July 19, 2019 | 87° F

Cannabis-derived CBD turns trendy for its theraputic properties

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Although cannabis is on the road to legalization in the U.S. — for both medicinal and recreational use — it's still classified as a Schedule 1 substance by the U.S. Controlled Substance Act because of its psychoactive and hallucinogenic properties caused by tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), one of the chemicals found in the plant. 

Cannabidiol (CBD) is THC’s legal little sister, and is rapidly becoming trendy for its alleged health benefits. CBD and THC are two of the most prominent cannabinoids found in Cannabis sativa, the plant genus that is used to produce both cannabis and hemp. While there are more than 100 different cannabinoids identified by scientists, CBD and THC are by far the most extensively studied, and thus understood.

Despite the fact that cannabis and hemp both contain THC and CBD, they effect the body differently. Cannabis contains a higher percentage of THC, which psychologically alters a persons mind when they smoke it or ingest its oil. On the other hand, hemp contains a much lower percentage of THC, which makes it non-psychoactive.  

In addition to CBD being the key to the wide variety of medicinal and therapeutic effects cannabis offers, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reported a myriad of benefits of the chemical. The FDA approved the use of CBD oil for the treatment of rare conditions associated with epileptic seizures. The FDA also linked CBD to a reduction in anxiety. Researchers think it may change the way the brain’s receptors respond to serotonin, a chemical linked to mental health. These receptors are tiny proteins attached to cells that receive chemical messages and help the cells respond to different stimuli. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, one study found that 600 milligrams of CBD helped people with social anxiety give a speech.

“Personally, I use CBD oil when I’m feeling anxious. It helps calm me down,” said Mackenzie Kunkle, a School of Arts and Sciences senior. “I also suffer from migraines, and sometimes the CBD relieves that pain for me.” 

Unlike cannabis or THC oil, CBD is legally available and easy to buy. Kunkle says she purchases the oil in the form of a vape cartridge on websites such as herbstrong.com, where the oil is also sold in topical creams and serums. The website even offers CBD products for pets. 

If you suffer from acne, CBD oil is also a common combat in fighting chronic breakouts. The condition is usually caused by inflammation and overworked sebaceous glands in the body. A 2014 study published by the Journal of Clinical Investigation found that CBD helps to lower the production of sebum that leads to acne, partly because of its anti-inflammatory effect it has on the body. With this in mind, many young adults and teenagers turn toward this product as a source of relief. But since it is technically legal, many people do not consider the controversy behind it all. 

Hemp-derived CBD oil has no psychoactive effects, thus, all 50 states legalized the recreational and medicinal use of the product. Conversely, being that cannabis-derived THC oil contains a high psychoactive percentage, it is not legal everywhere, and its use is highly controversial. As of 2018, there are nine states that have legalized cannabis for recreational use. These states are Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington. 

There are 46 states that allow cannabis use for medicinal purposes only with a qualified prescription from a doctor. According to the Medium, there are still four states where cannabis-derived CBD is completely illegal for any type of usage. These states are Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota. 

Besides the legality, there are also many people that are against the idea of using CBD oil for medicinal purposes as they claim it simply has a mental placebo effect. But as stated above, there has been proof of research that is in effect — recently, the FDA even approved of synthetic CBD oil to be produced for mass consumption.

It’s always necessary to have a clear understanding and awareness of the products that could have potential risks and benefits. Therefore, before you attempt to consume CBD, do some research to make sure you are getting the oil from the safest source. 

Elizabeth Leoce

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