Cannabis Sativa and Cannabis Indica flowers and extracts have been used medicinally by people around the world for thousands of years! The Cannabis plant’s flowers (and to a lesser degree the stems and seeds) contain a cornucopia of naturally occurring and pharmacologically active compounds.
Of key medical and recreational interest are the cannabinoids (over 100) and terpenoids (over 200) found (principally) in the cannabis plants flower.
CBD & THC | Cannabinoid Heavy Weights
There are over 100 phytocannabinoids found in cannabis, and nine have known medical significance (THC | CBD | THCA | CBDA | CBN | CBGA | CBG | CBC | THCV). The bulk of clinical research has been focused on the physiological effects of the two cannabinoid heavy-weights: tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
THC is the principle psychoactive substance in cannabis. It is the ingredient in marijuana responsible for producing the high, often referred to as “feeling stoned.”
THC is a wondrous and potent drug, with a multitude of therapeutic uses. By modulating your endocannabionoid system and your central nervous system, THC becomes a powerful phytochemical that can effectively block neuropathic pain, rid you of insomnia, reduce inflammation and eliminate nausea. That’s quite a powerhouse phytocannabinoid!
THC and Possible Side-Effects
THC does produce side-effects. And young patients with disorders such as Dravet Syndrome, often require around-the-clock cannabinoid dosing. Taken frequently and in large amounts, THC can produce significant side-effects such as anxiety, depression and insomnia.
As it turns out, many of the same symptoms that THC is so effective in treating can also be generated by consuming too much THC – especially in the absence of CBD.
How low a THC concentration does one need in order to avoid noticeable side-effects? Most clinical research indicates that THC levels below 0.5% do not produce discernible cognitive side-effects. It’s quite possibly that significantly more THC can be tolerated by you without mental impairment, the science just isn’t quite there yet. You may just have to go out and try varying amounts of THC for yourself. Tough assignment huh?
High-CBD Cannabis | Good For You and Your Brain
CBD is arguably the (alright, second) most significant substance found in cannabis. What is truly remarkable is that it is considered to be completely non-psychoactive. I would argue that it is psychoactive – just not in an adverse manner. Want to avoid any psychoactive effects? It’s fairly well established that one can consume high-CBD | ultra low-THC (<0.5%) flower and concentrates – without feeling high or becoming mentally impaired.
In fact, science is only now appreciating the myriad of important entourage (synergistic) effects that the cannabinoids and terpenoids together provide – all without the need for a significant psychoactive high.
I personally favor cannabis strains with a balanced phytochemical profile. In a balanced phytochemical profile, I would expect to see both CBD and THC, along with a signature terpene expression that is robust and consistent from yield to yield.
CBD to reduce anxiety
CBD as a stress reliever has been well demonstrated in numerous preclinical trials and studies. Additional clinical studies are now underway to better explore the potential for CBD as an anxiolytic (anti-anxiety agent) and as an anti-psychotic.
CBD could even become a potential alternative treatment for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder – two disorders difficult to treat with currently available pharmaceuticals. More studies on CBD and its effect on psychosis are definitely warranted. To learn more, consider reading – Cannabidiol a Cannabis sativa constituent, as an antipsychotic drug | by Zuardi, et al., 2006 | Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research).
First and foremost, CBD balances (some argue it enhances, others say reduces) the psychoactive high – brought on by THC.
Beyond its use as an anti-psychotic, CBD is known to mitigate (reduce or eliminate) the potential anxiety produced when consuming high-THC cannabis. Your cannabis is better with CBD, than without. One can debate how much CBD is best, but in my experience zero CBD is rarely the better choice.
CBD modulates and balances the phytotherapeutic effects of THC – arguably producing an overall improved high and enhanced therapeutic experience.
Despite CBDs demonstrated ability as a stress reliever, high-CBD flower and extracts (e.g. CBD Oil) are even more widely recognized as a medicine for treating neurological disorders such as Dravet syndrome – a severe form of early onset epilepsy. In addition, CBD is also under investigation as a potentially safe and well tolerated adjunctive treatment for multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, CTE, Alzheimer’s disease and a host of other severe neurological disorders.
Terpenes | Part of a Balanced Whole Plant Profile
I would be remiss if I did not shed a little light on the importance and significance of the terpenes found in cannabis. Terpenes are organic molecules synthesized in secretory cells within the glandular trichomes of the female flower. Some are considered quite potent, pharmacologically active (yet poorly understood) and have anti-microbial, anti-depressive and anti-inflammatory properties.
Terpenes (not cannabinoids) are responsible for the pungent order cannabis is known for. More importantly, terpenes are now being investigated for their role as part of the entourage effect – the synergistic effect between cannabinoid and terpenoid that enhance the therapeutic effectiveness of cannabis.
Terpenoids, which are abundant in cannabis, are considered a Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) food additive by the US FDA. One of the most well known and abundant terpenes is Myrcene, which has the distinct smell of hops. If a particular strain smells strong of hops, it’s likely a C. Indica dominant strain. Myrcene is commonly associated with a body-high, lowered inflammation, pain reduction and muscle relaxation.
Limonene is another distinct and important terpene. It has a decidedly lemon fragrance and is highly bioavailable and a potent immune-stimulant, while also possessing stress relieving properties.
Pinene is a known anti-inflammatory and has been used in Chinese Traditional Medicine as a natural anti-cancer agent for many years. It is also being investigated as a potent bronchodilator.
Selective cross-breeding of high terpene and high-phytocannabinoid-specific strains will lead to unique phenome and create potent new Cannabis Phytochemistry.
The future of Cannabis Phytochemistry and You –
is very exciting indeed!
Why High-CBD Cannabis? | Who Is It For?
BRAIN DAMAGE? | CBD can Help
It’s really not that hard or that uncommon to inflict some damage to your brain.
3.8 million people suffer concussions and 1.7 million people suffer Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) each year in the U.S. alone! How many times do you recall accidentally smacking your head hard against something? How many times over the course of your lifetime?
Athletes Support CBD
While CBD has demonstrated its usefulness as a medicine, what about its role with otherwise healthy adults? What about professional athletes in sports like the NFL, NABF, MMA, NHL and others? Athletes don’t just damage their knees and shoulders; they receive significant damage to their brains over the course of a career.
Did you know that in the U.S. alone, 5 – 10 % of all athletes will experience a concussion this season alone? This doesn’t even take into account injuries our kids are receiving daily, from youth athletic programs and after school activities.
CBD as a Neuro-Protectant
Furthermore – did you know that CBD has the demonstrated ability to act as a neuro-protectant if taken prior to injury? By acting as “traffic cops” for the nervous system, the Endocannabinoid system can be influenced via CBDs, to help maintain healthy neuronal activity. When things get a little out of control (e.g. epileptic seizure, injury, concussion, PTSD), CBD has the potential to modulate and slow down an over-stimulated nervous system, thereby reducing or even eliminating the damaging effects of runaway neuronal hyperactivity.
Perhaps its worth considering adding CBD to our daily diets, as a potent and naturally occurring anti-oxidant and neuro-protectant?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA SUPPORTS MEDICAL CANNABIS
CBD has established neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. These effects are key to CBDs ability to protect your brain and nervous system from damage.