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How Effective Is CBD on Its Own?

April 3, 2014

If you’re at all familiar with the medical cannabis industry, then you have definitely heard about cannabidiol, or CBD. Recently, CBD oil has been (rightfully) getting a lot of attention about its effectiveness for treating epileptic disorders in children. Even U.S. states known for being very conservative (like Florida and Georgia) have recently considered allowing CBD oil as medicine for children with seizures.

Yet, when it comes to extracting solely CBD, not everyone agrees with the recent trend. Is it CBD alone that makes cannabis an effective treatment for diseases such as cancer and epilepsy? Or is there a bit more to it than that?

In this fantastic podcast (embedded below) broadcasted live from last month’s Spannabis event in Barcelona, hosts David Kowalsky of the Cannabis Network Radio and Danny Danko of High Times spent some time talking about the CBD trend with doctor and researcher Guillermo Velasco of Complutense University of Madrid. Professor Velasco is currently one of the doctors responsible for finding that cannabis kills cancer cells in animal models.

“One thing that I advocate to people when it comes to cannabis as medicine is whole plant medicine,” explained Kowlasky. “You need the whole plant as medicine. People are focusing very much on CBD-only medicine in the States, with THC removed. In essence that’s just hemp paste.”

Velasco’s response to this idea is quite fascinating. At around the 24 minute mark, he explains: “In my opinion as a scientist, I’ve been working with [cannabis] for quite a long time. THC is the compound that has the most potent anti-cancer activity. CBD is helping—we tried a lot of combinations of THC and CBD because it’s good for avoiding the side effects of the therapy […] but, definitely THC is important.”

With so much debate surrounding the issue, it’s difficult to tell which side to take. One thing, however, is certain: this podcast deserves a close listen. Listen to the embedded episode below or download “Live from Spannabis 2014 Part 2” from the Cannabis Network Radio website or iTunes. Towards the end of the podcast, you might hear some familiar voices — check out what Rebecca Kelley, Leafly’s Content and Community Manager, and I had to say about the Medical Cannabis Bike Tour

  • Adrian

    Looks like the podcast has stopped. And old episodes, such as this one from 2014, aren’t available though my app (Pocket Casts).

  • I have a question if anyone reading can answer. I have an aunt in a state where medical marijuana was just legalized, but there is still no system in place for issuing cards, etc, even for patients with very little time. She has stage IV NSCLC and is on Immunotherapy infusions (Keytruda) and wants to try cannabis oil on her end. She managed to legally get some CBD products before the 13th (when the schedule 1 thing went into effect), but without or with very low THC (a tincture, sublingual spray, some candies), but now she feels afraid to take them. She is looking into expediting things, but it may be a while before she can get that Rick Simpson oil in safe or legitimate ways. Is there any benefit for her taking the CBD stuff until there is a way for her to get the THC stuff? At the worst, is there harm in it?

    • Patricia Silverman

      no harm ever from cannabis, large safety factors you can feel safe getting to know the plant and what it does for you, safest way to get RSO is to grow your own and tell NO ONE, then use what you grew to make RSO

    • Sue

      No harm, but little good. if it’s really pure CBD and has stripped out or avoided any THC, terpenes, THCV, and other cannabinoids necessary to get the full medicinal effect of the whole plant. That’s why it’ll be disastrous if legislation is passed illegalizing use or distribution of anything BUT literally pure CBD, no-other-canniboid, products. They won’t work.

      But even products advertised as specifically CBD products do currently often have some THC in them, presumably because their mff. are aware that if their products simply don’t work and are as expensive as they and are not covered by health insurance, they will lose their medicinal customers, even the ones they managed to fool once. (And obviously they have and will have no loyal recreational customer base.) if you look at the fine print on a “pure CBD” Cheeba Chew, for instance, it is not actually THC-free, it is just very low in THC by “25%-THC, killer weed” standards. I doubt it has any terpenes and THCV in it, but I haven’t actually asked the mff. or confirmed it by looking at their lab reports, if they have any available. And if your aunt is living in a state where MM was just legalized, is it illegal for her to buy “pure CBD” products online that have as little as 3% THC? It’s state-by-state, so I couldn’t tell you.

      Charlotte’s Web ships to all 50 states. i think it has a THC content of about .3%.

      • ImMe

        So pure cbd oil won’t work at all? My cat has asthma and I’m scared cancer as well. I have been using Innovet CBD oil for a week now. Am I wasting her time? Funny thing is that the website says .03% thc but the label itself on the actual bottle says 1% and its 125 mg cbd oil. Is that enough thc to help my baby?

  • Kip Tracanelli

    I am quite new to the whole cannibis world…truthfully I experimented in my early 20s, but haven’t since because I had such horrible experiences. I later discovered I am bipolar and this could be the reason. Recently my Doctor prescribed CBD for severe pain from neuropathy…truthfully I am nervous I have been told for years that marijuana can trigger schizophrenia in bipolars…!

    • Nikki Allynn

      If you do a few google searches you’ll be able to find out a lot of information on what you want specifically but in simple terms you really just should stay away from products that contain THC or at least have low THC less than 3%. CBD is non pychoactive but you should make sure you get reputable CBD, if you go into a CBD store however their staff usually know all about CBD and can find a medicine specifically for what you need. I am currently looking into balms and candles to dispense to local shops and create an online store.

    • Mande Peer

      It’s different now. Back in the day you just bought a dime bag from a dealer full of mystery weed but now these strains are lab tested and science got involved and stuff. I’m no doctor but Ive been on psychiatric meds for my whole life. A doctor prescribed pill, in my opinion, has more potential of triggering an episode than a toke on the old bong. I smoke daily and my anxiety and depression have significantly decreased.
      But since you run the risk of schizophrenia which is pretty dangerous you should probably try it with a person who can control you if shit gets crazy.

  • Jk

    THC is the flint that works the CBD 😐

    • Nikki Allynn

      Not true CBD-A is its own acid form that turns into CBD when heated. Plus when professionals extract Full Spectrum CBD they do it from the whole plant and do this weird process I don’t really understand that takes the THC specifically out. So in thus if you have other Cannabinoids and Terpenes in your extract it will have variant effects. I am currently looking into producing balms and candles with this process.

      • Jenn

        Full spectrum CBD oils contain at least 0.03% THC or less, but never 0%. However, the THC content in these oils do not have the “high” effect.

  • Babba LouBob

    Kowalsky is 100% wrong. At least in my case. For chronic knee pain associated with degeneration in my cartilage the CBD oil works as well as any other pain medicine I’ve taken in the past. Yes, I also tried smoking and that worked as well, but it isn’t necessary to have the whole plant. The CBD oil works on it’s own.

  • Dale Anderson

    With all of the tampering with different verities I wonder if it might be better juicing raw marijuana as God made it. Is there any research that has been done with old school weed and also what is the CBD/THC ratio? Are seeds available? In CA where the laws are very relaxed it may be more affordable to just juice the original plant with its natural properties as it is raw. Any thoughts?

    • Jenna Sita Noonan

      Have you heard of Dr. William Courtney? I suggest googling him and you will find a lot of great work he and his wife are doing with juicing the whole plant.

  • Mia Jones

    Well I misspell lots of words wen I text, on purpose! That way, no one has to be petfect, like me, imperfect. When It is important, necessary, and professionally required, grammar properly used is expected and appreciated. Like, for instance, I have an awful E Texas slang and accent so, when my entrepreneur, millionaire boss asked how I was feeling after a medical procedure, I voice2text “much better!” And it came to her, texting, ” MITCH PETER!” CLASSIC…so now I wanna express how fun it can be and that improper grammar, or otherwise, lightening up can’t hurt mitch…and generally makes you feel PETER, and appear to be mitch, mitch more charming and overall a PETER person….we re inquiring on a WEED site, btw…