If he had his way, what Mechoulam regards as the often irresponsible silliness of recreational pot culture would give way to an earnest and enthusiastic embrace of cannabis—but only as a medical substance to be strictly regulated and relentlessly researched. “Right now,” he complains, “people don’t know what they’re getting. For it to work in the medical world, it has to be quantitative. If you can’t count it, it’s not science.”
 S. Maione, F. Piscitelli, L. Gatta, D. Vita, L. De Petrocellis, E. Palazzo, V. de Novellis, and V. Di Marzo, “Non-psychoactive Cannabinoids Modulate the Descending Pathway of Antinociception in Anaesthetized Rats through Several Mechanisms of Action,” British Journal of Phramacology 162, no. 3 (2011): 584. doi:10.1111/j.1476-5381.2010.01063.x.
CBD may help reduces REM behavior disorder in people with Parkinson’s disease. REM behavior disorder is a condition that causes people to act out physically during dreaming and REM sleep. Typically, during REM, the body is largely paralyzed, a state known as REM atonia. This immobilization keeps sleepers from reacting physically to their dreams. In REM behavior disorder, this paralysis doesn’t occur, leaving people free to move—which can lead to disruptive sleep and to injuring themselves or their sleeping partners. Cannabis may also work to reduce pain and improve sleep quality in people with Parkinson’s disease.
Cannabinoids are neuroprotective, meaning that they help maintain and regulate brain health. The effects appear to be related to several actions they have on the brain, including the removal of damaged cells and the improved efficiency of mitochondria. CBD and other antioxidant compounds in cannabis also work to reduce glutamate toxicity. Extra glutamate, which stimulates nerve cells in the brain to fire, causes cells to become over-stimulated, ultimately leading to cell damage or death. Thus, cannabinoids help protect brain cells from damage, keeping the organ healthy and functioning properly. CBD has also been shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect on the brain.
Food and beverage products containing CBD were introduced in the United States in 2017. Similar to energy drinks and protein bars which may contain vitamin or herbal additives, food and beverage items can be infused with CBD as an alternative means of ingesting the substance. In the United States, numerous products are marketed as containing CBD, but in reality contain little or none. Some companies marketing CBD-infused food products with claims that are similar to the effects of prescription drugs have received warning letters from the Food and Drug Administration for making unsubstantiated health claims.
When pain is localized, topical products can be applied. These can be made using CBD-dominant cannabis as well as THC strains. Topicals affect the cells near application and through several layers of tissue but do not cross the blood-brain barrier and are, therefore, not psychoactive. These may be available as CBD oils, ointments, salves, or other forms, and with varying ratios of CBD and THC (a ratio of 1:1 is often recommended as ideal for skin application). The skin has the highest amount and concentration of CB2 receptors in the body.
Everything you need to know about marijuana (cannabis) Marijuana, or cannabis, is the most commonly used illicit drug in the world. It alters the mood and affects nearly every organ in the body. With at least 120 active compounds, marijuana may have health benefits as well as risks. We describe these, addiction, and withdrawal. Learn more about cannabis here. Read now
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