The Rise of CBD Dominance in Medical Cannabis

By: Elena Schmidt September 25, 2019 • 6 minutes

Throughout decades of marijuana prohibition in the U.S., THC stole the show as the world’s most interesting cannabinoid. Today, as we enter a new era of reform, CBD is challenging THC for the crown. With medical cannabis now legal in 33 states, adult use in 10 states, and hemp federally legal across all 50 states as of the 2018 Farm Bill, cannabis has officially gone mainstream. Many adults are now consuming cannabis – some for the first time – and as a result, the previous demand for potent THC varieties (the kind that gets you “high”) is declining. People like you aren’t necessarily looking for the “strongest stuff” anymore. Instead, you may want the lowest effective dose to improve wellness or to treat a condition. 

According to some surveys, CBD is booming because it allows people to avoid the perceived stigma of being a “pot smoker.” Pure CBD oils have been the face of this shifting trend, but CBD-dominant strains that incorporate THC and whole plant compounds are rising as the focus of medical research and cultivation.  

So, what is CBD and why are CBD-dominant strains like Tikun Olam’s Avidekel so effective? Let’s dive into the details.

The Basics: What is CBD?

Cannabidiol or CBD is the non-intoxicating chemical compound (cannabinoid) found in hemp and cannabis that is known for its vast therapeutic qualities. You’ve probably seen CBD bottled in pure oils, which can be taken as a supplement under the tongue, or in capsule format. CBD can also be ingested by vaporizing or smoking cannabis in its plant form. 

Many people use CBD as a daily supplement for preventative care due to its ability to fight inflammation—a major cause of disease within the body. CBD can also alleviate pain, promote relaxation, and inhibit muscle contractions, making it an extremely effective anti-seizure medication. Perhaps CBD’s biggest claim to fame is its ability to reduce the psychoactive “high” effects of THC, while still working with THC to provide relief.

CBD & the Entourage Effect

When cannabinoids like CBD and THC work together within the body for greater healing, it is known as the entourage effect. Cannabis contains over 100 cannabinoids along with 200+ terpenes – the fragrant compounds that secrete from the flower’s sticky resin glands. Cannabinoids, as well as terpenes, bind to receptors in the brain and body to produce vast therapeutic benefits ranging from anti-inflammatory support to relaxation and pain relief. By selecting strains with specific cannabinoid ratios, patients can receive various types of symptom relief.

Tikun Olam’s Medical Director, Dr. Price, says studies have shown the presence of THC alongside CBD provides an “entourage effect” that may or “in some instances” be more efficacious than CBD alone.

One of the world’s most researched CBD-dominant strains is Tikun Olam’s Avidekel. Avidekel contains 15 – 18% CBD, less than 1% THC, and a combination of terpenes including beta-myrcene, alpha-pinene, limonene, beta-pinene, guaiol, and others. These fragrant antiseptic compounds are also known to improve memory retention, target inflammation, and ease tension. Avidekel has been clinically shown to help treat ailments such as epilepsy, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, Complex Motor Disorders, autism, and inflammatory pain.

CBD as Medicine: 5 Researched Conditions

Childhood Epilepsy 

One of the most well-known cases of using CBD as an alternative to pharmaceuticals started with parents seeking relief for their child with Dravet Syndrome. Charlotte was suffering from severe seizures and her FDA-approved medication not only failed to reduce symptoms, it also caused debilitating side effects. Desperate for help, Charlotte’s parents decided to break with societal norms and administer non-intoxicating CBD. Almost instantly, Charlotte’s seizures nearly vanished and she began speaking again. Charlotte’s experience illustrated CBD’s very real power to heal and helped set into motion the trend we see towards greater medical use and research. 

Our patients in Israel experienced similar results with Avidekel. We developed treatment plans for over 200 pediatric patients with drug-resistant epilepsy and neurological disorders and the results indicated significant reduction of symptoms for all patients. Search and you will find numerous videos online showing cannabis’ power to stop seizures almost instantly in their tracks. The FDA has taken notice of CBD’s ability to treat seizures by approving the first-ever CBD active medication called Epidiolex.

Anxiety & Sleep 

Studies show that CBD may help with both falling asleep and staying asleep for those who suffer from anxiety. A study published in January 2019 in the Permanente Journal tested the clinical application of CBD for anxiety and sleep on 103 adult patients. Within one month, 80% of patients reported a reduction in anxiety that sustained throughout the duration of the study. 66.7% of patients reported improved sleep.

Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease, which leads to severe physical debilitation over time. MS patients commonly use the clinically approved drug, Copaxone, but Tikun Olam Israel wanted to test how CBD compared. The study showed that Avidekel was just as efficient as Copaxone in alleviating symptoms and could be taken as a potential replacement therapy.

Pain & Inflammation

An animal study in the European Journal of Pain discovered the mechanism whereby CBD can inhibit inflammatory and nerve-related pain when applied topically. Additionally, a cross sectional study that surveyed over 2,400 patients found that pain was among the top reasons for using CBD. In the majority of cases, patients indicated that CBD was effective. And in our 2019 study, we found that Avidekel extract exhibited superior anti-inflammatory effectiveness compared to tramadol (an opioid analgesic) and aspirin (a non-steroid anti-inflammatory).

Can CBD Replace Prescription Drugs?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), CBD is considered safe, but more research is needed to understand specific dosing requirements for specific conditions. The problem is that we live in a country where cannabis is a federally illegal Schedule 1 controlled substance; therefore, medical research is limited. Before US-based companies can conduct more research, they must apply for approval and can only use cannabis from one federally approved supplier. 

Fortunately, Israel is a country known for its progressive view on medical cannabis and our team at Tikun Olam Israel have been studying the plant and its effects since 2005. Avidekel is our most clinically studied and world-renowned strain, and while many patients have had success with it, we recommend consulting with your physician prior to adjusting your prescription regimen. 

CBD Dominance is the Future

The beauty of CBD is that it is one of the most chemically complex compounds on the planet and this complexity is part of what enhances its power. CBD-dominant strains incorporate the diverse properties of CBD, THC, and terpenes, providing an entourage of powerful therapeutic effects. As people are demanding CBD as an effective medicine to support their wellness and potentially replace pharmaceuticals, we here at Tikun are excited to lead the industry in conducting cannabis research and providing clinically tested CBD-rich strains.