Martin Lee on CBD
Earlier this year on March 6, Martin Lee, author and journalist, gave a talk on marijuana and CBD in Sanfrancisco, California (sponsored by the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco).
Anyone can get marijuana today, he said. It’s one of the easiest controlled substances out there to get ahold of. Well, ironically, unless you’re researching it for its legitimate use.
Currently in the United States, marijuana and its active ingredient, THC, are Schedule I drugs, meaning the drug has a high potential for abuse, the drug has no accepted medical use, and the drug is not safe to use even under educated medical supervision, according to the Controlled Substances Act passed by the US congress. At the same time, numerous clinical trials and highly supported research by countless medical teams have led states in the country to legalize the drug for prescription by doctors, for a variety of medical conditions, asserting its safety and its ability as an effective treatment. In fact, even trials conducted by interest groups aiming to create evidence supporting the current criminalization of marijuana have, as a whole, ended up with more results attesting to the drug’s safety. Lee suspects a select group of incorrectly conducted, heavily biased “studies” helped in the original passage of marijuana into the list of scheduled substances. He remains that the plant is not a cure-all miracle drug, however, advising caution to extreme and unsupported claims on either side of the debate.
In addition to THC, marijuana has, in varying levels, at least 84 other active cannabinoids, or compounds that bind to CB receptors in the brain and body. THC is by far the most famous, and it’s responsible for a large portion of the effects that most people smoke the plant for. Another one of these cannabinoids, CBD, reverses certain effects of THC, while enhancing and producing other effects.
Traditionally, marijuana growers and smokers have favored plant strains that grow with a high THC content and a respectively low amount of CBD, but new knowledge has shown that some of the additional effects that CBD produce can be extremely valuable in medicine. Lee, presenting publications from the US, UK, Israel, and Brazil from around 2009, described the period as the start of CBD’s revival, especially in medical dispensaries.
Lee then went into some astonishing examples of the benefits of CBD. In several trials, CBD seemed to mimic the well-known effects of vitamin D by switching off the id-1 gene, which is how vitamin D fights the spread of breast cancer cells. The effects of a combination of Vitamin D and CBD would be interesting, and possibly very helpful to patients.
In several approved trials of CBD on different mammals (government-approved trials of CBD on humans in the US are extremely rare and usually very expensive), the compound acted as an anti-convulsant, making it a promising candidate for epilepsy treatment, as people at Stanford University are investigating. There are also numerous first hand reports of marijuana helping and even stopping seizures.
Publications from countries other than the US also provide great evidence in legitimate human trials. A clinical study in Brazil on CBD found it to effectively fight symptoms of human psychotic patients. Another study on humans in the UK consistently resulted in CBD regulating the rhythm of the heart effectively, lowering the rate of cardiac arrhythmia in affected individuals.
CBD has also been demonstrated as a reliable treatment for victims with chronic strokes and enabling stem cells to be produced more efficiently. Other studies heavily supported the results by finding CBD to act as an anti-oxidant.
If it wasn’t clear already, Lee again stressed that these are not crackpot pseudoscientists forming guesses and throwing around experimental results. These are well funded studies consisting of multiple trials in clinical settings. He joked that the conference, in fact, consisted of hundreds of professional and educated people; no scraggly-dressing teenagers smoking doobies in the audience.
Lee says that, with as many trials and studies that exist or are being done today, anti-marijuana parties can’t explain why not one has found any definitive negative effects from CBD, the closest thing coming being a dry mouth or throat. Still, a legal battle needs to be fought, and his hope is for CBD’s true medicinal effects to win the fight.