“New varieties of CBD-rich cannabis are becoming available in strains that could deliver distinct therapeutic benefits. Cannabidiol (CBD) is the second leading cannabinoid in the plant, but it lacks THC’s psychoactive ‘high.’
When combined with THC, CBD counters such negative psychoactive effects of cannabis as anxiety, memory loss, and inability to work or concentrate, which many users can’t tolerate.
While breeders have worked for decades to raise the THC content of marijuana, another compound, CBD, has quietly proven itself to have therapeutic benefits while it neutralizes the psychoactive effect. New breeders are trying to restore a balanced cannabinoid profile.
It also has anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, anti-spasmodic, and anti-oxidant properties, according to research published in scientific and medical journals.
GW Pharmaceuticals researchers have found that a plant extract with a 50-50 mixture of CBD and THC was strongly preferred to pure THC or CBD by multiple sclerosis patients. The low psychoactivity of the 50-50 Sativex extract helped GW get government approval to market it in the UK, Canada and elsewhere.
Although CBD is common in hemp, it had been almost entirely bred out of popular cannabis strains due to its lack of psychoactive kick. High CBD plants can be identified only by chemical testing, which has just recently become widely available. A potency study by California NORML and MAPS found only two of 47 samples had significant levels of CBD.
At least 10 CBD-rich strains have been identified in the past year by labs in California, Montana and Colorado. They include Soma A+, Women’s Collective Stinky Purple, Cotton Candy / Diesel, True Blueberry / OG Kush, Harlequin, Omrita RX, Jamaican Lion, RX Red, Misty, Cannatonic, and Good Medicine. Harborside Health Center in Oakland pioneered testing for CBD content and has had the steadiest supply and widest variety.
The effects of CBD are being explored through ProjectCBD.com, a website with a survey developed by the Society of Cannabis Clinicians (SCC). Patients will be asked to report the effects of the strain they are currently using before switching to a CBD-rich strain and reporting its effects for comparison. According to co-author Stacy Kerr, M.D., the goal is “a study with data clean enough for publication in a peer reviewed medical journal.”
Strains with high CBD-to-THC ratios might make it possible for patients to ingest high cannabinoid doses while remaining highly functional, and CBD-rich strains may be well tolerated by people who don’t like the effects of high-THC cannabis. These are two of the hypotheses that the SCC doctors intend to test.
ProjectCBD.com was launched earlier this year at the initiative of Martin Lee, an award-winning journalist who is writing a social history of cannabis.
The Web site will report on all things CBD,” says Lee “from the scientific research to real-time availability.
“Participating dispensaries will feature CBD-rich cannabis – and edibles and tinctures, of course – and encourage those patients who try it to take part in SCC surveys.”
Project CBD provides a chance for the medical marijuana movement to live up to its name. Interested readers are invited to visit ProjectCBD.com.”
(Source: Dale Gieringer, Cannabidiol: CBD becomes the new rising star of the therapeutic cannabinoid galaxy. West Coast Leaf, Winter 2011.)