The topic of legalizing medicinal marijuana is a growing conversation in our society today as it is already legal in 17 states across our nation. The article “Endocannabinoid system and psychiatry: in search of a neurobiological basis for detrimental and potential therapeutic effects” looks at how cannabis can be used medically to help aid in depression, anxiety and eating disorders and highlights the main negative effects of cannabis use. Although scientists and psychologists have worked together to determine that cannabis can successfully help with depression, anxiety and eating disorders, is it really the best option for therapy?
While reading this article, the negative effects of cannabis use stuck out to me much more drastically than the positive effects. The article described one side effect of cannabis use as being the development of schizophrenia. Although scientists haven’t directly linked cannabis use to schizophrenia, there is proof that it can induce schizophrenia in users that are genetically predisposed to developing this disease and it works together with other risk factors to speed up the onset of the disorder. This side-effect alone, without even considering the negative psychotropic effects of cannabis that are frowned upon by many, seems serious enough to wonder if cannabis is really a drug that should be used for treating any sort of mood disorder.
Another major piece of the article that stuck out to me while reading focused on the specific piece of cannabis called Cannabidiol (CBD). The writers briefly described the positive effects that CBD can have on treating anxiety and depression and stated that CBD doesn’t have the negative effects that cannabis has. Immediately after reading about CBD, I wondered, could isolating this component of cannabis, CBD, be an alternative drug to medical marijuana?
Cannabidiol is the main non-psychotropic component of cannabis and exhibits many of the same therapeutic effects as marijuana. The other main component of cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is responsible for the psychotropic effects that many people think of when they think about marijuana. All cannabis has a different ratio of THC and CBD as each strain of cannabis is different. After noticing that different strains of marijuana were more or less successful in treating depression and anxiety, scientists explored the contents of cannabis and found that the strains with higher amounts of CBD worked much better for treating mood disorders. This finding is responsible for the additional research that has been done to make CBD so popular as scientists look for a new possible drug that will exhibit the same therapeutic effects as marijuana without all of the negative side-effects that marijuana has.
The understanding of Cannabidiol is a very intriguing aspect of cannabis, as it would be great to develop a new way to treat depression and anxiety without having the negative psychotropic effects. This would make it much more socially acceptable for a patient to treat their depression or anxiety when they didn’t have to experience the “high” that is so commonly associated with marijuana. After both human and animal testing, scientists have found a lot of promising evidence that CBD could be the new drug for treating many different disorders and ultimately eventually replace medical use of marijuana as a whole. One of the main effects of CBD that scientists discovered is that with low doses, CBD is alerting and helps reduce depression, while at high doses it actually acts as a sedative and can reduce anxiety. Scientists have also found that CBD can be used in many other medical ways, such as relieving convulsion, inflammation, nausea as well as inhibiting cancer growth.
After reading this article my eyes have been opened to the fact that it is very important that our society finds an alternative therapeutic drug rather than marijuana to help aid in the therapy of common mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. I look forward to following the further research of Cannibidiol that must be done in order for it to become this alternative therapeutic drug that everyone is looking for. After looking at what we know so far about CBD, it has definite potential to be a successful alternative to medical marijuana and even provide therapy in a wider array of patients than marijuana does today.
For more information, click on the link below, What is CBD?