Hemp oil can be found in many different delivery forms. Hemp oil can be consumed orally, applied topically or sublingually, or smoked via vaporization. Vaporization and sublingual application of hemp oil allows for a fast onset-of-action of the CBD, whereas pills and edible products can take 30 to 90 minutes on average to take effect. Topical hemp oil can be applied directly to areas of pain or inflammation, though it can also be absorbed into the systemic circulation.
Guzmán leads me around his cramped lab—centrifuges, microscopes, beakers, petri dishes, a postdoc researcher in a white smock extracting tissue from a mouse corpse pinned under bright lights. It’s your typical bioresearch lab, except that everything is devoted to the effects of cannabis on the body and brain. The lab focuses not just on cancer but also on neurodegenerative diseases and on how cannabinoids affect early brain development. On this last topic the Guzmán group’s research is unequivocal: Mice born of mothers regularly given high doses of THC during pregnancy show pronounced problems. They’re uncoordinated, have difficulty with social interactions, and have a low anxiety threshold—they’re often paralyzed with fear at stimuli, such as a cat puppet placed near their cage, that don’t upset other juvenile mice.
Last year, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine released a nearly 500-page report on the health effects of cannabis and cannabinoids. A committee of 16 experts from a variety of scientific and medical fields analyzed the available evidence — more than 10,000 scientific abstracts in all. Because so few studies examine the effects of CBD on its own, the panel did not issue any findings about CBD specifically, but it did reach some conclusions about cannabis and cannabinoids more generally. The researchers determined that there is “conclusive or substantial evidence” supporting the use of cannabis or cannabinoids for chronic pain in adults, multiple sclerosis-related spasticity (a kind of stiffness and muscle spasms), and chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. The committee also found “moderate” evidence that cannabis or cannabinoids can reduce sleep disturbances in people with obstructive sleep apnea, fibromyalgia, chronic pain and multiple sclerosis, as well as “limited” evidence that these substances can improve symptoms of Tourette’s syndrome, increase appetite and stem weight loss in people with HIV/AIDs, and improve symptoms of PTSD and anxiety.
CBD, or canabidiol is an amazingly useful plant compound that is extracted from the cannabis plant. With volumes of medical science now at its back, this compound has been used effectively for a wide range of needs. These particularly wide-ranging applications are the result of its being a part of the “pleiotropic sedate” group. Compounds in this group are especially unique in their ability to affect and travel along many of the typically closed atomic pathways.
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