CBD Fifteen years ago, if you had walked into a coffeeshop in Amsterdam and asked about the CBD and THC content of cannabis, the odds are you would have been greeted with a look of confusion from the person behind the counter.
If you had found your way to the Cannabis College and asked the same question, however, it’s likely that one of the volunteers would have drawn you a basic pie chart to explain the balance of the three cannabinoids that had been studied most:
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), Cannabidiol (CBD), and Cannabinol (CBN). At the time, CBN was thought to be an entirely separate cannabinoid to the other two; we now know it’s actually a metabolite of THC, which is converted into CBN as the THC ages.
The Cannabinoid Pie-Chart
The pie-chart explanation was a greatly over-simplified way of explaining the reasons behind the effects of different types of cannabis – after all, there are over 85 different types of cannabinoids that occur in cannabis, not just three – but it got the job done.
If the THC slice of pie was larger than the CBD and CBN slices put together, the effect was going to be high and uplifting. If the reverse was true and the THC was the smallest slice of pie, then the effect would be more relaxed and soporific. Virtually everyone understood this immediately.
Since the THC component is the one causing the soaring, giggling, energetic high that was pursued by a great many people, a great deal of time, energy and resources were devoted to breeding cannabis seed strains with as high a THC level as possible.
The success of this trend culminated – at least in the Netherlands – with proposals from concerned (and generally ill-informed) parties to make the sale of cannabis containing more than 15% THC illegal in coffeeshops.
On the mainly 90s – 00s quest to find the ultimate cannabis high, strains such as Silver Haze and Mother’s Finest were gained but CBD and CBN were overlooked or forgotten by many of the commercial branches of the cannabis industry as a whole – except for the scientific and medical communities.
As previously mentioned, CBN is created when THC degrades; the two cannabinoids occur in inverse proportion to each other. This explains why, when harvested cannabis is kept for a long time (and especially if exposed to light and air) the buds can produce a stoned effect even if the plant has mostly Sativa genetics.
CBN is only mildly psychoactive, and so far has not produced effects beyond those that THC (highly psychoactive) and CBD (which moderates the effects of THC) already cause to a stronger degree.
CBD, on the other hand, has displayed a host of properties that continue to have a significant impact on the field of medicinal cannabis use.
The Entourage Effect
By 2016, CBD has become far more widely known and been the subject of many more in-depth studies. These have shown that, despite being regarded as non-psychoactive, CBD does have a soporific effect and acts as a moderator for the effects of THC.
Experiments on the effects of THC when administered with and without CBD have shown that, when used alone, THC is more prone to cause feelings of anxiety and even morbidity.
When used in conjunction with CBD – as, let’s not forget, nature intended – the uplifting, euphoric, giggle-inducing effect that most of us identify as the sign of a good sativa is strongly experienced.
Outside of the laboratory, it is virtually impossible to consume pure THC as, in all natural forms of cannabis, all the other cannabinoids come along with it, tempering its effect in ways that actually enhance the high for the user. This has been called ‘the entourage effect’.
It is research such as this which strongly suggests that medications isolating THC or made from synthetic THC, such as Marinol, are both less effective and produce far more unwanted side-effects than the unprocessed, natural plant form.
Since cannabis contains such a large range of cannabinoids that we currently know little about, and produces them in a delicate and complex balance that science cannot, currently, hope to emulate, it is not very surprising that the vast majority of medicinal cannabis users opt for the un-tempered herbal form.
CBD without THC – pain relief without the high
However, when CBD is administered without THC, there are none of the aforementioned negative effects of THC alone.
CBD appears not to need THC in order to be a well-received treatment, and this is one of the most exciting facets of its medicinal potential: it can be used for the relief of various afflictions and diseases without causing a noticeable psychoactive effect.
CBD is now being viewed as having even greater medical potential than its more famous cousin THC. Despite the accusations, not always unfounded, that medicinal users “just like to get high”, there are numerous people for whom the “getting high” part is an unwanted and even unpleasant side-effect of their medication.
Cannabis that has been specifically bred to have a high CBD and low THC content would be an ideal solution for patients who simply want relief from pain without any psychoactive experiences.
In Israel, which has benefited from legal medicinal marijuana for more than a decade and boasts a medicinal program with around 22,000 patients, a breeding program to create precisely this type of cannabis has now been in progress for over ten years.
The Israeli company Tikun Olam has succeeded in creating a strain that has less than 1% THC and an unprecedented 15.8% CBD.
This new strain showed very positive results right from the start, as it was made available to licensed patients before clinical trials had even commenced.
Just as an aside, take a moment to think about that. Cannabis is so safe that an experimental new form of it can be issued to patients before they’ve even got around to testing it on mice. That’s how safe it is as a drug.
A new way of ingesting pure CBD – oils and e-liquids
As technology moves forward, the latest advances in the field of CBD are CBD oil, used as a dietary supplement, and CBD e-liquids, for use in e-cigarettes and vape pens. Sensi Seeds has perfected our own versions of each.
Both CBD liquids use cannabinoids extracted from hemp grown by HempFlax. This ensures exceptional quality, and full traceability of the products from field to customer. Sensi Seeds CBD Oil is in a hemp oil base, for added health benefits.
So what exactly does CBD do that is so amazing?
In addition to moderating the effects of THC in various ways, including a reduction in the well-known experience of short-term memory loss, CBD alone can do some pretty spectacular things. Despite the reputation of ‘stoners’ for being withdrawn and anti-social, CBD actually has anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) and anti-depressant effects which can help to reduce social anxiety, among other things. CBD also acts as a proven analgesic, relieving localized pain without numbing the area.
Research is currently underway into the neuroprotective properties of CBD; neuroprotection, put simply, shields the delicate structures of the central nervous system and brain from damage caused by stress, disease or other trauma. This is the property at work in the treatment of Dravet’s syndrome, when cannabis with a high CBD percentage can dramatically reduce the number of seizures experienced by sufferers. And, perhaps most amazingly, CBD has been proven to inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells in certain types of cancer.
Cannabis doesn’t cure cancer – yet.
It is this last fact that has led to the cry of “Cannabis cures cancer!” which, though incredibly exciting in its potential, is a statement made far too early and based on far too little. What we can say at this stage is that CBD may be able to eliminate certain types of cancer in some cases.
Dr Lester Grinspoon, one of the foremost experts on medicinal cannabis and author of the ground-breaking book ‘Marijuana Reconsidered’, has this to say on the topic:
“There is little doubt that cannabis now may play some non-curative roles in the treatment of this disease (or diseases) because it is often useful to cancer patients who suffer from nausea, anorexia depression, anxiety, pain, and insomnia. However, while there is growing evidence from animal studies that it may shrink tumor cells and cause other promising salutary effects in some cancers, there is no present evidence that it cures any of the many different types of cancer. I think the day will come when it or some cannabinoid derivatives will be demonstrated to have cancer curative powers, but in the meantime, we must be very cautious about what we promise these patients.”
Lighting up a joint or packing a vaporizer – even using the strongest, most CBD-rich variety you can find – is not going to save your life, nor is it going to guarantee you a cancer-free existence. But it can make you really effectively relaxed, and dissipate muscular aches and pains, from menstrual cramps to MS.
New applications are being discovered for CBD on a near-monthly basis, perhaps most excitingly its astonishing effect on sufferers of Dravet’s syndrome, and it is sure that this cannabinoid slice of the pie will continue to reveal its properties as further research takes place.