When all is said and done, the effectiveness of CBD as a medicine will all boil down to dosage. And to purity of supply. There is a huge amount of anecdotal evidence that CBD works, and even some pretty good theorizing as to why, but the inability to get reliable supplies of pure and tested product is holding up the kind of large studies needed for definitive conclusions.
That’s partly because growers have, until now, focused on the amount of THC in the cannabis plant to satisfy market demands for increasing psychoactive strength.
The common cannabis you can buy in a dispensary has been cultivated for its THC content. If you’ve smoked a joint or consumed an edible lately, and you have been a long-time user, you already know this. Today’s crops don’t produce your father’s marijuana.
Nevertheless, a long article in a recent New York Times about whether CBD actually lives up to its claims suggested that although research into THC, the cannabinoid that gets you high, is way ahead of that on CBD, it can help us draw some practical conclusions:
In the 1960s, a Bulgarian-born Israeli chemist named Raphael Mechoulam asked a simple question: How does marijuana make you high? The biochemistry of major psychoactive molecules from other recreationally used drugs, like cocaine and opium, was already understood. But scientists still didn’t know how cannabis worked. Mechoulam was the first scientist to map the chemical structure of both cannabidiol and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Two decades later, Allyn Howlett, a scientist then at St. Louis University Medical School, used a radioactive THC equivalent to trace where cannabinoids ended up in the brain and discovered what she would later call CB1 receptors. They were subsequently found in the kidneys, lungs and liver, too. White blood cells of the immune system, the gut and the spleen also have another type of cannabinoid receptor, known as CB2.
THC was shown to hit the CB1 and CB2 receptors. But CBD
seems to interact with multiple systems: increasing the quantity of native cannabinoids in the human body; binding with serotonin receptors, part of the “feel good” molecular machinery targeted by conventional S.S.R.I.s; and stimulating GABA receptors, responsible for calming the nervous system.
Interestingly enough, the federal government actually holds the patent on CBD (cannabidiol), which appears to have more than 65 cellular targets in the body. This might be why:
Many chronic disorders, even though they seem distinct, are characterized by dysfunction in the same few pathways. Inflammation and oxidative stress, for example, occur in schizophrenia, metabolic disorders, heart disease and other ailments. The therapeutic magic of CBD and, in some cases, THC — and maybe some of the more than 100 other cannabinoids in cannabis — may come from the ways that, by tweaking the endocannabinoid system, they push the body away from disease toward the unruffled state scientists call homeostasis.CBD may provide a kind of full-body massage at the molecular level.
Clearly, it is time to focus on CBD and arrive at some clinically supported indications and some recommended optimal doses. Our customers are experimenting on themselves.