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Best cannabis studies of 2019 

Cannabis research is more important now than at anytime in history. As various forms of the plant become more widely used by society, it’s essential that scientists understand the medicinal effects of cannabinoids and marijuana in general. Experts also need more clarification on the short and long-term effects of recreational cannabis strains. 

Medical cannabis is legal in more than half of US states, and several countries around the world. However, in many regions, marijuana is only available on prescription for certain, rare conditions, such as childhood, medication-resistant epilepsy. However, this has only been possible thanks to several cannabis epilepsy studies. Cannabis appears to have widespread therapeutic potential, but this cannot be fully drawn upon until we get more clinical evidence. 

Barriers to research have made marijuana harder to study over recent decades than many drugs, albeit not as difficult as psychedelics. A trickle of cannabis studies has gradually turned into a steady, if not rushing flow. As of August 2019, several helpful papers have been published in peer-reviewed journals. Here’s a flavor of the cannabis-based studies we’ll be looking at in this post: 

  • Can an app help people to reduce their cannabis intake?
  • Are flavonoids the next big thing in cannabis research?
  • Do liberal cannabis policies lead to lower cannabis substance use disorders?
  • Does CBD block the negative effects of THC?
  • Does adolescent cannabis use cause brain abnormalities?
  • How a cannabis-based treatment can tackle cannabis dependency 

Your smartphone may help you cut back on cannabis 

Cannabis is now legal in more parts of the world than at any point since the early 20th century. This is a fantastic victory for freedom and personal liberty. But marijuana legalization has brought with it new challenges, and some people are worried about their cannabis consumption. It’s incredibly easy to use the herb in large quantities, given people now have such easy access to cannabis via dispensaries. And there are so many discrete products to choose from and enjoy. 

A 2019 study in the Journal of Cannabis Research looked at whether smartphone apps could help marijuana users reduce their intake. The scientists suggested that apps are a beneficial alternative to face-to-face treatment, as they are more accessible and convenient. But until now, no cannabis addiction studies have looked directly at if such applications could help people to cut back on or quit pot.

The study involved 111 participants – around a 2:1 male to female ratio – who had consumed cannabis in the past 30 days, and wanted to either quit or reduce their intake. Participants installed the app “Assess, Plan, Track and Tips” on their smartphones. This enabled them to keep a check on their usage habits and other issues. Overall, those using the app managed to decrease their dependence on cannabis. The researchers concluded that the application had potential, and that apps for quitting drugs like cannabis were a good concept and should be explored in more depth. 

CBD for addiction 

A future study may want to add CBD into the mix. Research has shown that this non-intoxicating cannabis constituent can have an anti-addictive effect, and reduces a cannabis ‘high’. Scientists have investigated how CBD can be used to break addictions to both cigarettes and heroin. A study on cigarette addiction used inhalers to administer CBD, and over a seven-day period, participants reduced their cigarette intake on average. CBD oil is federally legal and made from hemp plants. Products are available online and offline, and can be purchased without prescription. 

Exploring the power of flavonoids 

Recent cannabis studies have zoned in largely on cannabinoids, and in some cases terpenes, and their effects on the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Experts have analyzed how CBD-isolate extracts work in comparison to full-spectrum products, and whether medical marijuana is better with or without THC. But a 2019 discovery promises to change our understanding of the cannabis plant and the future of research: we now know the plant’s flavonoids are critical, too. 

Firstly, this suggests that the effects of marijuana are more therapeutic in whole-plant or full-spectrum form. Isolates shed the benefits and synergy offered by the more obscure hemp and cannabis compounds, including flavonoids. 

Revelatory study in Phytochemistry

A ground-breaking study featured in Phytochemistry has been enlightening for the cannabis world. The study found that the flavonoids cannflavin A and B, which are produced uniquely by cannabis sativa have anti-inflammatory effects 30 times stronger than aspirin. Mild pain, headaches, fevers and more have been remedied by aspirin, an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory for several decades. 

The effects of these flavonoids were demonstrated in animal cell models. Researchers noted that cannflavin A and B are non-intoxicating. The science is complex, but the revelation that these compounds have therapeutic value generates potential for increasingly potent and safe cannabis-based treatments going for. Right now, the medical community is debating the effectiveness of cannabis over opioids for pain. Flavonoids may be key to giving cannabis the edge, in terms of benefits and side effects, or lack of them. 

Are cannabis use disorders less likely in cannabis-progressive states?

Cannabis legalization is a positive, but it’s also an experiment. Even the most ardent and insightful marijuana advocates cannot foresee everything. Legalization is sure to bring challenges that were never even considered beforehand. Hence why it is important not just to study the effects of cannabis on the individual, but also its overall impact on society and the public health. Cannabis critics argue that legalization will increase the likelihood of problematic use. But a study in the International Journal of Drug Policy published this year has thrown cold water on that. 

The researchers took data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. They compared cannabis use (CU) and cannabis use disorder (CUD) among three age groups – 12-17, 18-25 and 26+ – at state level. Each state was ranked as conservative, moderate, or liberal, depending on their medicinal cannabis laws. After crunching the numbers, they concluded that while CU was higher in legalized states, CUD was more prevalent in conservative states. This indicates that the medical cannabis laws are not more likely to increase CUD.

Does CBD block the negative effects of THC? 

THC and CBD may be cannabinoid cousins, but they work much differently. CBD seems to reduce anxiety, THC appears to make it worse. THC may increase the risk of psychosis; researchers are exploring CBD’s value as an antipsychotic. THC is psychoactive, CBD is not. Several studies demonstrated that THC acts oppositely to CBD in the ECS – the former is a CB1 and CB2 receptor agonist, while the latter is an antagonist. Many say that CBD makes a strain less potent, too. But is that true? 

A cannabis case study from Spanish and Japanese scientists analyzed the effects of CBD and THC in relation to learning and memory. The study was published in Molecular Neurobiology, a peer-reviewed journal. The researchers focussed on the hippocampus region of the brain. Cognition, and modulates memory, learning and emotion are all modulated by the hippocampus. Earlier studies have shown THC has a neurotoxic effect in large amounts, while CBD protects and heals the hippocampus through neurogenesis.

Yes, it does!

The study revealed that CBD does inhibit cognitive impairment induced by delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD manages this by reducing CB1 receptor activation in the hippocampus by THC, through activation of adenosine type 2A receptors. When adenosine receptors are activated, THC is unable to switch on CB1 receptors. This reduces total CB1-THC connections, and the effect of the psychoactive cannabinoid has on the hippocampus. 

This further underlines the interplay between CBD and THC in the brain. CBD plays a vital protective role, that helps to preserve memory and learning functions, to prevent cognitive impairment. Strong marijuana with high THC and low CBD may exacerbate and accelerate cognitive impairment. A 2018 study highlighted that CBD helps to restore the hippocampus. We need more research on this particular part of the brain and the interactions between THC and CBD. This will help us to understand the relative safety and risk of cannabis with 20%+ THC.

Does teen cannabis use cause brain abnormalities?

We know that cannabis has a powerful effect on the brain. Therefore, a big worry is that consuming cannabis before the brain has fully developed could cause neurological changes and brain abnormalities. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence for this, but does the science really back it up? And if so, what can be done to keep marijuana out of teenagers’ hands?

Neuropsychopharmacology published a study this year from the Department of Psychiatry at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. They pointed out that previous studies using small samples had produced inconsistent results on teenage cannabis use changing brain structure. This comprehensive study analyzed 781 youths between 14-22 – 147 of these were cannabis users, with just under 30% of them frequent users. 

The investigation used magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs) to analyze gray and white matter, gray matter density and cortical thickness. They found that brain structures were similar across all groups. Any “small magnitude” changes were statistically insignificant. The scientists noted that this backed up findings of studies that had previously found little correlation between adolescent cannabis use and brain structural alterations. 

What’s next?

That said, the experts want more detailed research. Not to mention, some people are simply predisposed to psychosis and schizophrenia. Taking cannabis at an early age may trigger these conditions or make them worse. As cannabis goes legal in more and more locations, policymakers and cannabis companies will need to ensure products stay out of youngsters’ hands.

How a cannabis medicine may combat cannabis dependency

Cannabis is not addictive in the sense that heroin and cocaine are, or even nicotine. But the drug does have a pernicious effect on some users, who may become mentally dependent over time. Cannabis advocates shouldn’t shrug these risks off. Instead, it’s worth paying attention to CBD and its anti-addictive qualities. We can then harness CBD to make the cannabis experience safer, more sustainable and, ultimately, more enjoyable. 

The University of Sydney recently published a study laying out how a natural cannabis treatment can tackle such dependency. The paper is featured in the July 2019 edition of JAMA Internal Medicine. Researchers used a cannabis concentrate with a near-equal mix of THC and CBD, in an oral solution designed to be taken sublingually. More than 120 participants took part, and the group given cannabis treatment reduced their illicit cannabis intake by more than the placebo group. The patients also received cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). 

The logic of treating dependency by reducing a drug’s risks by lowering and, in this case, changing the type of dose is similar to how nicotine addiction has been treated for years. The researchers noted that novel treatments for cannabis dependence are necessary since 80 percent of users trying to quit relapse within six months. The study also suggests that cannabis users may be better off taking strains with a more balanced THC to CBD mix in the first place.

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How to choose the right vape hardware 

There is no more efficient way to enjoy the beneficial properties of cannabidiol (CBD) and marijuana than vaporizing. With this method, cannabinoids are activated and absorbed rapidly, where they can start to have an effect within seconds. Smoking is the only other way that compares in terms of speed, but this comes with needless health risks. Smoke is stuffed with harmful carcinogens, that can lead to life-threatening health problems in the long run.

But finding the most suitable vape hardware can be a challenge. The vape industry has gone from strength to strength in recent times, giving vapers unprecedented choice. There are vape pods and disposable pens, refillable pens, portable vaporizers, desktop vaporizers and more. Moreover, e-liquids, dry herb and concentrates are all suitable for vaping. This is fantastic for enthusiasts, who can sample low and high doses, indicas and sativas, and indeed any vaping product that comes with a twist. But it can be a little daunting for newbies, many of whom just want a cost-effective vaping setup. 

This article will detail the advantages and disadvantages of the most common types of vaping equipment, and outline which vapers they are most suited to. We’ll be covering:

  • The quality of desktop vaporizers
  • The benefits of refillable pods/cartridges
  • Advantages of disposable devices
  • Cool vape mods
  • The effects of vaping e-liquids, concentrates and dry herb

Desktop vapes 

The best vaping experience comes undoubtedly from desktop vaporizers. These are designed to vape dry herb, and the user has full control over the type of vapor they get. A good desktop vape will allow for temperature changes at one-degree intervals, so that vapers can find a setup that meets their needs in regard to vapor viscosity and flavor. These vapes operate on mains power as opposed to batteries, so there’s never a danger of running out of power mid-session. In addition, desktop vaporizers are great for social vaping, as the device can remain switched on for long periods without needing a recharge. And with the superb tasting vapor, you and your friends will be keen to fill up bowl after bowl.

As good as desktop vapes are, they are somewhat limited compared to portable equipment. Desktop vapes, such as the famous Volcano, are heavy and difficult to carry around. These devices aren’t feasible for those who want or need to vape on the go. But those looking to enjoy fantastic vape sessions at home should consider investing in a desktop vaporizer. The effects are unparalleled.

Portable vaporizers

These are more sophisticated than your average vape pen, and gives vapers more control over their experience, in comparison to vape pens. Depending on the model, you may be able to vape two – or all three of concentrates, e-liquids and dry herbs. This makes a portable device an excellent selection for users who like to tweak their setup on a regular basis. 

Some devices are all about the experience, such as the PAX. More recent models in the PAX range even let you sync up the device to your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth to adjust the settings. Some vapes prioritize discretion, and have non-assuming aesthetics. Take the Magic Flight Launch Box, for instance. This wooden vape is small and heats up very quickly, but doesn’t produce the strong aroma that some other vapes do.

High-end portable vaporizers are undeniably quite expensive, and probably won’t be what you’re looking for if you want a cheap vape starter kits. However, for those who have had good experiences with vape pods or pens, a more developed portable vaporizer is a great upgrade to improve your vapor quality when on the move. 

Refillable CBD vape pens 

Refillable vape pens are more portable than regular handheld vaporizers, and are a little more discreet. Just about every pen has a micro-USB charging feature, and will rarely take more than 30 minutes to charge from empty. 

The beauty of vaping cartridges is the standardized 510-threaded design throughout the vape market – whether you vape cannabis, CBD or nicotine. Almost any cartridge from any manufacturer can be attached securely to a rechargeable pen, without leaking. 

Refillable cartridges can be a lot of fun for serious vapers, who like to mix and match between different products, or even make their own e-liquids. Vapers may want to combine a CBD e-liquid with their favorite flavored vape juice, or maybe fuse together CBD and nicotine e-liquids for a concentration boost. 

Refillable cartridges will become worn and dirty over time, which will affect the taste. While you can clean and keep using them, empty cartridges are cheap to replace. Refillable vape pens have few downsides, although a more fully-fledged portable device may have better vapor quality. 

Disposable vape pens 

Enjoy relied on-demand with CBD oil and e-liquid products. Many users find that rapid-acting CBD products are more therapeutic than their regular medicines. This is unsurprising for disorders with acute symptoms, which can strike suddenly and intensely. Disposable vape pens offer lots of variety, with multiple flavored options, and they are designed for maximum convenience.

The pen-shaped, lightweight design is perfect for regular use during the day. Since disposable pens are thrown away once they are empty, there’s no need for recharging. This is helpful as you’ll always know how many milligrams of CBD you have readily available. Disposable pens are preloaded with either a CBD-isolate or full-spectrum CBD extract. Some products are made with an MCT-rich carrier oil to increase bioavailability. Many established hemp-based CBD brands have moved into the disposable vape pen industry, giving vapers even more choice. 

A great perk of disposable pens is that they are easier to operate than other portable devices. Pens with draw-activated firing work on the sensation and pressure that’s produced when you inhale at the mouthpiece, meaning you don’t need to press a single button. No buttons to press also makes disposable pens safer, as there’s no risk of an accidental switch on. Also, as they are single-use, there’s no need to do any maintenance. 

Disposable pens deliver an optimum vaping experience, but you can expect to pay a little more for the luxury. Vapers on a budget may prefer a refillable product. However, those who favor convenience will probably deem paying a few extra bucks per pen well worth it. 

Vape pod systems 

If you are familiar with vaping culture, you’ll have definitely heard of the JUUL, a tiny device from the makers of the famous PAX which is pioneering pod vaping, which prioritizes discretion and simplicity. The JUUL, for one, looks just like a USB stick, but packs a serious punch. They also offer a good range of pods with delicious flavors, including fruity mango. 

Regular JUUL pods contain nicotine. However, other brands are now getting involved in the pod market, and introducing CBD and cannabis pods to the vape scene. As it happens, CBD pods could be good for nicotine users trying to quit. CBD products are increasingly touted as smoking cessation products. This is because the cannabinoid has anti-addictive properties. 

The JUUL was the first pod vaporizer to make an impact, but others devices have emerged of late. The OVNS is a good alternative, as is the Ki, which offers twice the battery life that the JUUL does, and uses pods twice the size. Considering vape pods hold a mere 0.8ml of e-liquid, doubling up to 1.6ml can make a big difference, reducing the time you need to spend replacing or refilling pods. 

Be aware of leaks when using pods made from a different company than the device. Vape pods are improving in quality as demand increases, but it’s important to do your research beforehand, as a leakage could leave you with a hefty dry cleaning bill. Besides that, pod vaporizers are the perfect choice for any first-time vaper seeking a reliable, good value device.

Awesome vape mods 

The 510-threaded system that has been almost universally adopted means that hardcore vapers can have a lot of fun perfecting their equipment. There are numerous vape mods out there to make a device unique, or simply to fine-tune the vapor flavor, viscosity or throat hit. We’ve picked out a few of our favorite vape and box mods to show you just what’s possible when you get creative with vaping. 

The REO Grand is a durable vape mod that is great if you vape often and outside of the house. It holds a whopping 6ml of vape juice, and has a magnetically-closing door to prevent leaks.

The Limited-Sub Herb is a mod that lets you turn your average portable vape into a device capable of heating dry herb. This limited edition model from MigVapor heats quickly and is also compatible with concentrates.

If building your own vape, you should think about getting any squonker mod. Several manufacturers are selling these nowadays. With a squonker, you can soak the coil or wick with e-liquid as you need it. Squonkers guarantee tasty hits, time after time.

Should you vape e-liquid, herb or concentrates?

E-liquids work well because there is lots of flexibility. You can easily mix different vape juices together, or even dissolve concentrates into the tank to jack up the potency of an e-liquid. They deliver consistent vapor, with a steady dosage of nicotine, CBD or THC. Dry herb vaping tends to be more inconsistent. The cannabinoids are unevenly distributed throughout the flower.

That said, dry herb offers a purer vaping experience. There’s no need to use vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol or any carrier oil combination. Just add some ground-up herb to the chamber, and vape away. You can also combine different strains easily when wanting a changeup. 

Concentrates are in a league of their own. These are much, much stronger than dry herb, and even the strongest vape juices. Crystals especially are incredibly powerful. In therapeutic terms, this means potent and effective relief from ailments. For recreational users it means a much more intense ‘high’. Not all vapers will want concentrates. But those who use them tend to love the strong effects. 

Final thoughts

Hopefully this guide has enhanced your knowledge of what’s out there in the vaping market, and helped you determine the best equipment for you. If buying for the first time, a starter kit can be a great investment. With these, you’ll get all the kit necessary to start vaping, without spending money you don’t have to on non-essential accessories. It’s often best to start small and establish what sort of vaping is most suited to you before spending the big bucks.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Nicotine, CBD and THC are not intended to treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition. Keep all vaping products out of reach of children and pets. 

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THC benefits in depth 

 Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is undeniably the most interesting compound in cannabis. It’s the one that gets you ‘high’, producing the curious psychoactive effects that are so unusual and difficult to explain. THC is typically discussed as an amazing recreational substance, that makes for good times alone or among friends; or, it’s talked about as a danger to mental health. 

What gets less attention, especially with the emergence of non-intoxicating and therapeutic properties of another cannabinoid, cannabidiol (CBD), is that THC is teeming with health benefits. Indeed, it is the THC that has always been crucial to the advancement of medical marijuana legislation. 

This cannabis ingredient is vital for amping up the pain relief and anti-inflammatory that users can get from a strain. And as CBD becomes more popular, it’s critical that advocates, politicians and the media don’t lose sight of the fact that just because THC gets you ‘stoned’, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have medical benefits, too.

This article is going to focus on the value of THC for medical cannabis. We’re going to look at several conditions, including the following: 

 

  • THC for migraines 
  • THC for pain 
  • The anti-inflammatory effects of THC 
  • THC for the skin 
  • THC for appetite 

We’ll also talk about how to use THC most effectively. The ‘entourage effect’ is critical to bringing out the true power of medical marijuana. This is achieved through one-to-one strains, which balance CBD and THC levels. These cannabinoids have a moderating influence on each other. Therefore, in many cases, one-to-one strains are better than high-THC recreational weed.

What makes THC an effective medicine?

Many people wonder just exactly why THC, which is essentially just an obscure plant compound, can have such a profound effect on health. The answer lies in the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is where THC’s major effects are produced. 

Research has shown that THC is the plant-based version of a compound produced by the human body, called anandamide. Both THC and anandamide are agonists of the two main cannabinoid receptors in the ECS. CBD also has a positive effect on the ECS. Scientists first discovered and isolated THC in the 1960s, and became aware of anandamide and the ECS in the 1990s. Now let’s get stuck into the effects of cannabis. 

THC for pain 

Medical marijuana is used to manage pain more than anything else. Despite the psychoactive side effects of THC, it’s not addictive or possible to overdose on, as opposed to opioids. Therefore, users can enjoy safer pain relief by vaping or smoking cannabis, or by taking it an edible, than they can with traditional painkillers. 

How does THC work to relieve pain? As a CB1 receptor agonist, THC is directly involved with the process of pain sensation regulation. THC is also thought to administer an analgesic effect via the serotonergic and dopaminergic systems. Some users prefer indica-dominant strains when treating pain, as this delivers a more sedative effect. However, for chronic pain sufferers who need daytime relief without feeling fatigued, a sativa-dominant strain will likely be better. 

THC for migraines 

Migraines are another condition that people are turning towards cannabis for, due to the failings of prescription medicine. Current migraine drugs can help with the pain, but are notorious for causing confusion, fatigue, dizziness and concentration issues. Cannabis experts are hopeful that a combination of THC and CBD can combat migraine symptoms, without the downsides. Ancient medicinal texts prove that cannabis has been used for migraines for centuries. Western medicinal practices also used marijuana for migraines until prohibition.

Those researching dysfunction in the ECS may have hit the jackpot. Studies have found that natural anandamide levels are lower in migraineurs, compared to those who don’t suffer. Supplementing the body with THC helps to address this issue. The unusual and troublesome ‘aura’ symptoms that some migraineurs experience, which causes a spike in light and sound sensitivity, may be treatable through CB1 receptor regulation.

Another study has demonstrated that a cannabis medicine can be just as effective for migraines as current drugs. And overall, cannabis is the better treatment thanks to fewer side effects. Next, scientists must determine which works best: a high-THC mix, a high-CBD mix, or a THC-CBD combo. A product with equal amounts of THC to CBD is great for capitalizing on the ‘entourage effect’, a synergy that happens among cannabinoids. 

THC for the skin

Cannabis skin care is becoming one of the hottest markets in the wellness world. Many marijuana brands, and even established cosmetic brands, are looking at producing infused lotions, balms and gels to help enhance skin quality, slow aging and tackle inflammatory skin disorders. 

Topical products are effective because THC influences the skin via cannabinoid receptors. For example, the skin contains CB2 receptors, which are entwined with the immune system. Applying a THC-rich cream to the skin sends a wave of immunomodulatory messages. For psoriasis, an autoimmune disease, this works to slow down skin cell production, and treat patchy, red and flaky skin. 

THC is also a strong antioxidant. These compounds help to avert extrinsic aging caused by free radicals. When free radicals attack the skin, they degrade its DNA, which inhibits the skin’s ability to generate new cells. This accelerates aging. Have you ever wondered why smokers seem to age more quickly? It’s likely due to oxidative damage caused by free radicals. THC creams provide an important layer of protection from free radicals, which are found in smoke, UV rays, exhaust fumes and x-rays. 

THC for mood and depression 

The main reason why people use cannabis products to get ‘high’ is so that they can enjoy the euphoric effects. The euphoric effects may help with elevating mood and treating depression. Anandamide naturally improves mood, and THC has the same effect just much more potently. Again, cannabis produces this via CB1 receptor activation. 

The giggles and funny times that a few hours being high provides is enjoyable. However, if using cannabis to manage depression, then it’s important not to fall into the trap of being ‘high’ all the time. The body quickly become tolerant to THC, and in regular, high doses, the cannabinoid may adversely affect the brain. Responsible use and perhaps rotating THC products with full-spectrum CBD oil, is a more sustainable way to boost mood long-term with cannabinoids. 

THC for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

PTSD is a mental disorder that impacts millions of Americans, and veterans in particular. Antidepressants are prescribed to PTSD patients. But for most, these are ineffective. Hence, among other avenues, researchers have started to look at the medical benefits of THC for PTSD. And there is reason for encouragement. 

PTSD symptoms include flashbacks, nightmares, and emotional numbness. There is optimism that cannabis may help to eliminate the bad memories that cause these symptoms. This may sound a little too good to be true, but the available research is compelling. Studies have shown that PTSD sufferers may have lower levels of anandamide. This, as you may have noticed, is a common theme in conditions that may be remedied with cannabis. CB1 receptor agonists appear to help with switching off traumatic memories.

Cannabis also limits the amount of time spent in rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep. This is the phase where people dream, and when PTSD patients experience nightmares. The regulating effect that cannabis has on the circadian rhythm and sleep may be key to banishing these memories. A study revealed that more than 70 percent of PTSD patients suffered from fewer nightmares after being given nabilone, a cannabinoid receptor stimulant. The study’s participants had all previously been using antidepressants. The question is whether patients would benefit most from a natural cannabis extract, or an artificial stimulant.

THC pills for appetite 

Anybody that has used cannabis before knows all about getting the munchies. It’s one of the funniest things that can happen as a recreational user. Before you know it, you and your friends have ordered a massive fast food delivery to gorge on. Anyway, cannabis makes you hungry – we all know that. But could this appetite stimulation effect also be useful for those suffering from eating disorders?

The spike in appetite generated by THC comes from CB1 receptor activation. The strong effects of THC in comparison to anandamide is what makes the hunger pangs more intense than usual. Researchers have found that THC changes parts of the brains, putting them into ‘hungry mode’. Cannabis releases the hunger hormone ‘ghrelin’. Studies on rats have demonstrated that cannabis leads to more regular eating.  Human studies often replicate initial findings in rats. But a study on giving cannabis to humans with a disorder such an anorexia will be needed next.

In addition, another cannabinoid, tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), seems to function as an appetite suppressant. Research suggests that THCV is an antagonist of CB1 receptors. Having the opposite effect to THC at this receptor may explain why THCV lowers appetite, while THC increases it. 

THC for brain injuries

Calls for medical marijuana to be allowed have come from several ex-National Football League (NFL) players. And it’s not just to relieve pain. Many NFL players who suffered concussions during their career are affected by memory and cognitive problems later in life. Traumatic brain injuries occur relatively often in American football due to the extreme physicality of the sport.

Cannabis advocates in the NFL argue that medical marijuana can reduce the long-term effects of TBIs. They point to studies which show the neuroprotective properties of CBD on rodents, and there are signs that THC may be vital, too. Cannabis may help to reduce the spread of excitatory brain chemicals following an injury. THC can also limit free radicals as an antioxidant.

The NFL has not moved on the issue. Active players cannot use marijuana, at all. But if the research keeps flowing in, that may have to change. 

THC for creativity 

Some use THC when in need of a creative spark. The psychoactive effects are key to providing this unique effect. While not a medical condition per se, a lack of creativity can cause someone to become stuck in their ways and not perform at their best, whether at work or simply in their day-to-day lives. Cannabis can help to change perspectives through its mind-altering effects. We know that marijuana can help to form new brain patterns, from neuroimaging, too. This is an area worthy of much more research in the next few years.

Final thoughts 

THC’s health benefits are really exciting, and experts still have so much to explore. Whether it’s for mental or physical conditions, the signs are that THC and CBD, too, can help to reduce a large range of symptoms. Users looking to take cannabis should read up on the benefits of indicas compared to sativas and hybrids. This is crucial to finding the ideal cannabis product.

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What is beta-caryophyllene (BCP)?

The cannabis plant is anything but simple. With some strains thought to contain more than 400 individual compounds in all, these are then split up into various classifications. 

There are cannabinoids, which cover cannabidiol (CBD), delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and other compounds that are essentially unique to marijuana, such as cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabinol (CBN). There are also flavonoids, which are present in various fruits and vegetables and have antoxidant effects. And then there are terpenes, of which beta-caryophyllene (BCP) is one: these are beneficial compounds found in all kinds of plants, including hemp and mariuana. 

BCP is not just a regular terpene, but perhaps the most powerful of all. Non-intoxicating and compared to CBD by many, BCP stands above other terpenes such as beta-pinene, limonene, humulene and myrcene. BCP possesses anti-inflammatory properties, and may also improve mental wellbeing, boasting anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects. In addition to cannabis and hemp, the terpene pops up in black pepper, basil, copaiba, oregano, lavender, clove, rosemary and more. It features often in essential oils and bath oils, as a wonderful, natural health booster.  

This post will discuss: 

  • The physical health benefits of BCP
  • The mental health benefits of BCP  
  • How BCP complements CBD 
  • Cannabis strains with a high BCP content 
  • Why natural cannabis and hemp extracts are preferable to synthetics

If you have only ever paid attention to the cannabinoid content in strains, this article will open your eyes to the value of terpenes, too! 

Understanding how CBD interacts with BCP 

In the vast majority of hemp and marijuana strains, there will be some interaction between CBD and BCP. Hemp contains large quantities of CBD, whereas cannabis tends to have lower levels of CBD, and increased amounts of THC. Whatever the strain, if it has a spicy scent to it, the chances are it contains a healthy concentration of BCP. 

You can find BCP online and offline, legally. Hemp-based, full-spectrum CBD extracts also contain rich amounts of BCP. These naturally contain terpenes, unlike CBD-isolate products. Some CBD manufacturers use isolate extracts and add terpene essential oils in afterwards. Brands will sometimes take this opportunity to add in BCP, as an elevation terpene to enhance a product’s therapeutic value. 

Some say that BCP essentially mimics the effects of CBD – but this is an oversimplification. It’s true that both compounds have influence over the CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which manage inflammation. However, BCP’s impact has more in common with THC’s than CBD’s. 

BCP reduces inflammation by binding to CB2 receptors as an agonist. This has a direct anti-inflammatory (or immunomodulatory) effect. But CBD is a CB2 receptor antagonist – its therapeutic effect on these receptors comes from regulating endocannabinoid levels. These naturally-produced compounds are able to bind with CB2 receptors to modulate inflammation. The differences of CBD and BCP on CB2 receptors all comes down to the chemical structure of each molecule. 

What is BCP good for? 

We’ve talked about how BCP is an effective anti-inflammatory alternative. And we’ll delve deeper into the conditions BCP-infused CBD products are good for in this section. But let’s also turn our attention to the potential analgesic, anxiolytic and antidepressant benefits of the terpene. 

BCP for anxiety 

In 2014, the scientific journal Physiology and Behavior published a paper showing how BCP could be used to alleviate anxiety and depression in mice, using the CB2 receptor mechanism. This is somewhat unexpected, since the CB2 receptor is associated with inflammation, and not anxiety, which is largely considered to be regulated by GABA neurotransmitters and the serotonin system. 

However, this raises the possibility that inflammation to certain areas of the brain contributes to increased anxiogenic behavior. Treating anxiety, therefore, may require healing the brain physically, as well as chemically. It’s feasible that BCP and CBD have a role to play here.  

BCP for depression 

The beneficial effect of this compound for depression is a curious one, particularly as it is exerted at the CB2 receptor. A growing train of thought among neurological researchers is that depression may be exacerbated by inflammation. Indeed, research on CBD has repeatedly demonstrated how, as an anti-inflammatory, CBD works to ease depressive symptoms for as long as a week, from a single dose. Since we know that BCP regulates inflammation, it’s not a huge stretch to say this is how it produces an antidepressant effect. That said, further tests, involving neuroimaging, will help us to learn more

Another study, featured in the Journal of Medicinal Food in 2019, showed how BCP could reduce “depressive-like behavior” in diabetic mice. Rodents are popular for testing experimental drugs because our own brains have much in common with them. Some of the ground-breaking CBD studies on depression and mental disorders have been conducted on rodents. 

BCP for inflammation and the digestive tract

BCP is sometimes referred to as a dietary cannabinoid. As a CB2 receptor agonist, we have already discussed how the terpene can be used to reduce inflammation. This mechanism may also be key to improving functioning in the digestive tract. Research has shown how CB2 receptor agonists, such as endocannabinoids, THC and BCP are effective at preventing experimental colitis, by easing inflammation. Advocates of the gut-brain connection via the vagus nerve may also argue that a healthy digestive tract is vital to improving mental health. If so, CBD and BCP products may be useful here. 

BCP for pain

THC is a powerful analgesic and CBD also boasts some intriguing painkilling effects. The value of non-intoxicating, CBD-rich hemp products may be boosted further in strains that have plenty of BCP. Studies show that the terpene is effective at relieving pain, once again by acting at the CB2 receptor. Given the double up of analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, this may make a BCP and CBD combination great at tackling both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

BCP for Parkinson’s disease 

A 2014 study in the Swiss journal Pharmaceuticals brought to light the compound’s intriguing neuroprotective effects. The study focussed on how the terpene may have medicinal value for Parkinson’s disease, a debilitating neurodegenerative disorder. The study showed how taking BCP helped to limit the loss of dopaminergic neurons which typifies the condition. BCP also reduced the spread of inflammatory cytokines in the brain. 

The investigation was conducted on a murine (rodent) model, and appears to be the first of its kind. However, it provides food for thought for those studying Parkinson’s, with BCP being a non-intoxicating terpenes that could be combined with other safe, natural compounds like CBD as a neuroprotective medicine. 

We need more research

We should note these are preliminary findings. There is little – if any – clinical evidence to support BCP. However, while researchers may only have been studying BCP in small trials, the effects are intriguing. Furthermore, since BCP’s effects are administered in the ECS, this is clearly an area of science that has not been explored extensively. ECS science has only progressed since the 1990s, which was when the system was discovered. Researchers have made huge disoveries about CBD and THC in the past 30 years. With more funding, the same could perhaps happen with BCP. We simply need more studies to know for sure. If anything is true, it’s that there is still much we don’t know about the human body.

Strains with high levels of BCP

CBD users who want to benefit from BCP should stick with CBD-rich hemp flower, or a product that has been explicitly made with a full-spectrum extract, or a CBD-isolate and terpene mix. In this section, we will focus on strains of marijuana that have rich levels of BCP.

OG Kush

This is a famous strain of weed that comes from Florida, with its roots in the age-old Hindu Kush plants from Asia. OG Kush has increasingly been used to make several other strains which carry the OG name, such as Tahoe OG. An indica-dominant strain with a woody and earthy taste, OG Kush is great for leaving you feeling happy and relaxed. Commonly used to remedy stress, depression and pain, it’s likely that the increased quantities of BCP provide a nice beneficial effect here.  

White Widow

A top-selling hybrid strain that originated in the Netherlands, White Widow is a strain comprised from an Indian indica and a Brazilian sativa. The strain has been used to help cultivate several other modern-day favorites, including White Russian and Blue Widow. But many still prefer the classic hybrid that is White Widow. 

This strain is woody and flowery in its taste, and just as with OG Kush, promotes a feeling of happiness and relaxation. Ease pain, manage depression, boost mood and alleviate stress with White Widow. It’s also great for busting fatigue. If this BCP-rich strain has any drawbacks, it’s that it may cause dry mouth and dry eyes.

Super Silver Haze 

This is an award-winning sativa strain that managed a three-peat at the High Times Cannabis Cup from 1997 to 1999. Super Silver Haze’s genetics help to pump up your energy levels, leaving you feeling physically and mentally refreshed. Stressed out or demotivated? A few tokes on Super Silver Haze will soon have you feeling great again.

Super Silver Haze has an eclectic mixture of earthy, sweet and citrusy flavors. With BCP a utility terpene in this strain, we can surely attribute the compound to providing those earthy tastes. 

Death Star

This strain has a slightly scary name but it’s nothing to be afraid of! This indica-dominant strain is made with a delightful combo of Sour Diesel and Sensi Star. This is a really potent strain. While many users report the effects as slow to hit, once they do, you sure know about it. Death Star has a diesel-like flavor from, of course, the Sour Diesel, but it’s the earthiness that overpowers all, thanks to the BCP packing a serious punch.

Try Death Star if you want deep relaxation after a long day at work, if you want a great night’s sleep, or to put yourself in a good mood when chilling either alone or with friends. 

BCP shows why natural cannabis extracts beat synthetics 

There is a raging debate in the cannabis industry about whether natural or synthetic extracts work best. Synthetic advocates suggest that we know which cannabinoids are needed, and that we can simply use these to make medicinal cannabinoid oils. But this ignores the potential benefits of other compounds in cannabis, that haven’t been studied much, but do appear to have benefits. Just a glance at the smattering of studies on BCP shows it has potential.

You may not see BCP at pharmacies as a medicine, but it’s a fantastic supplement. If you want to enjoy its benefits, get hold of one of the aforementioned marijuana strains, or pick up a full-spectrum CBD product today. 

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The comprehensive guide to edibles 

Edible cannabis products have become a favorite of both recreational and medicinal users over the years. When consuming cannabis in an edible, the effects are quite different than when smoking or vaping. It is the unique effects of edibles which have made them popular, whether they are rich in psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), or non-intoxicating cannabidiol (CBD).

This comprehensive guide to edibles will cover all your questions, highlighting the benefits of both CBD and THC edibles, and showing you how to take them responsibly. We’ll also give you some tips on how to make your own baked goods infused with cannabis.

After reading this post, you’ll know all about:

  • How CBD and THC edibles take effect in the body 
  • The different types of edible on the market 
  • How to use edibles safely 
  • The benefits of CBD and THC edibles 
  • How to make edibles for yourself 

How do cannabis-infused edibles work? 

CBD and THC are cannabinoids, that only start to have an active effect on physical and mental functioning when they reach the bloodstream. The majority of their actions are on receptors in the endocannabinoid system (ECS), but there is evidence that they also influence receptors elsewhere. 

Edibles, however, work differently to smoked and vaped cannabis products, where the cannabinoids are absorbed via the lungs. Instead, cannabinoids from edibles become active after passing through the walls of the stomach. In that sense, THC and CBD, two different forms of cannabis take effect in the same way. Because of this slower absorption, edibles do not boast the instant response that you get from smoking flower in a joint or vaping an e-juice. However, once the user does begin to feel the effects, these can last for several hours. Depending on preferences, this is why some find that eating cannabis is the best way to enjoy CBD or THC. 

What types of edible are there?

The edible industry is constantly expanding, in line with the ever-growing recreational cannabis and hemp-based CBD markets. In the early days, most used to make and take homemade edibles, such as brownies and cookies. That’s changing somewhat, with some brands now making gummy bears, hard candies, chocolate, and even lollipops and popcorn. There’s an edible product for everybody, and those trying to stay lean have the option of dried fruit or healthy drinks. 

What’s great about a professionally manufactured edible product is you can hone in your desired effect more easily, with the milligrams of THC or CBD present is made clear on the packaging. Getting the ideal low or high dose is no difficulty at all. This isn’t always the case with homemade edibles, where you have to expect some variance as it’s unlikely the hemp or cannabis extract will be spread evenly. 

How to use edibles safely 

As with any cannabis product, knowing how to use it safely promotes a positive and healthy experience. This is particularly important with THC edibles because of the psychoactive effect on the brain. But being clear about how to use edibles also helps with keeping costs down, by ensuring you don’t take too much or not enough. 

Furthermore, because of the delay in effect when taking edibles, that you don’t get with inhaled products, it’s important not to be impatient. Waiting a minimum of 30 minutes to an hour after your first dose is essential before you determine if the effects are appropriate. You can always take more if your dose is too weak, but a high dose is more difficult to correct.

CBD edibles 

The main thing you have to be concerned about with CBD edible use is drowsiness. CBD has no intoxicating properties, so you can comfortably take this type of edible in any situation and retain total control over mind and body. But a really strong dose could make you pretty tired a couple of hours into the experience. For this reason, and especially if enjoying an edible made with an indica-dominant extract, it’s best not to drive or operate heavy machinery after a high dose. 

In addition, going heavy on the dosage may not yield any extra benefits, as CBD’s effects eventually plateau. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that a higher dose will necessarily be better, even if using for medical reasons. While there aren’t any health risks from a hefty dose, needlessly taking large quantities will hit your wallet. Settling on the perfect amount is trial and error for many users. Experiencing low, high and middling doses and adjusting accordingly is the best way of enjoying CBD efficiently long-term. 

THC edibles 

It’s with THC edibles that you have to be somewhat more careful. Ultimately, these are psychoactive drugs which have an unusual mental effect. While users get acquainted with these reactions over time, the potential for a bad trip is always there, even though THC is not considered a hard drug.

Firstly, finding a comfortable environment to ‘trip’ in is vital. Extroverts will probably want to be with friends where they can socialize. Introverts may be better suited to a quiet environment. Ultimately, a relaxing situation where you don’t have to take care of any responsibilities is the best time to use THC edibles. This applies even more so than when smoking weed as the effects are known to last for up to eight hours.

Keeping the dosage down initially is key, as an excessive quantity of THC could make for lots of anxiety and paranoia. Those familiar with cannabis edibles can be more liberal with their dose, but first-timers should definitely start small (perhaps 5 mg of THC). It’s not a race, and the first marijuana experience can be a defining one. You should do everything possible to make sure it’s a positive experience.

However, sometimes a trip goes bad for reasons outside of your control. If you do feel uncomfortable and want to bring your ‘high’ to an end more quickly, take some CBD. Research shows that CBD works in the opposite way of THC on the CB1 receptor. It’s this receptor that THC binds to in order to initiate a psychoactive effect, altering mood, appetite and perception of reality. In contrast, CBD inhibits this effect. The best products for reducing THC-induced anxiety are CBD-rich joints, vape juices and tinctures for the speedy effects. 

Benefits of CBD edibles 

CBD edibles have a number of therapeutic benefits. Because they last longer, they are a more effective way of using CBD for some conditions than other products. For example, those taking CBD for sleep purposes receive limited help from vape juices and tincture oils, as the effects wear off midway through the night. This is a nightmare if taking CBD for sleep apnea, chronic pain or any other nighttime disturbance. Edibles, however, provide an entire night’s relief from a single dose just before bedtime. 

The lasting effects also work a treat during the day. This is good for those who don’t have the opportunity to top up their dose often. This may be the case if the user needs to be discreet about their CBD use. However, taking edibles in the day can also be for economic reasons, particularly with chronic conditions. Why spend more on a product where you have to dose regularly, when one edible dose can give the necessary relief for hours?

Qualities of THC edibles 

THC edibles are brilliant for cannabis users who want to change up their high. Perhaps regular smoking has caused a tolerance buildup, meaning the marijuana doesn’t go as far as it usually does. Since the THC from edibles is absorbed differently, the tolerance is also different. For a while, the high will probably feel much more intense from an edible than with smoking. This is a pleasurable effect for those who are intent on getting as high as possible!

THC edibles can also be used medicinally. Some only experience the full advantages of cannabis with this psychoactive ingredient. Pain relief, for instance, is enhanced by THC because it significantly reduces pain perception. THC is also a very strong anti-inflammatory. One study found that THC is 20 times stronger than over-the-counter aspirin. Like with those who use CBD medicinally, the extended relief from edibles is often more economical. 

Furthermore, for those who want to enjoy weed when they can’t risk making a smell, edibles provide ideal coverage. While the edible itself may have a slight aroma, it’s not pungent by any means and can be discreetly taken in just about any scenario. 

How to make cannabis-infused food 

So, you want to make your own cannabis food products? This can be as easy or difficult as you want to make it! What many users like to do is make cannabutter or infused oil and then add it to a recipe. Or, you could buy a tincture oil and just mix it in to a recipe to provide the benefits of the cannabinoids.

To make cannabutter, get some standard butter and melt on low heat. Grind up the bud and add it to the saucepan, but ensure that the temperature stays between 160 and 200 Fahrenheit. It’s important that the THC and CBD is activated, but you don’t want to burn the compounds off. Stir the mixture regularly over the course of 45 minutes to an hour. Once satisfied, strain the butter with a cheesecloth to separate the bud. Store the butter in a glass dish with an airtight lid. 

You can use it immediately, or refrigerate and consume whenever you want. You can add as much hemp or cannabis flower as you need. It all depends on how strong you want the edibles to be!

Tips for the ultimate edible experience 

A trick that many edible users – both CBD and THC – are fond of is to combine the effects with vape juice or a joint. The delayed response of edibles means that you can get the effects to coincide, making for a stronger high, or more potent relaxation. It helps to know how long that edibles take to kick in beforehand. 

Roll up a joint before you start and then take the edible. After half an hour or so, or whenever you start to feel the edible kicking in, smoke and enjoy the ultimate edible experience! 

Final thoughts 

Hopefully this guide has shown you a lot more about how CBD and THC edibles work, and how you can benefit from them. Edibles are not just a gimmick, and have distinct value, whether you’re using cannabinoids medicinally or recreationally. They’re fun to make, although it’s certainly easier to buy some ready made products! If you do go for the latter, ensure that the company you’re buying from lab tests their products. You don’t want to end up with a dud.

Do you have any tricks you like to employ with edibles that we haven’t mentioned here? Or maybe you are taking edibles for a reason you’d like to share? Leave a comment below and join the conversation! 

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CBD health benefits for physical wellness

If you are yet to use a hemp-based cannabidiol (CBD) product, then you’re missing out! This non-psychoactive compound is being used to manage a range of illnesses and health issues, from arthritis to acne, and depression to migraines. CBD is even helping some people to give up smoking, and may be effective for other addictions, too.

There’s tons to discuss regarding CBD’s natural health benefits. In this article, we will focus on how CBD can be used to improve physical wellbeing. When you’ve finished reading, you’ll be familiar with the following:

  • How CBD helps to relieve pain
  • The benefits of CBD as an anti-inflammatory
  • CBD’s anti-addictive properties
  • How CBD is helpful for the skin
  • Which CBD products work best for various conditions
  • How CBD boosts your endocannabinoid system

And we’ll also briefly go over some other illnesses, such as epilepsy and fibromyalgia. But first, let’s look more closely at what CBD is, and get a basic idea of how it influences the body.

What is CBD and how does it work?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a natural cannabinoid that enhances health by interacting with receptors in the body. The subtle direct and indirect effects of CBD produce a number of therapeutic effects, inside and outside of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). CBD is not like standard cannabis, in that it doesn’t make you ‘high’ or ‘stoned’.

In fact, CBD products are not made from the usual marijuana that people smoke for the euphoric effects, but hemp. This is a cannabis plant that has hardly any of the intoxicating tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) necessary for a psychoactive response. CBD used to be prohibited by the United States federal government, since it is a natural derivative of cannabis.

But hemp reform now permits CBD from the Cannabis Sativa L. plant, and hemp products are not restricted if they have less than 0.3 percent THC content. This has opened the door for a booming hemp-derived CBD market, which has shone a light on CBD oil’s benefits for physical conditions.

What are the health benefits of CBD?

CBD has numerous potential benefits, although there are currently a lack of clinical trials to confirm its therapeutic value. This section features some of the most common uses for CBD, paying attention to the existing science.

CBD for optimized health via endocannabinoid system regulation

What makes CBD a natural health supplement primarily is the beneficial effect it has on the ECS. CBD hemp oil is great for improving physical health, with ECS regulation helping to decrease sensitivity to pain and boost the immune system. The chemical is also good for bone and reproductive health, and can improve cognition and memory.

CBD provides these effect by promoting balance at the CB1 and CB2 receptors. The impact of CBD is more natural than that of THC. The former doesn’t disrupt the chemical makeup of the ECS, but nurture it for optimum functioning.

CBD oils and capsules are often used for ECS regulation as they are healthy products to take, in comparison to smoking hemp flower and consuming sugary infused edibles. If using CBD as an ECS supplement, a steady daily dose is perhaps the best way of enjoying the effects.

CBD for chronic pain

Existing medication for pain relief tends to work, but usually comes with side effects that makes these treatments unpalatable. For instance, opioid drugs efficiently dampen pain signals, but the body becomes tolerant quickly. Even worse, these painkillers can be physically and psychologically addictive which, coupled with an overdose risk, makes them highly dangerous.

CBD vaping products and more have grown in popularity as treatments for pain. First off, CBD doesn’t come with tolerance or addiction issues. For many, it’s also preferable to cannabis with THC, as there are no mind-altering intoxicating properties to worry about. A non-psychoactive CBD remedy manages pain perception by regulating CB1 receptors, and binding to vanilloid receptors.

Vaping and smoking CBD rapidly suppresses intense pain, while orally-taken products are well-suited to tackling chronic pain. CBD creams can be used to complement the pain relief of other CBD products, or as a solo treatment for localized analgesic benefits. Those using CBD for pain should mix and match with different products and doses to find the best therapeutic combination.

CBD for inflammatory illnesses

As with pain, the effectiveness of traditional anti-inflammatory drugs is limited due to the potential side effects they cause. Studies have shown that non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) heighten the risk of stomach bleeding and ulcers. Aspirin could be useless and even unhelpful for elderly patients with inflammatory conditions.

CBD’s anti-inflammatory qualities have not received the media focus that the compound’s other properties have, but this could be the most profound benefit offered by CBD. Researchers studying the ECS have found that CB2 receptors in the peripheral nervous system can be harnessed to send anti-inflammatory messages to the immune system.

Keeping the immune system balanced and regulated is difficult, hence the proliferation of inflammatory illnesses and autoimmune diseases. But CBD’s indirect regulation of CB2 receptors, and the anti-inflammatory effects of other cannabinoids, mean that organic CBD oil from a full hemp extract is uniquely placed to manage immune system volatility.

CBD products are taken more for arthritis than any other condition besides chronic pain, according to a 2018 questionnaire. This was the first comprehensive survey of its kind on American CBD usage. CBD creams may relieve symptoms of psoriasis, and edibles and CBD vape juices could be effective for lupus, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and more.

CBD for addiction

The devastating impact of some addictions are obvious, such as alcohol, cigarettes and heroin. Meanwhile, the likes of gaming and internet addiction are more subtle, but can be debilitating in their own way to quality of life. CBD research is finding that the cannabinoid may interfere with reward pathways formed by the brain, and that this could help to safely wean people from their addictions.

A 2019 study on heroin revealed that CBD treatment could alleviate anxiety and cravings, which in turn reduces the likelihood of relapse and overdose. This effect may also help people who are addicted to prescription opioid drugs (e.g. Vicodin and OxyContin). The investigation showed that the CBD group enjoyed a two-to-three-fold drop in cravings compared to the placebo group.

A previous pilot, randomized, double-blind study in 2013 documented how giving smokers a CBD inhaler reduced cigarette intake by 40 percent over the course of a week. Twenty-four smokers took part in the research – 12 were given CBD while the other 12 had a placebo. The researchers suggested that the potential of CBD for nicotine addiction “warrants further explanation.”

CBD for skin care

CBD for hemp health doesn’t just apply internally, but externally, too. The skin is a living organism, and CBD topicals can be applied lavishly for various health effects. The anti-inflammatory properties shine through to reduce swelling and bruising, and also to manage the redness and skin patchiness that comes from psoriasis. CBD creams also provide natural acne relief, resetting sebum production to a healthy level.

Some swear by the anti-aging effects of CBD, according to the free radical aging theory. Scientists have debated this concept hotly. The logic is that CBD – an antioxidant – puts the brakes on external aging by neutralizing free radicals. CBD certainly has a nourishing and moisturizing effect on the skin, which preserves a youthful, vibrant appearance.

CBD for epilepsy

Epilepsy is the illness that CBD research has got the furthest in. So far, in fact, that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have approved an epilepsy drug made with a pure CBD extract – Epidiolex, from GW Pharmaceuticals. Epidiolex is used to treat Dravet syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy. Standard epilepsy drugs cannot efficaciously manage the condition. There are also signs that CBD helps with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, a similar type of intractable epilepsy. These conditions can cause hundreds of seizures a week in children. In some cases, CBD has reduced that number to single figures or even zero.

CBD treats convulsive seizures efficiently, as does cannabidivarin (CBDV), another non-intoxicating from hemp. Eliminating seizures helps to improve sleep patterns and behaviour in patients, and generally enhance quality of life.

CBD for fibromyalgia

The ECS is breathing new life into research for a fibromyalgia remedy. This bizarre illness causes physical and mental symptoms, from intense pain in specific areas, to cognitive decline known as ‘fibro fog’. Other symptoms include stiffness, fatigue, insomnia and headaches. The unusual set of symptoms have baffled experts, but ECS scientists may be piecing things together.

It just so happens that nearly, if not all fibromyalgia problems can be traced back to ECS issues. This has led to a theory that it is chronic dysfunction in the ECS – referred to as Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency (CED) – that causes fibromyalgia. And indeed, early indications are that CBD can ease symptoms, by regulating the ECS.

CBD for sleep

Make insomnia and fatigue a thing of the past by using CBD products for sleep. By relaxing the muscles and the mind, CBD puts the user into a state of calm that promotes sleep. For insomnia, a quick hit of CBD from a vape pen or tincture oil may do the trick.

Capsules are better for all-night relief if you are waking up during sleep. CBD works to eradicate fatigue not just by increasing sleep duration, but by enhancing the amount of deep sleep. This is the phase where the body and brain waves slows right down, and we relax and repair for the day ahead.

Is CBD better for physical health than THC?

CBD is definitely a more viable form of treatment for physical health problems than THC. The intoxicating effects of the latter mean it simply doesn’t work well for those who have to work, and be in full cognitive and physical control. The therapeutic effects of CBD – and a combo of THC and CBD – are undeniable, however. THC delivers potent relief and be very effective when used responsibly.

CBD oil’s benefits are great everyone, though. And studies are starting to reveal that it can be used as an isolated treatment. This is handy for those who have reservations about drug tests, and want to avoid all products with THC.

Final thoughts

CBD will transform healthcare in the next couple of decades. Now that experts are studying the endocannabinoid system, they are getting new ideas about how to solve illnesses. ECS manipulation is not just helpful for physical illnesses, but has huge potential for anxiety, PTSD and depression, too. The onus is now on politicians to make CBD research easier for scientists to conduct, and for the FDA to carry out clinical trials on CBD for various ailments.

Have a story to share about how CBD has helped you? Please leave a comment below!

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CBD vs THC: the full guide  

Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are two remarkable and rare compounds that define the cannabis and industrial hemp plants as we know them. You have probably heard of hemp-based CBD products, which are now being sold online and in health stores in all 50 US states. And if you have previously used recreational cannabis, you have likely noticed how the THC and CBD content is stated when you purchase a product.

This post intends to cover the following areas:

  • What THC and CBD are, and how they affect the body
  • The therapeutic value of CBD and THC for pain
  • Whether you should use CBD or THC for anxiety
  • The impact of CBD and THC on the brain
  • The negative side effects of THC

In addition to providing scientific insight and boosting your understanding of the compounds, we’ll study how to use CBD and THC products safely and effectively. Ready to learn? Let’s get started.

What exactly are CBD and THC?

While you may have heard of CBD and THC, do you know specifically what they are and why and how they affect the body? Cannabis science is undeniably complex, but we have broken it down so that you can easily understand the broad influence of these two compounds.

CBD and THC are cannabinoids – a type of compound that interacts with receptors in the endocannabinoid system (ECS). CBD and THC are just two – but easily the most abundant – cannabinoids of more than 100 that have so far been discovered. Cannabinoids are found sparingly in the plant kingdom, and are contained almost exclusively within the cannabis species.

CBD vs THC effects

THC is a psychoactive cannabinoid, but CBD is not. This stark contrast between the cannabinoids comes down to how they interact with CB1 receptors – these ECS receptors are located in the central nervous system. THC latches onto CB1 receptors as an agonist. This has an effect on several variables, such as pain perception and appetite, but most notably mood. CBD, meanwhile, is a CB1 receptor antagonist, so blocks rather than stimulates activity at the cannabinoid receptor. However, CBD does regulate CB1 receptors. This explains the therapeutic effects we will later explore in more detail.

Other cannabinoids to be aware of include cannabigerol (CBG), cannabichromene (CBC), cannabinol (CBN), cannabidivarin (CBDV) and tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV). Some, or all of these are present in small concentrations in cannabis and hemp strains. The subtle influences of these compounds can change a strain’s overall effects.

CBD oil vs THC oil

CBD oil – whether it’s full-spectrum or isolate – is very easy to find. Hemp products with less than 0.3 percent THC content are no longer restricted by federal law. They can be sold by companies providing they are styled as “dietary supplements” and not medicines.

This has been great for CBD’s advance into the mainstream. People can do their own research on the potential of various products, and then try them out. And with CBD not causing a high of any description, users are generally comfortable about trialling products, dosing at different times of day. High-CBD oil’s benefits have been discussed often by the media, with the difference between them and regular cannabis being made crystal clear.

In contrast, THC oil is nowhere near as accessible. This is because THC is still a Schedule 1 substance under the Controlled Substances Act. The United States federal government has not yet changed its stance on recreational or medical marijuana. The relaxation on laws surrounding therapeutic and recreational THC-rich products has all come at state level.

This has been great for spreading the word about the cannabis plan. We are beginning to see how a legal market can work. But it does restrict the types of cannabis product that Americans are able to access.

CBD vs THC for pain

Cannabis has re-emerged as a popular remedy for chronic pain management. There is a history of cannabis use for this purpose which dates back thousands of years. But with our modern understanding of cannabis and its cannabinoids, what form of the plant is most effective for pain?

For many years, it was believed that the psychoactive THC was necessary in any cannabis mix that was used for pain relief. And the ECS logic was fairly sound. As a CB1 receptor agonist, THC reduces the body’s sensitivity to pain. THC is, therefore, very therapeutic for migraines, a nerve pain condition called multiple sclerosis (MS) and other illnesses with pain symptoms.

However, more recent studies have revealed that CBD is also beneficial for pain. This is thanks to its indirect regulating of the CB1 receptor, and actions on other receptors. It is great to know that it’s possible to treat pain in this way. The intoxicating effects of THC have certainly stopped cannabis from becoming legal earlier and being widely used.

Both CBD and THC are much safer to take for pain relief than opioid painkillers, however. These drugs have acquired a horrible reputation for causing addiction and overdoses. If you are going to use a CBD or cannabis product to ease pain, a strain or vape juice with indica terpenes may be preferable to a sativa. Indica-dominant products have more of a relaxing effect on the body.

CBD vs THC for anxiety

CBD has shown really promising effects on anxiety disorders. A few scientific studies have now been conducted on CBD’s value for the condition. The relief is quickly administered, with CBD appearing to address imbalances between inhibitory and excitatory neurotransmitters. The serotonin system may also be implicated in CBD’s anxiolytic properties.

The value of THC for reducing anxiety is less clear. The cannabinoid may even have negative side effects – anxiety and paranoia are quite common among recreational cannabis users. This is understandable. CBD increases activity in the brain, rather than decreasing it as CBD does. This causes the brain to think more than it would in normal circumstances.

However, the setting in which the user is taking cannabis may also influence if it causes anxiety. A negative environment is likely to lead to unhelpful thoughts. In contrast, a positive environment is conducive to a better experience. Psychoactive substances are poorly understood, and the overall effect they have on mental functioning is unclear.

But CBD products look to be better for anxiety patients than THC products. No psychoactive effects are better than some when tackling this mental condition. For best results, use a product that acts fast, such as a tincture oil or e-liquid.

CBD vs THC for sleep

Better sleep quality is achieved by ensuring both the mind and body is relaxed and soothed. The cannabis plant is used in its entirety to combat insomnia. But most users prefer indica-rich strains to amplify the calming properties. This suggests that a high-CBD product may be more effective than a high-THC option. A highly psychoactive cannabis product could make the brain too active for sleep. Hence why energizing sativas are preferred in the daytime, rather than the evening.

CBD is a sleep regulator. The circadian rhythm is vital for our sleep pattern, as it releases and suppresses hormones at specific times of day. For instance, the uptick in melatonin at night naturally relaxes the body for sleep. By getting the circadian rhythm in check, CBD simply helps the body to do its job. A regulated circadian rhythm is also key to deep sleep. Mental and physical healing occurs in this phase of sleep. Most people opt for an enduring CBD product for sleep, like edibles. The longer effects are necessary for relieving pain symptoms which may disrupt sleep, and for keeping sleep apnea at bay throughout the night.

CBD vs THC for the brain

CBD and THC influence the brain quite differently. The former is neuroprotective, and while the latter can be helpful, it is also neurotoxic in large quantities. This suggests that using high-THC products often could cause cognitive problems in the short and long-term. The risks of regular THC usage are further exacerbated by a lack of CBD.

Some take CBD to boost memory and general cognition. The nootropic market is flourishing, to help in day-to-day life and as study aids. CBD appeals because we know it’s safe, unlike some of the synthetic products available. The cannabinoid impacts the hippocampus positively, spurring growth – this effect is called neurogenesis. CBD also repairs sections of the brain, such as the prefrontal cortex, which may help to manage depression.

However, some people swear by THC. Many believe psychoactive substances to have a helpful mental effect if used sensibly. THC is a light psychoactive drug in the grander scheme of things. Altering consciousness may help the brain to form healthier patterns. This applies if you are doing something rather productive while under the influence, as opposed to laying on the couch watching movies. Everyone responds uniquely to psychoactive drugs. It’s impossible to say how any single person will be impacted.

Negative side effects of THC

THC comes with more risks than CBD, and everyone should be aware of these before using high-THC products. The anxiety and paranoia side effects do not occur in everybody. But those who have not experienced cannabis previously should start in a relaxed environment. This will allow the brain to adjust to the changes, without causing a freakout.

Researchers need to assess the dangers of regular THC-rich product use. But some cannabis users do suffer from motivational and memory drop-offs. CBD studies have found that these declines can be reversed. This strengthens the argument that people should take natural cannabis products, and not super-strength THC products. Be wary about THC-isolate products for that reason.

There is also a slim chance of THC triggering psychotic episodes. People predisposed to psychosis and schizophrenia are the only ones at risk. But those with a history of mental illness should be cautious about smoking weed or taking edibles.

Final thoughts

It’s perhaps impossible whether CBD or THC is better. Their health benefits are quite different and people have different reasons for using each. The former is preferable among those who just want the therapeutic benefits of cannabis, and are not willing to expose themselves to the psychoactive effects. THC is more suitable for recreational users, who want a pleasant ‘high’ from their cannabis use.

However, a CBD and THC treatment may be better for some medical conditions. The ‘entourage effect’ provides a synergy that boosts the therapeutic value of cannabinoids. Furthermore, recreational marijuana usage may be healthier and more sustainable with strains that have balanced concentrations of the two. Personal preference and requirements are ultimately the biggest factor.

Do you use CBD products, or smoke weed medically or recreationally? Drop us a line about the type of products you use. Please share why you use them and how they affect you. We want to hear from you!