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I decided to try CBD when I was withdrawing from Tramadol, a synthetic opiate I had been taking for pain (with 2 other medications) for over a year. As I began slowly reducing my use, I experienced a lot of anxiety and muscle tremors in my legs especially. I know that using a marijuana medication meant that my pain doctor would not prescribe for me again, but I was getting off the pain medications one by one anyway, so I don't care.
What makes these plants of interest to scientists, healers, and those in need of treatment is cannabidiol, or CBD. CBD is present in both hemp and marijuana, but what makes marijuana psychoactive — giving you the ‘high’ sensation — is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Hemp contains only trace amounts of THC, and studies have shown that CBD is not psychoactive like THC.
There are thousands of unique varieties of hemp. The cultivars used for CBD oil contain significantly higher concentrations of CBD than others. Using these uniquely potent plants, it is possible to extract cannabis oil that contains significant levels of cannabidiol, as well as essential vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other non-psychoactive cannabinoids.
Think of the primary difference between hemp oil and CBD oil in the same way that coffee beans differ from pure caffeine extract. Hemp oil includes over 100 cannabinoids that are found throughout the hemp plant—cannabidiol is just one of these. When you purchase pure CBD oil, you are purchasing an isolated compound that is derived from hemp oil. We have a whole post dedicated to the characteristics of this particular compound available for you to read more.
While it was originally believed that THC is a breakdown product of CBD, it is now known that both THC and CBD are actually metabolites of their decarboxylated acidic forms, THCa and CBDa. These acidic precursors are decarboxylated (essentially dried) by heat or extraction to produce THC and CBD; only then do they become psychoactive.The compound has medicinal benefits without the “high” that some patients do not desire. This makes CBD appealing to patients who are looking for an alternative to their current meds, which often have opiate-like effects.
Marijuana can produce acute psychotic episodes at high doses, and several studies have linked marijuana use to increased risk for chronic psychosis in individuals with specific genetic risk factors. Research suggests that these effects are mediated by THC, and it has been suggested that CBD may mitigate these effects.xxxi There have been a few small-scale clinical trials in which patients with psychotic symptoms were treated with CBD, including case reports of patients with schizophrenia that reported conflicting results; a small case study in patients with Parkinson’s disease with psychosis, which reported positive results; and one small randomized clinical trial reporting clinical improvement in patients with schizophrenia treated with CBD.xxxii Large randomized clinical trials would be needed to fully evaluate the therapeutic potential of CBD for patients with schizophrenia and other forms of psychosis.