If you’ve been reading the news lately, you’ll have seen frequent mention of cannabinoids. You’ll have read that both THC and CBD are believed to have a wide variety of medicinal properties, and you may even have read a little about the endocannabinoid system and the way in which cannabinoids can replace the ones your body is supposed to make when there is an imbalance. But why not take the big pharma route and target the cannabinoids? Why should you even be considering using a whole plant extract with hundreds of ingredients that aren’t cannabinoids?
Eminent Israeli scientist, Dr Raphael Mechoulam was the man who first began to uncover the many ingredients in cannabis. His first breakthrough was identifying the non-psychoactive CBD molecule back in 1963. A few years later, he identified the THC molecule.
One might think that after decades studying cannabis and multiple successes under his belt, Dr. Mechoulam had already achieved enough for one lifetime, but in 1999, he uncovered an effect that is still hotly debated because it makes developing pharmaceutical from the cannabis plant redundant.
According to Dr. Mechoulam, there are more than 480 different ingredients in cannabis, and by far not all of them are cannabinoids, but Mechoulam believes that ALL of them work together to produce the medicinal effects he has observed during his career. It’s a natural alchemy in which one ingredient boosts the effects of another, and just how each ingredient boosts the other remains unclear. Nevertheless, the effect has been observed in research by other scientists.
Although seeing pharmaceutical companies working to produce life-saving medicines from cannabis is encouraging, they generally isolate one or two ingredients from natural plants, carefully calculating doses. But research has already shown that this approach limits the action of the primary ingredient they target.
The parents of Charlotte Figi, for example, chose a high CBD, low THC cannabis oil for their daughter, dramatically reducing her seizures. The story was covered by CNN’s Sanjay Gupta, and has caused a sensation around the world, bringing hope to many people whose children also suffer from life-threatening seizures. They didn’t want their daughter getting “high” if they could help it, but they did want the benefit of the entourage effect. Hemp oil with THC was the answer.