CBD, or canabidiol is an amazingly useful plant compound that is extracted from the cannabis plant. With volumes of medical science now at its back, this compound has been used effectively for a wide range of needs. These particularly wide-ranging applications are the result of its being a part of the “pleiotropic sedate” group. Compounds in this group are especially unique in their ability to affect and travel along many of the typically closed atomic pathways.
Jackson Leyden had always been a healthy kid; he practiced taekwondo, and he played lacrosse and baseball. But in 2011, a few months after his eighth birthday, he began having seizures several times a day. Many were brief, a half-minute of staring into space, but he also had severe episodes in which he would collapse, sometimes injuring himself. Over the next two years, he was hospitalized about 50 times, and he missed much of fourth and fifth grade.
As marijuana is legalized in more and more states, the wellness world has whipped itself into a frenzy over a non-intoxicating cannabis derivative called cannabidiol. CBD products can be found on the internet and in health-food stores, wellness catalogs and even bookstores. (A bookstore in downtown Boulder, Colorado, displays a case of CBD products between the cash register and the stacks of new releases.) Celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, disgraced cyclist1 Floyd Landis and former Denver Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer are all touting CBD products, and according to Bon Appétit, CBD-infused lattes have become “the wellness world’s new favorite drink.”
That being said, it was unlikely that the federal government was interested in pursuing individuals complying with state-mandated regulations surrounding legalized cannabis for recreational use, although the CSA law still gives them authority to do so. However, the new Trump administration may change this thinking and users of legal marijuana and legal dispensaries await further action and clarifying rules.
"The data supporting efficacy and dosing are specific to one product: Epidiolex," Bonn-Miller says. "That's not necessarily translatable to 'Joe Bob's CBD Blend.'" A CBD extract you buy online or in a dispensary will almost certainly have less CBD in it, he explains, and will contain other cannabinoids—meaning that it will work differently and will need to be dosed differently. "This is not to say that 'Joe Bob's CBD Blend' definitely isn't going to be effective for pediatric epilepsy, but it means that we need to study it before we know."
One of the most experienced practitioners in this field is Los Angeles physician Bonni Goldstein, who has used the compound to treat dozens of children with intractable epilepsy. She says about half of these patients have seen a significant drop in the number of seizures. “Used in the right way, with the right patient, CBD is extremely powerful,” she says.
"We still don't fully understand all of the mechanisms involved in CBD's actions," says Marcel Bonn-Miller, Ph.D, who studies CBD and its effects, primarily on PTSD. "We know some pieces but definitely not the whole story at this point. A lot of our understanding of the many potential benefits of CBD is rooted in work either on the cellular level or in preclinical models with rodents."
We’re standing in a laboratory greenhouse on the campus of the University of Colorado Boulder looking at ten hemp plants that Kane recently procured for research purposes. They’re spindly, stalky little things, like gangling teenagers, a far cry from the lascivious crop that Hague had shown me. These plants, like nearly all hemp varieties, carry extremely low levels of THC.
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