One area where CBD is clearly helpful: the treatment of seizures associated with one form of epilepsy. A 2017 New England Journal of Medicine study found ingesting oral CBD dramatically cut down most patients’ seizure frequency—a finding that prompted the FDA to support the approval of one CBD drug for use in the treatment of some epilepsy patients.
One of the strongest nutraceutical CBD oils is called Charlotte’s Web, with a 50mg dose. Charlotte’s Web is produced in Colorado by the Stanley Brothers, and named after Charlotte Figi, a girl who became famous in the US after her frequent seizures, brought on by the rare Dravet syndrome, were greatly reduced when she started taking CBD oil aged five. The company makes THC products too and is extremely successful, having just offered shares on the Canadian securities exchange, raising about $100m.
In most countries it is forbidden to create oil from cannabis, because cannabis is a controlled substance (i.e. illegal drug). However, CBD, unlike THC, is not a controlled drug, and regulations are minimal by comparison in many places around the world. This has led to the appearance of numerous CBD-rich extracts on the international market. Most of these extracts contain low levels of CBD and high levels of CBD-acid, the natural constituent of the fresh cannabis plant before it is heated.
Figuring out how much CBD oil to take can feel like trying to navigate through a complicated maze. The sheer volume of CBD brands on the market can create confusion for consumers, and when you take a closer look, it’s not difficult to understand why. Not only do vendors use different source materials (CBD-rich cannabis vs. industrial hemp, different strains, etc.), but they also implement different extraction techniques .
So Mechoulam called the Israeli national police and scored five kilos of confiscated Lebanese hashish. He and his research group isolated—and in some cases also synthesized—an array of substances, which he injected separately into rhesus monkeys. Only one had any observable effect. “Normally the rhesus monkey is quite an aggressive individual,” he says. But when injected with this compound, the monkeys became emphatically calm. “Sedated, I would say,” he recalls with a chuckle.
About one in ten Americans suffer from restless leg syndrome (RLS). This disorder is characterized by an overwhelming urge to move ones legs while at rest or trying to sleep. These urges are often unpleasant and can cause great discomfort and of course a lack of sleep. The cause of RLS is still unknown, but research suggests that it can be related to abnormalities in the central nervous system.
A wealth of marketing material, blogs and anecdotes claim that cannabis oils can cure whatever ails you, even cancer. But the limited research doesn't suggest that cannabis oil should take the place of conventional medication, except for in two very rare forms of epilepsy (and even then, it's recommended only as a last-resort treatment). And, experts caution that because cannabis oil and other cannabis-based products are not regulated or tested for safety by the government or any third-party agency, it's difficult for consumers to know exactly what they're getting.
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