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Why Whole Plant Cannabidiol is Superior for Medical Treatments
Earlier this year, an Israeli study entitled “Overcoming the Bell-Shaped Dose-Response of Cannabidiol by Using Cannabis Extract Enriched in Cannabidiol” was published in the journal Pharmacology & Pharmacy. This study proved that for clinical use, whole plant CBD-rich cannabis extracts and products are significantly more effective and therapeutic than synthetic single-molecule CBD. As a result of its findings, this study put to bed the stereotyped notion that “crude” CBD compounds are low-quality and less effective than their pure, synthetic counterparts.
The findings of this study have major implications for phytopharmaceutical and medical marijuana industries and may produce treatments that can help patients cope with painful and difficult inflammatory diseases.
What is CBD?
CBD, both whole plant and synthetic varieties, is a compound derived from cannabis that offers considerable medical benefit without making patients feel “high.” This is because CBD-rich cannabis strains are not psychoactive or are less psychoactive than their THC-dominant counterparts. This makes them effective and appealing treatment options for patients suffering from inflammatory diseases, pain, seizures, or anxiety.
Many studies have been conducted on the clinical uses of CBD, and currently, the compound is being evaluated as a treatment option for everything from arthritis, migraines and diabetes to PTSD, depression, epilepsy and chronic pain. Additionally, CBD has been shown to have considerable anti-cancer properties as well as significant neuroprotective and neurogenic capabilities, which may expand its therapeutic uses in the future.
The Israeli Study and the Bell-Shaped Curve
The Israeli study set out to compare the therapeutic benefits of CBD-rich cannabis extracts and single-molecule CBD. To begin this process, the researchers consulted preclinical studies from the last 15 years. The team quickly discovered that when single-molecule synthetic CBD was administered orally or in injection form to a patient suffering from a condition like inflammatory bowel disease (IBS), multiple sclerosis (MS), diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis, the treatment produced a bell-shaped curve between dose and response. This means that, after a certain dosage amount, the impact of CBD ceased to be therapeutic. The therapeutic dosage window for synthetic CBD was very limited and there were no positive effects noted in patients when single-molecule CBD was given in higher or lower doses. This trait of single-molecule CBD limits its usefulness and makes it difficult to utilize effectively in a clinical setting.
The Clinical Difference Between Whole Plant and Synthetic CBD
After discovering the bell-shaped pattern created by single-molecule CBD, the Israeli team set out to learn more about the treatment differences between single-molecule CBD and whole plant extract rich in CBD. To do this, they located a CBD-rich cannabis strain that had very little THC (this strain was similar to California’s ACDC strain, which has long been favored by growers for its high CBD content) and administered both the whole plant and synthetic varieties to mice. Upon doing this, the researchers confirmed that when single-molecule CBD was administered, it produced a bell-shaped curve with a very narrow zone for therapeutic administration. The whole plant CBD extract, however, had a much different effect.
Unlike the single-molecule CBD, the whole plant CBD-rich extract produced a direct and immediate reduction in pain, inflammation and TNFa production, which is a protein that plays a significant role in inflammation. These results proved that CBD-rich cannabis extract is actually more effective at reducing inflammation than commercial painkillers. In fact, when the researchers tested whole plant CBD and aspirin side-by-side, they found that the whole plant CBD-rich extract produced a much more pronounced anti-inflammatory effect than aspirin.
Additionally, unlike purified CBD, CBD-rich extract displayed a direct correlation between dose and effectiveness. Whole plant CBD extract exhibited increased therapeutic responses in accordance with increasing doses, which makes this treatment option attractive and applicable to patients in a clinical setting. Finally, the researchers discovered that the amount of CBD-rich extract required to produce a therapeutic effect in patients was much smaller than the amount of pure CBD required to produce the same therapeutic effect. These finding indicate how CBD-rich extract can be used more sparingly in patients suffering from uncomfortable conditions.
The Future of Whole Plant CBD
CBD-rich extract has a direct dose-response reaction, low administration requirements and profound anti-inflammatory properties. Using these results, the Israeli researchers determined that CBD-rich extract is superior to single-molecule CBD for treatment of conditions that involve inflammation and pain. Although the exact reason for this increased effectiveness requires further study, researchers currently believe it may be due to an interaction between the CBD itself and phytocannabinioids and non-cannabinoid compounds. Although further clinical trials are required to better understand the treatment applications of CBD-rich extract, it is clear that whole plant CBD has the potential to change or compliment the treatment options for many common conditions that were previously treated by synthetic drugs alone. Because of this, CBD-rich extract gives patients a powerful tool to reclaim their well being. In addition to offering a lower dose of treatment than single-molecule CBD, CBD-rich extract also produces fewer adverse effects and has the potential to leave patients feeling better, despite their health difficulties and painful conditions.
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