CBD v Conventional Medicines
By now you’ve probably heard at least a few of the various claims being made regarding the use of CBD (cannabidiol) for general health and alternative medicine. Many people are touting CBD supplements for the treatment of mental health issues, from the more common social anxiety to less common but more severe psychological illnesses like schizophrenia. A number of physical ailments and diseases are also looking towards CBD as a new treatment option, with many people claiming success, and an increasing number of studies aiming to prove them right. It’s easy to pull up all kinds of articles, research studies, and general opinions on how CBD might be effective in treating all kinds of things. With those possible benefits aside, there are additional reasons that using alternative medicine like CBD may be right for you.
With all the effort that has already gone into conventional medications, products, and therapies, why are people choosing CBD instead? Certainly, with the confusion surrounding its legal status, the misconceptions that are often applied to CBD (when, in actuality, people are confusing it with its sister compound THC), and fewer human clinical trials to date, it doesn’t seem off-hand to be the most obvious or convenient option available. However, the logic and reasoning for selecting CBD-based products over other more familiar, conventional options is crystal clear for many people all over the globe. CBD products are widely available and easy to purchase, making it easy to obtain and convenient to use. It’s easy to customize the dosage so that it’s tailored to each individual, so it’s very versatile. But to truly understand just how CBD may apply to you and your life, we have to take a much deeper look at each benefit to selecting CBD as an alternative to conventional medicine.
The most common reason for using CBD products as an alternative treatment is its all-natural appeal. CBD, also known as cannabidiol, is one of over 100 naturally occurring compounds known as cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. All species on earth with a backbone also have an endocannabinoid system. This is the system that both produces its own cannabinoids, and responds to cannabinoids found in external sources. While the other well-known cannabinoid THC can have some unwanted effects on certain individuals, CBD contains no psychoactive properties, making it considered to be completely safe for everyone. This makes it a favorable option, especially when compared to certain modern medicines.
The benefit and appeal of natural treatment options for many people lies solely in this comparison between alternative and conventional medicine, which puts the natural option on the winning side of things in the eyes of many.
While modern pharmaceutical drugs frequently cause unwanted side effects and adverse reactions, as they are produced from foreign synthetic chemicals, natural medicine, on the other hand, contains compounds found in nature that are already a part of our world, even frequently already naturally occurring in some form within the human body. Moreover, herbal medicine is thought to utilize the body’s natural healing abilities, versus working against it. Cannabis, for example, interacts with a system already present in the body. CBD prompts this system to produce its own cannabinoids; this is a natural process. With modern drugs, an unnatural chemical is being introduce into the body, and even after years of study, science can not predict every possible reaction or side effect a person might have. For many people, this is a frightening idea, and a last resort if there is an alternative treatment available. Some of the most common side effects of prescription medications, regardless of the variety, are nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, allergic reactions, and heart problems like fluctuating blood pressure (too high or too low) and heart palpitations. The side effects of other prescription medications, however, are drastically worse, and can include coma and even death. While CBD may vary in its efficacy from person to person, there are few to no reported or documented side effects, nor are there any deaths related to its use. It has been used in children, adults with chronic illness, healthy individuals, and senior citizens. It has even been used with positive results on animals; many people have began incorporating CBD oil supplements as part of their pet’s long term health regimen. With some clinical trials reporting significantly positive and effective results from treating with CBD, choosing it over more risky conventional options seems like common sense.
Mankind has been practicing alternative medicine for centuries using a variety of plants, including cannabis. It was used as early as 2737 BCE, when it was first documented as being used and prescribed by Chinese emperor Shen Neng. Due to the advent of modern medicine, natural remedies are now frequently seen as being pseudo medicine and largely ineffective, but as previously mentioned, there is an abundance of research and medical trials that have proven the efficacy of certain alternative medicine. As health problems seem to continue to increase, people have began to look for healthier treatment methods with a focus on total body wellness. Many have began to realize that there is legitimacy in using natural medicine.
Affordability and Availability
It is a misconception that alternative medicine is only used by those that can’t afford traditional treatment and medication, but its affordability is another pro for many individuals. A study conducted in 2012 in the United States shows that over 130,000 Americans died between the years of 2005 and 2010 as a result of their lack of medical insurance, thus their lack of treatment. In countries that do not have access to modern medical treatment, either due to lack of health insurance or being underdeveloped, alternative medicine offers treatment, where without it, none would be available. People that cannot receive traditional health care are more likely to go without check-ups and preventative care, and often delay or do not receive medical care that they desperately need. Many people are out to change that with the introduction and continued use of alternative medicine.
Affordability and availability, in some ways, go hand-in-hand. The more affordable a product (in this case, medicine or supplements) is, the more people that have access to it. For modern pharmaceuticals, the price isn’t the only obstacle. There are many underprivileged, underdevoloped, and even isolated areas and people. In India, Indonesia, and other areas there still exists what we refer to as “primitive” or isolated tribal people. While these people aren’t logging on the internet to shop for herbs and CBD supplements, they aren’t popping into any pharmacies either. This leaves the obvious answer: herbal medicine. These small groups of isolated tribesman have existed without modern medicine, or modern technology in any form, for a long time, and continue to do so.
Being in a primitive tribe or undeveloped area is clearly not applicable to you (as you’re reading this), but there is another aspect of modern medicine that limits its availability, and that’s the prescription. Unless you’re looking to relieve a headache, ease congestion, or reduce a fever, most medications are not available unless you have a prescription. Sure, if you’re seeing a doctor, they will prescribe what they deem appropriate. Unfortunately, preventative medicine isn’t usually discussed, and unless you’re receiving long-term, ongoing care with frequent visits, keeping up with prescriptions can be daunting. With CBD oils and other supplements, you don’t need a prescription. CBD products are different than medicinal marijuana, as CBD has been isolated so that it is the only cannabis compound remaining in the supplement, and because it is derived from industrial hemp and not the marijuana plant, it’s completely legal to buy, sell, and, of course, use. The ease of obtaining alternative medicinal treatments for acute problems, long-term care, or prophylactic use is definitely an added bonus.
Personal Beliefs and Lifestyles
One interesting study concluded that many people using alternative medicine do so because they feel it is better suited to their beliefs and values towards health and life. There are countless cultures, religions, and non-denominational belief systems, and depending on yours, you might find that modern medicine doesn’t always fit within those beliefs or cultures very well. A benefit to alternative medicine, like CBD supplements, is that these herbal treatments have been around for so long, that they have been used by an incredibly broad range of people, in all kinds of cultural and religious (or otherwise) circumstances. Modern stigmas aside, people are able to use alternative medicine like CBD without it conflicting in their personal beliefs.
In addition to belief systems and/or religions, there are also a variety of lifestyles. Unfortunately, many modern lifestyles aren’t the healthiest, often lacking in vital nutrition, exercise, and self-care. This neglect is often what leads to poor health, including chronic conditions. Many people report that implementing alternative medicine actually helps to influence their overall lifestyle, prompting them to eat better, drink more water, exercise more regularly, and de-stress with activities like yoga or meditation. Stress reduction is also an important part of healthy living, as stress is associated with all kinds of health problems, including a weakened immune system, which makes you susceptible to illnesses even further. If doing something simple like adding some vitamins and health supplements can help you live a healthier life, in addition to adding their specific health benefits, it’s more than worth the minimal effort involved.
Of course, no medicine or supplement can literally cure all that ails you (at least not yet), but not all are created equally. Most prescription medications are used for treating one thing, and one thing only. Herbal medicine can target certain issues, but it also typically provides more than just one benefit. This is the case with CBD. Not only is it potentially effective in treating a vast array of illnesses, like autoimmune disease, and mental disorders, like obsessive compulsive disorder, it may have a range of other health perks. A high-quality, full-spectrum CBD supplement has a rich nutritional profile, adding essential nutrients to your diet. There is also some promising clinical trial results in skin care, indicating effective acne treatment. There are also many CBD-infused products on the market, like shampoos, body soaps, and even lip balms. Many companies are beginning to infuse all kinds of health and beauty products with CBD due to its plethora of potential health benefits, both inside and out.
CBD isn’t just versatile when it comes to its potential range of treatment. It is also versatile when it comes to actual use of the compound. Most medications are taken orally; this causes a lot of issues, like gastrointestinal upset. With CBD, it can be used in any number of ways. The most popular method of use at the moment is vaping. This is the process of vaporizing the oil via a vape pen for inhalation. Not to be confused with smoking, vaping is considered safer (as it does not involve inhaling burned plant material) and has the highest bio availability. It also has the fastest uptake, making it the best option for treating acute onset of illness. If you have a sensitive digestive system and you’re looking to by-pass any oral treatments, topical application is also a method of CBD use. It is available in ointments and lotions for direct application to affected areas. This method is particularly helpful for isolated treatment in the case of muscular paint, joint pain, and skin issues like rash.
Of course, as with most treatments, CBD can be taken orally as well. The highest concentrated amounts are available in the form of capsules, but it can also be consumed in tinctures, and other more tasty concoctions. CBD is increasingly added to candy, sweets (like brownies), salty snacks, and even soft drinks and teas. When you choose this type of alternative medicine, you will no longer have the added concern of swallowing large pills, choking down a foul liquid, or getting poked and prodded by a needle. Introducing CBD into your daily routine is perhaps the easiest and most convenient, not to mention yummy, way that you can take charge of your health. This is also another way it can easily fit into a variety of lifestyles- including yours.
Billions Can’t Be Wrong
When considering alternative therapies and medicines, it is important to do your research and/or consult a qualified medical professional, especially if it is entirely new to you. Leaving behind conventional treatment might be a little scary, but you may find it to be the best decision you’ve ever made for your health. Even something as simple as incorporating a CBD oil supplement to your daily diet may provide multiple benefits, from a healthy metabolism to clearer skin. There’s no debate as to the value of modern medicine; it has saved countless lives. With that said, even though traditional Western medicine is often viewed as superior, that does not always ring true, nor does it disqualify alternative medicine. Some studies have found CBD to be equally as effective in treating certain ailments as compared to typical medicinal treatment; the same can be said for other alternative treatments, like acupuncture. For its safety, efficacy, affordability, availability, and its accompanying associated positive healthy lifestyle, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) reported a few years ago that roughly 38% of U.S. adults and 12% of children were using some form of alternative medicine, and this number has only continued to rise. There is now an estimated 80% of the world’s population (or four billion people) that depend on alternative medicine as their primary source of health care, many of whom incorporate cannabis for total-body wellness. When the legitimacy of alternative treatments are called into question, surely these four billion individuals bring forth its validity.