The Great CBD Hunt of 2011
Steep Hill Labs, a cannabis testing facility in Oakland, announced “The Great CBD Hunt of 2011”. SHL is offering a reward for previously unknown cannabis strains producing CBD content above 3%. Account Manager Wilson Linker confirmed that they had not yet seen any new strains since they began offering credit for free potency tests in January. However, most marijuana strains out there have been selected for THC and not CBD. “CBD-rich” cannabis is more than 4% cannabidiol by weight (without respect to THC content) or more than 2.5% CBD if CBD exceeds THC. For a frame of reference, check out the menu at the this dispensary that lists available strains of medicine with their THC and CBD content.
THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the best known cannabinoid in marijuana, but another cannabinoid, CBD, has recently come to popular attention. CBD stands for cannabidiol and is being studied in Italy, UK, China, South America and Israel for its effect on: inflammation, cancer cell suppression, muscle spasms, nausea, anxiety and as an anti-depressant. In addition to specific health benefits, CBD changes how THC effects your body, limiting negative side effects. “The range of effects of the phytocannabinoids on pathophysiological processes is truly impressive, and suggests broad applicability in their future therapeutic application.” - A tale of two cannabinoids: The therapeutic rationale for combining tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol
The paper cited above is an excellent overview of THC and CBD. As it turns out, the cannabinoids modulate each other to cause different effects in humans than if they were used alone. CBD doesn’t bind to CB1 receptors in the brain or CB2 receptors throughout the body but actually blocks THC activity as a CB receptor antagonist. Some CBD moderates THC psychoactive effects and acts as a neuroprotective agent to reduce short term memory loss. Smoke pure CBD and then THC and you would not feel effects from the THC. To paraphrase the paper’s conclusion: CBD and perhaps other cannabis components achieve synergy with THC consisting of potentiation of benefits, reduction of adverse effects and lower toxicity.
The lack of psychoactivity of CBD makes it an appealing therapeutic tool when used alone, but combining THC and CBD provides significant benefits as well. Cannabis strains high in CBD and THC achieve a more functional, daily cannabis therapy regimen compared to high THC only medicine. Here is a testimonial about how CBD has helped manage illness.
Imagine a discreet THC/CBD-rich tincture that would not cause couch lock or a distracting head high. The safety of CBD has been well established in clinical trials in England where Sativex, a prescription plant derived THC/CBD mouth spray, is available in Canada and the UK for multiple sclerosis patients suffering neuropathic pain. Marinol, the first generation attempt at making THC pharmaceuticals, failed miserably in part because it did not include any other cannabinoids besides THC or any plant material. As people become more aware of the benefits of CBD and THC, CBD-rich strains will become more popular for medical use.