There’s no question about it: Pot has become a hot ingredient. Just look at Ben and Jerry (of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream), who said they’d consider making a cannabis-flavored ice cream one day. Or Skinnygirl founder and Real Housewives of New York star Bethenny Frankel, who plans to launch a line of Skinnygirl marijuana in Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska, where weed is legal for medicinal and recreational use.
But aside from the trendiness, are there actual health benefits to consuming pot-containing products?
Turns out, cannabidiol (also known as CBD), a non-psychoactive component of cannabis, does have potential health benefits — it just doesn’t give the “high” that usually comes with pot. (Though it’s important to note long-term effects of cannabidiol are still unknown.)
So far, the potential benefits of cannabidiol seem to be for specific groups. Studies show that the compound may be a good alternative pain-relief option, including for cancer-related pain. Animal research shows that it reduces inflammation and may have a promising role as an effective therapy for neurodegenerative disorders, including multiple sclerosis, as well as for glaucoma and epileptic seizures.
“In children with severe epilepsy who have not responded to medications, we’ll give them a pure form of CBD under a controlled setting where we monitor for safety and figure out appropriate doses,” Daniel Friedman, MD, assistant professor of neurology at the NYU Langone Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, explains to Yahoo Health. “The results appear promising. Some with severe epilepsy do get better and 10 percent or so become seizure-free, which is rare.”