Leading international medical cannabis researchers in Israel have documented that CBD extracts made from the whole cannabis plant display superior medicinal properties compared to synthetic single molecule cannabidiol (CBD)
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The scientific peer reviewed journal: Pharmacology & Pharmacy (Feb 2015) published the report “Overcoming the Bell-Shaped Dose-Response of Cannabidiol by Using Cannabis Extract Enriched in Cannabidiol”. Report co-author and pioneering cannabis researcher Lumir Hanus was key in discovering the first endogenous cannabinoid compound (Anandamide) in mammal brains in 1992. After reviewing the scientific literature for the last 15 years, Hanus and team noted that many cannabinoid studies focused only on the pure, single-molecule CBD in animal models of disease, including diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis and others.
What the researchers discovered was that these preexisting studies using only a pure isolate of single-molecule CBD resulted in bell-shaped dose response curves. The authors explained that this resulted in ‘Healing was only observed when CBD was given within a very limited dose range, whereas no beneficial effect achieved at either lower or higher doses’. Furthermore, this was a characteristic that ‘imposes serious obstacles that limit its usefulness in a clinical context’.
The research team designed a study to “find a CBD source that could eliminate the bell-shaped dose-response of purified CBD”. They chose to put a whole plant CBD-rich extract to the test and compare its effects against the single-molecule isolate. In this study, the group used a high CBD dominant strain similar to “ACDC” in California, but with origins from previous breeding projects in Spain which were called “Cannatonic” the name taken for its intended use as a “cannabis tonic”. The strain obtained was called “Avidekel”, “clone 202” and procured from Tikkun Olam, a leading Israeli medical marijuana producer. The plant extract tested contained 17.9% (CBD), 1.1% THC, 1.1% cannabichromene (CBC) 0.2% Cannabigerol (CBG) and trace amounts of cannabivarol (CBDV). To evaluate effects on anti-inflammation and painkilling, this specific CBD extract was given to groups of mice.
Multiple groups of mice were given the different experimental products. Control groups were not given anything, others the natural CBD extracts from clone 202, and others the pure synthetic CBD to assess its anti-inflammatory and analgesic behavior, including upon a key marker molecule in the inflammatory pathway, namely tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFa). Irregularities in TNFa production have been connected with numerous disease states including cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, Alzheimer’s and clinical depression.
Different results in the dose response curves
The researchers saw amazingly different results in the dose response curves of the different types of CBD. As understood previously, the synthetic single molecule synthetic CBD had only a bell curve dose response curve, where therapeutic potential was very limited.
The natural CBD extract group however displayed a dose dependent pattern with inhibition of pain, inflammation and TNF alpha production
The Israeli team explained “the clone extract…provided a clear correlation between the anti-inflammatory and anti-nociceptive responses and the dose, with increasing responses upon increasing doses, which makes this plant medicine ideal for clinical uses.”
In addition to this clear difference in effect, the team observed another key difference in the dose response curve between natural CBD and synthetic CBD. They found that the dosage amounts required for the same effect of pain relief were much less in the natural CBD extract versus the synthetic CBD. On the higher end of the dosage scale, the synthetic CBD lost is efficacy, while the natural CBD extract reached its medicinal plateau and held steady in its effectiveness.
The clear differences displayed caused the scientists to conclude that natural CBD extracts are “superior for the treatment of inflammatory conditions.” They postulated that this more efficient and therapeutic natural CBD extract could be due to the combination and cooperation between CBD and the numerous other minor phytocannabinoids and hundreds of non-cannabinoid plant compounds found in the natural CBD extract. Furthermore the group said, “It is likely that other components in the extract synergize with CBD to achieve the desired anti-inflammatory action that may contribute to overcoming the bell-shaped dose-response of purified CBD”.
This key finding of an improved dose response curve when using natural CBD extracts containing other components of cannabis has been supported by other scientific studies linked below (1) and (2).
The study then went further to examine how the two different CBD products performed against commercial painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs. Both the natural CBD extracts and the synthetic CBD displayed superior anti-inflammatory action as well as inhibitory effects on TNFa versus aspirin.
In conclusion the team said: “A lot of research has been made to isolate and characterize isolated single constituents of traditional herbal medicine to find their rationale for therapeutic uses”… “However, our data together with those of others provide legitimation to introduce a new generation of phytopharmaceuticals to treat diseases that have hitherto been treated using synthetic drugs alone. The therapeutic synergy observed with plant extracts results in the requirement for a lower amount of active components, with consequent reduced adverse effects.”
- Phytomedicine. 2014 Apr 15;21(5):631-9. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2013.11.006. Epub 2013 Dec 25. Inhibition of colon carcinogenesis by a standardized Cannabis sativa extract with high content of cannabidiol.
- Urology. 2011 Apr;77(4):1006.e9-1006.e15. doi: 10.1016/j.urology.2010.12.006. Epub 2011 Feb 18. Inhibitory effect of standardized cannabis sativa extract and its ingredient cannabidiol on rat and human bladder contractility.
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