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Cannabis & CBD

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As a trainee nurse at the beginning of the 1970s, which was still a slow version of the ‘age of flower-power’, I still remember my time in student-nurse classes. During breaks from lectures I used to make my way to the library to eat my sandwiches and to get away from the other students. This is because they smoked, and I am literally allergic to cigarette smoke. More than that, I did not like that a few fellow students smoked ‘weed’ – cannabis. I still have a memory of the sickly-sweet smell! Our tutors must have known about it, but did nothing.

The people smoking it acted in an immature way, giggled inappropriately, and were generally slow off the mark, which made discussions odd and difficult, like trying to chat with drunks. The same applied to my qualified-nurse days at the hospital, where both drunks and weed-smokers were in abundance.

I am against all kinds of illegal drugs. However, there is a class of drug now available freely, made from the cannabis plant, and THIS substance is worth looking into. In this article I will show you the difference between the illegal cannabis, and the legal cannabis substance derived from the cannabis plant.

Cannabis

It is called by several names, some of them from the ‘street’… like marijuana. It is a psychoactive* drug made from the cannabis plant. (*or Psychopharmaceutical, or Psychtropic: it changes brain function and affects mood, perception, consciousness, cognition and behaviour). If taken long enough, or, in some people, just a few times, it can result in permanent brain damage causing psychosis. In some cultures this and similar drugs are used by shamans, or by people who foolishly think the drug enhances perception, abilities, and so on. It is, however, a delusion to think that the claimed pleasant effects are beneficial. The desire to maintain the addiction is psychological rather than physical, but it can lead to use of more potent drugs.

Some psychoactive drugs are not bad for you and are not illegal, such as anaesthetics, analgesics (pain-killers), anti-epilepsy and anti-Parkinson drugs. There are other uses in medicine. Illegal cannabis is not connected to these.

Cannabis has the effect of heightening mood, but heightened perception is a psychological delusion, leading to many kinds of stupid decisions and behaviour. Such changes occur just minutes after smoking, and 30-60 minutes after eating cooked cannabis. The effects last from two to six hours. Short term memory is affected, the person has a dry mouth and red eyes; motor skills are impaired (hence police arrest people who drive whilst under the influence of cannabis – extremely common nowadays) and there are feelings of paranoia and/or anxiety.

Teenagers who use cannabis tend to have decreased mental abilities and have behavioural problems. There can also be behavioural problems in young children whose mothers used cannabis during pregnancy. Common side-effects include vomiting, dizziness, tiredness, and in some addicts leads to schizophrenia-like symptoms. Extensive usage leads to auditory and visual illusions, pseudohallucinations, and ataxia (abnormality of gait, speech, eye movements – all caused by problems with the nervous system). There are many other side-effects, including increased heart rate, bigger appetite, lowered blood pressure, poor concentration. Overall, constant cannabis use results in poor quality of life.

Users are three to seven times more likely to cause a road accident; the active part of cannabis (THC) can remain in the bloodstream for weeks and a large number of hospital emergency intakes are due to taking cannabis. Sadly, those who take cannabis often also take other drugs/alcohol to bring about an even greater effect, and this can lead to criminal behaviour, violence and death. Cannabis also contains carcinogens and is often a gateway to ‘heavy’ drug abuse.

‘Recreational’ Cannabis can be taken in a number of ways:

Smoking, heating cannabis in a vaporiser, drinking it as tea, by adding it to edibles like butter, cake, etc., and in capsule form. In Amsterdam cafes sell cannabis cake with coffee!

Medical Cannabis

Cannabis oil, known as CBD or cannabidiol is a phytocannabinoid* discovered as early as 1940, and is just one of 113 cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. (*a molecule synthesised by plants, and includes CBD and CBG. These are used to treat a variety of health ailments, many of which are still being debated). These substances, which comprise 40% of cannabis plants, though from the cannabis plant, are NOT illegal and do NOT contain the element (THC) that causes delusions, addiction, ‘highs’, and so on.

A medical doctor I know who is now retired from GP practice confirmed it is safe to use and can help people with many medical problems. However, very few medical practitioners are aware of the uses and properties of CBD, and think it is the same as THC-rich cannabis extract (probably because its use for medical purposes was only allowed by the UK government in late 2018). THC, Tetrahydrocannabinol, is one of the 113 cannabidoids in the cannabis plant, and it is this extract that is found in illegal ‘recreational’ cannabis. But, CBD does not contain THC, so it is safe to use.

Its Production

Use of CBS has risen sharply in a very short time, and claims made for it are being published almost daily. In the Wild West ‘snake oil’ merchants were a common sight. They claimed their home-made concoctions could cure just about every ailment known to mankind! And this eventually made people very suspicious. Today, claims that CBD is the latest potent cure-all are being made that might make modern people just as suspicious… except that many of those claims are real. So, is CBD the modern equivalent of snake-oil? If so, the frenzy to own stocks and shares in its production will be short-lived! From my knowledge CBD should certainly be investigated as a possible non-chemical drug, because it works.

CBD is an oily substance and its purity depends on how good the extraction method is. For those who wish to try it, look for genuine certificates of purity and strength. It can be mixed with other oils (including olive oil) or with alcohol-based substances. I have tasted a high quality CBD and must admit it is not all that pleasant! The oil is dropped under the tongue and left there for about two minutes.

CBD can also be extracted by CO2 which acts like a solvent under pressure that flushes the essential ingredients out of the plant matter. When the pressure is reduced the oily golden-coloured substance separates from the CO2, and is then processed to increase quality. The equipment used in this process is very expensive, which gives some assurance that CBD is indeed useful and with value. Ethanol is also used to extract CBD, but it can leave a very small amount of THC in the oil. Another method used is hydrocarbon extraction, which produces a brittle ‘candy’ called ‘shatter’, which is broken up and inhaled. This method is not commended. I will not mention home-made ways to extract CBD from cannabis plants – because having them in your possession is illegal in the West!

Note that CBD oil is NOT the same as hemp oil or hemp seed oil, which can be passed off as CBD oil by unscrupulous suppliers, and may contain elements of THC. It is best to do some homework and buy CBD in known herbal or health stores. There are also some listed on the internet whose qualifications appear to be genuine. Cost ranges from just a few pounds to about £80 for a small bottle containing the best CBD. Bear in mind that ordinary doctors in the UK will not prescribe CBD because it still has to undergo official testing over a number of years, even though its beneficial effects are already known.

What Can CBD be Used for?

Below are some benefits from using CBD, based on research:

  1. Pain Relief. It has been used for almost 4000 years for this purpose! Many with MS (multiple sclerosis) and rheumatoid arthritis have been successfully treated.

  2. Depression and anxiety have also been successfully treated with CBD. Personally, I am against use of chemical drugs and CBD to treat what is essentially a self-made problem (assuming there are no underlying physical causations).

  3. Cancer effects reduced. Effects such as vomiting, pain and nausea, can be relieved by CBD, and can be used to alleviate effects of chemotherapy. And certain tests in animals show a diminishing of cancer cells… but no human tests have thus far been done. So its use to reduce or get rid of cancer cells is not yet proved in human beings… which is why some patients use CBD anyway. Some research implies a reduction in cancer tumours (breast, prostate, brain, colon, lung).

  4. Treatment of Acne, by reducing inflammation and production of sebum.

  5. Neuroprotection for those with neurological disorders, with a hint that it might help people with dementia and epilepsy. Test results thus far are promising, especially with multiple sclerosis muscle spasticity. More research is needed, however, for certain types of epilepsy because of adverse reactions in some patients. CBD has shown itself to benefit people with Parkinsons (especially sleep and quality of life). CBD has also indicated it might decrease neurodegeneration and brain inflammation in Alzheimers and its associated cognitive decline.

  6. Heart Disease. CBD has good results in treating heart and circulatory problems and can even lower high blood pressure, thus reducing the possibility of stroke and heart attack. Indeed, CBD is said to provide a ‘natural’ way to keep blood pressure lowered, mainly by dealing with stress and anxiety. There is also suggested beneficial help for those with diabetes.

There appear to be few side-effects, such as diarrhoea, change in appetite, and fatigue. CBD might also interact with various medications, so someone taking multiple doctor-prescribed medications should check use of CBD with their doctors. They may not approve because CBD is mainly untested formally, but at least they can advise against use because CBD might interfere with prescription drugs.

Note

Nothing said above should be taken as prescriptive. Rather, the information above is descriptive only. In the UK medical prescriptions for CBD are most likely only given to people with certain epileptic conditions and who suffer vomiting and nausea from chemotherapy. Doctors might prescribe for other conditions, but only if all else has failed to produce results. And quality of CBD varies enormously… so if someone takes CBD they should make very sure the quality of the oil is high.

CBD will not be prescribed by a GP, only by a hospital specialist. You can buy CBD via the internet or health shops, but you would need to be 100% certain of the quality and purity; check the status of the supplying CBD company. You also need to be sure the CBD will not act against doctor-prescribed medications and that it is legal to use in your country.

From what I can see, CBD is not a cure-all, despite claims that it is. But, it does appear to have beneficial effects for some people. On the other hand, it does not give the same benefits to all who take it, even if they have the same health issues. This implies that the body of each individual has a different response to CBD (just as happens with prescribed drugs). Sometimes this might be due to the dosage taken and the strength of the CBD. If you are prescribed a number of medications, then, you should ask your GP if taking the CBD might help or hinder. 

© April 2019

Published on www.christiandoctrine.com

Bible Theology Ministries - PO Box 415, Swansea, SA5 8YH
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