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Finding Optimal Therapeautic Ratios Between THC & CBD

ratios
By: Dr. Malik Burnett

"One question remains in minds of many medical cannabis patients: “what is the optimal ratio of cannabinoids for my needs?” The answer, like many questions in the world of medicine, is still being researched.

Given the fact that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the two most prominent chemical compounds in the cannabis plant, the vast majority of research to date has focused on the ratio of these two cannabinoids. While the ability to control cannabinoid ratios within your own medicine remains limited, the information provided here will hopefully give you some insight into the future of cannabis based therapy.

THC and CBD: The Beginning Of A Beautiful Friendship

Research on the benefits of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) in isolation is well established. THC demonstrates analgesic, anti-emetic, and anti-inflammatory properties, whereas CBD possesses anti-psychotic, anti-seizure, and anti-anxiety properties.

“Subjects reported more pleasurable effects and less anxiety with the combination of CBD and THC than they felt with THC alone.”

However, research on the simultaneous use of THC:CBD is less robust – its origins can be traced to Brazil in the mid-1970s. In this study, patients were given between 15-60mg of CBD in conjunction with 30mg of THC, and the effects were measured. Subjects reported more pleasurable effects and less anxiety with the combination of CBD and THC than they felt with THC alone.

Furthermore, a group of scientists examined the effects of administering CBD at a dose six times that of THC. They found that 73% of study participants reported a decreased feeling of being “high” when compared to THC alone.

Follow-up studies have demonstrated that the combination of the two cannabinoids reduced users’ experiences of tachycardia (increased heart rate), gait instability, and difficulty in eye tracking exercises. These results support the theory that CBD works to minimize some of the negative side effects of THC.

Modern Therapeutic Applications Of The Cannabinoid Ratio

The most recent research into THC:CBD ratios comes out of the pharmaceutical industry, specifically around the GW Pharmaceuticals‘ Sativex, which has a 1:1 ratio of THC and CBD. In the clinical trials phase of drug development, researchers examined the effects of THC, CBD, and combination extracts on sleep, pain control, and muscle spasms. They found that 1:1 THC-CBD extracts provided the most therapeutic relief across all categories.

THC and CBD combinations also show therapeutic promise across a number of disease states for which there has been limited therapeutic breakthrough to date.

In Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), THC has been shown to delay motor deterioration and increase long term survival. Recent work has built on this study to show that the addition of CBD in conjunction with THC leads to a 14% increase in motor performance and an increase in survival beyond the survival rates with THC alone.

In cancer, cannabis has long been credited with helping people combat the nausea associated with chemotherapy. Furthermore, THC and CBD each possess cytotoxic (cell destroying) and anti-angiogenic (prevention of development of new blood vessels) properties. These two properties are critical to combating the spread of cancer within the body, making whole-plant cannabis extracts a viable medical option.

Practical Implications For Medical Marijuana Patients

As it stands, there is still an overwhelming trend towards favoring one cannabinoid over another. Due to federal prohibition in the US, the vast majority of cannabis is grown indoors. Additionally, historical patient demand has pushed cultivators to favor strains with higher THC.

Thus the typical products in your local dispensary will have THC:CBD ratios as high as 20:1 for flowers and 80:1 for concentrates. However, given the emergence of CBD into the public consciousness, more people are considering cannabinoid ratios.

“Standardized testing is essential to the advancement of our understanding of this issue.” – Dr. Jeffrey Hergenrather

Dr. Jeffery Hergenrather, President of the Society of Cannabis Clinicians, addressed the issue of cannabinoid ratios as follows:

“While cannabinoid ratios in most cannabis may be about the same, it is the terpene content which typically creates the different qualities that we have parsed as the difference between Indicas and Sativas for some time. It is highly likely that terpenes may very well alter the properties of the cannabinoids. Standardized testing is essential to the advancement of our understanding of this issue.”

Overall, we are still very much in the infancy of our understanding of the therapeutic potential of cannabis. But it is important as we move forward to be inclusive of whole-plant cannabis medicine in our policy making and not hold some cannabinoids in higher esteem than others. To do otherwise could leave a lot of sick people without viable medical solutions."

Photo Credit: Bubble Man

Via: Medical Jane

 

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What is Decarboxylation, and Why Does Your Cannabis Need It?

By: Patrick Bennet

Here's a scenario we have all seen in film before: Somebody consumes an entire bag of raw cannabis in order to avoid getting caught with it. Eyes pop wide open and gasps ensue. “You just ate that whole bag!” somebody shouts. However, the aftermath of this scene usually involves a very different representation of what actually happens when you consume raw cannabis. Spoiler alert: The effects will be lackluster at best. Why is this the case?

The answer to this mystery lies in a process called decarboxylation, one that is necessary for us to enjoy the psychoactive effects of the cannabinoids we consume.

Decarboxylation Explained

Cannabis flower

 

All cannabinoids contained within the trichomes of raw cannabis flowers have an extra carboxyl ring or group (COOH) attached to their chain. For example, tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) is synthesized in prevalence within the trichome heads of freshly harvested cannabis flowers. In most regulated markets, cannabis distributed in dispensaries contains labels detailing the product’s cannabinoid contents. THCA, in many cases, prevails as the highest cannabinoid present in items that have not been decarboxylated (e.g., cannabis flowers and concentrates).

THCA has a number of known benefits when consumed, including having anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective qualities. But THCA is not psychoactive, and must be converted into THC through decarboxylation before any effects can be felt.

What Causes Decarboxylation?

Cannabis joint

 

The two main catalysts for decarboxylation to occur are heat and time. Drying and curing cannabis over time will cause a partial decarboxylation to occur. This is why some cannabis flowers also test for a presence of small amounts of THC along with THCA. Smoking and vaporizing will instantaneously decarboxylate cannabinoids due to the extremely high temperatures present, making them instantly available for absorption through inhalation.

While decarboxylated cannabinoids in vapor form can be easily absorbed in our lungs, edibles require these cannabinoids present in what we consume in order for our bodies to absorb them throughout digestion. Heating cannabinoids at a lower temperature over time allows us to decarboxylate the cannabinoids while preserving the integrity of the material we use so that we may infuse it into what we consume.

At What Temperature Does Decarboxylation Occur?

Cannabis concentrate on dab tool

 

The THCA in cannabis begins to decarboxylate at approximately 220 degrees Fahrenheit after around 30-45 minutes of exposure. Full decarboxylation may require more time to occur. Many people choose to decarboxylate their cannabis at slightly lower temperatures for a much longer period of time in attempts to preserve terpenes. Many mono and sesquiterpenes are volatile and will evaporate at higher temperatures, leaving potentially undesirable flavors and aromas behind. The integrity of both cannabinoids and terpenoids are compromised by using temperatures that exceed 300 degrees F, which is why temperatures in the 200’s are recommended.

Heat and time can also cause other forms of cannabinoid degradation to occur. For example, CBN (cannabinol) is formed through the degradation and oxidization of THC, a process that can occur alongside decarboxylation. CBN accounts for a much more sedative and less directly psychoactive experience.

How to Decarboxylate Cannabis at Home

Woman opening an oven

 

In order to decarboxylate cannabis at home, all you need is some starting material, an oven set to 220-235 degrees F (depending on your location and oven model), some parchment paper, and a baking tray. Finely grind your cannabis until the material can be spread thin over parchment and placed on your baking sheet. Allow the cannabis to bake for 30-45 minutes, or longer if desired.

Cannabis can also be decarboxylated in a slow cooker by introducing solvents such as cooking oils or lecithin.These methods create infusions that can be used in a variety of cooking recipes, topicals, and even cannabis capsules. Since they contain decarboxylated cannabinoids, they will be effective any way you choose to consume them.

Now that you know how decarboxylation works, the next time you see somebody on television falling over onto the ground after eating an entire bag of shake, you’ll be able to laugh it off over a batch of your very own freshly baked and infused, fully decarboxylated cannabis cookies. Bon appetit!

Via: Leafly.com

 

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New Study Finds Cannabis Does Not Lower IQ, But Drinking Alcohol Does

A new study revealed this week shows that in spite of past claims, marijuana use does not affect IQ. The research, performed by the University College of London, was presented on Tuesday at the European Conference of Neuropsychopharmacology in Berlin.

 

The longitudinal study was performed on over 2,000 students. Researchers studied subjects once at age 8 and again at age 15 born between 1991 and 1992. As the Washington Post reported, the study found

“‘No relationship between cannabis use and lower IQ at age 15,’ when confounding factors – alcohol use, cigarette use, maternal education, and others – were taken into account. Even heavy marijuana use wasn’t associated with IQ.”

This runs in stark contrast to what an internationally publicized Duke University study found in 2012. That study claimed that using marijuana in adolescence led to irreversible drops in IQ an average of 8 points. Though scientists almost immediately objected to the efficacy of the Duke study, the University College of London’s findings are the most recent to prove it wrong.

As the lead author, Claire Mokrysz noted,

“This is a potentially important public health message- the belief that cannabis is particularly harmful may detract focus from and awareness of other potentially harmful behaviors.”

 

 

 

 

 

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