New Study: Cannabis Concentrates With CBD Blocks Side-Effects of THC
The potential medical value of legal cannabis is promising, but first researchers much better understand cannabis’s main compounds and their side effects. Fortunately, a new study out of Western University in Ontario, Canada, suggests that researchers are already making strides in this endeavor.
While issues like dependence are most commonly associated with cannabis use during youth, they can affect people of any age. New research suggests that it’s possible to prevent, or even reverse, these issues by taking CBD and THC concentrates together.
Researchers at Western University sought to lessen the negative side effects of THC (the psychoactive element of cannabis).
By administering THC to rats, they were able to see the same effects sometimes present in humans: paranoia, anxiety, and addictive behaviors. When they were administered THC and CBD together, the rats displayed relatively normal behavior.
Why It Works
The concept behind the experiment centers on ERK (Extracellular-Signal Regulated Kinase). ERK is a molecule in the brain that plays a crucial role in learning and memory. When ERK is overstimulated, however, it can result in anxiety, paranoia, and/or addictive behaviors.
Lab rats given THC displayed higher levels of activated ERK and many of these behaviors. But when they were given CBD and THC together, their activated ERK levels were normal.
It has already been established that CBD blocks CB1 receptors, which modulate neurotransmitter releases when activated by cannabinoids in the body (endocannabinoids) or externally through cannabis use. This interplay helps to reduce some of THC’s less desirable effects. It will be interesting to see how this principle is revised going forward using the results of this study.
The notion that more complete profiles present more favorable results when ingested is not a radical concept. Millenniums of evolutionary changes have resulted in complex structures and reactions inside of plants, which directly affect how our bodies use them.
Vitamin C, for instance, is beneficial for our bodies. Yet, we get more benefit from consuming oranges than from eating vitamins because vitamins cannot mimic the complexities of oranges’ molecular and structural compositions. Similarly, we may better benefit from vaping cannabis concentrates that contain both THC and CBD, as there is apparent synchronicity in their effects. In cannabis use, this synergistic modulation of effects is referred to as the entourage effect.
The implications of this study have the potential to positively impact cannabis retailers, consumers, and the medical industry.
In medical use, these findings may affect how doctors prescribe medicinal marijuana in the future. Medicinal marijuana is often prescribed for long-term use, treating issues like chronic pain in multiple sclerosis or acting as a muscle relaxant for Parkinson’s patients. With longer use there is a greater risk of dependency and the ongoing stimulation of the ERK can exacerbate other negative side-effects.
By including CBD in cannabis concentrates, medical marijuana can help reduce or avoid these issues in long-term prescriptions. This is valuable information as there is promising growth in the use of cannabis vape pens for medical applications.
This knowledge can also benefit the casual user. Although people recreationally vape cannabis to relax or improve sleep, some experience opposite effects.
This study suggests that the inclusion of CBD could help mitigate these adverse effects. Removing these negative effects has the potential to open up more users to recreational use.
For any drug, medical or recreational, dependence is a potential issue. Understanding the triggers, and how to close them off, can help to determine safer and smarter ways to consume cannabis concentrates.
The hope is that this discovery of the ERK neutralizing-effects of CBD may not only help prevent dependence but help people overcome addiction.