Cannabis has long been regarded for its medicinal properties. In fact, it has been used for centuries from Central Asia to China for treating an extensive range of diseases, but primarily for pain management. After being criminalized for a long time, Western countries have begun to understand marijuana’s medicinal value and have started decriminalizing it. But what is cannabis extract, and what are its health benefits?
What Is Cannabis Extract?
Generally speaking, cannabis extracts contain a greater quantity of cannabinoids than the actual cannabis plant. When they are consumed, cannabinoids can influence both the mind and body. Cannabinoids such as Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) produce euphoria and intoxication, which is the most common effect people associate with cannabis. Cannabidiol (CBD) has some therapeutic benefits, and it is non-intoxicating. The concentrations of THC and CBD in cannabis extracts can vary greatly.
Depending on the extract, it may contain 99% THC or almost all CBD with little THC. There are varying consumption methods that range from a solid CBD salve that you apply topically to the location of pain to a tincture that you can place underneath your tongue for faster effects. The method in which you take it will vary depending on your reasons. For example, if you have muscular pain, the salve might be the best option, but if you want to gain the euphoric highs from an extract high in THC, you will probably want to consider a dab rig device that vaporizes the extract using high heat.
How Does Cannabis Extract Affect The Body?
Cannabis affects what is known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a group of primary neurotransmitters that play a role in regulating some of the body’s most fundamental processes, including:
- Pain sensation
The ECS is located in the brain and comprises a group of molecules capable of producing effects (such as memory and appetite) that are similar to those of drugs that bind to the brain’s cannabinoid receptors. These effects are produced by natural chemicals in the body called endocannabinoids. Cannabinoid receptors are proteins that are found in many parts of the body, including the brain, the muscles, and the immune system. As soon as one consumes or smokes cannabis extracts, THC attaches to the brain and body’s cannabinoid receptors which overwhelms the ECS. Natural cannabinoids, which enhance communication among the neurons, can be inhibited in this way, distorting the system’s overall balance.
What Types Of Cannabis Extracts Exist?
Various types and forms of cannabis extract exist. It is common to find cannabis extracts in multiple forms, ranging from liquid cannabis oil extracts to dry, crumbly THC variants. Some of the main types include:
- Cannabis oil: These are the natural oils extracted from the leaves, buds, or seeds. This is usually the base of most other types of extract.
- Wax: This type is often sticky and malleable.
- Crumble: Similar to wax, but more rigid and crumbly.
- Shatter: This is a brittle variety (hence the name) and is amber-colored.
- Jelly: This is made by mixing the oil with hash to create a jelly-like substance.
Is CBD A Cannabis Extract?
Yes, and it is perhaps the most well-known extract after THC. CBD has taken the world by storm for the range of health benefits it is alleged to provide the user. Although there are still ongoing studies attempting to prove its effectiveness, there is still a large amount of scientific and anecdotal evidence to back up its medical claims.
How Can CBD And Other Extracts Help With Medical Issues?
There are several medical problems that cannabis extracts such as CBD can aid. Whether it be reducing pain or calming the mind, it is due to how it interacts with the endocannabinoid system mentioned previously. But which medical conditions can these extracts alleviate?
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder ADHD
ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and it’s often a debilitating condition to live with. CBD oil has been claimed to treat ADHD symptoms. CBD oil has only recently been studied for its interaction with those with ADHD. Researchers examined CBD use in a 2013 study on ADHD subtypes. Based on survey data collected from more than 2,800 participants, hyperactive-impulsive symptoms were more common among people who did not self-medicate with cannabis. These findings suggest that CBD can help relieve symptoms of ADHD among those who self-treat.
Reduces Pain From Arthritis
Painful joint pain and inflammation are the hallmarks of arthritis. It affects the joints of your hands, your ankles, your knees, and your back. Arthritis is usually a disease that develops over time, but there are other causes. The pain that results from this condition can be debilitating and can even cause a decrease in quality of life. Researchers from the European Journal of Pain recently demonstrated that CBD applied to the skin significantly reduced pain and inflammation caused by arthritis. A second study showed that CBD is effective in treating neuropathic pain as well as inflammatory pain.
Reduces Effects of Depression
CBD influences the brain’s serotonin levels in studies. The neurotransmitter serotonin is crucial for mood, emotion regulation, and stress management. In general, CBD research indicates that it has the potential to help with depression. The effectiveness of CBD in treating depression in humans, however, has been relatively understudied. Nevertheless, there are large swathes of anecdotal evidence that indicates there is some beneficial effect.
Used As A Treatment For Epilepsy
Clinical studies have demonstrated CBD’s effectiveness in treating epilepsy and convulsions, despite not knowing the exact mechanism. Additionally, there is an FDA-approved epilepsy medication called Epidiolex, which is CBD-derived.
Researchers have shown that CBD can provide relief from addiction to certain substances. The most common include:
The research focuses on CBD’s potential as a pharmacotherapeutic agent for preventing relapse in drug use.
Acne typically occurs when a build-up of oil on the skin traps a specific bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes. CBD was found to inhibit oily build-up and to have an overall anti-inflammatory effect when applied topically. Based on their findings, CBD can be an effective acne treatment.
Sleep is vital to good health, but unfortunately, not enough people get enough quality sleep. You can treat sleeplessness caused by external factors such as depression with CBD by treating the root of the problem.
Cannabis extracts and CBD, in particular, have been subject to numerous research that has shown time again to improve health or reduce the effects of specific medical issues. Although more research is needed, the results of the current status are positive.