may only continue to unleash even more therapeutic and medicinal effects in the coming years.
Which isn’t just a huge victory for those in the field of medicine. It’s a massive “win” for anybody who finds themselves afflicted with a litany of different diseases that, up until this point, haven’t really had a way to deal with their pain, aches, or discomfort. Sure, there are a plethora of prescription pills and opioids out there who claim to be their own version of a “wonder drug,” but these pills often fall dramatically short of their alleviation goals.
Federal Government Officially Approves A CBD-Based Drug For Seizures
Or, even worse, the user can potentially develop a severe dependence on these pills. Then, before long, they are faced with a whole new set of addiction problems. Which is why the opioid crisis is such an epidemic these days. And that serves as an even stronger motivating factor for doctors and scientists to come up with new, more natural forms of medicine to help counteract those harmful, addictive products.
That’s where marijuana comes in.
As I’m sure you’re all well aware of, cannabis has been a staple in the medical community for decades. It’s calming, relieving properties are utilized in a number of different disease-related scenarios, with the positive results skyrocketing past their opioid-counterparts. Not only that, but these marijuana routes to wellness often don’t have any negative side effects to them.
No, they’re not always perfect, there are some slight dizziness and sleepiness that are worth mentioning. Still, if cultivators and scientists work together to perfect various strains, it’ll only be a matter of time before those minor inconveniences become a thing of the past. And, when compared to the potentially lethal outcomes of an opioid overdose, those “side effects” of marijuana-infused medical products hardly seem like an issue worth losing sleep over. In fact, if you have trouble sleeping, cannabis can help!
I mean, is there anything marijuana can’t do?
The answer to that question remains to be seen, as governmental restrictions and logistical “red tape” continues to get in the way of proper research on cannabis and it’s myriad of medicinal benefits. However, in recent history, we finally started to see those tides change a bit more in favor of research. What the scientific community has already learned in that short amount of time is truly astounding. And the majority of these findings have to do with cannabis’ non-psychoactive component, CBD.
Now, unless you’ve been living under a proverbial rock, I’m sure you’ve heard this 3-lettered element mentioned at least once or twice in passing. Perhaps, you’ve even spotted grocery and department stores selling CBD products of their own. And if you’re not exactly familiar with what that is, or how it differs from the beloved THC element of cannabis, allow me to break it down for you as succinctly as possible.
In the most basic of phrasing, THC is the part of marijuana that gets one “high” with psychoactive effects and aspects. The plant, itself, contains a compound known as THCa. When THCa is activated, via heat, it transforms into the compound of THC – which is responsible for eliciting any number of strain-specific effects on the consumer. It could spark creativity, inspire one to take on tasks, or it could simply calm a usually-frantic mind. The possibilities for THC are proving to be tremendously endless.
And CBD, another compound found in cannabis, is kind of like THC’s more mature, more focused sibling. The main difference between the two is that CBD doesn’t possess any psychoactive qualities, whatsoever. But, just because it doesn’t get the consumer “high” in any of the potential ways mentioned above, that doesn’t mean it’s a useless compound.
Quite the contrary, actually. CBD has all of the alleviating effects of THC, but it doesn’t have to jump any psychoactive hurdles in order to deliver them to the consumer. In short, CBD focuses all of its power on making the consumer feel better, while THC focuses on making the consumer feel high. So, when choosing between the two, it all comes down to a matter of personal preference.
However, you can see that CBD is mainly focused on providing relief. Which is why the medical community has started to focus on this helpful element of cannabis when it comes to creating new forms of medication for patients looking for some much-deserved comfort, without any harmful opioid-induced side effects. Of which, there are many.
Recently, a specific CBD drug designed to help people deal with seizures was not only created, but it got the all-too-crucial approval of the often-stingy FDA. That’s right, the Food and Drug Administration gave its okay to a CBD-based drug known as, Epidiolex.
Epidiolex is specifically designed to help patients cope with seizure-related symptoms, most of which start early on in childhood. The majority of studies for this drug took place in the UK by a company known as GW Pharmaceuticals. Using Epidiolex on a study group of over 500 adults and children with seizure-related issues, they saw that it helped reduce their symptoms greatly, especially when combined with archaic epilepsy medications.
This is a major step forward for CBD medicines. In the past, variations of these sorts of drugs were useful, but seeing as how the doses and ingredients would change from producer to producer, it made studying the benefits of CBD a bit more difficult. But, with this more streamlined, heavily tested formula (Epidiolex), doctors and patients, alike, are starting to see just how beneficial this sort of medicine can be.
For example, when asked to share her opinion on the matter, the director of the Mayo Clinic’s program for childhood epilepsy, Ellaine Wirrell said, “I’m really happy we have a product that will be much cleaner and one that I know what it is. In artisanal products, there’s often a huge variation in doses from bottle to bottle depending on where you get it.”
As I alluded to above, this sort of development is critical for CBD, and marijuana, in general. The global acceptance of cannabis continues to gain steam, and justifiably so. And while this trend of increased legalization and whatnot is great to witness, even more work can (and should be) done before any sort of “victory lap” can commence. But, the only way to do that is through more testing.
Which, to some, may seem like an unnecessary headache. However, it’s important to remember that knowledge is key, especially in the realm of medicine. If scientists and growers can work together on creating symptom-specific strains and products, there’s no telling what they can do next. Not only would that sort of discovery break the mold and help millions of people live a more peaceful, healthy life, but it would also eventually rid the planet of opioids altogether.
Honestly, anything that can get these lethal, super-addictive drugs out of the hands of innocent human beings, the better off we’ll be. Hopefully, these studies will continue to take place and improve our understanding of any and all things cannabis. Who knows what other ailments CBD can help with?