Those who have the luxury of living in a location where they can make the choice between cannabis and cannabidiol (CBD) are still faced with a challenging decision. CBD has a few crucial benefits over whole-plant cannabis, and perhaps most notably it doesn’t make you “high”, but for certain conditions, the full array of cannabinoids is necessary, which can only be delivered by a regular cannabis strain or an extract from it.
Your personal situation will determine whether you need CBD or cannabis, but let’s take a look at a few cases where non-psychoactive products may suit you better.
CBD does not cause any impairment
While psychoactive cannabis can be very therapeutic, it does have the notorious side effect of getting you “high” and causing short-term cognitive and judgmental impairment. This can be a high price to pay for relief, especially if you have to work in an office all day, look after children, operate heavy machinery or carry out any other important tasks which require you to be in total control of your mental and physical faculties.
This is where CBD can be an excellent solution. These products still offer impressive relief, and companies such as CBDfx make dabs which are incredibly potent, and still cause no intoxication. The only thing to be wary about with high doses of CBD is sedation, with some users reporting drowsiness.
CBD for anxiety
Some people find that the mind-altering effects of THC helps relieve their anxiety by reducing their inhibitions and therefore restrictive self-consciousness. However, the psychoactive properties definitely aren’t for everyone, with many others experiencing heightened anxiety as a result of taking cannabis.
This is because the psychoactive effects tend to amplify emotions that you’re already feeling, which either works positively or negatively. If you’re feeling good, then happiness will likely magnify into euphoria. But if your trip takes a turn for the worse, then concerns and worries could blow up into severe anxiety and paranoia.
The good news is that there’s no need to risk unpredictable psychoactive effects to harness the anxiolytic qualities of hemp and cannabis. Studies have shown that CBD is an excellent treatment for anxiety, and that is more powerful than placebo treatment – this was demonstrated best in an Italian public speaking experiment involving anxiety patients.
Researchers who have looked at the mechanisms in which CBD eliminates anxiety have discovered that the cannabinoid enhances the binding affinity of GABA-A receptors, allowing more of the inhibitory neurotransmitter gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) to become active and block nerve impulses in the brain. Anxiety is not completely understood by scientists, but overexcitation of neurons is thought to be a cause.
CBD for reducing inflammation
Cannabinoid studies have revealed that both THC and CBD have prominent anti-inflammatory effects. And crucially, they don’t cause stomach ulcers and other horrible side effects which come from taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), the most commonly prescribed anti-inflammatories.
The soothing effect that cannabinoids have on inflammation are a result of interactions with the CB2 receptor in the endocannabinoid system. THC’s influence is direct, as the cannabinoid is a partial agonist of the receptor. Contrastingly, CBD is an antagonist of the CB2 receptor, and exerts its anti-inflammatory properties by indirectly boosting concentrations of endocannabinoids, which can bind with the receptor to inhibit cytokines, proteins involved with the upregulation of inflammatory reactions.
Essentially, this means that the psychoactive component of cannabis is not required to get an anti-inflammatory benefit of the plant. While any consumption method where CBD is taken into the body should work for inflammation management, edibles may be preferable as these have to be digested, taking the CBD in the gut, where it may be of increased value to the immune system.
CBD for exercise
Savvy cannabis users in weed-friendly states have learned to incorporate the herb into their exercise routines. For some, pot helps to boost their motivation, but it can also be great for pain relief, with topical products standing out from the crowd. But is the THC really necessary?
The brain-altering chemicals may make it possible to turn exercise into a game, but it could also reduce concentration and focus for some. CBD alone is enough to raise concentrations of anandamide, an endocannabinoid associated with the “runner’s high” that provides an antidepressant and analgesic effect.
CBD is often a superb replacement for high-THC cannabis as a therapeutic substance. For those not keen on being “high”, it’s worth experimenting with CBD to see if it can produce the same benefit for you as cannabis.