Cannabis Oil vs. CBD Oil: Health Benefits and Legal Considerations
By Stephanie Garr
The topic of cannabis (marijuana) has become far less taboo in recent years, but there are still many misconceptions—and fears—about its use as a medicinal plant.
Cannabis is still an illegal product in most countries and can be difficult to obtain. More importantly, it is challenging to study.
Still, an increasing amount of evidence has found it could offer significant benefits for patients with chronic pain and even cancer.
This article looks at what cannabis oil is, how it differs from CBD oil, and what the science is saying about its potential.
What is Cannabis Oil?
Cannabis oil is an extract from cannabis (marijuana) plants that contains several cannabinoid compounds that bind to receptors in the brain and body.
Cannabis is one of the world's oldest cultivated plants, with its use dating back some 8,000 years ago (1).
As of now, more than a 100 of its active compounds have been detected, but there are two that have been studied the most:
- Cannabidiol (CBD): This is the active ingredient in CBD oil that has been shown to display anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor effects.
- Delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC): This is the substance in marijuana that is most known for getting you "high."
While the term "cannabis oil" may be used to describe any cannabis-based oil (like CBD oil or hemp seed oil), it typically refers to the specific extract that contains all components of marijuana, including THC.
Summary: Cannabis oil is an extract from cannabis (marijuana) plants. It contains all active ingredients in the plant, including CBD and THC.
Cannabis Oil vs CBD Oil ... What's The Difference?
Unlike cannabis oil, which is typically made from marijuana with a high THC percentage (typically at least 50%), CBD oil does not contain this mind-altering compound.
In other words, CBD oil does not get you "high," but could offer some helpful benefits.
Many natural health proponents have been touting CBD oil and its potential to relieve chronic pain, reduce anxiety and depression, and alleviate cancer symptoms, among several other benefits.
Because it doesn't contain THC, CBD oil is legal in all 50 states of the U.S., Canada and all of Europe (except for Slovakia).
Summary: Unlike cannabis oil, which is typically made from marijuana with a high THC percentage, CBD oil does not contain this mind-altering compound.
Is Cannabis Oil Illegal?
Because it contains THC, cannabis oil can only be purchased in an area where marijuana is legal or can be prescribed.
In the U.S., marijuana is legal for both recreational and medicinal use in nine states: Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington, along with Washington, DC.
Thirty states have legalized medical marijuana for medicinal use. These include the nine mentioned above, along with:
Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and West Virginia.
Summary: Since it contains THC, cannabis oil can only be purchased in areas where marijuana is legal or can be prescribed. This includes 30 U.S. states.
Benefits of Cannabis Oil
Because of its long-held status as an illegal Schedule I drug, research on cannabis has been limited.
Fortunately, a growing number of studies on cannabis have focused on its potential health benefits, mostly regarding appetite, nausea and pain.
Cannabis oil would likely offer similar benefits as CBD oil. However, it's possible that its addition of THC could provide further benefits.
THC is a pain reliever, anti-inflammatory and anti-emetic (prevents vomiting).
Using the whole marijuana plant versus part of it (like with CBD oil) could also provide extra synergetic effects. This however, is difficult to study.
There are currently a few licensed cannabis-based drugs on the market including:
- Dronabinol (Marinol) / Nabilone (Cesamet): Both are synthetic forms of THC used to counteract nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy, and to stimulate appetite in AIDS patients.
- Nabiximols (Sativex): Contains an equal amount of THC and CBD and used to relieve symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS) and pain in cancer patients.
- Epidiolex: A concentrated CBD oil used as an anti-seizure medication for children with epilepsy (2).
Cannabis Oil for Cancer
Many cannabinoids, including THC and CBD, have shown some anti-cancer effects.
Most significantly, cannabinoids may have the ability (at least in test tube studies) to inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells and promote the death of cancer cells by apoptosis (3).
That said, while THC has shown promise in cancer studies, it's also shown the potential to suppress the immune system and enhance tumor growth (4).
Clearly, much more research needs to be done to determine how cannabinoids, at specific concentrations, may work best for cancer treatment.
Cannabis Oil for Pain Relief
Cannabis oil is a potent anti-inflammatory and can provide significant pain relief, likely more so than just CBD oil.
In fact, THC was shown to have 20 times the anti-inflammatory potency of aspirin and twice that of hydrocortisone (5).
Summary: Research on cannabis has been limited, but is quickly growing. Cannabis oil would likely offer similar benefits as CBD oil, but may offer even greater potential with the addition of THC, which is a proven pain reliever and anti-inflammatory.
Side Effects of Cannabis Oil
It can be difficult to obtain certified cannabis oils that provide specific concentrations and guarantee purity.
Some cannabis oils may even contain up to 75% THC (8).
Commercially produced cannabis oils for medical purposes are most dependable since they will have controlled concentrations of CBD and THC.
The addition of THC in cannabis oil will cause some side effects, including:
- The feeling of being "high"
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Reduced memory and learning ability
- Increased heart rate
- Increased appetite.
It's also noteworthy to mention that CBD actually helps control the psychoactive effects of THC, so a good balance of both may be important.
Summary: It can be difficult to know the concentrations and purity of cannabis oil products, so you will likely not know how much THC and CBD they contain. The presence of THC will cause you to feel "high," and may also lead to fatigue, reduced memory and increased appetite.
How to Make Cannabis Oil
Although cannabis oil has only started to find legal status in certain areas, plenty of people have been handcrafting their own for some time.
If you're able to obtain cannabis legally, you can easily make your own version of cannabis oil, which allows you to control the amount and type of cannabis used.
Canadian cannabis expert Rick Simpson is often cited for his groundbreaking work creating a cannabis oil, now referred to as Rick Simpson Oil or RSO.
He made his own cannabis oil to help treat his skin cancer, and has shared this recipe here.
Cannabis Coconut Oil
Another way to consume cannabis oil is with cannabis coconut oil.
The saturated fats in coconut oil help preserve the cannabinoids, making it a more potent and effective cannabis product.
Cannabis-infused coconut oil can be used topically, consumed on its own or used as a cooking oil just like normal coconut oil. You can also put it into capsules for measured doses.
This site offers a good recipe for cannabis coconut oil.
Summary: If you're able to obtain cannabis legally, you can make your own version of cannabis oil at home. Cannabis coconut oil can also be made and consumed on its own or used topically or as a cooking oil.
Should You Try Cannabis Oil?
The benefits of CBD oil are well established, but it's possible cannabis oil could be even more effective.
The addition of THC, the compound that also gets you "high," could offer greater anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and pain-relieving effects.
Because cannabis oil uses the entire marijuana plant, there may also be some other synergetic effects involved.
However, the state of cannabis' legality has severely limited its research opportunities. Fortunately this is rapidly changing.
Early studies have found that cannabis treatment has helped patients with chronic pain, cancer, MS, AIDS and fibromyalgia.
As of now, cannabis oil is still difficult to obtain, and is legal for medicinal use in only 30 U.S. states. It's also not regulated, so it's hard to know how much THC you may be getting.
If you're looking for a similar and safe alternative—and one without the "high"—you may want to seek out CBD oil first.
Stephanie is a certified nutrition consultant. She graduated from the University of Iowa with degrees in journalism and psychology in 2003, and later studied holistic nutrition at Bauman College in Berkeley, California.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Diet vs Disease.
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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Arkilaus Kladit
My name is Arkilaus Kladit. I'm from the Knasaimos-Tehit tribe in South Sorong Regency, West Papua Province, Indonesia. For decades my tribe has been fighting to protect our forests from outsiders who want to log it or clear it for palm oil. For my people, the forest is our mother and our best friend. Everything we need to survive comes from the forest: food, medicines, building materials, and there are many sacred sites in the forest.
Map of the Knasaimos traditional lands.
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By Farah Aqel
Overthinkers are people who are buried in their own obsessive thoughts. Imagine being in a large maze where each turn leads into an even deeper and knottier tangle of catastrophic, distressing events — that is what it feels like to them when they think about the issues that confront them.
Ruminating<p>According to the late Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, a professor of psychology at Yale University, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5796420/" target="_blank">ruminating</a> involves replaying a problem over and over in your mind. We ruminate by obsessing over our thoughts and thinking repetitively about various aspects of a past situation.</p><p>It usually involves regret, self-loathing and self-blaming. Rumination is associated with the development of depression, anxiety and eating disorders. </p><p>People prone to such patterns of thought may, for example, overanalyze every single detail of a relationship that breaks up. They often blame themselves for what has happened and are overcome with regret, with typical thoughts being: </p><p>- I should have been more patient and more supportive. </p><p>- I have lost the most perfect partner ever. </p><p>- No one will love me again.</p>
Worrying<p>Worrying is wanting to predict the future. It involves negative thoughts about things that might and might not happen.</p><p>- They'll not like me in the interview; they'll not give me the job. </p><p>- I haven't heard back from other employers. How long will I be unemployed?</p><p>These thoughts are energy-draining and distressing. They could happen to anyone under stress. But when you reach the point where your thoughts and worrying are preventing you from doing what you want to do — from living your life to the fullest — then you should take action.</p>
Catch Yourself Overthinking<p>Reuben Berger, a psychotherapist at the university hospital in the western German city of Bonn, recommends several practical steps that you could employ in your daily routine when you catch yourself worrying or ruminating.</p><p>One effective remedy, says Berger, is the <a href="https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/uf9938" target="_blank">thought-stopping technique.</a></p><p>"When the negative thoughts come or ruminations start, you say to yourself: 'Stop!,'" he says, adding that it is more effective when you actually say the word out loud.</p><p>He even recommends having a rubber band around your wrist to ping against yourself while saying the word. Adding a visual component by imagining a stop sign also makes the technique more powerful, he says.</p><p>The main idea here is conditioning yourself to stop the loop of worrying (making future predictions) or rumination (obsessing over past events).</p><p>Berger says the technique could take up to two weeks to take effect and that it needs to be practiced every day. "Consistency is very important," he says. </p>
Thoughts Are Just Thoughts<p>Another way of dealing with negative thoughts often used in modern therapy is realizing that thoughts aren't facts, says Berger.</p><p>He says it is important when we think something to ask: Is that real? Did that really happen? What is the worst thing that could happen?</p><p>Flight anxiety is one example where untrue thoughts are accepted as facts. Although air travel is the safest way to get around, people suffering from fear of flying accept their thoughts and fears as reality, then act upon them by refusing to fly.</p>
Mindfulness<p>Berger also recommends the use of mindfulness techniques, in which attention is paid to experiences in the moment without judging them, as a way of reducing worrying.</p><p>"Mindfulness helps you to distance yourself from your thoughts and to be more present in the moment," he says.</p><p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3432145/#R2" target="_blank">Several studies</a> have shown that mindfulness has a positive impact on reducing stress-related behaviors such as rumination and worrying, as focusing on the moment makes anxiety about other problems impossible.</p><p>Mindfulness can be practiced during routine activities by paying attention to your body and your surroundings. For instance, when you leave for work in the morning, you can focus on sensing the breeze, listen attentively to birds, feel the gravel under your feet and monitor your breath. </p>
Trick Your Brain Into Happiness<p>People plagued by obsessive thoughts do not always choose healthy ways like mindfulness to distract from them, however.</p><p> Dr. Edward Selby, a psychologist at Florida state university, has shown in a study that people try to avoid rumination by engaging in a range of uncontrolled behaviors, such as binge eating and substance abuse.</p><p>But he says that a much better way to overcome such distress is by distraction and shifting attention away from problems that are obsessing us.</p><p>There are many activities that can be used to distract from rumination, he says, and people should choose the one that works best for them. Here are some examples:</p><p>- Listen to music</p><p>- Read a book</p><p>- Take a hot shower</p><p>- Dance or exercise </p><p>- Talk to a friend (not about the problem)</p><p>- Watch a movie</p><p>- Mindfulness meditation</p>
Changing the Perception of Events<p>The way people perceive a situation largely influences their emotions and behavior. It is not the situation itself that determines how they feel, but rather the way they interpret it.</p><p>Reframing negative thoughts can lead to positive emotions and, subsequently, healthier behaviors — including a reduction in damaging overthinking and worrying.</p><p>Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is currently a gold standard in psychotherapy. CBT aims to change the way people think and act. It largely involves challenging unhelpful beliefs or attitudes such as overgeneralization — thinking "I always fail at public speaking" when you have had one bad experience in front of an audience, for example — or "catastrophization," i.e., imagining the worst possible outcome to a situation. </p><p>A psychotherapist can teach people how to implement such thought-changing techniques into their lives. Techniques vary depending on their issues and goals.</p>
Solutions Are at Hand<p>Try to find ways of avoiding worrying, rumination and overthinking that make you feel most comfortable.</p><p>Incorporating any routine in your life when you're stressed isn't an easy task, but you can do it! If you feel overwhelmed, you can always seek professional help. </p><p><em>If you are suffering from serious emotional strain or suicidal thoughts, do not hesitate to seek professional help. You can find information on where to find such help, no matter where you live in the world, <a href="https://www.befrienders.org/" target="_blank">at this website.</a></em></p>
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By Michael Baker, Amanda Kvalsvig and Nick Wilson
On Sunday, New Zealand marked 100 days without community transmission of COVID-19.
Deaths From COVID-19 Per Million Population<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzU0ODIyOS9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0MjkzMDc1OX0.7Yp1h1hokihlMJUurDukGmq-Y8NJB0V-07O1ukEjGt0/img.png?width=980" id="0fe6a" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="6bce85a610aee18e2f4f1c1caca7b8a0" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
<div id="77fff" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="ce7b34f8986d3d36bee5d4d83ac0822c"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1292270210238447616" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">COVID-19 Update There are no new cases of COVID-19 to report in New Zealand today. It has been 100 days since t… https://t.co/Cz55ixGZUz</div> — Unite against COVID-19 (@Unite against COVID-19)<a href="https://twitter.com/covid19nz/statuses/1292270210238447616">1596936201.0</a></blockquote></div>
Getting Through the Pandemic<p>We have gained a much better understanding of COVID-19 over the past eight months. Without effective control measures, it is likely to continue to spread globally for many months to years, ultimately infecting billions and killing millions. The proportion of infected people who die appears to be <a href="https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.05.03.20089854v4" target="_blank">slightly below 1%</a>.</p><p>This infection also causes serious <a href="https://www.bmj.com/content/370/bmj.m2815" target="_blank">long-term consequences</a> for some survivors. The largest uncertainties involve <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-02278-5" target="_blank">immunity to this virus</a>, whether it can develop from exposure to infection or vaccines, and if it is long-lasting. The potential for treatment with antivirals and other therapeutics is also still uncertain.</p><p>This knowledge reinforces the huge benefits of sustaining elimination. We know that if New Zealand were to experience widespread COVID-19 transmission, the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3310086/" target="_blank">impact on Māori and Pasifika populations</a> could be catastrophic.</p><p>We have previously described critical measures to get us through this period, including the use of fabric face masks, improving contact tracing with suitable digital tools, applying a science-based approach to border management, and the need for a dedicated national public health agency.</p><p>Maintaining elimination depends on adopting a highly strategic approach to risk management. This approach involves choosing an optimal mix of interventions and using resources in the most efficient way to keep the risk of COVID-19 outbreaks at a consistently low level. Several measures can contribute to this goal over the next few months, while also allowing incremental increases in international travel:</p><ul><li>resurgence planning for a border-control failure and outbreaks of various sizes, with state-of-the-art contact tracing and an upgraded alert level system</li><li>ensuring all New Zealanders own a <a href="https://www.nzma.org.nz/journal-articles/mass-masking-an-alternative-to-a-second-lockdown-in-aotearoa" target="_blank">re-useable fabric face mask</a> with their <a href="https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12354409" target="_blank">use built into the alert level system</a></li><li>conducting exercises and simulations to test outbreak management procedures, possibly including "mass masking days" to engage the public in the response</li><li>carefully exploring processes to allow <a href="https://blogs.otago.ac.nz/pubhealthexpert/2020/06/16/preventing-outbreaks-of-covid-19-in-nz-associated-with-air-travel-from-australia-new-modelling-study-of-alternatives-to-quarantine/" target="_blank">quarantine-free travel</a> between jurisdictions free of COVID-19, notably various Pacific Islands, Tasmania and Taiwan (which may require digital tracking of arriving travellers for the first few weeks)</li><li>planning for carefully managed inbound travel by key long-term visitor groups such as tertiary students who would generally still need managed quarantine.</li></ul>
Building Back Better<p>New Zealand cannot change the reality of the global COVID-19 pandemic. But it can leverage possible benefits.</p><p>We should conduct an <a href="https://blogs.otago.ac.nz/pubhealthexpert/2020/06/11/five-key-reasons-why-nz-should-have-an-official-inquiry-into-the-response-to-the-covid-19-pandemic/" target="_blank">official inquiry into the COVID-19 response</a> so we learn everything we possibly can to improve our response capacity for future events.</p><p>We also need to establish a specialized national public health agency to <a href="https://blogs.otago.ac.nz/pubhealthexpert/2017/12/20/the-havelock-north-drinking-water-inquiry-a-wake-up-call-to-rebuild-public-health-in-new-zealand/" target="_blank">manage serious threats to public health</a> and provide critical mass to <a href="https://blogs.otago.ac.nz/pubhealthexpert/2020/02/05/a-preventable-measles-epidemic-lessons-for-reforming-public-health-in-nz/" target="_blank">advance public health generally</a>. Such an agency appears to have been a key factor in the success of Taiwan, which avoided a costly lockdown entirely.</p><p>Business as usual should not be an option for the recovery phase. A recent <a href="https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12353555" target="_blank">Massey University survey</a> suggests seven out of ten New Zealanders support a green recovery approach.</p><p>New Zealand's elimination of COVID-19 has drawn attention worldwide, with a description just <a href="https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc2025203" target="_blank">published</a> in the New England Journal of Medicine. We support a rejuvenated World Health Organization that can provide improved global leadership for pandemic prevention and control, including greater use of an elimination approach to combat COVID-19.</p>
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