As more states legalize not only medical marijuana but recreational as well, it will become even more important that patrons know the benefits and risks involved with using cannabis and cannabis extract. The majority of dispensaries offer a variety of product for ingesting medical and/or recreational marijuana to fit any taste or preference. While there are very little to no fundamental differences between medical and recreational marijuana, only patients with a prescription may purchase medically branded marijuana, which often includes lower doses of THC and fewer taxes on the amount prescribed. While many are aware of the psychoactive components of products containing THC, most are naïve to the non-psychoactive, entirely legal oil extract of the cannabis plant, cannabidiol, or CBD oil (completely different from hemp seed oil). Below are a few benefits and risks to using both THC laced marijuana product and CBD oil.
Many marijuana users claim a reduction in feelings of anxiety while on the drug, as well as decreased pain and nausea. This is especially appealing to cancer stricken patients who may feel all of these affects from their intensive cancer treatments. Cancer patients may also benefit from the increased appetite, or “munchies”, that marijuana so commonly causes. THC reacts with the brain to release dopamine, causing the user to feel good. Dopamine is the chemical activated during other pleasurable activities such as eating, exercising, and sex. While other drugs known for flooding the brain with an abundance of dopamine, such as cocaine, can cause a chemical dependence on high levels of dopamine to feel happy at all, it is still unclear whether regular, low doses of THC have the same effect.
While low doses of THC can decrease anxiety, higher doses have proven to cause the exact opposite in some people. Some users feel highly anxious or even paranoid while on marijuana. Furthermore, since THC interacts with the part of the brain called the hippocampus, it can impair short-term memory, especially in the developing brains of teenagers, which can lead to cognitive impairment later on. In large doses, THC can even cause hallucinations, visual or auditory delusions, and a loss of sense of self. Commonly, people who use marijuana will feel a loss of balance, coordination, and reaction time, which is why it is advised to refrain from driving while high. Just as with any drug, it is possible to become so dependent on the drug that it starts to negatively interfere with relationships, job prospects, and healthy regulation of body chemistry. However, withdrawal symptoms are much less severe than other drugs such as cocaine or alcohol.
Physiologically, marijuana increases the heart rate, which can be risky for those with heart conditions. If a user primarily smokes their marijuana, they may develop respiratory issues or even chronic bronchitis. Psychologically, regular marijuana use can exacerbate pre-existing mental disorders such as schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, and depression.
CBD Oil Benefits
Since CBD oil contains little to no THC, users don’t have to worry about the psychoactive side effects of marijuana while still receiving many benefits the cannabis plant provides. Scientists have discovered that CBD oil prevents certain forms of cancer from spreading, which is a major relief to patients undergoing treatment. CBD oil also reduces pain, nausea, and inflammation. Contradictory to THC, CBD oil has shown to reduce symptoms of schizophrenia and anxiety attacks. The biggest benefit to CBD oil is that it’s completely legal and can be found online and in many stores.
CBD Oil Risks
Although there are fewer risks to CBD oil than straight marijuana, there are some factors to take into consideration before using CBD oil. First, it has been known to interfere with certain medications, so it is important to consult a doctor before self-medicating with anything over the counter if you are already on prescribed medication. Also, it is not recommended for anyone pregnant or breastfeeding to use CBD oil as studies have proven inconclusive on the effects to a developing infant.
Keep in mind, this list is not conclusive and more studies need to be conducted before many beneficial and harmful effects claims can be scientifically verified. However, since marijuana is still federally illegal, the government continues to block the majority of studies attempting to research the benefits of marijuana. With increasing knowledge of the properties of marijuana and its derivatives, hopefully the public can make more informed decisions while weighing the risks and benefits of using the drug.
Glassheads Distribution does not sell any CBD or THC products, but we are happy to recommend vendors and friends in our industry who do if you are interested in stocking legal CBD oils in your store.