Since the scientific discovery of the cannabis plants main cannabinoid and
psychoactive compound, Delta 9-Tetrahydrocannabinol, we still know only about a
handful – 60ish – named cannabinoids, and there are potentially hundreds more contained within the cannabis plant.
Responsible cannabis consumers want not only to know the percentages of the
cannabinoids that are present in their pot now, but other than knowing that the
more THC there is the higher you get, consumers now want to know what effect CBD,
CBN, CBG and THCV have on your body, and how that interacts with the THC and
subsequently your high.
Of course it isn’t just the casual consumer that wants to know what’s in their buds… the medicinal value of cannabis is pioneering the efforts in the scientific
setting. Patients with MS, Crohns, Fibromyalgia and Cystic Fibrosis have turned to
cannabis use in place of their “tradtional” pharmaceuticals that, for them and many
others like them, do not work.
One cannabinoid that has been stealing THC’s longstanding limelight is CBD or
Cannabidiol. There are several very good reasons for this shift of attention.
While THC is responsible, or to blame, for the “high” when you smoke, vaporize or eat
cannabis it is also to thank for the huge pain relieving quality of the herb and as
the Huffington Post brought to my attention this month (Aug 24th 2011) “The number of
deaths from prescription painkillers – opioids, such as OxyContin, Vicodin and
hydrocodone – in the United States has now surpassed that of skin cancer, alcoholic
liver disease and HIV, according to a new study published online in the British
THC is also said to be the cause of paranoia and strains that are high in this
psychoactive compound are labelled “Skunk Cannabis” by the media and government in
the UK and attribute it to the modern epidemic of Cannabis Psychosis. The formula to
work out if you have this terrible syndrome is quite complex but as far as I can work
out it starts off by – the younger you were when you first smoked cannabis to the
time you tried it next increases your risk of psychosis if you were younger your
first time and you experienced a longer gap between your first and second experiences
again increased by your number of joint years which is how many joints you smoke a
But that’s according to the government and I like to get my information from science.
CBD has changed the story somewhat, both on the scientists’ and governments’ sides of
the fence. The property that CBD has had shouted about the most is by no means the
most important but it goes to show you about the intentions of the media *ahem*
sensationalism *ahem*, but that’s no suprise seeing as they like to throw the anti on
THC so readily.
CBD is an anti-psychotic. This means that it is a great treatment for psychosis,
schizophrenia and paranoia… three syndromes that THC is laid blame for. The evidence
that has been put forward now has become so compelling that the tabloid media have
had to make a shift on what they call “skunk cannabis” from strains high in THC to
strains low in CBD. Traditionally they would report on Skunk Cannabis being 18%
potent but with the new rules, as long as the CBD is virtually nonexistent, 6% THC
seems to do the job for them.
What scientists have observed with CBD in the lab is a counteractive effect to THC.
This has somewhat been echoed by users of cannabis saying that higher CBD strains
tend to have less of a rush or euphoria to them. It has also been reported that CBD
“reduces growth of aggressive human breast cancer cells in vitro and reduces their
Other medical uses for CBD are as an anti-inflammatory, anti-convulsive, anti-emitic
(nausea), anti-spasmodic and has most noticeably been used in the world’s first modern
cannabis “based” medicine in the form of Sativex patented by GW Pharmaceuticals in
every continent now other than the Americas (Sativex is currently awaiting stage 3
trials for cancer pain in the US and was first available on prescription in Canada, 2005).
So, this science has managed to overpower the UK government and force them to change
their official stance of cannabis from “not a medicine” to “not a medicine in herbal
form” because of course GW Pharma can grow around a dozen ware-houses of it, and
profit from it at that, WITH explicit permission from Her Majesty’s Government.
Sativex is actually developed from a strain known as Skunk#1 so the very notion
that Skunk Cannabis could be harmful when it is actually the main ingredient to an
accepted form of medical cannabis and an accepted form of cannabis at that. A
whole plant extract via a Super Critical CO2 high pressure machine which produces a
very dark and sticky hash oil, mixed with ethanol and peppermint oil, then packaged
in spray bottles that with each press dispense 2.3mg of THC and 2mg of CBD. The
effect on the user is pain relief and reduction in spasms and tremors as it is most
commonly prescribed to MS patients although chronic pain is an accepted condition in
areas that have not decided to ban it due to the cost.
The list of positive side-effects is so desirable, CBD rich strains have become the
choice of many medicinal users according to a few dispensaries like SPARC and
Harborside Health Center in the Bay Area who make strains available such as Jamaican
Lion (8%), Harlequin (12%) and Trident (14%) that all have higher CBD levels than