Cannabis has been touted to be this amazing and beneficial plant that “helps everything in your body.” CBD products and medical marijuana are becoming more popular every year for different treatments. But as much as we hear about all the amazing benefits of cannabis, it can be harder to find potential side effects from cannabis use.
Wait a minute... isn’t cannabis marijuana?
Before you panic about the mention of cannabis, let’s do a quick lesson on it!
Cannabis is not just the marijuana plant. Cannabis is the genus of the plants. Think of it as the grandparent. Then you have the three species that come from cannabis- Sativa, Indica, and Ruderalis. Think of these three as a parent. Each species has types of strains- like hemp and marijuana. These are the kids.
Hemp is a plant from the Sativa species and is the strain that is legal in the United States for CBD products.
Marijuana is a plant that has thick, lush foliage and flowers that is generally grown and consumed for their intoxicating properties. It has the CBD cannabinoid in the plant, but products that are marijuana-derived is considered illegal in the US.
A Look at the Uses of Cannabis Through History
CBD might be the latest fad in health and wellness products, but did you know that just because it’s recently been legalized in the US, doesn’t mean it’s a new health and wellness trend?
Cannabis originated from Central and Southeast Asia around 500 BC (And that date varied depending on where you looked). What we do know is it has been around forever!
Cannabis was used mainly for medicinal and spiritual purposes. For most of history, cannabis was legal all around the world, it has only been in the 20th century that it became a drug due to political and racial factors.
Let’s take a look at cannabis throughout history and what it was used for.
- We all have heard or know of the Great Exodus by the Jews, well their original Hebrew texts show that cannabis may have been an ingredient in their holy anointing oil. (1)
- Ancient Egyptians reportedly used cannabis to treat glaucoma as well as general inflammation. (1)
- Chinese Emperor Fu His called cannabis a popular medicine in 2900 BC. (1)
- The Chinese identified more than 100 medicinal uses for marijuana by 100 AD. (1)
- Have you heard of the drink called bhang? In 1000 BC, Indians created it! Bhang is a mixture of marijuana, milk, and other ingredients and used it as an anti-phlegmatic and anesthetic – and guess what, it is still used today. (1)
- In the graves of the shaman in China and Siberia, burned cannabis seeds were found dating back as early as 500 BC. (1)
- Ancient Indians may have also used cannabis as an alleged cure for leprosy and dysentery. They also used it to cure fever, encourage sleep, and improve judgment and cognition. (1)
- 70 A.D Roman medical texts listed it as a cure for earache and as a way to suppress sexual desire. Who knows why they would want to suppress it! (1)
- The Romans boiled the roots of the plant and used them as a treatment for gout, arthritis, and generalized pain. (1)
- The Arabians used it for migraines, pain, and syphilis from 800 AD to 900 AD. (1)
- The English documented many medicinal uses of marijuana for ailments such as menstrual cramps, convulsions, rheumatism, gout, joint pain, muscle spasms, insomnia and sleep problems, and childbirth. (1)
- Herodotus (ancient Greek historian) described the Scythians inhaling smoke from smoldering cannabis seeds and flowers to get high. (1)
- After 800 AD, hashish was widely used throughout the Middle East and parts of Asia. Hashish is a purified form of cannabis smoked with a pipe. (1)
- Vikings and medieval Germans used cannabis for relieving pain during childbirth and toothaches. (1)
As you can see, making CBD and medical cannabis legal in this century is not a new therapeutic discovery. Cannabis has been used for centuries for different treatments for medical needs.
By the 1800s, cannabis was widely accepted into mainstream medicine and was an active ingredient in many over the counter medications. It was even added to the US Pharmacopeia in 1850 listed as a treatment for helping to increase appetite, withdrawal from opioids, and nausea and vomiting relief.
So when did it become illegal and looked at so negatively?
In the early 1900s, cannabis was an ingredient in a variety of medications. It was marketed as a painkiller, used for sedation, and to treat muscle spasms. During this same time, Mexican immigrants introduced the recreational use of marijuana.
The Great Depression led to the fear and stigma of cannabis within the public. Many Americans viewed the recreational use of marijuana by the Mexicans as a menace to society. Americans began to fear marijuana, and it led to states passing laws prohibiting marijuana. And guess what these laws passed easily.
By 1936 with the release of Reefer Madness, marijuana had developed a bad reputation, which helped the Marijuana Tax Act be passed in 1937. This eventually led to cannabis being removed from the US Pharmacopeia in 1942. And by 1970, it was listed as a Schedule 1 drug and was considered a gateway drug during the DARE initiative.
Now it is 2020, and once again, people are back looking at the therapeutic benefits found in the cannabis plant. Viewpoints have shifted again to see the medicinal benefits found in this plant provided by nature!
The Two Main Cannabinoids Found in Cannabis
For 5000 years, cannabis has been used for medicinal purposes. The cannabis plant has about 144 cannabinoid oils. CBD and THC are the most prominent of the cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant family. The marijuana strain has higher traces of THC, while the hemp strain has higher traces of CBD.
CBD and THC may come from the same plant family and have the same molecular structure. But the difference in their structure is how it is arranged.
CBD is legal in the United States as long as it is extracted from the hemp plant that contains less than 0.3% THC. CBD is non-intoxicating, non-euphoric (meaning it won’t get you high), and non-habit forming, and pretty much a safe cannabinoid that can be used for a variety of therapeutic benefits.
THC, although it has had a bad reputation, is legal in some states, and the popularity of legalization is growing. THC is euphoric (meaning it will get you high) because THC actually binds with your cannabinoid 1 receptors in the brain.
CBD does not bind to your cannabinoid receptors as THC does. CBD works by blocking the enzymes that breakdown your naturally occurring endocannabinoids. By blocking the enzymes, your body can increase the natural reproduction of endocannabinoid.
Benefits of the Cannabinoids CBD & THC
Cannabinoids found in the cannabis family all interact with your endocannabinoid system. Each cannabinoid, like CBD or THC, offers different effects on your body.
People use CBD to help with seizures, inflammation, pain, mental disorders, inflammatory bowel disease, nausea, migraines, depression, anxiety, and sleep.
- CBD & Inflammation Reduction
CBD makes it so your body shuts down the inflammation response and helps controls pain. As CBD interacts with your endocannabinoid system, it encourages activation of the CB2 receptors, which controls your body’s inflammation response.
- CBD & Pain Suppression
CBD essentially helps turn off your body’s ability to trigger the endless system of pain. CBD interacts with your CB1 receptors, which helps suppress long term chronic pain.
- CBD & Anxiety Relief
CBD helps bring relief to anxiety. CBD interacts with your endocannabinoid system to help suppress anxious triggers. It also elevates the mood, improves sleep cycles, and helps lead a calmer life- all which help with anxiety relief.
People use THC to help with pain, muscle spasticity, glaucoma, insomnia, low appetite, nausea, anxiety, and relaxation.
Side Effects of Cannabinoids CBD & THC
Here is the section I think is most important! Benefits are always great to hear about- it validates your reason to use. But as with anything that touts therapeutic benefits, knowing potential side effects is just as important.
First, CBD or THC is NOT FATAL.
Even in large doses, CBD is well tolerated in the body and offers some pretty amazing benefits. However, although it is relatively safe to use, there are times one should NOT use CBD. A report published by the World Health Organization (WHO) suggests that CBD can interact with some medications causing some side effects. This report indicated that most of the side effects one sees with CBD are a result of drug-to-drug interactions- which is why you must talk to your doctor before mixing CBD with any medications you are on!
Some potential side effects of CBD use: (2)
- Dry mouth
- Low blood pressure (high doses can cause a small drop in blood pressure)
- Dizziness (low doses improve focus while high doses can induce drowsiness of other changes in alertness)
- Digestive issues such as diarrhea and decreased appetite
- Changes in mood, such as irritability and agitation
- Liver failure (less common)
- Interactions with other medications – like a blood thinner, CBD can increase the level in your blood, it can raise levels of certain other medicines in your blood by the exact same mechanism that grapefruit juice does.
- Injuries that result from mixing alcohol or other depressants and CBD (CBD can inhibit the system’s ability to process certain drugs, which can lead to higher levels of these substances in your body at one time)
Also, if you are pregnant or breast-feeding, it is best to just not use CBD. There are not enough studies to determine if it safe or not for pregnant or breast-feeding mommas and their baby!
Rule of thumb to follow, talk to your doctor about using CBD for your health concerns. We want you to always be safe and be smart with your health.
Some potential side effects of THC use: (2)
- Increased heart rate
- Coordination problems
- Dry mouth
- Red eyes
- Slower reaction times
- Memory loss
- Psychotic symptoms – these side effects are part of the compound’s psychoactive properties.
- Long-term psychiatric effects – this is with high THC use, especially for adolescents consuming large amounts of THC.
- Interactions with other medications
Cannabis is this amazing plant provided by nature that offers a list of therapeutic benefits for one’s body. But like with anything, risks can be associated with something so amazing.
At Molecular CBD Shop, we want everyone to experience the benefits of this plant and our line of CBD products, but we also want to ensure that you are well educated on not only the benefits of cannabis but potential side effects. Knowledge is power, and we want to give you all the insight we can, so you can make an empowered decision on if CBD is right for you.
If you are new to CBD or you have been taking CBD but are on other medications, please make sure you consult with your doctor. Your doctor can only offer you their best advice if they have all the facts.
Don’t hide your CBD use, embrace it, after making sure it is safe to use with your other medications!
(1) The History of Marijuana: Learn About The Origin of Marijuana. https://www.recovery.org/marijuana/history/
(2) CBD dosage: Benefits, safety, and side effects. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/327518