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Cannabidiol: The Wonder Drug of the 21st Century?


The traditional use of Cannabis as an analgesic, anti-asthmatic, and anti-rheumatic drug is well established. This British study also suggests that cultivation of Cannabis plants rich in Cannabidiol (CBD) and other phenolic substances would be useful not only as fiber producing plants but also for medicinal purposes in the treatment of certain inflammatory disorders. CBD was found to be more effective than aspirin as an anti-inflammatory agent. "Analgesic and Anti-inflammatory Activity of Constituents of Cannabis Sativa L.," E.A. Formukong, A.T. Evans, and F.J. Evans, Inflammation, Vol. 4, 1988, pp. 361-371.  

Cannabidiol, CBD, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid of Marijuana, was given to 5 patients with dystonia disorders. Improvement occurred in all 5 patients by 20-50%. "Open Label Evaluation of Cannabidiol in Dystonic Movement Disorders," Consroe, et al, International Journal of Neuroscience, 1986, Vol. 30, pp.277-282.  

Three patients with Huntington's Disease who had been previously unresponsive to therapy with neuroleptics, were given Cannabidiol, (CBD), a non-psychoactive cannabinoid of Marijuana. After the second week improvement in choreic movement occurred by 20-40%. Except for transient, mild hypo-tension no side effects were recorded."Effects of Cannabidiol in Huntington's Disease," Sandyk, Consroe, Stern, and Snider, Neurology, 36 (Suppl. 1) April, 1986, p.342.  

In this Brazilian study of 8 Epileptic patients receiving Cannabidiol, (CBD), 4 were free of convulsions, 3 had partial improvement, and 1 was unchanged. No serious side effects were found. This is quite important, as complex partial seizures with secondary generalization are difficult to treat with currently used drugs. The potential use of CBD as an anti-epileptic drug and its possible potentiating effect on other drugs are discussed. "Chronic Administration of Cannabidiol to Healthy Volunteers and Epileptic Patients," Pharmacology, 21: 1980, J.M. Cunha, et al, pp.175-185. 

Subjects receiving 160 mg. Cannabidiol reported having slept significantly more than those receiving placebo; seven out of eight epileptics receiving Cannabidiol had improvement of their disease state. (Brazil) "Hypnotic and Antiepileptic Effects of Cannabidiol," Carlini, E.A., and Cunha, J.A., Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 1981: 21: pp. 417S-427S.  

Three patients with TS who experienced incomplete responses to conventional anti-TS drugs but noted a significant amelioration of symptoms when smoking marijuana. The effects of marijuana on TS may be related to its anxiety-reducing properties, although a more specific antidyskinetic effect cannot be excluded. Eliminating the psychoactive properties of marijuana while retaining the antidyskinetic effects (Cannabidiol) could prove beneficial. "Marijuana and Tourette's Syndrome," (letter), Sandyk and Awerbuch, Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology, Vol. 8, No. 6, Dec. 1988, pp.444-5. 

"Anti-dyskinetic effects of cannabidiol," Conti, L.H., Johannesen, J., Musty, R.E., Consroe, P., Proceedings of the International Congress on Marijuana. 1987: 21. Melbourne, Australia.  

This Brazilian study Investigates the possible anti-psychotic activity of CBD by studying the effect of this cannabinoid on animal models used in research with potential anti-psychotic properties. CBD seems to compare favorably with haloperidol as an anti-psychotic. "Effects of CBD in animal models predictive of anti-psychotic activity," Zuardi, A.W., Rodrigues, J.A., Cunha, J.M., Psychopharmacology 1991: 104: pp. 260-264.

CBD blocks some of the effects of THC in mice but potentiates some other effects. (Brazil)"Pharmacological Interaction between Cannabidiol and Tetrahydrocannabinol," Karniol, I.G., Carlini, E.A., Psychopharmacologia 1973: 33: pp. 53-70.  

CBD was effective in blocking most of the effects of THC, increased pulse rate, disturbed time tasks, and psychological reactions. CBD also decreased the anxiety components of THC. (Brazil) "Cannabidiol Interferes with the effects of Tetrahydrocannabinol in Man," Karniol, I.G., Shirakawa, I., Kasinski, N., Pfeferman, A., Carlini, E.A., European Journal of Pharmacology 1974: 28: pp. 172-177.  

One of the first studies that clearly shows that hemp grown for fiber is very low in THC, the psychoactive component that gets people high. The drug-type marijuana is very high in THC. Cannabidiol (CBD) which is not psychoactive, is very high in fiber-type hemp but low in drug-type marijuana. This is important as CBD is known to block the effects of THC.

This makes the hemp doubly useless for drug effects. "Chemistry of Marijuana," Coy Waller. Pharmacological Reviews, Vol. 23, No. 4, 1971.  

Wild 'marijuana' growing in Riley County Kansas was found to be very low in THC content. (Below the European threshold for fiber hemp.) The leaves and flowering tops averaged from 0.01-0.49% THC with a mean of 0.14% THC. CBD which blocks the psychoactive effects of THC was as high as 1.7%. "Seasonal Fluctuations in Cannabinoid Content of Kansas Marijuana," R.P. Latta, and B.J. Eaton. Economic Botany, 29: April-June, 1975, pp. 153-163.

  Researchers for the Canadian Department of Agriculture tested over 350 varieties of Cannabis in Ottawa, Ontario. They determined that there were two basic types of Cannabis based on genetic characteristics: a drug-type which originates in hot climates such as India and is high in THC but low in CBD and a fiber-type which originates in temperate climates and is low in THC but high in CBD and is used industrially for fiber and food. This awareness of the separateness of the two phenotypes has vast agronomic potential. It means fiber hemp can be grown without the drug effect of 'marijuana.'"The Evolution of Cannabinoid Phenotypes in Cannabis," Ernest Small, H.D. Beckstead, and Allan Chan, Economic Botany, 29: 1975, pp. 219-232.  

Ten mg. of THC is required to get a psychoactive effect from 'marijuana.' It would require 50-100 cigarettes of the French hemp cultivated for paper to get a psychoactive high. "Paper-making type of hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) cultivated in France: Constituents compared to those of marijuana," Fournier and Paris, (French) Plantes Medicinales et Phytotherapie, Vol. 13(2) April, 1979, pp. 116-121.


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