5 Marijuana Compounds That Could Help Combat Cancer, Alzheimers, Parkinsons (If Only They Were Legal)
September 14, 2012 |
Imagine there existed a natural, non-toxic substance that halted diabetes, fought cancer, and reduced psychotic tendencies in patients with schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders. You don’t have to imagine; such a substance is already here. It’s called cannabidiol (CBD). The only problem with it is that it’s illegal.
Cannabidiol After THC, CBD is by far the most studied plant cannabinoid. First identified in 1940 (though its specific chemical structure was not identified until 1963), many researchers now describe CBD as quite possibly the most single important cannabinoid in the marijuana plant. That is because CBD is the cannabinoid that arguably possesses the greatest therapeutic potential.
Cannabinol (CBN) is largely a product of THC degradation. It is typically available in cannabis in minute quantities and it binds relatively weakly with the body’s endogenous cannabinoid receptors. Scientists have an exceptionally long history with CBN, having first isolated the compound in 1896. Yet, a keyword search on PubMed reveals fewer than 500 published papers in the scientific literature specific to cannabinol. Of these, several document the compound’s therapeutic potential – including its ability to induce sleep, ease pain and spasticity, delay ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) symptoms, increase appetite, and halt the spread of certain drug resistant pathogens, like MRSA (aka ‘the Superbug’). In a 2008 study, CBN was one of a handful of cannabinoids found to be “ exceptional” in its ability to reduce the spread MRSA, a skin bacteria that is resistant to standard antibiotic treatment and is responsible for nearly 20,000 hospital-stay related deaths annually in the United States.
Cannabichromene (CBC) was first discovered in 1966. It is typically found in significant quantities in freshly harvested, dry cannabis. To date, the compound has not been subject to rigorous study; fewer than 75 published papers available on PubMed make specific reference to CBC. According to a 2009 review of cannabichromine and other non-psychotropic cannabinoids, “CBC exerts anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and modest analgesic activity.” CBC has also been shown to promote anti-cancer activity in malignant cell lines and to possess bone-stimulating properties. More recently, a 2011 preclinical trial reported that CBC influences nerve endings above the spine to modify sensations of pain. “[This] compound might represent [a] useful therapeutic agent with multiple mechanisms of action,” the study concluded.
Cannabigerol Similar to CBC, cannabigerol (CBG) also has been subject to relatively few scientific trials since its discovery in 1964. To date, there exist only limited number of papers available referencing the substance – a keyword search on PubMed yields fewer than 55 citations – which has been documented to possess anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and anti-bacterial properties.
Tetrahydrocannabivarin Discovered in 1970, tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) is most typically identified in Pakistani hashish and cannabis strains of southern African origin. Depending on the dose, THCV may either antagonize some of the therapeutic effects of THC (e.g., at low doses THCV may repress appetite) or promote them. (Higher doses of THCV exerting beneficial effects on bone formation and fracture healing in preclinical models, for example.) Unlike, CBD, CBN, CBC, CBG, high doses of THCV may also be mildly psychoactive (but far less so than THC).