In the recent hullabaloo over the benefits of medical cannabis and THC, what’s been absent from the conversation is the recognition of CBD, an important contributing factor for cannabis treatments.

First, we know that both CBDs and THC are phytocannabinoids; plant-based cannabinoids that, when introduced into the human body, react similarly to endocannabinoids, or cannabinoids produced by one’s own body.

Next, what are CBD and THC? For cannabis neophytes, CBD stands for cannabidiol, a product of the cannabis plant that is not psychoactive. CBD will not get you “high” but will help relieve chronic illnesses for a time, if not help heal them. THC stands for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinoid and is recognized for the traditional marijuana “buzz” and other helpful qualities that interact with not only the psyche but within the human body itself.

CBDs are found in numbers as high as 40 percent in cannabis plants. Hemp plants have considerably less CBDs, so a high hemp-plant concentration is needed for a therapeutic dose.

What’s the difference between a hemp plant and a cannabis plant? A hemp plant is generally grown for its fiber and is typically of the Cannabis Sativa strain. Thus, it is tall, thin, and very stalky. It is a bio-accumulator, which means it pulls toxins from the soil, storing those toxins within the plant. This is not a desirable quality, if one is consuming a concentrate such as CBD hemp oil, or any product made of extracted hemp.

A cannabis plant is predominately grown for its high number of trichomes, the resin-bearing part of the cannabis flower, and is typically of the Cannabis Indica or a hybrid of both Sativa and Indica strains. These trichomes hold both THC and CBD within their structures and thus produce combinations ranging from high THC/low CBD to low THC/high CBD. Remember, CBD alone will not impart a “buzz” or “high”.

Whole plant cannabis extracts are generally thought to be of higher quality than hemp-based CBDs. Fewer contaminants and higher purity standards ensure a measured dose of mostly pure CBDs or for best results, a combination of THC and CBDs from cannabis plant extracts.

CBDs don’t get you high, but they do have very powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety qualities. In fact, the US government Department of Health Services took out a patent for cannabis’ anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties, No. 6,630,507. (Hmm, does it feel as if the government is not sharing something?)

The Schafer Commission Report, ordered in 1971 by then-President Richard Nixon, observed that the patent describes cannabis use for serious medical concerns such as Traumatic Brain Injuries, cancer, and Alzheimer’s. This is not curious when one investigates the medically kick-ass applications cannabis may hold for various ailments and illnesses. A short list includes:

  • Chronic pain

  • Anxiety

  • Severe seizures or spasms

  • Rheumatoid arthritis

  • Alcoholism

  • Antibiotic infections

  • Cancer

    • In fact, governmental preliminary studies indicate that US-sponsored studies on CBD show the potential for treatment of multiple sclerosis, in addition to the aforementioned. There is also promising research for Alzheimer’s due to CBD’s anti-inflammatory, antioxidant properties. These results point to the possibility that this compound holds hope for Parkinson’s sufferers and those with other neurodegenerative diseases. As always, more high-quality research needs to be accomplished before the United States will recognize the potential in cannabis.