The Marijuana Dispatch

Medical marijuana’s “entourage effect” — CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta breaks it down

Raphael Mechoulam, an Israeli researcher has spent more than 50 years researching medical marijuana and its many chemical compounds. In 1963 he determined the structure of cannabidiol (CBD), then one year later was the first to isolate delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. This is break-through research, especially back then! He did all this without government support, getting cannabis from friends. In 1999 he wrote a paper called ‘the entourage effect.’ Cannabis has over 480 natural components, 66 of which have been classified as cannabinoids — or chemicals unique to the plant like delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiols. But there are many more:
  • Cannabigerols (CBG)
  • Cannabichromenes (CBC)
  • other Cannabidiols (CBD)
  • other Tetrahydrocannabinols (THC)
  • Cannabinol (CBN) and cannabinodiol (CBDL)
  • other cannabinoids (such as cannabicyclol (CBL), cannabielsoin (CBE), cannabitriol (CBT) and other miscellaneous types)
And an even more comprehensive breakdown of cannabis chemical components reveal:
  • nitrogenous compounds (27 known)
  • amino acids (18)
  • proteins (3)
  • glycoproteins (6)
  • enzymes (2)
  • sugars and related compounds (34)
  • hydrocarbons (50)
  • simple alcohols (7)
  • aldehydes (13)
  • ketones (13)
  • simple acids (21)
  • fatty acids (22)
  • simple esters (12)
  • lactones (1)
  • steroids (11)
  • terpenes (120)
  • non-cannabinoid phenols (25)
  • flavonoids (21)
  • vitamins (1)
  • pigments (2)
  • other elements (9)
While science has not yet shown the exact role or mechanism for all these various compounds, evidence is mounting that these compounds work better together than in isolation: That is the “entourage effect.”
Even while drugs like Marinol, a pure synthetic THC, are available for cancer patients, people still prefer the plant to the lab-made drug. So unlike other drugs that can be isolated and synthesized in a lab, cannabis benefits appear to come from the plant as a whole.
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