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New strategy for stress relief

Emma Elceser, Social Media Manager

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More and more states have recently been talking about the idea of legalizing marijuana. This has sparked the popularity of new and different studies on the plant. One of these studies is of a cannabis extract known as cannabidiol (CBD). It is advertised that this extract can relieve anxiety and possibly even pain. “It is important to find new ways of stress relief because the same strategies don’t always work well for people with different learning styles and ways of life,” said senior Isabella Holland.

This new study is very appealing because of the fact that it does not alter the user’s mind like marijuana normally does. This is because it does not contain THC, the part of the plant that causes the psychological effect and may alter the brain permanently. “CBD has gotten a lot of buzz,” said Richard Ferry, a retail manager of Home Grown Apothecary. “My customers are buying CBD for stress relief.” He lives in Oregon, where marijuana is legal as long as people abide to the restrictions.

CBD can be bought in capsules or liquids, giving consumers a little freedom to customize their use. It is estimated that the industry has doubled in value in the last few years, but some believe it is ahead of the science. “I think there’s good evidence to suggest that CBD could be an effective treatment of anxiety and addiction,” observed Esther Blessing, a psychiatrist. “But we need clinical trials to find out.”  

Much of the evidence about how the extract relieves anxiety comes from studies on animals, only a few humans have been involved in the study. In 2011, however, there was a study done on a few dozen people with social anxiety disorder. Some were given a placebo while others were given CBD; they were then asked to speak in front of a large audience and their anxiety levels were compared. “People who took CBD reported significantly less anxiety,” said Blessing. “It’s really interesting.”

With more funding a new study will be done on those diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder to see if it has the same effect. A study will also be launched to see if CBD can help those with previous opioid addictions from relapsing.

Many are skeptical of using a drug to help addiction to another drug, but its effects are far different from those of one actually smoking marijuana. “Drugs can be non-psychoactive and still have an effect on the brain,” Blessing said. “CBD does have an effect on the brain, but it seems to affect the brain in possibly medicinal ways.” In a few years this industry may explode even more than it already has, making it possible to see CBD in our everyday lives.

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New strategy for stress relief