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Dr. Wendy Askew | To CBD or Not to CBD

By Dr. Wendy Askew

That is the question on the minds of many politicians, citizens, and patients. My answer is yes to cannabidiol, more commonly known as CBD, as well as to THC. The time for medical marijuana to move forward in Texas has come. CBD is a chemical constituent of the hemp plant, also known as cannabis or marijuana. The plant is one of the most practical known and can be refined into a variety of commercial items including paper, textiles, clothing, biodegradable plastics, insulation, biofuel, food, animal feed, and medicinals.

The history of how the hemp plant came to be demonized in American culture is a sordid tale of greed, racism, and propaganda, all used to protect the financial interests of some of the wealthiest men in American history. It rewrote the true story of the incredibly versatile and beneficial plant that had the potential to be an economic and health boon to this country.

The current body of research on cannabidiol, the non-psychoactive component of the hemp plant, shows so much promise and potential benefit for so many health conditions. Anyone who has any knowledge of the effects it has in our bodies would have to support expanded legalization of cannabis. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component of the cannabis plant is more controversial, though no less promising for a variety of health conditions.

Did you know that inside of us we have a system known as the endocannabinoid system, that serves as a master regulator of nerve and immune system function? Our own bodies produce two substances that are structurally similar to CBD called anandamide, and arachidonoylglycerol which act on the same receptors that CBD does. These compounds exert effects on mood, memory, pain relief, as well as pleasure and reproduction. Other effects are likely, though not yet elucidated. There are endocannabinoid receptors throughout our brains that modulate conditions including seizures, anxiety, pain, ADD & ADHD. In other parts of our bodies, those receptors on cells, act to modulate our immune systems and show promise in the treatment of autoimmune disorders including psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and even Alzheimer’s disease. The research is ongoing, as much as possible, given the plant’s current DEA classification  as a schedule 1 drug. A schedule 1 drug is categorized as a substance that has no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The safety of CBD is unquestionable. The list of conditions and symptoms that it shows promise in treating include pain, nausea, insomnia, asthma, migraines, osteoporosis, Parkinson’s disease, PTSD, glaucoma, inflammation,  and even type 1 diabetes. This list is the tip of the iceberg, but I wanted to name some of the more common medical problems that CBD has been effectively used for with positive results.

In March of 2019, the legislature will have an opportunity to decide whether Texas moves forward in helping her citizens’ health, and her economy. We can no longer feign ignorance or cling to lies. It is time for medical marijuana to be legalized in Texas.
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