Quantum 9's Pretiesh Kumar was featured in the Chicago Tribune article ‘Despite legalization, not much known about marijuana’s effects.’ The article discusses the lack of current research to pinpoint exactly if and how marijuana alleviates specific diseases. Kumar specializes in cannabinoid pharmacology and has focused specifically on CBD.
CBD, or Cannabidiol, is one of at least 85 cannabanoids found in marijuana. It is the second major constituent of sativa and indica plants, behind THC, and represents up to 40% of its extracts. CBD counters some of the negative effects of THC, and when combined, it has been found to increase medical efficacy while reducing adverse effects. CBD does not have the same euphoric effect of THC, because it is not psychoactive.
Researchers and pharmacists say that it could relieve symptoms just as well or better than THC, and is considered to have a wider scope of medical applications for symptoms. CBD has been shown to be an effective treatment for schizophrenia, drastically reducing symptoms and producing less side effects than an atypical antipsychotic.
Cannabidiol has shown antidepressant effects and has been found to reduce anxiety in social anxiety disorder. It has been an effective medication for Dravet Syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy. In addition, CBD has been found to be a helpful agent for multiple sclerosis spasms, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, nausea, convulsion and inflammation.
Perhaps most notable of all research is that for inhibiting cancer cell growth. CBD has been shown to reduce growth of aggressive human breast cancer cells in vitro, and to reduce their invasiveness. A two-year study in mice and rats suggested that cannabinoids may have a protective effect against the development of certain types of tumors. And CBD has also been demonstrated to exert a chemopreventive effect in a mouse model of colon cancer.
A recent study published in the International Journal of Cancer showed that cannabidiol can slow and even kill multiple myeloma cancer cells. Multiple myeloma is a type of cancer that begins in the bone marrow and has a median survival rate of around 3 years.
Other studies on cancer and cannabis include brain cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, blood cancer, pancreatic cancer, liver cancer and oral cancer.
CBD is actually a legal form of marijuana that can be purchased in a variety of forms including oil, tinctures, edibles, capsules, lotion and chewing gum. Many strains of the plant itself are now being cultivated to produce a high level of CBD, as the component becomes a more popular and recognized form of medicine.
In November 2012, an Israeli medical cannabis facility produced a plant which has only one active ingredient – cannabidiol. It has managed to create a strain that has 15.8 percent CBD and less than one percent THC and seems to have the highest CBD to THC ratio of any other variant developed.
The Tribune notes that research like Kumar's, studying isolated compounds in marijuana, has picked up in recent years, but widespread research looking at how specific diseases and cannabinoids interact has not been done.