Charlotte's Web- An Introduction
Posted on July 01, 2014 by Jeffrey FeilerOn November 4th, 2014 Florida voters will have the opportunity to legalize medical marijuana in Florida by voting yes on Amendment Two. In the meantime, however, the Florida legislature passed SB1030. SB 1030, which is officially titled the "Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014," will authorize certain Florida physicians to prescribe low-THC cannabis to patients with specific conditions. The bill was presented to Governor Rick Scott on June 5, 2014, and he signed it into law on June 16, 2014.
The Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014 is commonly referred to as the Charlotte's Web Bill. The Charlotte's Web strain was named after Charlotte Figi, who was diagnosed with Dravet syndrome when she was two years old. Charlotte was experiencing up to 300 violent seizures a week. Her parents exhausted almost every treatment option before asking two Colorado physicians to prescribe medical marijuana. After sampling several different strains, the Figi's noticed that their daughter's seizures dropped from 300 per week to 2-3 per month as a result of using the strain which would later be known as Charlotte's Web. Charlotte was later featured on national television, and her story spread across the United States, prompting several parents of children with similar conditions to move their families to Colorado so their children could benefit from the medication.
Charlotte's Web is a strain of marijuana that has a high level of cannabidiol, or CBD, which does not have any psychoactive effect. The Stanley brothers first developed the strain in 2011 by crossbreeding marijuana with industrial hemp. Charlotte's Web was bred with a high cannabinoid profile, and with a minute level of THC. Josh Stanley notes that "This particular plant has .5 percent THC and 17 percent CBD, the non-psychoactive ingredient [in cannabis]."
Despite not having the psychoactive properties of THC, CBD possesses one of the greatest therapeutic potential of any cannabinoid studied to date. CBD generally composes up to 40% of the cannabinoids found in cannabis, making it the second most prominent naturally occurring cannabinoid in the plant. CBD was first isolated in the 1930's and there are currently over 1,100 peer-reviewed scientific journal articles describing the properties of CBD.
CBD has been gaining support in the medical community for its ability to treat a wide spectrum of ailments, including epileptic seizures, convulsions, anxiety, nausea, and inflammation. There have also been studies showing that the use of CBDs helps in reducing blood pressure, stimulating bone growth, treating diabetes, inhibiting tumor growth, and protecting the nervous system.
CBDs are generally extracted from the plant and diluted in an olive oil-based tincture that can be consumed orally. Medicating with CBDs is safe. There have been no known fatal overdoses from CBD medications and there have been no signs of toxicity associated with daily CBD use, even at relatively high doses (700mg-1,500mg per day).
In addition to CBD, the cannabis plant contains other non-psychoactive cannabinoids that display a multitude of therapeutic properties on their own, and in combination with each other. These cannabinoids include cannabigerol (CBG), known to relieve intraocular pressure, cannabichromene (CBC), which has anti-viral and anti-inflammatory effects, and CBCA, which treats fungal infections. Studies now show that the combination of different cannabinoids at different levels each produce a distinct synergistic effect that can be customized for treating specific ailments. The Stanley brothers are currently experimenting with crossbreeding different cannabis strains to create strains that have particular synergistic effects that are better suited to treating certain ailments.
After SB 1030 becomes law on July 1, 2014, five Florida nurseries will be licensed to grow the Charlotte's Web strain and distribute the medicine to qualifying patients. While the law does not completely legalize medical marijuana, it does give sick patients an opportunity to treat their symptoms until Florida voters decide to pass Amendment Two in November.