The cannabis plant is one of the most famous plants in history, and unfortunately, its fame is due to all the wrong reasons. Cannabis gained its cult-like status due to its use as a psychoactive recreational drug, initially used by Rastafarians in Jamaica, then later on spread across the globe.
However, there is a lot more to this plant than meets the eye. Recently, extensive research into its medicinal properties has shown that there are a lot more uses of cannabis that we do not know of yet. Of particular interest is cannabidiol (CBD) oil, an extract from the cannabis plant which is causing a lot of excitement in the medical field.
Countries such as Spain, Canada, and the Czech Republic, have been making great progress in this area for many years now – so much so, that a country such as Thailand, famous for its stance against drug abuse and trafficking, has started looking into ways to benefit from this unique and versatile plant.
The change in the generally negative perceptions against cannabis has spread like wildfire throughout the world. Seemingly overnight, a plant vilified for its impact on society is now hailed as the likely cure to many different diseases. In this review, we shall discuss the Thai response to cannabis popularity and the potential benefits of this pro-cannabis approach.
Cannabis Law in Thailand
January 25, 2022, will forever be cemented in the hearts of marijuana lovers as the day that the seemingly impossible happened. On this day, Thailand, a champion in the battle against drug trafficking, became the first Asian country to legalize marijuana. This was a calculated move by the Thai government to pave the way for cannabidiol research and utilization in the country. Considering the continued reluctance by other regional countries like Indonesia and Singapore, this could prove to be a prudent move by the Thai authorities.
What Is Cannabidiol (CBD) Oil?
CBD oil is made by extracting CBD from cannabis, purifying it, and combining it with carrier oils such as hemp seed oil. CBD is one of many different compounds found in the cannabis plant that are called cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are quickly gaining popularity due to their use in pain relief. In fact, even before CBD oil was used, cancer patients used to get prescribed marijuana as a pain killer.
Extraction of CBD From Cannabis
The extraction of CBD from cannabis is similar to the extraction of most alkaloids from other plant-based materials. Cannabis contains a very large proportion of CBD, up to 40%, making the process of extracting it much simpler.
In most cases, carbon dioxide is used as the major solvent, and a combination of high pressure and low temperatures is used to produce an extremely pure extract.
Five Health Benefits of CBD Oil
Discoveries of new health benefits of CBD oil are being reported all around the world. As Thailand relaxes its stance on cannabis use, more and more patients are being prescribed medication containing CBD oil as the main component. We shall take a look at some of the most common health benefits of CBD oil here:
- Pain Relief
Certain chemical components of the cannabis plant, such as CBD, have been proven to be effective pain management drugs. Studies suggest that CBD works by reducing inflammation and reacting with neurotransmitters.
The effectiveness of CBD oil as an analgesic is not the same for all types of pain. In most cases, it is particularly effective against nerve pain and back pain. A combination of CBD oil and THC seems to be the most effective way to counter pain.
- Can Control Symptoms of Mental Disorders
Most mental health disorders are usually treated using a cocktail of pharmaceutical drugs, some of which are known to have undesirable side effects on the patient’s quality of life. Some of these side effects include insomnia, anxiety, sexual dysfunction, agitation, and headaches.
CBD has emerged as a potential side-effect-free alternative, with a lot of promise shown in the treatment of anxiety.
- Effective Against Cancer Symptoms
Very few diseases are as difficult to treat, or as detrimental to a patient’s quality of life, such as cancer. Common cancer symptoms such as vomiting, pain, and nausea, have all been successfully alleviated using CBD oil.
Research is ongoing into whether this effect is universal in all cancer patients. The required extent of the use of CBD oil in cancer treatment is still under great debate. At this time, too little is known to say whether CBD oil will one day be able to replace regular cancer treatment.
- Has Neuroprotective Properties
Although research is still ongoing, a lot of encouraging results have suggested that CBD might have significant neuroprotective properties, such as the reduction in spasms in the majority of MS patients. It should be noted that some patients also exhibited side effects of the use of CBD oil, such as convulsions, fever, and tiredness.
In another study, it was shown that CBD oil was effective in the reduction of seizures in children suffering from Dravet syndrome. This news was welcomed by medical professionals across the world because the cases of neurological disorders in young children have been on the rise.
- Good for the Heart
CBD oil has shown effectiveness in lowering high blood pressure, which is vitally important to the health of the heart because it reduces the risk of stroke and heart attack. Other potential benefits to the heart include a reduction in arterial stiffness and increased blood flow.
Other Potential Benefits of CBD Oil
The list above shows the major health benefits of CBD oil that are at an advanced stage of research. However, a lot of other potential benefits that are yet to be explored include:
- Antipsychotic effects
- Substance abuse treatment
- Extension of the life expectancy of people suffering from glioblastoma
- Possible effects against insomnia and general improvement of sleep quality
- Use as an anti-depressant
- Reduction of the severity of chronic migraines
Where Can CBD Oil Be Found in Thailand?
Even though the Thai authorities lifted the ban on marijuana as a controlled substance, it does not mean that the plant can be found everywhere, or that anyone who so wishes can obtain the drug. A lot of regulations are still in place to control the possession and use of marijuana. Only patients suffering from ailments such as cancer can have cannabis, and only after obtaining a valid medical certificate for a registered doctor.
Those who are conducting government-sanctioned research on CBD oil are also allowed a special clearance to have and use cannabis, but only for research purposes. Any form of recreational use of cannabis will result in immediate incarceration.
The future of cannabis use, particularly CBD oil, looks very bright due to the significant health benefits it has exhibited and the relaxation of control measures by the authorities. These new laws have in no way affected the stance on recreational use and as such, anyone wishing to partake in cannabis use needs to be well versed in the law and have the requisite documentation.
CBD oil is producing very promising results in a lot of medical tests conducted against many problematic illnesses such as cancer, autopsy, MS, mental health disorder, and heart disease. Even though a lot more research is still needed, patients are already being prescribed CBD oil and other cannabis derivatives.
The side effects of CBD oil, though not as significant as those of regular pharmaceutical drugs, are still worth looking into. With further research, these side effects can be eliminated and make CBD oil the preferred drug for the treatment of many ailments.
It is hoped that other Asian countries will follow the example set by Thailand, and invest a lot more into the research on the potential benefits of CBD oil. Until such a time, Thailand will continue conducting research and making significant strides in the field of medicinal use of CBD oil.