Charlatans Web: A CBD Debacle

By: Mitchell Colbert

The medical cannabis community has recently received some major support from well known doctors, Dr. Oz and Dr. Sanjay Gupta. These doctors switching sides to promote cannabis as a medicine, rather than demonize it, is indicative of a broader shift in the medical profession. This trend of physicians supporting medical cannabis in droves has to do primarily with the spread of information about CBD rich cannabis and its numerous medicinal benefits.

Thanks to Dr. Gupta’s recent CNN special, Weed, much attention has been given to the strain Charlotte’s Web, named for the children’s book and Charlotte Figi. While Dr. Gupta’s support of medical cannabis is invaluable to the movement, his focus solely on Charlotte’s Web stopped short of providing all needed information.

By only mentioning this one strain and not Harlequin, ACDC, Cannatonic, Sour Tsunami, Lemon Remedy, Swiss Gold, and numerous other CBD rich strains, he gave the false impression to many new users that only Charlotte’s Web can help them, rather than all CBD rich cannabis. While it is helpful that many new users are now aware of CBD and its benefits, it is harmful that they are all rushing to Colorado under the mistaken impression that only Charlotte’s Web can help them. It would behoove those patients to avoid the long waitlist in Colorado and come to other medical states to begin receiving treatment now.

Florida recently passed a CBD only medical cannabis law, called the Charlotte’s Web law, whose name itself codifies a brand name into law. The naming of this law is a subtle advertisement reinforcing the bias towards Charlotte’s Web and away from other CBD rich strains that as just as effective, or perhaps more effective. A couple months ago, Dr. Bonni Goldstein spoke at a lecture on CBD and pediatric epilepsy held by Realm of Caring, a foundation associated with the Stanley Brothers. In her lecture Dr. Goldstein made it clear that ACDC, Cannatonic, and other CBD rich strains are comparable to Charlotte’s Web for treating epilepsy.

A word about the title of this article, a charlatan is a sort of snake oil salesman who makes claims about something that are much grander than the truth. With so many patients flocking to Colorado under the belief that only Charlotte’s Web can help them, one cannot help but wonder whether the term might apply to those who most directly benefit from that mistaken belief. 

It’s not just about what strain you are using and whether it is CBD or THC rich. In fact, there is a whole entourage of over 70 cannabinoids at play in cannabis. The entourage effect is a scientifically documented phenomenon where the effects of cannabinoids are increased by the presence of other cannabinoids. Patients are increasingly seeing strains and tinctures rich in THCa, CBG and other non-psychoactive cannabinoids which have been shown to be beneficial for sufferers of seizures and numerous other conditions. THCa, CBG, CBD, and CBDa all have synergistic effects when used together. And it isn’t just which cannabinoids you are imbibing; it also is how you are consuming them.

Whether vaporized, smoked, taken as an edible or a tincture, the method of use can change how cannabis effects you. This is most notable with edibles where the liver breaks down THC into 11-Hydroxy-THC, which has a much stronger effect and explains why edibles tend to be so powerful. It is possible that the liver will also break down other cannabinoids into new forms, but that research has not been done yet.

Regrettably, most doctors are not Sanjay Gupta and know little about cannabis as a medicine, but that is beginning to change. Until it changes, it is up to patients to educate themselves about their condition and find out which method of use and type of cannabis is best for them. There is a wealth of information out there and new studies being released daily.

SOURCE: The Leaf Online

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