Cannabidiol (CBD) makes up to 40% of the entire composition of the marijuana plant. The primary psychoactive compound delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is about 2%-5% of the entire extraction, and another 60 or so compounds take up the remaining percentage.
In the years following its discovery in the early 1990s, CBD has stood out from all the marijuana compounds and grasped the world’s attention. Claims of its ability to cure diseases like epilepsy, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain and schizophrenia have spread like wildfire.
In fact, decriminalization and regulation of the growth, possession and use of marijuana have emerged in close to half of the US states thanks to this particular compound.
Consequently, growers who for many years bred out the CBD and enhanced the THC in their crop production in order to command significant prices have now taken the opposite direction. They are now cutting down THC content and enhancing the amount of CBD in order to meet the ever expanding market.
In light of these developments, some scientists like Gary Wenk, Professor of Psychology & Neuroscience and Molecular Virology, Immunology & Medical Genetics at the Ohio State University and Medical Center, have questioned whether CBD is capable of delivering any clinical benefits in the absence of the other compounds, especially THC.
In an article published in Oxford University Press blog, Professor Wenk sought to bring to light the fact that there is much that still needs to be done. Before a final assertion can be made that CBD is all we need from the marijuana plant and nothing more, conclusive studies are needed.
He reminds readers – and CBD enthusiasts in particular – that, apart from the protein receptors in the human brain that serve as the contact points between marijuana and user, there are complex systems scientists have not been able to uncover and analyze in detail to understand how the brain interacts with all the marijuana plant compounds.
THC itself has been linked to a number of marijuana benefits like reducing anxiety, producing euphoria and killing pain that comes with conditions like cancer and bone inflammation conditions.
In addition, both CBD and THC interact with the complex variety of proteins in the brain in the same way but with different degrees of effectiveness. For instance, you would need 1000 dose of CBD to get the result you would get from a single dose of THC.
So Is CBD Effective Without THC?
Taking what has so far been discovered about marijuana and its various compounds, it is difficult to state that one of them is more useful than the other. Moreover, most of the research done on the clinical usefulness of marijuana have involved the entire plant. Even where the target is CBD, some amount of THC has always been involved.
Until a conclusive study isolates CBD as an effective compound apart from the rest, the medical role of the other 60 compounds, including THC, in cannot be written off.