In the apparent rush to accept weed into the mainstream, to tax and regulate it, to legitimize and commodify it, important questions arise. What’s going on inside this plant? How does marijuana really affect our bodies and our brains? What might the chemicals in it tell us about how our neurological systems function? Could those chemicals lead us to beneficial new pharmaceuticals?
Meanwhile, independent testing by accredited laboratories with globally accepted analytical methods ensures the organic extract is intact from pesticides, heavy metals, or microbiological contaminants. And reputable CBD companies have lab results from independent labs available on their websites, this can also be used as an indicator for consumers about what companies are providing high-quality CBD.
The results “suggest CBD to be a potential treatment for nicotine addiction,” the study authors wrote—but they also admit that their findings are preliminary. Ryan Vandrey, PhD, a cannabis researcher and associate professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University (who was not involved in the 2013 study), agrees that larger, longer-term studies are needed to know if CBD might be helpful for smokers looking to kick the habit.
There is mounting evidence that CBD could potentially fight cancer and, at the very least, help ease symptoms of cancer and side effects of chemotherapy. A 2006 study published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics found, for the first time, that CBD potently and selectively inhibited the growth of different breast tumor cell lines.
In other words, many popular claims remain unfounded – and overlook the fact that there's a difference between CBD that's studied in labs for particular conditions and CBD products that are sold to consumers for general well-being. "What happens is people say, 'Look, CBD is harmless and it doesn't get me intoxicated, so I'm going to take it for what ails me," says Dr. Jordan Tishler, a Harvard physician and CEO of InhaleMD, a Boston-area practice specializing in cannabis therapeutics. "Then they're going to get some perceived benefit because that's the way the placebo effect works, and then they go and trumpet this."
The label of this CBD oil tincture was not as easy to read as other products. Palmetto Harmony’s hemp is grown in Kentucky. This family operated business began when CBD offered unique benefits to their ailing child, Harmony. In addition tinctures, they offer topicals, capsules, pet products and even transdermal CBD patches. This tincture was selected by our friends at Anavii Market.
I had come to meet Dr. Angel Hernandez, the director of the hospital’s pediatric epilepsy program. A trail of wall-mounted signs led me to the pediatric neurology ward, a bright and airy space with flat-screen TVs running cartoons nonstop. Decorative kites were strung up in the corridors, and rainbow curtains lined the windows. Some of the kids in the waiting area that morning were alert and awake, others groggy. Some were strapped into special strollers designed for children with mobility problems, and some had shaven heads and healing scars. Hernandez came out to greet me, and I was surprised he recognized me after what felt like a very long time. He had diagnosed me with epilepsy in 2004 and treated me for several years.
Typically, pharmaceutical companies making cannabis-based medicines have sought to isolate individual compounds from the plant. But Mechoulam strongly suspects that in some cases those chemicals would work much better in concert with other compounds found in marijuana. He calls this the entourage effect, and it’s just one of the many cannabis mysteries that he says require further study.
Then came Reefer Madness. Marijuana, the Assassin of Youth. The Killer Weed. The Gateway Drug. For nearly 70 years the plant went into hiding, and medical research largely stopped. In 1970 the federal government made it even harder to study marijuana, classifying it as a Schedule I drug—a dangerous substance with no valid medical purpose and a high potential for abuse, in the same category as heroin. In America most people expanding knowledge about cannabis were by definition criminals.
Zuardi, A. W., Crippa, J. A., Hallak, J. E., Bhattacharyya, S., Atakan, Z., Martin-Santos, R., … & Guimarães, F. S. (2012). A critical review of the antipsychotic effects of cannabidiol: 30 years of a translational investigation [Abstract]. Current Pharmaceutical Design, 18(32), 5,131–5,140. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22716160
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