High-CBD Charlotte’s Web strain more hype than help?


Charlotte’s Web in flower.

Over the last year one marijuana strain has gained more attention than any other. Charlotte’s Web, a high-CBD strain bred out by, Realm of Caring, a group of dispensary owners in Colorado has quickly become a buzz-word among lawmakers across the U.S. The effect is that many people seem to think that Charlotte’s Web is the only high-CBD strain out there, and that children suffering from seizures must have access to Charlotte’s Web specifically.
While the strain has definitely been shown to help children, it isn’t the only one despite what the PR machine behind Realm of Caring would have everyone believe. Eleven states passed high-CBD laws this past session, and many of them use Charlotte’s Web specifically in their names. Included in that is a bill submitted this week dubbed the Charlotte’s Web Medical Hemp act of 2014 which would legalize the proprietary strain federally.

Vanessa Waltz, cannabis activist and columnist at Lady Bud, writes a lengthy and detailed look at Charlottes Web and the phenomenon surrounding it this week. In it, she points out that there are many other high CBD strains that can be used and that Charlotte’s Web is more of a marketing gimmick than anything else. Beyond that, she says a new plan for a federal CBD-only exemption doesn’t take into account the thosuands of other cannabinoids that also help sick children and that plans from ROC to grow industrial hemp and pass the oil off as Charlotte’s Web are going to leave patients in the dark.
Waltz says that many parents have grown disillusioned with Charlottes Web, including Jason David, who has been treating his son’s epileptic condition with cannabis oil since 2011. David says that by pushing legislation that only allows for CBD in the oil, they are ignoring the benefits of mild doses of THC and THC-A.
“They’re not telling the whole truth,” David tells LadyBud. “There’s no way possible that all these children in Colorado could get seizure contol and get off all their medications without using different ratios and adding THC and THCA (which are not allowed by the newly proposed legislation). Charlotte’s Web can work great in the beginning but it’s impossible to get off all the medications and go through benzo withdrawals without being able to play with the THC ratios. … The only realistic option is having the whole plant available, THC and all, so people can trial and error just like with pharmaceuticals. There are so many ways to use this plant, and it’s only ok to have one ratio? That doesn’t make sense. This plant isn’t half-good and half-evil.”
Another parent, Brian Wilson, says his daughter Vivian – who has been featured here in Toke as well as in other national news sites – wouldn’t have been able to control her seizures on CBD alone.
“We saw minor seizure control and developmental progress with CBD alone, but we didn’t see real seizure control until we added measurable levels of THC to the mix,” explains Wilson. “Others see great results with THCA added in. Some see very good results with no CBD, like in NJ where there is little to no CBD available. The point is, this is highly individualized medicine. There is no magic bullet.”
The point? That CBD-only legislation is setting up some parents for disappointment after they’ve been told it could be a miracle cure. Beyond that, LadyBud contends that the CBD-only legislation at the federal and state level has more to do with Realm of Caring’s business model than anything else. She points to the trademarking of the name “Charlotte’s Web” and ROCs push to distinguish CBD as separate from marijuana.
“Many activists believe that RoC’s labeling of their medicine as separate from medical marijuana is completely disrespectful to the activists that came before them,” Waltz writes. “Indeed, how would the [owners of RoC, the Stanely brothers[ have ever been able to develop the Charlotte’s Web strain without comprehensive medical cannabis legislation in Colorado? At a time when public support for widespread comprehensive reform is at an all-time high, many of the most prominent pediatric epilepsy activists in our country are becoming more and more skeptical of RoC’s intent.”
We at Toke agree. CBD-only legislation is being used as a way to pacify voters and for politicians to say that they’ve “legalized medical marijuana” when they actually haven’t. Other politicians are using recently passed CBD laws as a way to show that cannabis activists who are asking for broader access to the plant are taking the state down a “slippery slope”. There’s also something that doesn’t sit right about legislation around the country that uses a trademarked marijuana strain name so specifically when what really matters is the concentration of the cannabinoids themselves. There are dozens if not hundreds of high-CBD strains out there than can help patients and it’s time more lawmakers and voters realized that.