CBD: Benefits and risks of its consumption

Gels, CBD oil , shampoos, chewing gum, balms, capsules and candies, a good part of them with the marijuana leaf in their containers. But these products currently on sale that are advertised with marijuana as the main claim only contain a percentage of cannabidiol, better known as CBD, a non-psychoactive component of hemp , that is, it does not alter mental functions. Next, we explain the origin of the medicinal use of CBD and its possible benefits and risks.

What is CBD?

Technically known as Cannabis sativa , hemp or marijuana is a herbaceous species belonging to the Cannabaceae family, cultivated since time immemorial and whose origin is located in the Himalayas.

Its different uses and properties have been known since ancient times, from textile to medicinal and psychotropic, its fame has transcended in recent times due to its conflictive relationship between its generally prohibited recreational use with its promising medicinal uses .

Among the more than 100 cannabinoids —organic compound that activates the cannabinoid receptors of humans and other mammals— present in this plant, THC —tetrahydrocannabinol— stands out, mainly responsible for its psychotropic effect , and CBD —cannabidiol — which regulates the effects of THC eliminating the psychotropic effects, but maintaining some of its therapeutic effects , hence the interest it is awakening in the medical community.

Is CBD consumption legal?

Currently, cannabidiol can be marketed as long as its THC composition is below 0.3% , according to the last vote of October 2020 of the European Parliament linked to the production of industrial hemp.

Taking into account that the World Health Organization in a 2017 report certified that CBD is not harmful or addictive , and does not arouse dependence in the consumer, the focus on the marketing of this substance changed considerably, beginning to appear products that include cannabidiol between its components.

For the moment, the use of CBD topically , that is, its application on the skin, is perfectly legal, which is why creams, lotions, shampoos and gels have been the first products to take advantage of the supposed benefits of this component, as well as, of course, its commercial repercussion when associated with marijuana for recreational use , although its effects are not comparable.

However, at this time the oral consumption of CBD is not yet legal pending the processing of a law that includes this component. As stated by the Sofera legal team specialized in the cannabis sector, CBD is not controlled in the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs —the main international treaty that forms the international legal framework for drug control— prepared previously because cannabidiol was first synthesized in 1964.

While waiting for this law that includes CBD to be processed clarifying its future applications, the oral consumption of this substance would not be legal , despite the fact that many of these products that are presented for topical use end up being consumed orally by users. .

CBD Benefits

Bearing in mind that it is a component synthesized a little less than 60 years ago, a large part of its supposed benefits continue to be the focus of numerous studies which, however, seem to indicate that CBD will have considerable therapeutic repercussions in the medium term.

antiepileptic action

One of the few CBD-based medicines authorized by the main medical agencies, including the Spanish AEMPS, is Epidyolex , whose treatment has been positive in relation to epileptic seizures in adults and children suffering from diseases such as Dravet syndrome or Dravet syndrome. of Lennox Gastaut and that have not responded well to other treatments. Its anticonvulsant effect is, therefore, one of the first scientifically proven benefits of CBD.

Muscle relaxant

Another legal drug marketed in Spain known as Sativex with CBD and THC extract relieves pain by acting as a muscle relaxant for people with multiple sclerosis. This role in reducing muscle pain is the basis for the marketing of products such as oils or balms for topical application that have been the pioneers in exploiting the image of marijuana in this more ‘light’ version . In this sense, it is pointed out that CBD could soften irritation in cases of skin hypersensitivity, eczema and other skin conditions.

Another possible positive effect of CBD consumption would be its action against anxiety and depression , also improving sleep conciliation for patients with any of these disorders. However, and as with its presumed antitumor action, more studies are still pending to certify its benefit. According to experts, cannabidiol can reduce nightmares associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Cannabinoids can reduce activity in the amygdala, a region of the brain that regulates anxiety and fear. This could contribute to better sleep quality in people with PTSD (see Elms et al. 2019 ). If you suffer from frequent insomnia, try SWISS FX CBD oils it can help you fall asleep.

Risks of CBD consumption 

The US FDA warns of various risks in the consumption of CBD such as liver damage, alterations in mental lucidity, mood swings, irritation, or even male reproductive toxicity.

These possible side effects also derive from the lack of regulation of this substance that causes many products that include CBD among their components to present different amounts of cannabidiol than what their labels attest , as well as the inclusion of more THC than is legally permitted. 

Likewise, it is also indicated that there is a lack of studies that certify the long-term effects of CBD consumption , something logical, on the other hand, taking into account that it is a substance of recent medical and therapeutic application. 

In any case, and as the WHO points out, CBD is a non-addictive or harmful product for consumption, always in moderate amounts. Pending the future regulation of CBD by official medical bodies, we will have to settle for waiting … or try the lotions, balms and chewing gums that exploit the cannabis cult. 

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