New Marijuana Study Finds Cannabis Is More Than Meets The Eye
Anyone who has partaken in White Widow vs OG Kush knows that there is a VAST, if almost improbable difference between the two marijuana buds. Though both are considered members of the cannabis family, they react quite differently in the body, and as a result, each yields a vastly different experience. For many years, this has commonly boiled down to differences in the amount of THC and CBD found in the specific strain.
As several states grant research and testing licenses for medical marijuana throughout the US, including testing facilities in Ohio, and more countries allow scientific research to be conducted on cannabis, the more we are learning about this miraculous and beautiful plant. And now Canadian college, the University of British Columbia (UBC) Okanagan, has published a new study which seemingly uncovers that marijuana's two most prominent compounds, THC and CBD, may not be what gives marijuana the medicinal effect after all.
What is THC?
Tetrahydrocannabinol, often shortened to "THC,” is the cannabinoid most often associated with marijuana. THC elicits the psychotropic (“high”) effect in users. The therapeutic potential of THC is significant and expansive. The compound can act as an anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea, appetite stimulant and sleep aid, among other benefits.
Most individuals find the "high" from THC to be very enjoyable in moderation, but others find the feeling to be slightly unpleasant. With that said, medical marijuana can be tailored to people who want to avoid the "high" feeling. After all, THC is just one of many cannabinoids. Evidence suggests that use of the cannabinoid CBD can elicit many of the therapeutic benefits of medical marijuana without having the euphoric or dysphoric effects.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol, commonly referred to as “CBD,” is the major non-psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant, and it has been found to offer a wide range of medicinal benefits as an anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, antioxidant, antiemetic, anxiolytic and antipsychotic agent. It also has the potential to provide neuroprotective, immunomodulatory, and anti-tumor effects. Other benefits of CBD include pain and inflammation relief, antipsychotic effects, reduction of anxiety, aid to fight cancer growth, relieving nausea, treating seizures and other neurological disorders, lowering incidence of diabetes, and promoting cardiovascular health.
Although THC does have certain benefits that cannot be achieved through CBD use alone, studies have shown that a combination of high CBD with lower THC levels result in the medicinal benefits of both, without any noticeable psychotropic effects from THC. So, for those who are interested in the benefits of medical marijuana, but are wary of feeling the “high” associated with THC, you can be assured that there are medical marijuana products available to meet their needs.
UBC's recent study was conducted by Elizabeth Mudge, a doctoral student working alongside Professor Susan Murch, a chemistry teacher, and Paula Brown, Canada Research Chair in Phytoanalytics at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. The trio conducted experiments on 33 strains of marijuana, produced by five licensed cultivators. The findings were published by Nature's Scientific Reports.
Though they were able to detect significant genetic diversity among the various strains, the team was unable to detect higher or lower levels of THC or CBD based on those strains. Study author Elizabeth Mudge told Science Magazine, "A high abundance compound in a plant, such as THC or CBD, isn't necessarily responsible for the unique medicinal effects of certain strains."
This means that while the plant itself is genetically unique, the THC and CBD levels were about the same in each plant. Further, they concluded that it isn't just THC or CBD creating the medicinal effect that aide medical marijuana patients. Rather, it could be the diversity among strains, or additional compounds fluctuating the chemical makeup in such a way that create a different effect on the human body with each differing strain. This was attributed to the grassroots methods of growing, where some strains are simply tinkered and renamed, with no real origin for the seeds.
"People have had informal breeding programs for a long time," Professor Murch told Science Magazine. "In a structured program, we would keep track of the lineage, such as where the parent plants came from and their characteristics. With unstructured breeding, which is the current norm, particular plants were picked for some characteristic and then given a new name."
The study also found that other cannabinoids, such as Cannabichromene (CBC) and Cannabinol (CBN), may actually be doing the heavy lifting when it comes to delivering medicinal effects to users. Both CBC and CBN are part of the 110 previously discovered cannabinoids found on the cannabis plant. Even more fascinating is that these researchers discovered over 20 newly uncovered cannabinoids, expanding the genetic diversity of cannabis further than previously known!
What Happens Next for Medical Marijuana?
As more research is conducted, scientists may be able to unlock even more medical benefits of cannabis, and learn how to better target specific ailments, like cancer, seizures or fibromyalgia. There have already been significant changes in how we understand cannabis in only a few short years since legalization efforts hit their stride. But until the United States removes marijuana from the Schedule I listing of their Controlled Substances Act, research and testing will be tragically limited. Schedule I, for those unaware, suggests that the drug has no medical value -- a statement any cannabis laymen knows is far from the truth.
Sadly, though states seem to favor pot, until the federal government steps up, the United States will be trailing other countries when it comes to cannabis science and innovation. Yet another industry the U.S. has seemingly chosen to fall behind in for no reason other than ignorance.
Thankfully, many states (including Ohio) have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes. Even more conservative states like Utah are considering legalization efforts and getting into the cannabis industry. Hopefully, in the near future, we will see proper cannabis reform. But in the meantime, state-authorized mmj programs are a patient's best bet.
To find out if you qualify for medical marijuana in Ohio, just click here, or give Ohio Marijuana Card's offices a call at 1-866-457-5559 and our friendly support staff can walk you through the whole process of obtaining a medical marijuana Ohio card, and set you up with an appointment with one of our state-licensed mmj doctors.