Medicinal cannabis may be taking the world by storm, with clinical observations, efficacy studies and clinical trials all indicative of a proven active pharmaceutical ingredient. But it’s far from a new phenomenon. Prior to use as a prescribed medicine, primitive applications where numerous, Ancient Greeks used it to dress wounds and sores on their horses. In Ancient China, it was administered to sedate patients before surgery. And the Ancient Egyptians even used it to numb the pain caused by hemorrhoids.
Despite its long-established and well-documented use over several millennia, cannabis and its related products still come with a social stigma attached. But as decriminalisation and legalisation gather momentum around the world, it’s finally beginning to shed its negative image and win new levels of recognition.
CBD Is Not A Recreational Drug
Part of the long-standing suspicion of cannabis is rooted in its reputation as a recreational drug. In fact, the cannabinoids – like cannabidiol (CBD) – that are used for medicinal cannabis applications are not recreational drugs at all, of course, they are however naturally occurring compounds – raw botanical bi-products of the Cannabis sativa plant. And unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component of cannabis, CBD doesn’t cause a “high”; nor does it spark psychosis or cause addiction. What’s more, unlike conventional pharmaceutical products, cannabinoids aren’t processed through the liver, but naturally absorbed through CB1 and CB2 brain receptors, stomach lining or blood, depending on how they are administered to a patient.
A Promising Treatment With A Good Safety Profile
So just how safe is medicinal cannabis? Research into its various compounds are still in their infancy; so far evidence has actually been mounting that CBD offers similar — if not better — medical benefits, without the downside from opioids.
Even a 2018 critical review by the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that CBD represents a promising treatment for a number of medical conditions, is well tolerated, has a good safety profile, and doesn’t appear to be a risk for abuse, dependence, or other public-health related problems. The review states, “At present, there are no case reports of abuse or dependence relating to the use of pure CBD. There are also no published statistics on non-medical use of pure CBD.” And strikingly, not a single death has been recorded as a result of using CBD or other cannabinoids.