Cannabis vs. CBD: What You Need to Know
Many of us have heard the terms CBD, Cannabidiol, THC, Cannabinoids, Hemp, and Cannabis, but very few of us actually know what they mean and the differences between them. In this post, we will break it down and make it very simple for everyone.
Cannabis Sativa (also commonly known as Cannabis or Marijuana) is an ancient plant that has been used in various ways for thousands of years. It is often avoided with distrust because of one of its components, namely THC. TetraHydroCannabinol is the psychoactive compound found in cannabis, or the one that makes you “high”. But there is much more to this plant than a euphoria-inducing substance.
Hemp is mostly free of THC (finished products contains less than 0.03% THC), and it is extremely versatile. It can be eaten (its seeds are highly nutritious), made into fabric to make clothes, and even processed into paper. In fact, it is much more sustainable and environmentally-friendly than cotton or wood.
Here is a handy infographic to help you understand the cannabinoid family a little better, with a focus on CBD
Now, Cannabis contains at least 113 cannabinoids. This includes THC, but more importantly it includes CBD. CBD stands for Cannabidiol, and is not psychoactive. This means that it won’t make you “high” the way THC would. For this reason, CBD derived from hemp is legal in most states and it has been found to be extremely therapeutic.
While more research on its benefits is surely needed, many people already use it for an array of ailments, ranging from mild anxiety to cancer. In this clip, Neurosurgeon and Chief Medical Correspondent for CNN Dr. Sanjay Gupta talks about the benefits of CBD, and how it interacts with the human body. Dr. Gupta appeared on the Dr. Oz show in April 2018 and explained how CBD can be beneficial as an alternative to opiods to treat the pain, treat the withdrawal and heal the brain.
Here is a sample of the aches and pains that can be helped with CBD, as well as some of the research that has been done on them:
- Arthritis - many arthritis patients have reported not only a decrease in their joint pain by using CBD, but also a decrease in inflammation caused by the condition. In a study by the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology (Malfait et al, 2000), researchers found that CBD protected joints against severe damage.
- Diabetes - some research suggests that CBD could help treat metabolic disorders such as diabetes. In 2011, Di Marzo et al. found that cannabidiol could help regulate lipid and glucose metabolism. And in 2013, Penner et al. discovered that the use of the plant was associated with lower levels of fasting insulin (meaning less resistance to this solution to diabetes).
- Multiple Sclerosis - in a 2013 study by Mecha et al., CBD was found to have potent anti-inflammatory properties, significantly helping in the treatment of MS. The pharmaceutical giant Bayer even makes a mouth spray called Sativex to help treat this condition, and it has been found effective for muscle spasticity.
- Addiction - a 2015 review by Prud’homme et al., found CBD to have a lot of potential in helping people overcome addictions, whether they be to alcohol, nicotine or even opioids.
- Seizures - cannabidiol was found helpful in the treatment of refractory seizures and Sturge-Weber syndrome in a 2017 study by Kaplan et al.
- Cancer - a 2012 study by Solinas et al. found that CBD could slow or even prevent the spread of cancer cells within the human body, making it a potentially effective treatment for cancer.
Therapeutic CBD comes in many forms. You can drink it as oil, apply it on you skin in lotion, swallow it in a capsule, or even spray it under your tongue. The only limit is the maker’s imagination!
Very few (if any) side effects of using CBD have been reported to date. Various doses have been given to many people, and no negative changes in vital signs or mood have been observed. Some people have reported feeling tired or sleepy, so keep that in mind if you’re going to try to pull an all nighter on it!
Written by Juliette Benard
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.