“Our top therapies attempt to break the association between reminders of the trauma and the fear response,” said Mallory Loflin, an assistant adjunct professor at the University of California, San Diego and the study’s principal investigator. “We think that CBD, at least in animal models, can help that process happen a lot faster.” While large clinical trials are underway, psychologists say there isn’t compelling evidence yet as to whether this is a viable treatment.
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is the lesser-known child of the cannabis sativa plant; its more famous sibling, tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the active ingredient in pot that catapults users’ “high.” With roots in Central Asia, the plant is believed to have been first used medicinally — or for rituals — around 750 B.C., though there are other estimates too.
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Does CBD help anxiety and PTSD?
But without clinical trials in humans, psychologists say CBD’s effect on depression is still a hypothesis, and not an evidence-based treatment.
However, a double-blind study found healthy volunteers administered CBD had little to no change in their emotional reaction to unpleasant images or words, compared to the placebo group. “If it’s a calming drug, it should change their responses to the stimuli,” said Harriet de Wit, co-author of the study and a professor in the University of Chicago’s department of psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience. “But it didn’t.”
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“It’s promising in a lot of different therapeutic avenues because it’s relatively safe,” said James MacKillop, co-director of McMaster University’s Michael G. DeGroote Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research in Hamilton, Ontario.
While CBD can come from either hemp or marijuana, it is often derived from hemp in order to avoid the addition of larger amounts of THC. THC, on the other hand, is derived from marijuana.
NIDA also notes that THC alters how the hippocampus and orbitofrontal cortex function. These areas of the brain are important in the formation of new memories and the ability to shift attention from one thing to the next. This not only affects a person’s ability to learn and form new memories, but it also makes it difficult for people to perform difficult tasks.
While cannabis itself has not been FDA approved to treat any condition, there are a few drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that contain CBD or THC.
When choosing products containing CBD or THC, it is also important to consider their legality. Both marijuana and THC are included in the U.S. Controlled Substances Act, which means that they are not legal under federal law. As of July 2020, 33 states and Washington, D.C. have enacted policies allowing medical marijuana and products containing THC to be prescribed by a doctor. Some states also allow recreational use of marijuana and THC-containing products.
Kendra Cherry, MS, is an author and educational consultant focused on helping students learn about psychology.
CBD strains are not as popular as THC strains, which is why it may be more difficult to find them in the U.S. in a favourite dispensary. But as more and more people continue to get involved with CBD , the more common these strains are expected to become.
The FreshToast.com , a U.S. lifestyle site that contributes lifestyle content and, with their partnership with 600,000 physicians via Skipta, medical marijuana information to The GrowthOp.
Even if CBD isn’t known for its psychoactive effects , its presence in cannabis strains has been associated with pleasant and mellow highs, some of which are perfect for beginners or for people who don’t want to worry about experiencing a cannabis-inspired panic attack. Thanks to it’s less intoxicating properties, CBD-dominant strains are great for people who are looking for medicinal benefits of the plant or are planning on consuming it during the middle of the day, before doing an activity that requires some concentration.
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