As Kane leads me around his lab, I see the excitement on his face and on the faces of his young staff. The place feels almost like a start-up company. “So much of science is incremental,” he says, “but with this cannabis work, the science will not be incremental. It will be transformative. Transformative not just in our understanding of the plant but also of ourselves—our brains, our neurology, our psychology. Transformative in terms of the biochemistry of its compounds. Transformative in terms of its impact across several different industries, including medicine, agriculture, and biofuels. It may even transform part of our diet—hemp seed is known to be a ready source of a very healthy, protein-rich oil.”
Over the past few decades, most strains have been bred to increase the amount of the main psychoactive component, (-)-trans-delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). However, within the past decade, researchers have become increasingly interested in the medical benefits of another compound found in both plants, known as cannabidiol (CBD). CBD is a non-psychoactive component of the cannabis plant but is reputed to help with a myriad of medical conditions.
The good news is that most of the official research done on CBD oil has shown that there are very few negative side effects from using it. However, CBD is not without some side effects. Most notably, in the clinical studies for epilepsy, sedation was one of the more common side effects. Decreased appetite and diarrhea were also seen in some patients. Depending on what other medicines they are taking, certain patients may need to have periodic blood tests to check on liver function.
Can’t sleep? Cannabis oil also works for people with insomnia. The calming effects of the oil help people to sleep calmly, relieving issues of anxiety and restlessness. A 2015 scientific review published in the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy found that cannabis treatment is effective for military veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Research suggests that cannabinoids, the psychoactive components of unrefined cannabis, regulates neurotransmitter release and produces a wide range of central nervous system effects, including increased pleasure and alteration of memory processes.
You only have to read the reviews under a CBD product on the Holland & Barrett website to see the extent to which anecdotal reports cannot be trusted. More than 100 customers gave Jacob Hooy CBD+ Oil five stars, with a few saying they always noticed if they missed a dose (presumably this made them less relaxed, although they did not reveal what they were taking it for), while 93 people gave it one star, saying it did nothing, or was too weak. One couple even said it gave them palpitations and a sleepless night. All these people had different conditions, expectations and situations. “And,” says McGuire, “you have to remember that anything can have a placebo effect.” While it looks unlikely that the recommended doses of these products will do any harm, McGuire’s guess is that doses are so small “that it’s like homeopathy – it’s not going to do anything at all”.
"Right now, any claims and dosing recommendations by any company making a CBD product for the medical marijuana market is purely anecdotal," he says. "Asking 100 people who use your product whether they feel better isn't real science. The products on the market are also different from what was used in the scientific studies that they are basing their claims upon. If a study found an anti-anxiety effect when dosing humans with synthetic CBD, that doesn't mean that your CBD oil that contains 18 percent CBD is going to reduce anxiety. It might even have the opposite effect."
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Although delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (known as THC) is the primary psychoactive ingredient, other known compounds with biologic activity are cannabinol, cannabidiol, cannabichromene, cannabigerol, tetrahydrocannabivarin and delta-8-THC. Cannabidiol is thought to have significant pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory activity without the psychoactive effect of delta-9-THC.
It’s also one of the strongest and most concentrated CBD products on the market today. With a grain-of-rice-sized recommended serving taken orally twice a day, its potent punch acts quickly—in just ten to fifteen minutes—to provide powerful relief. Furthermore, it offers terrific value for your money, boasting more CBD per dollar than many other CBD products.
Our black lab had severe hip dysplasia & when around 10 years old could barely walk & could not climb stairs. A rancher here in Nevada told us to give him this hemp oil. We had tried meds at our vet but nothing worked so tried this hemp oil. Within a week he was walking fine & within 2 weeks was climbing stairs with no problem. He lived till 15 & ran & played till the end. Now we give it to our toy poodle who has painful disc problems in her back. GREAT PRODUCT!!!
One of the strongest nutraceutical CBD oils is called Charlotte’s Web, with a 50mg dose. Charlotte’s Web is produced in Colorado by the Stanley Brothers, and named after Charlotte Figi, a girl who became famous in the US after her frequent seizures, brought on by the rare Dravet syndrome, were greatly reduced when she started taking CBD oil aged five. The company makes THC products too and is extremely successful, having just offered shares on the Canadian securities exchange, raising about $100m.
If he had his way, what Mechoulam regards as the often irresponsible silliness of recreational pot culture would give way to an earnest and enthusiastic embrace of cannabis—but only as a medical substance to be strictly regulated and relentlessly researched. “Right now,” he complains, “people don’t know what they’re getting. For it to work in the medical world, it has to be quantitative. If you can’t count it, it’s not science.”
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