Cannabidiol, or CBD, the sibling of tetrahydrocannabinol, THC, that active ingredient in marijuana that gets users "high" is one of over 100 cannabinoids in the plant, known for providing medicinal benefits without the buzz. They're both natural compounds and share the same molecular structure, but are arranged differently which is why they have different effects on the body.
Ever since the Chinese first took advantage of marijuana for medicinal purposes back in 2900 BC, many civilizations have utilized its benefits for all sorts of medical conditions. In fact, scientific research has found that CBD may be as effective if not more so than anti-inflammatory drugs. Extracted from the buds and flowers of the hemp plant, it's often pressed into oil, used in CBD edibles and available in other forms like CBD crystals, wax, and capsules.
CBD is now legal in all 50 states, although laws different from state-to-state, dictating which types of products people can use and which are prohibited. CBD is also legal in the UK providing the THC levels are below 0.2%.
Whilst many industries suffered losses during the COVID-19 pandemic, the CBD industry continued to boom. Offering relief from anxiety, depression and insomnia, it’s been a useful natural supplement to many during this time.
If you're considering taking advantage of its benefits, you'll want to look into the specific laws for your state or country and consider a few of the pros and cons as well.
Pro: relief from a wide array of symptoms
CBD may help relieve many different symptoms related to multiple disorders, some of which have been proven by scientific research. A quick search online will reveal its potential to reduce inflammation, ease anxiety, clear up acne, prevent epileptic seizures, and even address cancer symptoms.
It's widely regarded as an effective product for treating and managing pain. The body's endocannabinoid system is known to aid in the regulation of the appetite, sleep, the immune system, and pain response.
These endocannabinoids are neurotransmitters which bind to cannabinoid receptors in the nervous system. CBD impacts this receptor activity to help reduce chronic pain and inflammation.
One of the reasons CBD has increased significantly in popularity is a report by the World Health Organization released in 2017 confirmed it can treat anxiety, Alzheimier's, epilepsy, and depression. Not long afterward, in June of 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) even approved a CBD product for treating rare, severe forms of epilepsy in children.
Pro: relatively few adverse side effects
As you're probably aware, pharmaceutical drugs often come with a long list of adverse side effects, some of which can be severe. Opioids in particular are well-known for their potential to be abused as they're highly addictive. One of the reasons people prefer CBD is that it's non-addictive and often well-tolerated with relatively few adverse CBD reactions, such as fatigue, reduced appetite, and dry mouth.
If you have health insurance, it probably covers your prescription medications, or at least a portion of the cost. CBD is unlikely to be covered by insurance so you'll have to pay out of pocket and for some, the cost could be prohibitive even if the benefits outweigh the price.
Con: it doesn’t work for everyone
While many people find CBD effective, it doesn't work for everyone as we all have different body chemistries. That means there is the possibility that you'll have to spend some money to experiment with various doses and strengths only to find that it doesn't work for you.