Is Pure CBD The Most Medicinal Part of Cannabis?

Not so fast.

Is Pure CBD The Most Medicinal Part of Cannabis?
Photo by Aleksandr_Kravtsov/Getty Images

The word on the street is that Cannabidiol (CBD) is the most medicinal part of the cannabis plant. The non-intoxicating compound of marijuana has gained rock star status ever since Dr. Sanjay Gupta showed the world in his documentary ‘Weed 2’ that it has the power to control seizures in epilepsy patients. Fast forward a few years and now the substance has become so much a part of popular culture that it is even being counterfeited by hacks trying to strike it rich on the heels of Uncle Sam’s regulatory incompetence.

But is CBD really the most effective medicine in terms of cannabis sativa? In other words, could the US government save the nation from strife and suffering by simply legalizing this part of the plant?

The answer is a resounding no.

Some of the research conducted over the past several decades shows the only way to maximize the therapeutic aspects of cannabis medicine is to use the entire plant. After all, it would be naïve to think that a single component of the herb, especially considering that it has hundreds of various cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids, would be the only part of the plant that could contribute to the health of civil society. Israeli scientist Raphael Mechoulam called it the Entourage Effect, the process of hundreds of cannabis components working better together than when isolated.

So even while CBD is getting all the notoriety these days for its ability to treat ailments ranging from cancer to epilepsy, Mechoulam found, through more than forty years of research, that THC, the compound that creates the stoned effects, and CBD actually enhance the performance of the other. This means CBD treatments would be a lot more effective if they contained a measurable dose of THC. It also means that these compounds were never intended to be used separately. Yet lawmakers often view CBD as the good compound, while THC is typically branded a troublemaker.

But this is not to say that CBD doesn’t have some therapeutic value on its own. It can control seizures — there is evidence of that. In fact, the Britsh drug company GW Pharmaceuticals is on the verge of releasing an FDA approved CBD treatment that will be made available to families with epileptic children. But for some, this particular treatment may not be the answer. Some reports suggest that pure CBD doesn’t do the trick when it comes to controlling seizures, and that playing with THC ratios is necessary.

Still, for people looking for a natural remedy without the stoned effects, concentrates made from high-CBD strains could provide relief from a number of ailments.

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