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How cannabis is getting a healthy make over
For years, decades even, the general perception of cannabis has conjured up images of hazy stoners, lazing around, enjoying the high life. But while this is one side of what the plant can offer, there is a lot more to it. In the past few years, people have started to wake up to the true therapeutic potential of cannabis, and this is how it started getting a healthy makeover.
Over the decades in the Western world, ‘cannabis culture’ and the act of getting hight has taken different forms in accordance with the zeitgeist of the time. In the 1950s and 1960s, the beatniks and hippies were avid cannabis smokers and its influence can be seen in literature and music from this era, this was transported into the rock and roll scene in the 1970s. By the 90s ‘cannabis culture’ had become its own entity. Instead of smoking up being a part of a wider scene, the act of getting high defined its own culture. This is widely associated with stoners; stoner music, and in particular stoner films which are inspired by the use of cannabis - which becomes the main theme of the film.
However, the cannabis we’re getting to know nowadays has far different usages effects. While in the past it was seen as a recreational drug that people took for psychoactive and mind-altering effects, cannabis today is often used for quite the opposite. Nowadays sports stars and medical professionals advocate for the use of cannabis. But how can this be? What has changed?
Cannabis is not actually one specific plant, but rather a family of plants
There are many variations of cannabis, with different chemical components
You might be confused about how a psychoactive substance has become one of the leading health and wellness supplements, which is where we need some crucial explanation.
Cannabis is not actually one specific plant, but rather a family of plants. This means that there are many variations of cannabis, with different chemical components. The cannabis that is smoked or taken for a ‘high’ effect is extracted from a strain called cannabis indica. Meanwhile, CBD-based products (cannabidiol) - which are leading the wellness industry - are extracted from cannabis sativa, also known as hemp.
The notable difference that lies between these two strains of cannabis is their cannabinoid content. Cannabinoids, or sometimes referred to as phytocannabinoids when they originate in a plant, and naturally occurring compounds that interact with the body in numerous ways via sets of receptors which make up the endocannabinoid system. This may seem like a lot of new terms to take in all at once, but bear with us for the full story!
The high effect which is associated with taking cannabis, as a drug, comes as a consequence of the cannabinoid THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). THC is the psychoactive component found in cannabis indica, it interacts with receptors in the brain to induce mind-altering effects.
Meanwhile, hemp has incredibly low THC content. The cannabinoid which is championed and becoming increasingly popular for its therapeutic benefits is CBD (cannabidiol). And while the function of these two cannabinoids differs, this can also be the causal factor that determines a cannabis product’s legality. CBD is widely legal across the US and the EU, but this is more often than not contingent on the THC content being less than 0.2% (meaning you will never experience any psychoactive effects).
As a phytocannabinoids, CBD also interacts with the body through the receptors which make up the endocannabinoid system. However, unlike the mind-altering effects which are signaled through receptors in the brain as a result of taking THC, the effects of CBD are far more therapeutic. The phytocannabinoid’s properties include anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and analgesic. Due to these far-reaching effects, CBD has been used to treat a wide range of conditions and ailments such as managing chronic pain, managing stress, improving sleep quality, and muscle relaxation, as well as a host of dermatological reasons like eczema, psoriasis, and acne. Additionally, due to its ability to boost the immune system, many CBD users simply take the supplement to protect their health - rather than to treat a specific issue.
Because CBD has so many different uses, it comes in many different forms. Whereas the image of cannabis was previously associated with images of smoking or drug-taking, CBD products have given this image a complete overhaul.
Raw Hemp Extract
CBD Muscle Relief Gel
As exemplified through its uses across many industries, and the many accessible forms that it comes in, cannabis has certainly had a makeover. CBD transcends cannabis’ previous trappings in ‘cannabis culture’. People used to make assumptions about who did and didn’t use cannabis, but now we can see that there are cannabis products which could benefit almost every person. Today, the demographic of CBD users is all-encompassing, from millennials managing stress and anxiety to elderly people treating chronic pain. Cannabis is no longer a recreational drug, but a natural supplement.