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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