CBD and THC: The Questionable Green Stuff
By Marcy Albin / January 1, 2017

Globally, people from the America's to the shores of Europe are in heated debate regarding the medicinal effects and the therapeutic benefits of cannabis. This is, of course, due to the fact that there is clinical evidence that shows cannabis and its components have the ability to treat a number of neurological and cancer-related disorders, as well as other pain related issues.

Florida voters, in November 2016, overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment guaranteeing seriously ill patients the right to medical marijuana. This was a victory for decriminalization supporters who narrowly lost a similar ballot fight two years ago.
According to official results, Amendment 2 had the approval of more than 71 percent of the voters.

The newly approved Amendment 2 allows patients with illnesses of the "same kind or class, as or comparable to" cancer, HIV, post-traumatic stress disorder, Parkinson's disease, and epilepsy to obtain marijuana through state-approved doctors and state-approved dispensaries.

According to the Department of Health in Tallahassee, about 450,000 Floridians would qualify to use the drug under these rules. Florida law already permits patients with certain conditions, such as uncontrollable seizures, to use non-euphoric types of cannabis. Another law adopted in 2016 allows terminally ill patients to use full-strength marijuana.

Currently, with the majority of the American population, Canada, Brazil, Australia, and other countries in the European Union, having easy access to some form of legal cannabis, we now face a need to sit down and educate ourselves and to be knowledgeable consumers and improved health care professionals

Cannabis based medications have been used for centuries. Here is a brief breakdown of the cannabinoids.

The endocannabinoid system is a group of neuromodulatory lipids and their receptors in the brain and throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems. They are involved in a variety of physiological processes including appetite, pain-sensation, mood, memory, and mediate the psychoactive effects of cannabis.

The best-known part of the cannabinoid is THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol. THC has been shown to bind the CB1 receptors and induce an intoxicating effect, called a "high." Since then, THC has been tested and has shown to effectively treat pain associated with cancer successfully. THC, however, is only one of the 70 or more cannabinoids found in the THC plant.

The second most important cannabinoid is CBD, or cannabidiol; it is non-intoxicating, and shows signs of controlling seizures, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, and other dysfunctions.

Cannabinoids that are synthesized by the plants are called phytocannabioids. Once these phytocannabinoids are consumed or inhaled, they have the ability to bind CB1 and CB2 receptors in the body. Additionally several other phytocannabinoids are found in chocolate, black truffles, pepper, carob, and other plants and their fruits.

THC accounts for the psychogenic effect in marijuana, gained either through smoking, absorbing through tinctures, oils, and edible foods, or ingested in capsule form. When use in low doses, you do not get high, the same goes for CBD oil.

CBD is another molecule of the marijuana plant, which produces no psychogenic effect. If used in controlled, small quantities, you will not get high from it, but it will relieve symptoms related to cancer, nausea, epilepsy, or other diseases and symptoms.

As of now, 28 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for medical use. But medical marijuana is still illegal federally, and patients and caregivers in medical marijuana states are in danger of federal prosecution.

Last year, Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Cory Booker spearheaded legislation to amend the Controlled Substances Act to make it legal to grow, use, and sell marijuana for medical use in states where it's legal. This historic legislation, Senate Bill 683, The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States Act of 2015, or CARERS Act, would end the federal prohibition of medical marijuana for good.

The CARERS Act has growing bipartisan support, with 19 prominent co-sponsors in the Senate, but the bill still sits in the Senate Judiciary Committee awaiting a vote.

More than 80 percent of Americans agree that marijuana should be legal for medical purposes. The people are ready for reform; it's time for Congress to act. Tens of thousands of patients and caregivers across the country face the fear of federal penalties even though they are abiding by state law.

The low THC, high CBD Compassionate Care Law of 2014 changed the face of THC and CBD usage in the state of Florida. Before this, it was complicated, one had to seek out legal advice. Even then, there was only one dispensary open, out of the approved and mandated seven dispensaries.

Now that the issue has been voted into law in 2016, it will expand to terminal patients, so they can have easy access and have the ultimate key to relieving pain as well as nausea, dizziness, and other symptoms, without the fear of being arrested.

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