At a cannabis competition in Santa Rosa, California, a young enthusiast becomes a human billboard for a company that sells devices to vaporize the drug. California allows marijuana for medical but not recreational use. As “ganjapreneurs” seek to capitalize on the legalization movement, the paraphernalia industry has expanded dramatically, employing a sleek aesthetic—and a certain sex appeal—to market products once confined to head shops.
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.
At Denver’s LivWell, which has an enormous indoor growing operation, workers remove marijuana leaves before the buds are trimmed, keeping the plants destined for medical use separate from those for recreational use. After Colorado legalized marijuana, thousands of young people from all over the world flocked to the state to participate in the multimillion-dollar business phenomenon that’s been called the Green Rush.
In 1937, the U.S. Treasury Department introduced the Marihuana Tax Act, which imposed a levy of $1 per ounce for medicinal use of cannabis and $100 per ounce for recreational use. This was opposed by physicians who were not required to pay a special tax for prescribing cannabis, use special order forms to obtain it and keep records detailing its professional use. The American Medical Association believed that evidence of cannabis’ harmful effects was limited and the act would prevent further research into its medicinal worth.
Cannabidiol has been found to act as an antagonist of GPR55, a G protein-coupled receptor and putative cannabinoid receptor that is expressed in the caudate nucleus and putamen in the brain. It has also been found to act as an inverse agonist of GPR3, GPR6, and GPR12. Although currently classified as orphan receptors, these receptors are most closely related phylogeneticaly to the cannabinoid receptors. In addition to orphan receptors, CBD has been shown to act as a serotonin 5-HT1A receptor partial agonist, and this action may be involved in its antidepressant, anxiolytic, and neuroprotective effects. It is an allosteric modulator of the μ- and δ-opioid receptors as well. The pharmacological effects of CBD have additionally been attributed to PPARγ agonism and intracellular calcium release.
The oil may be further refined by 1) alkali washing, or removing the heavy aromatic carboxylic acids with antibiotic properties, which may cause heartburn, gallbladder and pancreas irritation, and resistance to hemp antibiotics; 2) conversion of CBD to THC. Process 1) consists of dissolving the oil in a nonpolar solvent such as petroleum ether, repeatedly washing (saponifying) with a base such as sodium carbonate solution until the yellow residue disappears from the watery phase, decanting, and washing with water to remove the base and the saponified components (and evaporating the solvents). This process reduces the oil yield, but the resulting oil is less acidic, easier digestible and much more potent (almost pure THC). Process 2) consists of dissolving the oil in a suitable solvent such as absolute ethanol containing 0.05% hydrochloric acid, and boiling the mixture for 2 hours.
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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