The side effects and risks involved with consuming marijuana-based products aren't clear, either, Bonn-Miller said. It's important to "determine cannabinoids that are useful therapeutically while understanding and using cannabinoids that are associated with less risk," he said. At least with CBD, he said, it doesn't appear to have the potential for addiction. That's different from THC, which has been associated with addiction, he said, and negative side effects, including acute anxiety.
^ Jump up to: a b Pamplona, Fabricio A.; da Silva, Lorenzo Rolim; Coan, Ana Carolina (12 September 2018). "Potential Clinical Benefits of CBD-Rich Cannabis Extracts Over Purified CBD in Treatment-Resistant Epilepsy: Observational Data Meta-analysis". Frontiers in Neurology. 9. doi:10.3389/fneur.2018.00759. ISSN 1664-2295. PMC 6143706. PMID 30258398.
Here’s where things can get confusing. With increasing legalization of cannabis and cannabinoids, more and more states have legalized cannabis and its constituents including THC and CBD for either medical or recreational use (several states have specifically legalized CBD products, but not THC or cannabis in general). But the federal government has held firm, keeping marijuana illegal as a Schedule I drug (defined as having no accepted medical use in the US, a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision, and a high potential for abuse) per the Drug Enforcement Agency’s classification of controlled substances.
A 2013 study that measured data from 4,652 participants on the effect of cannabis on metabolic systems compared non-users to current and former users. It found that current users had higher blood levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL-C) or “good cholesterol.” The same year, an analysis of over seven hundred members of Canada’s Inuit community found that, on average, regular cannabis users had increased levels of HDL-C and slightly lower levels of LDL-C (“bad cholesterol”).
It should be noted that recreational use of marijuana (high THC, low CBD cannabis) does result in dependence (but different from narcotics or alcohol, and not as debilitating). Chronic use of THC may be associated with atrophy in certain areas of the brain and reduction of certain cognitive functions (at this point, studies are not conclusive). Interestingly, studies have shown that taking CBD oil regularly can restore areas of the brain that have become atrophied in marijuana abusers.
Perhaps it’s because many people have romantic and misplaced notions about nature. Some even point out that we come hard-wired with cannabinoid receptors in our brains and they must have a purpose, so why not use them? This is not exactly a persuasive argument: Nature endowed us with our own cannabinoids, so unless you have a deficiency of them or sluggish receptors, you really don’t need supplementation.
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Could cannabidiol help prevent tumors and other cancers before they grow? A 2012 study showed that animals treated with CBD were significantly less likely to develop colon cancer after being induced with carcinogens in a laboratory. Several studies had already shown that THC prevents tumors and reduces them, including one in 1996 on animal models that found that it decreased the incidence of both benign and hepatic adenoma tumors. In 2015, scientists analyzed the medical records of over eighty-four thousand male patients in California and found that those who used cannabis, but not tobacco, had a rate of bladder cancer that was 45 percent below the norm. Topical products can be used to treat and prevent skin cancers. Continuing research is focused on the best ratio of CBD to THC and the most effective dose level in cancer prevention and treatment.