December 2013 via California Norml – Spurred by growing reports of the medical efficacy of cannabidiol (CBD), the second leading active ingredient in marijuana, patients are increasingly seeking out high-CBD varieties for treatment of conditions ranging from severe epilepsy and multiple sclerosis to anxiety and cancer pain.
CBD has long been overshadowed by delta-9-THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the primary active ingredient in marijuana, because unlike THC, it does not produce a psychoactive “high.” CBD has nonetheless long been known to have useful anti-spasmodic, anti-epileptic, anti-anxiety, and anti-psychotic properties.
Although CBD lacks noticeable effects when taken alone, it has a calming, sedative effect when combined with THC, cutting down on the anxiety, paranoia, and memory impairment that many users find unpleasant or debilitating with regular marijuana. CBD-rich strains accordingly have particular appeal to older users and medical patients who are uncomfortable with the THC high.
Public interest in CBD was aroused by a recent CNN report on medical marijuana by Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Previously a skeptic on medical marijuana, Dr. Gupta admitted to having been “brainwashed” by government propaganda. Gupta featured the story of a 5-year-old girl, Charlotte Figi, who suffered continual epileptic seizures from a rare disease known as Dravet’s syndrome. Conventional treatment having failed, Charlotte’s condition dramatically improved after she was treated orally with an extract of CBD-rich cannabis.
In the wake of Gupta’s show, providers of high-CBD strains have been besieged by requests from parents of children with Dravet’s, including from non-medical marijuana states. Utah recently held hearings at the state legislature about drafting a bill on the topic.