Better a less potent marijuana (tetrahydrocannabinol) and with more cannabidiol
In 134 volunteers, regular users of cannabis, between 16 and 23 years, a study was conducted to observe the incidence on the memory of the constituents of smoked marijuana, in particular THC and cannabidiol.
The Cannabis sativa plant is the source of a large number of active ingredients; it produces a complex mixture of chemical substances, more than 400, some sixty (66) of which form the group of cannabinoids (in this case, the phytocannabinoids), a term that distinguishes them from endocannabinoids which are molecules of the same nature, found in many animal species and especially in humans. There are also synthetic cannabinoids for experimental and therapeutic use.
Among these phytocannabinoids the only psychoactive one is Δ 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and the potency of cannabis is defined in terms of concentration (%) of this principle.
Another important active ingredient is cannabidiol (CBD), a compound with an antagonistic effect compared to THC (a weak non-specific receptor antagonist of CB1 and CB2 while acting as an agonist for the receptors of the vanilloids TRPV1 and TRPV2).
This cannabinoid is not psychotropic but helps to improve the action of THC because it positively influences its pharmacokinetics and reduces side effects on breathing, heart rate and temperature and memory.
The THC / CBD relationship is very important because it is this that determines the psychoactive action of cannabis and in general can significantly alter its effects.
For example, plants grown for the production of textile fibers have a predominant content of CBD and only traces of Δ 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (less than 0.3%), on the contrary those grown for pharmaceutical purposes or for illegal use contain mainly THC, and CBD only in traces.
Traditionally the THC content is included:
- in marijuana between 1 and 5%;
- in hashish it is around 10-15%;
- in oil it reaches a concentration of 30% and even more.
Currently, innovations in cultivation techniques (the plant is cultivated for the most part in closed environments to prevent oxidation and inactivation due to oxygen, light, or humidity and high temperatures), the use of genetically modified seeds and the manipulation after harvesting allow to obtain marijuana the content of which in THC can be equal to or exceed that of hashish and in any case have derivatives of cannabis of particular power and danger. The volunteers, divided into 2 groups, then smoked marijuana with different content of cannabidiol; in the one with "high-cannabidiol" the substance was present for concentrations higher than 0.75%, in that with "low-cannabidiol" did not exceed 0.14%.
Overall, however, there was a relatively small amount of cannabidiol while the content of Δ 9-tetrahydrocannabinol of cannabis did not differ significantly between cannabis used. The subjects underwent evaluation tests, both when they smoked and when they were no longer under the effect of the marijuana of their choice.
According to the results of the study, only those who had smoked cannabis with a low content of cannabidiol showed, when acutely intoxicated, a reduction in the memory test both immediately (P = .002) and when it was proposed with a little delay (P < .001). On the contrary, the volunteers who smoked cannabis strains with a higher percentage of cannabidiol showed no acute deficit in "repeating a poem, a text". (This is a simple test but considered sufficiently good to detect daily mnemonic performance). The performance of both groups did not differ when they did not smoke because, in fact, there were no pre-existing differences between the groups but related to the quality of the smoked cannabis.
Given that currently the market offers cannabis products with ever higher THC concentrations and variable cannabidiol content (from 0 to 40%) - considering that a high percentage of young cannabis users - considering that the cannabis market is however illegal and not it is possible to check, in the form of a warning only, and to reduce the damage that may derive from it, it can theoretically be said that: consumers should smoke better or prefer products containing cannabidiol whose beneficial effects are expressed in balancing the action of THC and beyond.