We noted an interesting article by Helen Puttick in the Times, March 25th, 2019. It is reported that cannabis extract cannabidiol (CBD) could be used to treat a wide range of ailments from arthritis and anxiety to Parkinson’s disease, according to a world-leading expert on cannabis, Professor Roger Pertwee.
This would be good news for many sufferers of these ailments, including our family. My father- in-law suffered Parkinson’s disease for a few years, having severe shaking hands. My wife is taking dietary supplements to reduce arthritis pain.
Professor Roger Pertwee said that there should be multiple trials of treatments using the compound CBD, arguing that it has excellent medical benefits and the side-effects are potentially fewer than many traditional drugs.
He believes that CBD could be used to treat a list of at least 15 conditions including pain, skin conditions, bowel disease, neurodegenerative disorders, depression, schizophrenia and the bone condition osteoporosis.
Professor Roger Pertwee, an emeritus professor at the University of Aberdeen who has won multiple awards for his research on CBD is one of the most cited researchers in the world, said that people were self-medicating without knowing the safety of the products they had bought or grown themselves.
He called for users to report experiences to the International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines to build up a picture of effectiveness. He used testimonies from multiple sclerosis patients using cannabis in a project which ultimately led to licensing the first cannabis-based medicine in the UK.
CBD became better known last year when parents of children with severe epilepsy in the UK secured a change in the law so they could obtain a drug containing the compound which can reduce seizures.
Professor Roger Pertwee, who is related to the former Dr Who actor Jon Pertwee, has been investigating CBD since the 1960s, and in the 1980s was involved in the publication of a paper showing that people produce cannabinoids themselves. He is working with collaborators in the US to see if drugs could boost this natural system and provide an alternative to current pain relief treatments.
He also believes that the CBD found in cannabis, or a synthetic equivalent, should be considered as a treatment for a wide variety of conditions. He said: “It has got a lot of potential uses. I think too many probably. There is evidence it is good for Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease. It might be a good anti-schizophrenia drug, but that needs to be tested properly.
Professor Roger Pertwee said that medicines must undergo clinical trials and secure approval as safe and effective.
“At the moment it is a crazy world where we have all these people producing cannabidiol or cannabis oils. How good some of them are we do not know. If there are risks to them, we know not.”
People growing cannabis plants may use insecticides on them and it was vital these were not present in the finished product. The plant can also change as it is bred, Professor Roger Pertwee said, and measures need to be taken to ensure each generation of the plant is identical.
Bio-data of Professor Roger Pertwee
Professor Roger Pertwee is Emeritus Professor of Neuropharmacology at the School of Medical Sciences, Institute of Medical Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Scotland, UK. Professor Roger Pertwee has three degrees from the University of Oxford: MA (in biochemistry), D.Phil. (in pharmacology) and D.Sc. (in physiological sciences).
A note on extraction of CBD from cannabis
To extract CBD-rich cannabis oil, one must start with CBD-rich plant material. There are many ways to extract oil from the cannabis plant, each has its pros and cons. Some methods are safer and more effective than others. Cannabis oil made with neurotoxic solvents like butane and hexane may leave unsafe residues that compromise immune function and impede healing.
- CO2 extraction. The supercritical (or subcritical) CO2 method uses carbon dioxide under high pressure and extremely low temperatures to isolate, preserve, and maintain the purity of the medicinal oil. This process requires expensive equipment and a steep operational learning curve. But, when done well the end product is safe, potent, and free of chlorophyll.
- Ethanol. High-grade grain alcohol can be used to create high-quality cannabis oil appropriate for vape pen cartridges and other products. But this extraction method destroys the plant waxes, which may have health benefits that are favored by some product-makers.
- Olive oil. Extra virgin or otherwise, olive oil can also be used to extract cannabis oil. Dr. Arno Hazekamp, director of phytochemical research at Bedrocan BV, which supplies medical cannabis for the Dutch Health Ministry, reports this method is both safe and inexpensive, “You won’t blow yourself up making cannabis-infused olive oil.” However, cannabis-infused olive oil–whether CBD-rich or THC-dominant–is perishable and should be stored in a cool, dark place.