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?
If you’re just diving into the world of CBD, we recommend a starting serving size of two to three milligrams. From there, you can work your way up to 100 or even 200 milligrams, after you’ve taken the time to gradually observe how CBD affects your body and mind. Remember, you cannot overdose on CBD, and there are no reported side effects from using high concentrations.
Scientific studies have established that synthetic, single-molecule hemp-oils have a very narrow window of efficacy and requires great precision to achieve that efficacy, whereas lower concentration, whole-plant, full-spectrum, phyto-nutrient rich nutritional supplement regimens are already showing efficacy for many. Full-spectrum compounds interact collectively and enhance their therapeutic benefits. Scientists call this the “entourage effect.” Numerous hemp compounds have medicinal attributes, but the therapeutic impact of whole plant hemp is greater than the sum of its parts.
Medical reviews published in 2017 and 2018 incorporating numerous clinical trials concluded that cannabidiol is an effective treatment for certain types of childhood epilepsy. An orally administered cannabidiol solution (brand name Epidiolex) was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in June 2018 as a treatment for two rare forms of childhood epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.
Although most states restrict the use of CBD products to certain medical conditions, manufacturers of CBD claim their products are derived from industrial hemp, and therefore legal for anyone to use. A number of these manufacturers ship CBD products to all 50 states, which the federal government has so far not intervened in. CBD is also openly sold in head shops, health food stores, chiropractor clinics, optometrist offices, doctors offices and pharmacies in some states where such sales have not been explicitly legalized.
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.
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