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Project CBD encouraged production

As CBD-Rich Cannabis Strains Proliferate, Clinicians Develop Survey to Document Effects

By O’Shaughnessy’s News Service

Two-and-a-half years ago, one ana- lytic chemistry laboratory in California had begun testing cannabis owers for cannabinoid content. Today we know of about 20 labs serving the industry in California, Colorado, Montana, Michi- gan, and Oregon.

Two-and-a-half years ago, it was still widely assumed that cannabidiol had been reduced to trace amounts in all the cannabis being grown for psychoactive effect in California and elsewhere. To- day the labs have identi ed more than 35 strains whose owers are rich in CBD (de ned as four percent or more CBD for data-collection purposes).

Two-and-a-half years ago, THC was commonly described in the media as “the active ingredient in marijuana.” To- day it is increasingly referred to as “the psychoactive ingredient” —re ecting a new awareness that the plant contains

components other than THC that exert effects when ingested into our bodies.

The advent of CBD-rich cannabis has created a unique research opportunity for the Society of Cannabis Clinicians, the doctors’ group founded by Tod Mikuri- ya, MD, in 1999. Doctors Stacey Kerr and Jeffrey Hergenrather of the SCC have developed a survey to document patients’ responses to cannabidiol. The SCC survey, seen as the rst in a series, is designed to answer basic questions of ef cacy. Follow their progress at canna-

Project CBD

Project CBD was launched two-and-a- half years ago by two journalists to share what we were learning about CBD, to expedite production of CBD-rich canna- bis, and to publicize the study that our al- lies in the SCC were planning. Martin A. Lee, the author of Acid Dreams, had been writing about CBD for O’Shaughnessy’s

and was convinced that its re-introduc- tion into the grassroots supply warranted special attention. Montana activist Sarah Russo was hired as outreach coordinator to arrange participation by dispensaries, labs, cultivators, patients, physicians, and scientists.

“Project CBD is the medical marijuana movement living up to its name.”

“Project CBD is the medical mari- juana movement living up to its name,” Russo wrote to prospective stakeholders in March of this year. “We are con dent that a serious, professional, physician- run data-collection effort will enhance the credibility of the movement as a whole.” was created to share relevant material. On these pages we present key pieces from the site. —F.G.

CBD-RICH TINCTURE was made by ex- tracting contents of trim from Harlequin plants. It contains 3.9 milligrams of CBD and 1.7 mg of THC per cubic centimeter. If CBD-rich cannabis causes no disfunc- tion, tinctures administered under the tongue will enable people to maintain endocannabinoid tone throughout the workday.

O’Shaughnessy’s • Autumn 2011 —7—

In case you’re just joining us...

Medical Hemp: The Story to Date

Strains of Interest*


Omrita Rx3

Jamaican Lion

Blue Jay Way Cannatonic

Soma A+

Cotton Candy x Diesel Stinky Purple Pineapple Thai


Good Medicine

Poison OG

Sour Tsunami

Granny Durkel

Sugaree x Blue Diesel Kushage

Downtown Diesel Double Diesel


Phenom Phen

Purple Diesel

Silver Dragon

Monkey Balls



Sweetooth SFV

LA Con dential

Sweet Diesel

White Widow

OG Afgani



Atomic Jam

Jamaican Skunk


Black Queen

Intensive Care OG Kush Dr. Tod

Ma’s Cheese

Hubba Bubba

BC “Outdoors”

Tora Bora

* Plants identi ed as containing more than 4% CBD by various labs as of June 2011

Cannabidiol (CBD) is the predominant cannabinoid in hemp —plants grown to produce ber or growing wild. It has medi- cal effects when ingested. It is not psycho- active and actually counters the psychoac- tive effects of THC.

CBD levels go down and THC levels go up when plants are bred to maximize psy- choactive effect, as they have been in the U.S. for many generations of plants and people.

It was generally assumed before the win- ter of 2008-2009 that CBD had been bred down to trace levels in all the cannabis be- ing grown in California for medical and recreational purposes. Because no analytic chemistry labs in the United States were testing cannabis samples, there was no way to assess cannabinoid content.

It turned out that CBD-rich can- nabis was not as rare in Califor- nia as the experts had predicted.

Overseas, scientists had been studying CBD. Their ndings, as reported in journal articles and at conferences, suggested that CBD could be effective in easing symp- toms of a wide range of dif cult-to-control conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, alcoholism, PTSD, epilepsy, anti- biotic-resistant infections and neurological disorders. CBD has also demonstrated neu- roprotective and anti-cancer effects.

The reduced psychoactivity of CBD-rich cannabis was a key selling point when a Britsh company, GW Pharmaceuticals, got

Sativex is a whole-plant extract formulated for spraying under the tongue.

government approval in 1998 to grow can- nabis for use in clinical trials. GW Phar- maceuticals’ agship product, Sativex, is a whole-plant extract containing approxi- mately equal amounts of CBD and THC (plus small amounts of all the other com- pounds produced by the plant). It is formu- lated for spraying under the tongue.

The fact that Sativex is not smoked was another selling point in the eyes of the reg- ulators granting the approval, as was the near-perfect consistency with which GW Pharmaceuticals could produce it.

harborSide’S Steve deangeLo

O’Shaughnessy’s had been reporting on G.W.’s progress —and the medical and po- litical signi cance of CBD— since 2003, but it wasn’t until 2008 that a lab began testing cannabis in California. A key role was played by Steve DeAngelo, director of Oakland’s Harborside Health Center. When Harborside opened in 2006, DeAn- gelo had phoned every analytic lab in the Bay Area requesting that they test cannabis for mold and cannabinoid content. They all turned him down. So in the spring of ’08 he encouraged David Lampach and Addi- son DeMoura to launch a lab —the aptly named “Steep Hill”—and supplied them with a large, steady stream of samples from Harborside to test for mold and levels of THC, CBD and CBN (a breakdown prod- uct of THC indicative of time elapsed since it was harvested.The rst CBD-rich sample identi ed by Steep Hill, “Stinky Purple,” came from Round Valley in Mendocino County. But no cuttings had been made from a “mother plant,” and there was no way the grower who had brought the CBD- rich Stinky Purple to Harborside could re- produce it.

Sarah ruSSo and Wade Laughter,

Project CBD’s Outreach Coordinator and the cultivator who gave the world “Harlequin.” Laughter’s decision to make clones available expedited the availability of CBD-rich Cannabis in California.

Over the course of 2009-2010 it turned out that CBD-rich cannabis was not as rare in California as the experts had predicted. About one in 600 samples brought to Steep Hill and the other labs that had begun test- ing cannabis was found to contain 4% or more CBD.

Whenever a CBD-rich strain was identi- ed, Project CBD made sure the cultivators knew that cannabidiol had medical poten- tial. We encouraged them to grow out their strains and make them available to patients as widely and as rapidly as possible.

Demand for CBD-rich cannabis was not strong. Dispensary owners were reluctant to stock it because they knew that most of their customers were seeking —or not averse to— herb that causes euphoria or sedation. In other words, high-THC con- tent was a tried-and-true seller. Why spend money on and devote shelf space to a type of cannabis that most medical users hadn’t heard of and whose effects were unprov- en? Growers, in turn, had to anticipate the wants of dispensary buyers and were re- luctant to devote valuable garden space to plants for which there was no established market.

The developers of Harlequin, Soma A- plus, and Pineapple Thai made clones available, putting the interests of the com- munity above their own potential pro ts. Harborside and Herbal Solutions in Long Beach sold clones instead of trying to cor- ner the market (which would have been impossible in the long term, but feasible

for a year or so).

Finally, in the summer of 2011, enough

CBD-rich cannabis is being grown to en- able the production of tinctures and edi- bles. Demand at the dispensary level has been building slowly and steadily —it is a function of education. Everyone in the industry realizes that there is a huge, un- tapped market for cannabis that does not induce euphoria or sedation. Do the strains now available meet that criterion? We’ll get answers as patients respond to the SCC survey.

Copyrighted 2013 by Fred Gardner. All rights reserved. Address reprint requests to

A milestone was achieved in late Feb- ruary 2011, when Lawrence Ringo of the Southern Humboldt Seed Collective an- nounced that he had stabilized a CBD-rich strain called Sour Tsunami —meaning he could guarantee that the seeds had a one- in-four chance of containing >4% CBD. This and other recent developments are re- ported in the “CBDiary” on the pages that follow. —F.G.

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