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The Case For Whole Plant Legislation – Is CBD Alone Good Enough?

The Case For Whole Plant Legislation – Is CBD Alone Good Enough?
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Charlotte’s Web Plant

In recent months, one strain of cannabis has been talked about, and legalized more than any other; Charlotte’s Web, a strain of Marijuana bred by Realm of Caring, a group of growers and dispensary owners in Colorado, for its high CBD content. CBD is the least controversial Cannabinoid found in the plant, and there are hundreds, if not thousands of stories to support that it can help reduce seizures.

An effect of this new media, legislative and social media blitz of coverage on CBD is that people now seem to think that Charlotte’s Web is the only viable source of CBD, and that CBD alone is effective in seizure control, this is leading parents from across the nation to move to Colorado for access to Charlotte’s web specifically, because they believe that is the only legal way to get CBD, and possibly worse, that Charlotte’s web is the only plant that contains CBD.

Charlotte’s Web is seemingly a great product, that is most likely helping lots of children, and it has gotten the ball rolling in a huge way in ending Cannabis Prohibition nationwide, even having bills named after it (Charlotte’s Web Medical Hemp act of 2014), and increasing awareness about the medicinal aspects of Cannabinoids. While we are very much a supporter of the new laws, Charlotte’s Web, Realm of Caring, and the advancement of seizure treatments through the advent of CBD, EpilepsyU wants to cover other opinions about CBD, THC, other Cannabinoids, and access to the whole plant.

In an column on Lady Bud, one of the most respected journals about the Cannabis Industry, Author Vanessa Waltz interviews Jason David, Jason and Jayden’s Journey, one of the most widely known stories about pediatric Cannabis treatments.  In this interview, David explains that it wasn’t Charlotte’s Web that was solely responsible for Jayden’s improvement.

Excerpt via Lady Bud:

“I wish Charlotte’s Web worked for all epileptic kids, but it doesn’t,” says David. “The worst seizures Jayden ever had on medical cannabis was while we were using Charlotte’s Web.”

Realm of Caring Executive Director Heather Jackson, who was also on hand for the bill’s introduction, reports that her son Zaki has been seizure free since October 2012 using Charlotte’s Web. But children like Zaki seem to be the exception rather than the rule, according to David.

“They’re not telling the whole truth,” says David. “There’s no way possible that all these children in Colorado could get seizure control and get off all their medications without using different ratios and adding THC and THCA (which are not allowed by the newly proposed legislation). Charlotte’s Web can work great in the beginning but it’s impossible to get off all the medications and go through benzo-withdrawals without being able to play with the THC ratios.”

According to David, “The only realistic option is having the whole plant available, THC and all, so people can trial and error just like with pharmaceuticals. There are so many ways to use this plant, and it’s only ok to have one ratio? That doesn’t make sense. This plant isn’t half-good and half-evil.”
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The article continues, with a statement by Brian Wilson,

“We saw minor seizure control and developmental progress with CBD alone, but we didn’t see real seizure control until we added measurable levels of THC to the mix,” explains Wilson. “Others see great results with THCA added in. Some see very good results with no CBD, like in NJ where there is little to no CBD available. The point is, this is highly individualized medicine. There is no magic bullet.”

Jason David agrees. “Many other parents in California tried Charlotte’s Web and while a lot are having success, others are not getting seizure control with Charlotte’s Web,” says David. “They have different options in California to try different kinds of medical cannabis, and many have found that different strains and ratios are working to control their kids’ seizures instead. Low THC/high CBD doesn’t work for everyone; just like pharmaceutical medications, it’s not one size fits all.”

What about the positive, “baby steps” that are made with these CBD-only bills, they are a great step forward right?

Some people feel that CBD-only legislation is setting up some parents for disappointment after they’ve been told it could be a miracle ‘cure’.

Even worse, Vanessa Waltz of LadyBud contends that the CBD-only legislation at the federal and state level has more to do with Realm of Caring’s business model than anything else.

She points to the trademarking of the name “Charlotte’s Web” and ROCs push to distinguish CBD as separate from marijuana.

“Many activists believe that RoC’s labeling of their medicine as separate from medical marijuana is completely disrespectful to the activists that came before them,” Waltz writes. “Indeed, how would the [owners of RoC, the Stanely brothers[ have ever been able to develop the Charlotte’s Web strain without comprehensive medical cannabis legislation in Colorado? At a time when public support for widespread comprehensive reform is at an all-time high, many of the most prominent pediatric epilepsy activists in our country are becoming more and more skeptical of RoC’s intent.”

It is also possible that legislatures will use the passing of CBD bills as a way to argue against full medical access, with the argument, “we have already got you CBD which everyone knows is the one that doesn’t get you high, and helps with seizures, now you want us to legalize the stuff that gets you high?”

In conclusion, we want to spark awareness and healthy discussion about Cannabis treatment in general. Do you feel that CBD exclusive legislation is a good step forward, or is it going to have the effect of confusing parents and patients, and further limiting other Cannabinoids that may be also helpful?

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1 Comment

  1. This is an ecellent article. RoC is a fine company. In discussions with RoC, they have always been clear that CBD in a pure form may to be less effective than a product that contained whole plant product, i.e. meaning some THC present. However, it seems obvious that variation in the ratio of CBD/THC as prescribed by a physician is the better way to use this product, just as adjusting dosage of any medication or group of medications is also required.

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