There is compelling evidence that CBD works best in combination with THC and the full spectrum of other cannabis components. Just like eating a whole carrot is better for you than taking a beta-carotene supplement, whole cannabis remedies may be more effective than low-THC or no-THC products.
Like many other plants, cannabis plants secrete a sticky tar-like residue called resin. On cannabis plants, the resin is contained within the heads of tiny, mushroom-shaped trichomes, found mainly on the plant’s flower buds and to a lesser extent on the leaves. In the resin is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — the compound that causes the high that cannabis is famous for — and cannabidiol (CBD), along with hundreds of other cannabinoids and terpenes.
CBD and THC can be considered the crown jewels of this treasure trove, but they are just two of more than a hundred related plant compounds called phytocannabinoids, lipid (fat)-based molecules that are unique to the cannabis plant. The plant is also rich in compounds called terpenes and flavonoids, which work together with CBD and THC to create an “entourage effect” that is greater than the effect of any one of the molecules alone.
A groundbreaking study has documented the superior therapeutic properties of whole plant CBD-rich cannabis extract as compared to single-molecule CBD.Published in the journal Pharmacology & Pharmacy, the article directly challenges one of the sacred cows of Big Pharma and the medical-industrial complex—the notion that "crude" botanical preparations are inherently low grade and less effective than pure, single-molecule compounds.
Entitled "Overcoming the Bell-Shaped Dose-Response of Cannabidiol by Using Cannabis Extract Enriched in Cannabidiol," the article is all the more noteworthy given the contribution of co-author Lumir Hanus, who was instrumental in the discovery of anandamide, the endogenous cannabinoid compound first identified in the mammalian brain in 1992.
These studies showed that administration of pure, single-molecule CBD resulted in a bell-shaped dose-response curve, meaning that when the amount of CBD exceeded a certain point its therapeutic impact declined dramatically…and whereas pure, single-molecule CBD precipitated a dramatic drop in efficacy if more than a specific dosage was administered, an "overdose" of whole plant CBD-rich extract did not undermine its therapeutic potency.
Hemp is cannabis that has no more than 0.3 percent THC by dry weight. The distinction between hemp and other forms of cannabis is fast becoming moot - horticulturists are successfully breeding high-resin terpene-rich cannabis varietals that satisfy the criteria for hemp – with THC measuring below 0.3 percent and double-digit CBD levels by dry weight.
Where did the 0.3 percent THC figure come from? It stems from a 1976 taxonomic report by Canadian plant scientists Ernest Small and Arthur Cronquist., who never intended for 0.3 percent THC to function as a legal demarcation between hemp and other forms of cannabis. But that's exactly what happened.
Ernest Small and WholeHemp founder David Marcus in 1999-2001 undertook a 3 year hemp germplasm trial where 180 different accessions of hemp sourced internationally comprising cultivars, seed bank accessions, breeding lines, and wild plants. It was found that there was a very wide range of development of useful traits, indicating that there is a huge reservoir of genetic variation in cannabis with less than 0.3% THC and defined as hemp.
WHICH GROWNING METHOD PRODUCES BETTER CANNABIS - SUNGROWN, INDOORS OR GREENHOUSE?
Scientists report that cannabinoid and terpene production is greatest in ambient light. Natural light is much more complex than what even the best grow lights can mimic. Other benefits of Sungrown Cannabis include its Low carbon footprint and lower costs, how it complements the plant's natural life cycle, ecology and resiliency, and the therapeutic benefits of horticulture.
Most agricultural crops throughout the world are grown solely outdoors: grapes to make wine, for example. It wasn't so long ago that cannabis was exclusively grown outside as well. That changed because of marijuana prohibition.
Sungrown cannabis requires far fewer resources and is less expensive to produce than plants grown indoors. Sungrown uses the natural environment to fuel its growth, and it does not require artificial, high-intensity lighting. Indoor power usage and water usage is very resource consumptive. Evan Mills reports in Energy Policy that an average kilo of cannabis grown indoors is associated with 4600 kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere. Outdoor cultivation also enables natural airflow and ventilation; no electric fans are necessary. It's impossible to duplicate nature's supreme design when growing cannabis indoors.
Because outdoor crops are part of the ecosystem, the plant interacts with the elements and this helps to build flexibility and resistance to temperature fluctuations and potential attacks. Healthy plants are less susceptible to the invasion of mold, mildew, and predators in general. Organic farming methods can preserve and enhance the complex biota of the earth's soil in a way that retains carbon and helps to offset global warming.
When growing outdoors, a farmer has more liberties to implement sustainable methods of cultivation, such as the permaculture techniques of companion planting. These methods utilize various natural techniques to sustain a thriving ecosystem: intercropping (with plants that compliment cannabis), planting ground cover (which keeps in water and nutrients), and introducing beneficial bugs. Companion planting avoids growing in a monoculture and brings in a variety of plant species to implement complementary natural pest management which contributes to a diverse, healthy ecosystem.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring compound found in the resinous flower of cannabis, a plant with a rich history as a medicine going back thousands of years. A safe, non-addictive substance, CBD is one of more than a hundred "phytocannabinoids," which are unique to cannabis and endow the plant with its robust therapeutic profile.
CBD is closely related to another important medicinally active phytocannabinoid: tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound that causes the high that cannabis is famous for. These are the two components of cannabis that have been most studied by scientists.
CBD can actually lessen or neutralize the psychoactive effects of THC, depending on how much of each compound is consumed. Many people want the health benefits of cannabis without the high – or with less of a high. The fact that CBD is therapeutically potent as well as non-intoxicating, and easy to take makes it an appealing treatment option for those who are cautious about trying cannabis for the first time.
CBD and THC interact with our bodies in a variety of ways. One of the main ways is by mimicking and augmenting the effects of the compounds in our bodies called "endogenous cannabinoids" - so named because of their similarity to compounds found in the cannabis plant. These "endocannabinoids" are part of what scientists refer to as the "endocannabinoid system."
The discovery of the endocannabinoid system has significantly advanced our understanding of health and disease. It has major implications for nearly every area of medical science and helps to explain how and why CBD and THC are such versatile compounds. The endocannabinoid system plays a crucial role in regulating a broad range of physiological processes that affect our everyday experience – our mood, our energy level, our intestinal fortitude, immune activity, blood pressure, bone density, glucose metabolism, how we experience pain, stress, hunger, and more.
What's the Best Way to Take CBD?
High dose? Low dose? Optimizing your use of cannabis may entail some experimentation. An effective dosage can range from as little as a few milligrams of CBD-enriched cannabis oil to a gram or more. Begin with a small dose of high CBD/low THC oil (or cream), especially if you have little or no experience with cannabis. Take a few small doses over the course of the day rather than one big dose. Use the same dose and ratio for several days. Observe the effects and if necessary adjust the ratio or amount. Don't overdo it. "Less is more" is often the case with respect to cannabis.
The most appropriate delivery system for CBD-rich cannabis is one that provides an optimal dose for a desired duration with few unwanted side effects. CBD-rich cannabis flower varietals for smoking or vaping are available, but many CBD patients prefer non-inhalable products made with cannabis oil concentrates. The time of onset and duration of effect vary depending on the method of administration. CBD-rich cannabis oil products can be taken sublingually, orally (as edibles, lozenges, beverages, tinctures, and gel caps), or applied topically.
What should one look for when choosing a CBD rich product?
Look for products with clear labels showing the quantity and ratio of CBD and THC per dose, a manufacturing date, and a batch number (for quality control). Select products with quality ingredients: No corn syrup, transfats, GMOs, artificial additives, thinning agents or preservatives. CBD-rich products should be lab tested for consistency and verified as being free of mold, bacteria, pesticides, solvent residues, and other contaminants. Best to avoid products extracted with toxic solvents like BHO, propane, hexane or other hydrocarbons. Opt for products that utilize safer extraction methods such as supercritical CO2 or food-grade ethanol.
Does CBD Have Any Adverse Side Effects? What About Drug Interactions?
CBD is a very safe substance, but it can interact with many common pharmaceuticals. At sufficient dosages, CBD will deactivate cytochrome P450 enzymes, thereby altering how we metabolize painkillers, statins, blood thinners, insulin & more. CBD-drug interactions can be dangerous, but they can also help mitigate side effects while synergistically improving a patient's quality of life. Cannabinoid-opioid interactions show great therapeutic potential. THC enhances the painkilling effects of opiates, while CBD can reduce withdrawal and dependence. Patients taking Big Pharma meds should monitor changes in blood levels and, if need be, adjust dosage. Problematic interactions are more likely when consuming high doses of CBD isolate products.