Cannabinoids: Investigating THC, CBDs, and Why They Matter
THC, or Tetrahydrocannabinol, is probably the most commonly known compound related to marijuana use. Within the stoner community most people would probably be able to tell you that THC is the chemical compound in marijuana that gives you the feeling of being "high." While that technically is true, there is a lot more at play when consuming any form of cannabis.
THC is a chemical compound known as a cannabinoid, which is naturally produced by cannabis plants. It is the principal psychoactive constituent in cannabis.
The human body naturally produces chemicals known as endocannabinoids, whose function is to maintain internal stability and health. Very simply put, endocannabinoids are a way for our body's cells to communicate with one another. When consumed, cannabinoids affect the body by attaching themselves to the same receptors that endocannabinoids use.
What your average stoner may not know is that at least 85 different cannabinoids have been isolated from the cannabis plant. One such cannabinoid that has been receiving some much- deserved attention in recent studies is Cannabidiol, or CBD (not to be confused with Cannabinol or CBN). One noteworthy fact about CBD is that it does not get you “high”. CBD can actually counter the high caused by THC. Obviously, this may be of little interest to any recreational marijuana users. However, as a form of medical treatment, this information could be revolutionary in the way society perceives cannabis.
"Scientific and clinical studies underscore CBD’s potential as a treatment for a wide range of conditions, including arthritis, diabetes, alcoholism, MS, chronic pain, schizophrenia, PTSD, antibiotic-resistant infections, epilepsy, and other neurological disorders. CBD has demonstrated neuroprotective and neurogenic effects, and its anti-cancer properties are currently being investigated at several academic research centers in the United States and elsewhere". -ProjectCBD.org
The ability to harness cannabinoids for specific medical treatments could prove to be priceless in the near future. Before any of that can happen, a lot of minds will have to change. In most countries, laws surrounding marijuana and THC are strict. The laws surrounding CBD, however, are less clear. In the United States, CBD is still technically illegal under federal law. The recent legalization of marijuana in Washington, Colorado, Alaska and Oregon are evidence that the U.S. is open to progressive ideals. There is also pharmaceutical development underway for a form of CBD, called Epidiolex, which was cleared by the FDA to be tested with children suffering from severe epilepsy.
With more research and knowledge on the benefits of cannabinoids as a form of medical treatment, paired with the growing support within the United States to legalize marijuana, perhaps it won’t take long to unlock the hidden potential of the cannabis plant and the ability it has help those who need it most.
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