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As the Remarkable Healing Qualities of CBD—a Component of Marijuana—Are Documented, Anti-Pot Drug Warriors Respond With CBDisinformation

The healing qualities of cannabis undermine the propaganda claims of medical pot's public enemy #1.

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Single-molecule THC is classified as a Schedule III drug, a category reserved for medically valuable substances with low abuse potential that are unlikely to lead to physical dependence. Whole plant marijuana, meanwhile, continues to be classified as a dangerous Schedule I drug with no medical utility.

SAM tries to reconcile Uncle Sam’s illogical, incoherent, and unscientific marijuana policy by emphasizing the supposed superiority of single-molecule medicine over “crude” whole plant remedies. SAM’s single-molecule fetish reflects a cultural and political bias that privileges corporate pharmaceuticals. Single-molecule medicine is the predominant corporate way, the Big Pharma way, but it’s not the only way, and it’s not necessarily the best way to benefit from cannabis therapeutics.

Marijuana contains several hundred compounds, including various flavonoids, aromatic terpenes, and dozens of minor cannabinoids in addition to THC and CBD. Each of these compounds has specific healing attributes, but when combined they create what scientists refer to as a synergistic “entourage effect,” so that the therapeutic impact of the whole plant is greater than the sum of its single-molecule parts.

SAM says it’s working on “a long-term solution to expand and accelerate the current research so that every patient who might benefit from CBD can obtain it.” But SAM’s belated promise to help bring CBD to the masses rings hollow given its ongoing support for cannabis prohibition, a dishonest, venal, and destructive policy that has thwarted clinical research and impeded medical progress for decades to everyone’s detriment. For this SAM owes America an apology.

Since the passage of Proposition 215, California’s landmark 1996 ballot measure that legalized marijuana for therapeutic use, a unique laboratory experiment in democracy has unfolded in the Golden State and elsewhere with positive results. Thanks to the rediscovery of CBD-rich cannabis strains by outlaw plant breeders and growers in Northern California five years ago, cannabis clinicians and medical marijuana patients can avail themselves of additional therapeutic options today.

Successful CBD-rich treatment regimens have extended the lives of advanced cancer patients and others suffering from a wide range of diseases. Most remarkable of all is the dramatic improvement in numerous cases of pediatric epilepsy attributable to CBD-rich oil extracts, which stop seizures when nothing else is effective.

But CBD-rich remedies with little THC don’t always work. Parents of epileptic children have found that adding some THC helps with seizure control in many instances. For some epileptics, THC-dominant strains are more effective than CBD-rich products.

Physicians and patients are finding that different ratios of CBD and THC are optimal for different conditions and individuals. A CBD-rich strain or product with little THC is not necessarily a superior treatment option compared to a balanced CBD-rich remedy with an equal amount of CBD and THC. A CBD-rich extract or strain with little THC might be optimal for treating anxiety and many seizure disorders, whereas pain syndromes, cancers, and neurodegenerative conditions could benefit from an appropriate amount of THC. One size doesn’t fit all with respect to cannabis therapeutics, and neither does one compound or one product or one strain.

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