Unbeknown to many, the recreational use, possession and trade of non-medicinal drugs described by the Opium Law are all technically illegal under Dutch law. However, since the late 20th Century, the Netherlands’ official policy is to tolerate the open use of such substances so as to not force them into illicit and clandestine industries.
It was only in 1972 that the Dutch government made the distinction between ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ drugs, putting cannabis in the latter and as long as 18 years ago, the Dutch formed the Office of Medicinal Cannabis which was set up specifically to research and supply cannabis for scientific purposes.
Whilst the Dutch are often painted with a brush that shows them to be free-spirited, hippy, pot-smokers, their approach to cannabis has proven to be a smart and sensible one. As intended, the acceptance of less harmful drugs removes the requirement for underground, criminal industries to flourish and instead, allows the relevant and qualified individuals of the OMC to monitor and ultimately tax it too.
It’s hard to say whether the UK should be taking a similar stance to systems such as the Dutch, or the more modernized versions that occurs in countries like the US and Canada. But one thing we know is that it’s time for a change.
Simply put, the human body has receptors in it that help to regulate normal bodily functions. These may include appetite, stress levels, memory and pain reduction. The two main receptors (CB1 & CB2) are vital parts of the brain and spinal cord, and within the immune system and effectively receive what are known as ‘phytocannabinoids’. These phytocannabinoids are what are found in the cannabis plant as well as agricultural hemp.
It is through the discovery of these receptors that we have understood there are two main types of cannabinoids – ‘phyto’ (meaning plant) and ‘endo’ (meaning within the body). The two main phytocannabinoids are THC (the one that famously gives users their euphoric ‘high’) and CBD (the one that is non-psychoactive).
The two main endocannabinoids are Anandamide and 2-AG. 2-AG is responsible for managing appetite, pain response as well as immune system functions, whilst Anandamide plays a major role in managing anxiety and stress. CBD has important interactions with this molecule, which is why so many people report the calming, anti-anxiety effects of this supplement.
Find out more about your ECS here.
There have only been a few studies on the effects of CBD toward relieving fibromyalgia, but there are a few theories to why it has helped people suffering with this condition so far.
Some suggest that CBD has the ability to affect the nerve pathways that send signals of pain between the brain and the body. Others lean on the fact that CBD has great anti-inflammatory properties that would reduce the swelling around any injury or disease, ultimately reducing the pain. One theory for chronic pain syndromes including migraines and fibromyalgia is that the body has a lack of endocannabinoids (neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors). By adding CBD, one is able to regulate their body’s endocannabinoid levels, correcting the deficiency and thus alleviate their pain. Hopefully much more research will be done on the subject.