Guzmán is a biochemist who’s studied cannabis for about 20 years. I visit him in his office at the Complutense University of Madrid, in a golden, graffiti-splotched building on a tree-lined boulevard. A handsome guy in his early 50s with blue eyes and shaggy brown hair tinged with gray, he speaks rapidly in a soft voice that makes a listener lean forward. “When the headline of a newspaper screams, ‘Brain Cancer Is Beaten With Cannabis!’ it is not true,” he says. “There are many claims on the Internet, but they are very, very weak.”
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.”
Some individuals have been found to have mutations on the CNR1 gene, which is responsible for coding the CB1 receptor (a type of receptor in cells throughout your body that interacts with cannabinoids). Issues with the CNR1 gene can ultimately result in a poorly functioning endocannabinoid system, which is an important variable when figuring out how to use CBD oil.
Even as the research proceeds, thousands of people are using CBD as medicine. A British pharmaceutical company, GW Pharma, has developed two CBD drugs: Sativex, which contains a 1-to-1 ratio of CBD and THC, and Epidiolex, which is pure CBD. The former is prescribed for the painful muscle spasms that occur in multiple sclerosis, while the latter is aimed at childhood seizures. Sativex is not available in the United States, but it is approved in 29 other countries, including Canada, England and Israel.
CBD oil is made by mixing the extracted CBD or cannabidiol from the cannabis or marijuana plant (Cannabis Sativa) with coconut or hemp seed oil. CBD oil possesses cannabidiol; while THC is psychoactive, CBD is not, thereby helping relieve pain, treating anxiety and depression, fighting cancer, reducing anxiety. It also improves the quality of sleep, boosts appetite, and optimizes digestion.
"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."
Cannabis sales have been illegal since the 1970 Controlled Substances Act was passed, with the only exceptions being the products made from the "mature stalk" and "sterilized seed" of the hemp plant, which could still be sold since they contained little to no psychoactive components. Even today, federal law has not changed its stance on cannabis. On the state level, however, things have changed dramatically. As of this writing, there are 30 states that have legalized the sale of cannabis in some form, whether that be medicinally or recreationally. Because federal law continues to outlaw the production and sales of cannabis aside from the CBD oil and hemp seed oil from hemp plants, it is illegal for states that have legalized cannabis to sell products across state borders.
Various strains of "medical marijuana" are found to have a significant variation in the ratios of CBD-to-THC, and are known to contain other non-psychotropic cannabinoids. Any psychoactive marijuana, regardless of its CBD content, is derived from the flower (or bud) of the genus Cannabis. Non-psychoactive hemp (also commonly-termed industrial hemp), regardless of its CBD content, is any part of the cannabis plant, whether growing or not, containing a ∆-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of no more than three-tenths of one percent (0.3%) on a dry weight basis. Certain standards are required for legal growing, cultivating and producing the hemp plant. The Colorado Industrial Hemp Program registers growers of industrial hemp and samples crops to verify that the THC concentration does not exceed 0.3% on a dry weight basis.
Epilepsy Society supports the Government in reviewing the regulatory framework for new drugs so that children with epilepsy have access to the excellent medical research and innovative treatments in this country, in the same way as disabled children in other leading North American and European countries. This could lead to clinicians being able to request a licence for a THC product where there is evidence that it would benefit the patient.
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