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There have always been a number of die-hard marijuana users who have said that cannabis is misunderstood. From the outside, few people have taken these folks seriously, given that they’re about as scientifically-minded as Picasso’s most vivid dreams. 

But stereotypes aside, our pot-smoking friends who had these claims about their good friend Mary Jane and what she could do, were actually onto something. 

We’re not saying that getting high is the answer to anything. We’re just saying that the plant our weed-smoking friends have held in high esteem actually holds some potential medicinal properties (we have to say potential to keep our good graces with the nice people at the FDA). 

Those beneficial properties exist entirely separately from the elements in the plant that have psychoactive effects. Here’s your stoner friend’s favourite rants about cannabis, translated into eloquent English and thoroughly fact-checked by scientific research.

 

The anatomy of a cannabis plant

Contrary to what pop-culture might tell you about a cannabis leaf, it actually can’t make you high. Yes, it’s a popular icon that’s adorned by its fans (not as subtly as they might have hoped, back in the day). In fact, no part of the plant, other than the buds, can cause the psychoactive effects that are typically associated with “marijuana” or “cannabis”. 

This is because the compound in the cannabis plant that changes your state of consciousness is called tetrahydrocannabinol (we’ll just say THC from here on) and it’s actually quite difficult to develop. 

THC is a crystalline substance that grows on the buds of the female plants only. It can only form if the female plants are not pollinated, because once pollinated, they go to seed. Growers who want to achieve higher THC levels usually grow their plants indoors to shelter them from accidental pollination to increase the potency of their plants. 

Here’s what science tells us about the rest of the plant.

 

Understanding cannabinoids

THC is one of the cannabinoids found in a cannabis plant. But when you consider that there are 540 chemical substances in this plant, cannabinoids make up nearly 85 of them, and THC is only one of those, you realise that THC is hardly the plant’s dominating element. Maybe just its most famous. For now. 

  • Cannabinoids are the chemically active compounds that occur in the flower-bearing limbs of the plant and these are elements that can instigate change in our bodies. 

  • Each cannabinoid has its own set of effects, most of them are highly beneficial to our bodies. The reason they affect us so drastically is that they mimic the naturally-occurring compounds that are produced in our bodies, they’re called endocannabinoids. 

  • Our immune systems and our nervous systems are equipped with certain receptors and these receptors interact with cannabinoids in a way that’s almost poetic, like a perfect match. 

CBD (cannabidiol) is one of the most significant beneficial cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. It brings a sense of balance to plant’s characteristics, counteracting many of the psychoactive effects of THC. It’s the yin to THC’s yang. 

 

What we know for sure about CBD

Arthritis - CBD has been studied as a possible treatment for a number of conditions as part of medical research programs. The European Journal of Pain released a study that suggested CBD can reduce the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis when it is applied topically (as a concentrated extract in oil form).

  • Chronic pain - Another research program suggested that CBD can help people who suffer from neuropathy, which is one of the most stubborn forms of chronic pain to treat. CBD inhibits inflammatory and neuropathic pain, bringing relief without side effects.

  • Anxiety -One study of 24 people with social anxiety disorder found that they had less anxiety in a simulated public speaking test after taking CBD than after taking a placebo.-source

  • Epilepsy -CBD has been studied (more research is needed to truly get to the bottom of the benefits) which suggests it is helpful for conditions like  Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. It also benefits those who have any form of epilepsy belonging to the category of illnesses called Epileptic encephalopathies. 

  • Glaucoma - Cannabis used a whole plant (with natural levels of THC present) can lower pressure levels in the eye. Interestingly, when CBD is applied directly to the eye, pressure levels increase.

Other conditions that CBD has a positive effect on include sleep disorders, and when we fix poor sleeping patterns we can improve productivity and relieve the depression and anxiety symptoms that are often a knock-on effect. CBD is a great mood enhancer, it’s used to treat PTSD with some promising effects, other neurological disorders like multiple sclerosis and even bowel diseases like IBS.

 

A plant with potential

The fact remains that there haven’t been nearly enough studies on the potential health benefits the cannabis plant might hold for people. What we have discovered has been promising. Another area that’s begging for scientific attention is consuming the actual plant as a whole. Many people use the whole plant as part of their morning smoothies, enjoying the anti-inflammatory effects of the whole, raw enzymes in the plant.

 

CBD in your back pocket

The best way to enjoy the benefits of CBD? You don’t have to be a botanist to access the health benefits of this incredible plant. Try a high-quality CBD oil(that was extracted by actual scientists in actual science labs). A few drops a day is all it takes. 

Not keen on oil? Try vegan CBD gummies.  They’re packed with the nourishing elements of CBD. These products are super-safe, they’re designed to fit into your pocket as part of your busy life. Take them on the go to improve your productivity, or use them in the evening to help you switch off and unwind.