Cannabidiol (CBD), the non-psychoactive cannabinoid praised for medicinal powers like reducing the severity and frequency of seizures in children suffering from rare and otherwise untreatable forms of epilepsy, may not be the most medically beneficial molecule found in cannabis, according to new data.
The U.S. government and people who are uncomfortable with the high that is produced by the main psychoactive cannabinoid occurring in cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), have accepted CBD with open arms in recent years by adding it to coffee, skincare regimens, and personal lubricant. Meanwhile, THC remains federally illegal under the Controlled Substance Act.
A new study published in the journal Scientific Reports on February 25, 2019, compared data submitted to the Releaf App between June 6, 2016, and March 5, 2018. During that time, 3,341 users of the app reported results from 19,910 different cannabis-use experiences.
This data study is the first to measure how different characteristics of cannabis produce different effects in users.
During the reporting process from the app, users record details like what type of product they are using, what the reported cannabinoid content is, and which method of delivery is being utilized per experience.
The different types of cannabis products reported include:
- Dried flower
The different methods of delivery include:
- Smoking or combusting
- Applying topically
The Releaf App was designed with new medical patients and cannabis users in mind, aiming to help them understand what works best to treat their specific symptoms or condition by tracking how different strains and methods of delivery affect them. The app also records the lab-reported level of each cannabinoid, like THC and CBD, that is in each product. Adverse side effects, like dry mouth and paranoia, are also reported by users.
Users record how they feel before consumption and then again immediately following administration to understand which method provides the most relief.
CBD VS. THC
While the levels of CBD in a product did not correlate with the symptom relief that was reported, the products with higher levels of THC were strongly linked to symptom relief, according to the Releaf App data.
Dried flower was the most commonly used product during the period of time studied. Dried flower with higher levels of THC was the only product reported to provide the greatest overall symptom relief.
Unlike the relief related to levels of THC, higher CBD content did not correlate with symptom relief, according to the data.
While cannabinoids can still be medicinally beneficial when only one is administered at a time, those aware of the entourage effect understand that cannabinoids work most effectively in conjunction with one another.
This data is a prime example of why cannabis should be removed from the Controlled Substances Act so that scientists can finally have access to the plant for research and studies.