What is CBD oil and where is this oil from the cannabis plant good for?

For years the use of cannabidiol (CBD), a derivative of the cannabis (hemp) plant, has created argument and discussion around the world regarding its medicinal properties. In 1998, a British company, GW Pharmaceuticals, obtained a Home Office licence to begin growing cannabis plants specifically to extract CBD oil for clinical trials. Yet the benefits, or not, of CBD oil or hemp oil, are still largely un-researched. Is it one of nature’s natural healing remedies, or an unsafe, untested product, sold by charlatans to those who have given up hope of finding relief for their ailments through over-the-counter or prescription medicines?

CBD oil’s big problem

CBD’s were first discovered in 1940, although legend has it that Queen Victoria used to take a form of cannabis oil back in the mid-1800s, to relieve period pains. So why has it taken so long for any meaningful research to be undertaken? Cannabis oil is a by-product of the cannabis, or hemp plant. That’s the one, weed, marijuana, ganga, pot, dope, call it what you will. Probably the planet’s most used recreational drug and, until very recently, illegal in most of the Western world. Clinically proven research points to serious side effects, from addiction to paranoia to increased drug use, from over indulgence in weed smoking. It could well be that these side effects from the mother plant, are what has put off until recently, any serious research into the medicinal benefit of cannabis oil.

CBD and THC

THC is another active compound of the cannabis plant, and is the element that gives smokers the high they require. That said, speak to any regular cannabis smoker, and they will tell you it is also stress-relieving, helps relaxation and sleep, removes anxiety, and reduces joint and muscle pain. For years, cannabis plants were cultivated to provide as much THC for the smoker as possible. This meant most strains yielded very low amounts of CBD, if the ‘high’ producing element, THC, was to be avoided in the oil. Now, scientists are concentrating on developing strains of the plant which are high in CBD and low in THC.

It’s all in the flowers and leaves

One of the anomalies of the hemp, or cannabis plant, is that hemp oil, produced from the seed of the plant, contains no THC, and is used in a range of applications including cosmetics. Sanctioned by governments the world over, it helps relieve dry skin and itchiness, contains anti-oxidants, and is said to help protect against the aging process. CBD on the other hand, is derived from the flowers and leaves of the plant, the parts that contain the dreaded THC, and the reason why there is so much controversy surrounding CBD oil. Thankfully, in the 21st century, things are slowly beginning to change.

Increasing scientific research

Increasingly, users of social media are being bombarded with the benefits of smoking marijuana, and there are some. Unfortunately, (for the smokers), the proven side effects outweigh the benefits. Likewise, outrageous claims are increasingly being made as to the benefits of CBD oil, by those with a financial motive.

Recent in-depth scientific research has pointed to cannabis oil helping reduce seizures and anxiety, especially amongst young children with epilepsy. Now, the UK, some States in America, some European countries and Australia and New Zealand, are allowing the use of cannabis oil on prescription to certain patients. There is still a long way to go, and clinical trials take time. Hopefully, over the next few years, the greater benefits of cannabis oil will be proven. Especially for those who, at the moment, feel that all hope is lost.

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What are the effects of Cannabis?

Cannabis is a psychoactive drug obtained from the dried, shredded leaves, flowers and stems of the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa. The effects of cannabis vary according to the type and quantity you take and how often you take it, but recreational cannabis users typically seek a state of altered consciousness, or ‘high’, during which they feel euphorically happy, relaxed and talkative.

The most active ingredient in cannabis – that is, the one most responsible for the typical effects of the drug – is a chemical compound called tetrahydracannabinol, or THC for short. When cannabis is inhaled, THC quickly enters the bloodstream and binds to specific receptors, known as cannabinoid receptors, in various areas of the brain. The cannabinoid receptors bring about the mood-altering effects of THC, stimulating neurons in the brain to release dopamine, a neurotransmitter, or chemical messenger, which, in sufficient quantities, makes you feel pleasure. Typically, a dose of 2-3mg of THC is sufficient to produce the desired effect.

Recreational cannabis users also often report heightened senses, which may cause colours to look more intense, or vivid, or make music sound inexplicably magical, while insatiable hunger pangs – commonly known as the ‘munchies’ – are also a common side effect. So, too, is a distorted perception of time, as a result of THC disrupting the normal functioning of cannabinoid receptors.

Some strains of cannabis or, indeed, cannabis that has been mixed, or ‘laced’, with another drug or drugs, may also cause visual or auditory hallucinations, in which you see or hear things that are not real. This temporary loss of contact from reality may be benign enough in itself, although it is produced by the same mechanism as hallucinations in severe mental health disorders, such as psychosis and schizophrenia, so may be a cause for concern if you have a family history of mental illness. To be clear, cannabis does not, necessarily, cause mental problems, but a genetic predisposition towards such problems may cause you to have an extreme, atypical reaction to the drug.

Cannabinoid receptors are also present in the parts of the brain responsible for concentration, coordination, learning, problem-solving and short-term memory, so all these functions can be severely impaired by cannabis. Activities such as driving are not only difficult, but downright dangerous, while under the influence of the drug and you’re twice as likely to be involved in an accident as a drug-free driver. Other unwelcome side effects of cannabis include dizziness, nausea, lethargy and general disinterest in yourself and the world around you, which can lead to careless grooming, withdrawal and the disintegration of your relationships with family and friends.

In the longer term, there is some scientific evidence that suggests cannabis can potentially cause mental health problems, such as anxiety, depression, panic attacks, paranoia, psychosis and schizophrenia. The evidence is by no means conclusive, but implies that mental health problems are more common if you smoke strong, high-potency cannabis, such as skunk or sinsemilla, rather than weaker strains. Aside from the active ingredients in cannabis, smoking the drug regularly over a long period, especially mixed with tobacco, increases you risk of cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases, including lung cancer, and stroke.

What is Cannabis?

We derive cannabis from dried flower buds, stems, cannabis seeds, and leaves. For centuries, humans have used cannabis to get hemp, seed oil, medical care, entertainment, and seeds. The results of over one hundred cannabinoids present in marijuana are unclear, however THC is by far the most powerful psychoactive agent found. When a person smokes marijuana, absorption of THC is by the blood and reaches the brain in minutes.

When consumed, THC is absorbed more. It delays start of the action for some time and extends the duration of the effect. Cannabis cannabinoids are like cannabinoids produced by the body. Neurotransmitters being a cannabinoids transport information between neurons or nerves of the nervous system.

These neuron-transmitters will affect the coordination, memory and movement, perception of time, and even enjoyment or pleasure. Normal brain function can be destroyed because of the reaction between THC and Cannabinoid.

THC and the endocannabinoid system

THC affects the creation and storage of memory control by the brain according to studies. This is also the big difference between THC and CBD or Cannabidiol. THC also affects balance, coordination and reaction time, thus damaging other parts of the brain. This can compromise marijuana use, driving vehicles, or engaging in sports and other tiring activities. Specific cannabinoid receptors will also be stimulated by THC, which up the dopamine release, a neuron-transmitter associated with pleasure. People use marijuana to achieve euphoria, and relaxation. Cannabis can also cause emotional changes. The colour is brighter; the music is brighter, and the feeling is deeper. Some people will also experience paranoia.

When people use marijuana for entertainment, it can have following effects. Perceptual changes because of minor hallucinations can give rise to distorted temporal and spatial illusions, mood changes, or euphoria, Increase, the decrease in blood pressure, a decrease in attention and memory, a decrease in psycho-motor control and nausea. They may still be present in human urine for a few months after the final consumption of marijuana.

Like other analgesics, cannabis can cause addiction and dependence. Over time, severe and persistent over-stimulation of neurons can lead to marijuana use or poisoning since they attach to cannabinoid receptors causing brain changes that. One who has used cannabis since they have been young, and heavy users are more likely to suffer from disorders than others.

Withdrawing from Cannabis

A sudden stop of marijuana use can be uncomfortable, but it does not threaten life. The effects start on the second day after stopping and can last several weeks. Symptoms of abstinence include being anxious, getting irritated, pain in the stomach, and appetite loss. Sleep disorders may continue beyond this period. We do not know the health risks that are long term of chronic cannabis use. We do not know if it will cause serious physical, psychological or other adverse effects.

Cannabis that is Synthetic

Many countries do not approve drugs without legal status, or both do not guarantee safety. Although synthetic cannabis as they are generally known, are never considered cannabis, they include certain compounds in cannabis. Some people try synthesised cannabinoids, which have not gone through tests and considered legal. This is dangerous and can be fatal.