Thursday, December 8, 2016

Why Whole Plant Cannabis Is Essential To All Of Us

Why Whole Plant Cannabis Is Essential To All Of Us

Why Whole Plant Cannabis Is Essential To All Of Us
Whole plant cannabis. We’ve all probably heard the term. Companies use it to promote their products, patient groups campaign for the right to use it, yet the majority of scientific research into medical cannabis ignores it, choosing to focus on single compounds like THC and CBD. Globally, medical cannabis use and regulation is riddled with contradictions, inconsistencies, and hypocrisy, but for many the near impossibility of bringing whole plant cannabis medication to market is the biggest travesty of all.

The FDA says there’s not enough proof that the cannabis plant has therapeutic use, but its continued schedule 1 status means it’s a bureaucratic nightmare to research.

Patients see first hand that whole plant extracts treat their symptoms better than isolated cannabinoids, yet no pharmaceutical company will invest millions researching a plant that can’t be patented.

At the heart lies a seemingly irrevocable tension between what anecdotal evidence from patient experience suggests to be effective and what ultimately will keep pharmaceutical company shareholders and government regulators happy.
Cannabis a complex plant So why does it matter anyway if the whole plant is researched or not? Surely if we know that certain cannabinoids have therapeutic effects, we should just concentrate on those, right?

Well, that would be the easy answer if the cannabis plant fitted in with the current single molecule model of scientific research. But cannabis is a complex beast. With approximately 420 molecules, including 113 cannabinoids, over 200 terpenes, plus flavonoids, amino acids, proteins, enzymes, fatty acids, and sugars, it’s easy to see that the cannabis plant has a whole lot of botanical stuff going on.

So far, it’s the two headline grabbing cannabinoids Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD) that have been most widely researched, with many scientists believing they are key players in the piece.

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