For a long time, researchers were only concerned with studying THC, the psychoactive component that is concentrated in marijuana. However, within the past decade, they have become increasingly interested in the therapeutic benefits of the other compounds found in both varieties, especially cannabidiol (CBD).* It’s important to know that although THC and CBD are the most studied components of cannabis, there are many more chemical compounds found within the plant, such as the phytocannabinoids cannabigerol (CBG), cannabichromene (CBC), cannabinol (CBN), and tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), as well as terpenes and flavonoids.
As cannabis and hemp become more extensively researched and widely available, we are starting to realize the true therapeutic power of these plants and their derivatives.* But they still generate a lot of confusion. Today, we’re clearing up the murkiness surrounding cannabis products, their differences, and the legality of taking them so we can focus on all the benefits of hemp oil extract as well as the ins and outs of buying and consuming it.*
There are many varietals of the Cannabis sativa plant, all of which contain different amounts of THC (the psychoactive component), CBD (a nonpsychoactive component), and other components. Cannabis sativa varietals that have more than 0.3% THC are commonly referred to as marijuana. Hemp is any varietal of Cannabis sativa that contains less than 0.3% THC, and it will not get you high.
An introduction to hemp and how it differs from marijuana and CBD.
Researchers have discovered that whole-plant hemp extracts that contain these other compounds are more beneficial than isolated extracts of just CBD or THC, due to a phenomenon called “the entourage effect.”*
Up in the wee hours of the night, stuck watching videos of puppies? CBD may be promising as a sleep aid; one of the side effects of the Epidiolex trials for epilepsy was drowsiness, according to Mr. MacKillop, a co-author of a review on cannabinoids and sleep. “If you are looking for new treatments for sleep, that may be a clue,” he said.
Many soldiers return home haunted by war and PTSD and often avoid certain activities, places or people associated with their traumatic events. The Department of Veterans Affairs is funding its first study on CBD, pairing it with psychotherapy.
A recent chart review of 72 psychiatric patients treated with CBD found that anxiety improved, but not sleep. “Over all, we did not find that it panned out as a useful treatment for sleep,” said Dr. Scott Shannon, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Colorado, Denver and the lead author of the review in The Permanente Journal.
Does CBD help anxiety and PTSD?
Just as hemp seedlings are sprouting up across the United States, so is the marketing. From oils and nasal sprays to lollipops and suppositories, it seems no place is too sacred for CBD. “It’s the monster that has taken over the room,” Dr. Brad Ingram, an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, said about all the wild uses for CBD now. He is leading a clinical trial into administering CBD to children and teenagers with drug-resistant epilepsy.
A few drops of CBD oil in a mocha or smoothie are not likely to do anything, researchers contend. Doctors say another force may also be at play in people feeling good: the placebo effect. That’s when someone believes a drug is working and symptoms seem to improve.
For students with generalized social anxiety, a four-minute talk, with minimal time to prepare, can be debilitating. Yet a small experiment in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology found that CBD seemed to reduce nervousness and cognitive impairment in patients with social anxiety in a simulated public speaking task.
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is the lesser-known child of the cannabis sativa plant; its more famous sibling, tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the active ingredient in pot that catapults users’ “high.” With roots in Central Asia, the plant is believed to have been first used medicinally — or for rituals — around 750 B.C., though there are other estimates too.