When I smoke a joint, it does more than just relax me, it brings me to a heightened state of awareness.
Not one where I feel anxious or a conscious need to act on every idea that I have. But a reflective state, where I feel calm but I am able to sort through things and make sense of them in such a way that I resolve what once was troubling me.
Marijuana has a long documented history as a useful medical treatment, particularly for its ability to relax muscles and calm the mind. But unlike other substances known for their relaxing effects, marijuana does not impede my reasoning processes, thanks to Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, one of the non-psychoactive components in marijuana.
Strains known as Charlotte’s Web, Avidekel and Harlequin contain high levels of CBD. Since it is not legal in most states, you have to know what to look for. We can tell marijuana is high in CBD, because the bud will contain strands of red-orange hairs.
Marijuana with a high CBD content lowers my inhibitions enough so that my heart doesn’t start to race when I think about something I fear, am conflicted about or otherwise makes me anxious. Now that the powerful emotions that prevented me from looking at situation objectively have softened, I am able to process information and develop a clearer understanding of what is bothering me.
Yet marijuana has gotten a bad reputation. Yes, some types of marijuana with a high Tetrahydrocannabinol content, called THC, can leave people feeling more anxious or even paranoid. But for the most part, the effects of marijuana are less harmful than alcohol. This negative perception of marijuana started with misinformation. When our western ancestors first witnessed natives using it in colonies, they compared it to opium.
Despite numerous reports of its benefits, marijuana is viewed with much disdain. Most doctors say that evidence of its benefits is nothing more than anecdotal and not grounded in imperial studies. They lump marijuana with other drugs like crystal meth and ecstasy, which were once used to treat medical conditions and now are controlled substances.
I too shied away from marijuana. I was scared that I would become lazy, paranoid and ravenously hungry. It wasn’t marijuana itself I feared. I feared the unknown: losing control. And it wasn’t until I had exhausted all other alternatives for treating the nausea and abdominal cramping associated with Crohn’s Disease, that I finally gave marijuana a try with an open mind.
This is when, much to my delight, I discovered that not only was marijuana good for my tummy, it was good for my mind. When we think of the active components in marijuana, we think of THC, but there is another non-psychoactive component in it CBD, known for its anti-anxiety and antispasmodic effects. Because it is non-psychoactive, CBD does not make us high.
The benefits of CBD can be traced back more than 400 years ago to India, where it was used to treat depression and alleviate stress. In biblical times, marijuana, known for its tranquil effects was used as an anointing oil and in hot baths. Recent studies by the Institute of Psychiatry show that CBD is an effective treatment for both Crohn’s Disease and anxiety. CBD works on the mood altering parts of the brain inducing a calming effect. Subjects who are given CBD solve puzzles and tests better as a result of the lessened anxiety. So for those like myself who want the benefits of marijuana without the buzz, CBD is the solution.
Author: Jane Cowles
Editor: Jean Weiss
Photo: Lauren McKinnon/Flickr