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Need to Know: The Science Behind Medical Marijuana


Health & Wellness  (tags: AlternativeMed, children, disease, drugs, family, government, healthcare, investigation, medicine, marijuana as medicine, seizures )

Kit
- 1589 days ago - america.aljazeera.com
On this week's "TechKnow," contributor Crystal Dilworth travels to Colorado to learn more about Charlotte's Web, a cannabis derivative that's being used to treat kids with severe forms of epilepsy.



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Kit B (276)
Tuesday March 11, 2014, 10:04 am
Photo Credit: TechKnow/Al Jazeera America - The majority of the Stanley family's crop is now high-CBD, low-THC plants.




On this week’s “TechKnow,” contributor Crystal Dilworth travels to Colorado to learn more about Charlotte’s Web, a cannabis derivative that’s being used to treat kids with severe forms of epilepsy. We go inside the dispensary’s labs to see how the drug is made, what’s in it and how it works.


Cannabis biology 101

Cannabis is a genus of flowering plant that includes a single species, Cannabis sativa. The plant is used for fibers and oil (hemp), and may be used for medicinal purposes and as a recreational drug.

Cannabinoids are the active compounds in cannabis. Each plant contains more than 60 chemically related active compounds.

THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the most well-known cannabinoid. It’s the psychoactive component that causes the high experienced after smoking or ingesting pot.

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid. CBD could potentially have a wider scope of medical applications than THC or other cannabinoids. While not widely recognized by the medical community, CBD is integral to the medical marijuana movement, as it is purported to contain antimicrobial, antioxidant, neuroprotective and anti-epileptic properties.

**Picture of chemical structure of Cannabinoids at Site***


So CBD won’t get me high?

The earliest research on the medical effects of CBD showed that the compound had anticonvulsive effects on patients with epilepsy. Later studies also demonstrated that CBD-rich marijuana did not seem to cause the same short-term memory loss seen in high-THC strains, but a lack of further clinical trials left most skeptical about the compound’s healing powers.

Jesse Stanley and his brothers began growing marijuana in 2008 after Colorado passed medical-marijuana laws. Their earliest efforts were focused on pain management and cancer treatments using THC, but when they began learning about the purported health benefits of CBD, they began breeding specifically to maximize CBD content in their plants. “We had a plant that was already fairly high, so we decided, why don't we try to make it higher? The studies that we had read (said that CBD) helped stopped the metastasizing of cancer, which is really important for us.”

The high-CBD plants were otherwise unusable — except for very specific medical treatments. “People commonly call it ‘the hippie’s disappointment,’” Jesse Stanley says. “You could smoke it all day and you wouldn’t get high.”

After being approached by the mother of a young girl with severe epilepsy, the Stanley brothers began focusing on the anticonvulsive properties of CBD, creating concentrated solutions of high-CBD, low-THC strains in order to safely monitor dosages in underage patients.

The resulting concentration has been nicknamed Charlotte’s Web, after Charlotte Figi, the girl who went from having up to 300 grand mal seizures a month to being seizure-free after starting CBD treatments.


How is Charlotte’s Web made?

To extract the CBD for medical treatment, chemists at the Stanley brothers’ labs soak high-CBD marijuana in food-grade alcohol to break down and extract the cannabinoids. Then the solution is heated in a rotary evaporator to remove the alcohol, leaving behind a high-CBD concentrate that is diluted with olive oil to stabilize the extract and make dosing easier.

*** See picture at Site***

Before and after the CBD concentrate is diluted, lab workers use a high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) machine to measure the ratio of CBD to THC in the concentrate. For medical-marijuana patients in search of pain management or appetite encouragement, a higher THC content would likely be desired. However, in the Charlotte’s Web strains, the Stanleys aim for a 30-to-1 ratio of CBD to THC, in order to chieve the anti-epileptic effects with a very small amount of the psychoactive component.

To learn more about medical marijuana and Charlotte's Web, watch "TechKnow," 7:30ET/4:30PT.
******

By: Meredith Kile | Tech Know | Al Jazeera America |

 

Sue Matheson (79)
Tuesday March 11, 2014, 10:32 am
thanks
 

divergent revolution (309)
Tuesday March 11, 2014, 1:46 pm
thanks Kit, there are now about 490 different strains for different uses ranging from shrinking tumors to epilepsy and diabetes, it all depends on when you take the flower off the plant, and other factors
the possibiltes are endless
 

Terrie Williams (798)
Tuesday March 11, 2014, 2:19 pm
All I wanna know is......when in the hell is the rest of this backward country gonna dew the right thing and LEGALIZE it everywhere.........like HERE, Mizzzzzzzzzzzzzzz Kitty Kitty.

The ONLY reason I do not smoke pot for my pain is because it is ILLEGAL in this state of Perpetual Denial. And that one reason is wearing thin at this point in my misbegotten life.
 

Bea friends Kindly (22)
Tuesday March 11, 2014, 2:33 pm
Facts are facts and it's been medicinal since it was discovered : ) In so many ways people get relief from it's healing properties... Thanks for sharing : )
 

Terry King (113)
Tuesday March 11, 2014, 3:50 pm
Terrie... You live in Texas... Move! :O)
 

Lois Jordan (63)
Tuesday March 11, 2014, 5:21 pm
Noted. Thanks for posting this info, Kit. So many are still unaware of the medicinal properties. The amazing stories of these children with multiple seizures needs to go viral. I've read articles where the family has had to move to CO so their child could get medicine. I guess the fact that cannabis has been "like a miracle" for so many cancer patients hasn't been enough proof.
 

Rose Becke (141)
Tuesday March 11, 2014, 6:02 pm
Legalize it world wide
 

Shirley S (187)
Tuesday March 11, 2014, 6:41 pm
I agree Rose !!! Legalize this plant world wide. It seems MAGICAL.
 

Angelika R (143)
Tuesday March 11, 2014, 7:05 pm
After Colorado will have become the HEALTHIEST STATE in the union, i wonder how much longer the idiots and the criminals will wait to legalize it across the nation.., oh, I forgot to mention the RICHEST state,too! ;)
Thx Kit!
Think I want to throw in this petition here : Obama: Take Marijuana Off the DEA Schedule of Drugs!
 

Kit B (276)
Tuesday March 11, 2014, 7:46 pm

It's not magical it's just medicine in it's raw form. Unsynthesized. sterilized or packaged by a pharmaceutical company. Beyond the medical properties are the many benefits of using hemp and not plastic made from petro chemicals. Clothes and flooring made from hemp, and lists go on. I do realize that many will go home after a tough day and pour a shot of whiskey or a glass of wine and that is acceptable, but over time alcohol does affect health, marijuana does not do damage, can not be overdosed, but for years of cash and carry propaganda people will find it difficult to admit they have been told lies and worse, believed them.
 

Sherri G (128)
Wednesday March 12, 2014, 12:26 am
Thank You for posting this Kit. I have seen interviews of Charlotte's parents who explained until this came along Charlotte had no life. Now she goes to school and is catching up. I also saw Gov Christie was confronted by a parent with a child suffering from the same seizures. The parent asked Christie to legalize this drug so he didn't have to travel to CO to get the medication and Christie jumped down his throat. This should be a no brainer. Noted
 

Jaime Alves (52)
Wednesday March 12, 2014, 1:02 am
Noted, thanks.
 

Lucas Kolasa (9)
Wednesday March 12, 2014, 3:58 am
Good article
 

Terrie Williams (798)
Wednesday March 12, 2014, 3:27 pm
Well, Terry, my friend, I have to have , ehem, money, in the first place to do that. Number 2, I cannot leave this Dawg-forsaken, Fascist Hell-hole until my native born TX husband leaves this earth. I will never get out of here, Karma embraced me and she won't let go...in more ways than one. I see my imprisonment here in this state as punishment for having done something really horribly bad in several past lives. So, I am resigned to my fate....for now.....unless, of course, I win the lottery.... :)
 

JL A (281)
Wednesday March 12, 2014, 5:31 pm
seems medically promising
 
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