A 2013 case report conducted in Canada evaluated the beneficial effects of cannabis oil on a 14-year-old female patient diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, also known as ALL. For this particular patient, a standard bone marrow transplant, aggressive chemotherapy and radiation therapy were revoked, with treatment being deemed a failure after 34 months. She was extremely ill and severely underweight at this time.
As Kane leads me around his lab, I see the excitement on his face and on the faces of his young staff. The place feels almost like a start-up company. “So much of science is incremental,” he says, “but with this cannabis work, the science will not be incremental. It will be transformative. Transformative not just in our understanding of the plant but also of ourselves—our brains, our neurology, our psychology. Transformative in terms of the biochemistry of its compounds. Transformative in terms of its impact across several different industries, including medicine, agriculture, and biofuels. It may even transform part of our diet—hemp seed is known to be a ready source of a very healthy, protein-rich oil.”
We’re standing in a laboratory greenhouse on the campus of the University of Colorado Boulder looking at ten hemp plants that Kane recently procured for research purposes. They’re spindly, stalky little things, like gangling teenagers, a far cry from the lascivious crop that Hague had shown me. These plants, like nearly all hemp varieties, carry extremely low levels of THC.
This oil is derived from the Cannabis sativa plant that can contain both CBD and THC in varying concentrations. The clear drawback of cannabis oil is that it cannot be purchased outside of a state that has not legalized the sale of cannabis. Cannabis oil can also contain higher amounts of THC, which could be problematic for those not looking for the psychoactive effects of cannabis oil.
This has been the year medical cannabis hit the mainstream. The government has announced that it is relaxing laws on when cannabis medicines can be prescribed by doctors, following high-profile cases such as that of Billy Caldwell, the 13-year-old boy hospitalised by his epileptic seizures after he was denied legal access to the cannabis oil that helps control them. Meanwhile a new generation of cannabis medicines has shown great promise (both anecdotally and in early clinical trials) in treating a range of ills from anxiety, psychosis and epilepsy to pain, inflammation and acne. And you don’t have to get stoned to reap the health benefits.
Until 2017, products containing cannabidiol that are marketed for medical purposes were classed as medicines by the UK regulatory body, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and could not be marketed without regulatory approval for the medical claims. CBD oil with THC content not exceeding 0.2% was legalized throughout the UK in 2017. Cannabis oil, however, remained illegal to possess, buy and sell.
At Denver’s LivWell, which has an enormous indoor growing operation, workers remove marijuana leaves before the buds are trimmed, keeping the plants destined for medical use separate from those for recreational use. After Colorado legalized marijuana, thousands of young people from all over the world flocked to the state to participate in the multimillion-dollar business phenomenon that’s been called the Green Rush.
“This is a really powerful compound,” says Mikhail Kogan, the medical director of the George Washington University Center for Integrative Medicine. “I’ve seen it work for a lot of my patients.” He prescribes high-CBD strains of cannabis regularly for such illnesses as epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, autoimmune disorders, autism and insomnia.
Can CBD oil help anxiety? Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical occurring in cannabis plants. It is possible to add CBD oil to food, and an increasing amount of evidence suggests that it may improve mental health, particularly anxiety. It does not seem to have adverse side effects, but CBD oil is illegal in some states. Learn more about CBD oil here. Read now
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