While marijuana has, of late, become a political football, medical marijuana studies have started to pick up now that doctors can actually survey users. So far, it’s mostly been about attitudes and self-reports about usage, but those surveys have sparked an intriguing trend: People viewing marijuana as medicine, not a recreational drug. And now another survey has come through with some fascinating results.
Forbes has a good look at the survey, which studied use of cannabidiol, or CBD. CBD has no psychoactive effect (that is, you can’t get high off of it), but you find a lot of it in marijuana; up to 40% of the cannabinoids found in the plant are CBD. CBD appears to be less an active drug and more of an “enabler” for the body’s own cannabinoids, encouraging them to attach to receptors in the brain affecting inflammation and pain. As a result, nearly half of those surveyed had switch to using CBD instead of pain medication or over-the-counter drugs:
The most common reasons people used CBD were to treat insomnia, depression, anxiety and joint pain, according to Dr. Perry Solomon, the Chief Medical Officer of HelloMD. Forty-two percent of the CBD users said they had stopped using traditional medications like Tylenol pain relievers or prescription drugs like Vicodin and had switched to using cannabis instead. Eighty percent said that they found the products to be “very or extremely effective.” Only 3% or less found the product to be either ineffectual or only slightly effective.
It’s an interesting result not least because over-the-counter drugs like acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil) can have unpleasant, or even dangerous, side effects. Also intriguing is the mechanism; if CBD is simply encouraging the body to deal with its own problems, that may mark a different direction in medicine in general. But, for now, it appears that for most people, the most important aspect of medical marijuana is that it works. The proof is in the doped up pudding.