When science goes to pot
Poring over the tens of thousands of scientific papers on pot
Published: January 12, 2011
In the past, most marijuana breeding has been to increase the THC level. Now people are thinking about breeding the plant for higher CBD or other cannabinoid levels. Also, we're learning about cannabinoids in other plants, such as echinacea, that hold some promise for future pharmacological developments. More is not necessarily better. Some indications show that there is an optimum level of cannabinoids to affect diseases — too little or too much renders it ineffective. The good thing is that no one has ever died from a marijuana overdose. The same thing cannot be said of many other drugs.
However, one thing prevalent in anecdotal accounts of medical marijuana use is not playing out under scientific analysis. Patients have reported getting different euphoric effects from cannabis sativa and cannabis indica strains. Science finds no appreciable difference in the cannabinoids in those plants.
I read several papers regarding medical marijuana for this column. Two notable reviews are "Non-psychotropic plant cannabinoids: new therapeutic opportunities from an ancient herb" (tinyurl.com/46h6o25) and "The Endocannabinoid System as an Emerging Target of Pharmacotherapy" (tinyurl.com/4w5ew72). Norml.org also has good information. If you're curious, these are places to start.
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