Cannabis, or marijuana, was around long before our parents explored the days of free love ( 3,000 years before!). And now, a total of 31 states allow for comprehensive medical marijuana programs and 15 other states allow use of “low tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), high cannabidiol (CBD)” products for limited medical situations. It seems that many people have opinions about cannabis use, yet not very many comprehend its science. This is understandable because it’s been challenging to study the health effects of marijuana due to legal restrictions enforced by the Federal Government. Nevertheless, with legalization of cannabis in many states and the ease of some research restrictions, clinical studies are beginning to emerge that might make you reconsider this substance for more than just free love.
Cannabinoid is a general term to describe the more than 100 different chemicals found in a marijuana plant, and each cannabinoid can have very different biological effects. Our bodies produce our own endocannabinoid chemicals that act on two types of receptors found in our brain and throughout the central nervous system. Cannabinoid chemicals are similar in structure to our own, which allows them to interact with our receptors and induce their effects.
Currently, the two main cannabinoids that are of medical interest are THC and CBD. THC is the one you hear about often, being marijuana’s main mind-altering ingredient that makes people “high”. THC is not all games though, it can also increase appetite for those who are in clinical need, as well as reduce nausea and pain. Two drugs have already been approved by the FDA that include THC to treat nausea associated with chemotherapy.
Unlike THC, CBD is a cannabinoid that doesn’t make people “high”. In fact, high doses of CBD are well tolerated, and it does not change heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, or alter psychomotor or psychological functions like THC does. For this reason, it is much less popular for recreational use, and more promising for clinical use. Animal and human studies demonstrate health effects of CBD such as attenuation of brain damage associated with ischemic conditions and/or brain injury, increased neuroprotection, improved motor deficits that are seen with neurodegenerative conditions, facilitation of neurogenesis, powerful antioxidant abilities, and inhibition of tumor growth and reduced metastasis with cancer. There is also further promise for brain support with prevention of neurodegenerative diseases and improvements of symptoms commonly associated with PTSD as seen in several studies that observed decreased anxiety and reduced symptoms of depression in patients with and without PTSD.
In June 2018, the FDA approved Epidiolex, a prescription medication that contains CBD, and the World Anti-Doping Agency announced that CBD will no longer be listed as a banned substance for international sport competition for 2018. Although federal and state laws are inconsistent about the legality of cannabis, it is hard to denounce the increasing documentation of health benefits, specifically of non-intoxicating CBD oil. CBD appears to be a safe drug with no addictive effects and with powerful therapeutic potential.
Today, you can find these same health benefits in Brain Armor’s R3 Liquid Concentrate, a nutritional support supplement designed for optimal brain and endocannabinoid system function. Not only does it contain a combination of brain nourishing vital nutrients with broad-spectrum Hemp extract, providing you with 25 mg of CBD, it’s vegan friendly and all natural, as the Omega-3 fatty acids it contains, come directly from the source, algae. So what does this mean for you? It means now you’re free to love your brain every day, without worrying about the mind-altering “high”.
For more information here's a great video by Thomas DeLauer explaining CBD in more detail:
Stacy Cappadona MS, RD, CSCS received her BS in Exercise Science and MS in Exercise Physiology and Sports Nutrition from Florida State University. She has worked with athletes of all ages, active duty military personnel, and is now serving the communities in Southern Oregon at an all inclusive Wellness Club.