Although many people are familiar with cannabis’ psychoactive effects and applications for pain management (both of which are dominant with THC), another very important cannabinoid is cannabidiol, or CBD. We have discussed CBD alongside THC in previous posts, but this one will be dedicated completely to the former.
First of all, the physiological and psychological effects of cannabis come from phytocannabinoids, which are chemical compounds (‘cannabinoids’) found naturally in the cannabis plant. Although there are about 85 cannabinoids, the two most studied and used medicinally so far are THC (delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (Cannabidiol) (Greydanus & Merrick 2016; Hand et al 2016; Nahtigal et al 2016).
CBD is considered non-psychoactive, and is often prescribed to relieve symptoms treatable through medical cannabis while avoiding or minimizing the consciousness-altering effects, leading to successful treatments with children (Leweke et al 2012; Joy et al 1999; McCormick et al 2017). Higher levels of CBD are typically found in Indica strains of the cannabis plant, which also have more balanced mixtures of CBD and THC. These strains are short and wide, and have general effects of relaxation and sleepiness. For this reason, Indica strains are typically prescribed for evening and night-time use. CBD has many potential medicinal effects, and has been shown to be positive in addressing inflammation, pain, anxiety, nausea, psychosis and spasms (Dowsett et al 2017; McCormick et al 2017; ). Recent research has even shown that CBD has potential to treat addictions by blocking the reward effects of certain drugs.
An important consideration is that CBD is very often prescribed with THC in various doses, as they have interaction effects which lead to some of the benefits of CBD.
Talk to your physician and patient coordinator to learn more about CBD and how it can be used to improve your quality of life.
- Dowsett, L.E. et al. 2017. Cannabis Evidence Series: An Evidence Synthesis. Calgary: Government of Alberta.
- Greydanus, D.E., & Merrick, J. 2016. Cannabis or marijuana: A review. Journal of Pain Management, 9(4), 347-373.
- Hand, A., Blake, A., Kerrigan, P., Samuel, P., Friedberg, J. (2016). History of Medical Cannabis. Journal of Pain Management, 9(4), 387-394.
- Joy et al eds. (1999). Marijuana and medicine: assessing the scientific base. National Academies Press.
- Leweke et al (2012). Cannabidiol enhances anandamide signalling and alleviates psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia. Translational Psychiatry, 2(3)
- McCormick, M. et al. (2017). The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research. Washington: The National Academies Press.
- Nahtigal et al. 2016. The pharmacological properties of Cannabis. Journal of Pain Management, 9(4), 481-491.