The amazing abilities of the cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant are rapidly being discovered by scientists, as the power of cannabidiol, or CBD, to remedy illnesses such as asthma, anxiety, and epilepsy out-shines standard drugs. CBD is one of more than 80 active cannabinoids in the marijuana plant, and one which possesses therapeutic value. Most medical CBD comes from the least processed form of cannabis, known as hemp. While hemp and marijuana have a common ancestor (cannabis sativa), they are entirely different. Because it is non-psychotropic, CBD does not result in the euphoric feelings associated with some strains of cannabis. CBD differs from THC in that you can take high doses without the psychological side effects, so it serves to counteract the undesirable anxiety that often comes with ingesting THC.

How Does CBD Work?

CBD, like all cannabinoids, will attach itself to particular receptors in the body to take effect. Human bodies have two receptors for cannabinoids–CB1 and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors are most frequently found in the brain, though they are located other places throughout the body. These receptors handle coordination, pain, emotions, appetite, and memories. CB2 receptors are more prevalent in the immune system, and they affect inflammation and pain. These interactions between CBD and receptors are what regulate anxiety and fear. Because cannabis is an antioxidant, it has also been shown to inhibit the growth of many forms of cancer, as well as hinder the growth of malignant tumor cells.

Effects on Epilepsy

Of CBDs multiple medical properties, particular focus has been on its significant results in epilepsy patients. In a study of children who suffered from convulsive seizures, there was a 23% greater decrease in seizures than among children taking a placebo.

Of note are patients with Dravet syndrome–a severe form of epilepsy which can result in cognitive impairment and behavioral disorders–who have been shown to be responsive to CBD. Because current epilepsy medications don’t usually work for patients with Dravet, almost a quarter of children with the syndrome may die from seizures before the age of 20. Patients in a 14-week study who received CBD saw a decrease of 39% in seizure frequency, with 5% of patients remaining seizure-free throughout the study.

Other Benefits

One of CBDs most powerful abilities is as an anti-inflammatory. It has For patients with type 1 diabetes, CBD has reduced inflammation of the pancreas; for people with acne, it eased the swelling of sebaceous glands. Anxiety disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social anxiety, and panic disorder all have shown improvement under CBD, with none of the adverse side effects of prescription drugs. Further, there have been no notable side effects on the central nervous system, any vital signs, or even mood among participants who use it. However, sleepiness has been reported by some.

While the legal case for medically commissioned CBD remains a complicated one, the benefits for those suffering from afflictions such as chronic pain, nausea, and depression are clear. This safe alternative to THC confers a host of therapeutic benefits which science has only begun to uncover.

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