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how is cannabis good for you

And you should be mindful of the fact that medical marijuana is a new and so far poorly regulated industry. Even products sold from dispensaries can have inaccurate labels or be contaminated with pesticides and other contaminants (and those chemicals can pose a particular risk to people with weakened immune systems).

When it comes to medicine, few chemicals are as confusing as cannabis. On the one hand, the drug is hugely popular and increasingly legal: Twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized it for medical purposes; eight of those states plus D.C. have legalized it for recreational use. And according to a recent national survey, 22 million Americans over the age of 12 reported using cannabis in some form or other in the past 30 days.

Their findings offer some validation to medical marijuana proponents who have long argued that the drug is effective against a range of maladies, from chronic pain to multiple sclerosis. But owing to a dearth of reliable, high-quality data and several contradictory conclusions, the report as a whole does little to resolve long-standing debates about the risks and benefits of cannabis use.

The Available Evidence

With that caveat in mind, here is a partial list of their findings:

Addiction: The authors found substantial evidence that the earlier someone starts using marijuana, the more likely they are to develop what the report authors call “problem use.” They also found moderate evidence of a link between cannabis use and substance dependence or abuse disorders. But evidence that cannabis use will lead a person to smoke or trigger a change in their rates or patterns of other drug use, legal or illegal, was limited.

Accidents: The committee found substantial evidence of a link between cannabis use and increased risk of motor vehicle accidents; moderate evidence that the likelihood of overdose injuries in children increases when the drug is legalized; and no or insufficient evidence that marijuana use increases the risk of work-related accidents, overdose deaths, or death from any other cause.

For the current report, the authors were only able to map correlations between cannabis use and certain health outcomes; they were not able to say whether the drug actually caused those outcomes.

“If you take pure CBD, it’s pretty safe,” said Marcel Bonn-Miller, an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine. Side effects in the Epidiolex trial included diarrhea, sleepiness, fatigue, weakness, rash, decreased appetite and elevated liver enzymes. Also, the safe amount to consume in a day, or at all during pregnancy, is still not known.

For students with generalized social anxiety, a four-minute talk, with minimal time to prepare, can be debilitating. Yet a small experiment in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology found that CBD seemed to reduce nervousness and cognitive impairment in patients with social anxiety in a simulated public speaking task.

Tired of tossing and turning? There are some strategies you could try to improve your hours in bed.

Does CBD help sleep and depression?

“Our top therapies attempt to break the association between reminders of the trauma and the fear response,” said Mallory Loflin, an assistant adjunct professor at the University of California, San Diego and the study’s principal investigator. “We think that CBD, at least in animal models, can help that process happen a lot faster.” While large clinical trials are underway, psychologists say there isn’t compelling evidence yet as to whether this is a viable treatment.

But he cautions that the side effects could have been because of an interaction with other medications the children were taking to control the seizures. So far, there hasn’t been a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial (the gold standard) on sleep disorders and CBD.

A recent chart review of 72 psychiatric patients treated with CBD found that anxiety improved, but not sleep. “Over all, we did not find that it panned out as a useful treatment for sleep,” said Dr. Scott Shannon, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Colorado, Denver and the lead author of the review in The Permanente Journal.

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is the lesser-known child of the cannabis sativa plant; its more famous sibling, tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the active ingredient in pot that catapults users’ “high.” With roots in Central Asia, the plant is believed to have been first used medicinally — or for rituals — around 750 B.C., though there are other estimates too.