Science

Synthetic CBD proves to be cheaper, and just as effective, as its cannabis-derived cousin

A synthetic molecule called H2CBD has beens found to be just as effective in treating induced seizures in animal models as CBD
A synthetic molecule called H2CBD has beens found to be just as effective in treating induced seizures in animal models as CBD
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A synthetic molecule called H2CBD has beens found to be just as effective in treating induced seizures in animal models as CBD
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A synthetic molecule called H2CBD has beens found to be just as effective in treating induced seizures in animal models as CBD

A team of chemists from the University of California, Davis, recently demonstrated that a new synthetic analogue of cannabidiol (CBD) may be just as effective for medicinal uses as its naturally extracted counterpart. This synthetic CBD compound also promises to be easier, cheaper and faster to produce.

Last year the FDA approved CBD for the treatment of two rare forms of severe childhood-onset epilepsies. This milestone moment marked the first approval of a marijuana-derived compound for clinical purposes in the United States. Alongside this approval there is a rapidly growing body of research exploring a whole host of different beneficial medical uses for CBD, from controlling chronic pain to improving anxiety disorders.

Producing CBD in large quantities presents a challenge as it still primarily comes from the marijuana plant, a reasonably energy-intensive crop to grow. Purity of extraction is another issue faced by mass producers, as well as the fact that the legal status of marijuana, and its associated compounds, varies greatly from country to country.

The UC Davis research reports on a newly developed way to produce a synthetic compound called 8,9-Dihydrocannabidiol (H2CBD). In the past H2CBD has been produced using natural CBD, however, the newly published study now demonstrates an efficient new process to create the compound using inexpensive, non-cannabis derived precursors. This means H2CBD can be easily, and legally, produced in regions where marijuana and CBD are still regulated substances.

One of the unique aspects of H2CBD noted by the researchers is the fact it cannot be converted into tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive compound in marijuana. While CBD does not produce notable narcotic effects, there are documented cases of it sometimes having a mild sedative effect. It is hypothesized this is caused by the conversion of CBD to THC in the acidic environment of a person's stomach. Since H2CBD fundamentally cannot undergo this chemical conversion it presents as a promising clinical alternative to CBD.

"Unlike CBD, there is no way to convert H2CBD to intoxicating THC," says Mark Mascal, one of the UC Davis researchers working on the project. "It's a much safer drug than CBD, with no abuse potential and doesn't require the cultivation of hemp."

As well as demonstrating the new method to synthesize H2CBD, the researchers tested the compound's efficacy in treating seizures against conventional CBD. In a series of experiments inducing seizures in rats the study found H2CBD was just as effective as CBD in reducing the number and severity of seizures.

Further research is underway to verify the safety and efficacy of H2CBD in both animals and subsequently humans, so it may still be some time before the synthetic compound is readily available. However, if the promising broad medical uses of CBD continue to expand then an effective and easily produced alternative will prove very useful.

The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Source: UC Davis

10 comments
npublici
It is also patentable,which means the corporations will be buying government to allow them to replace the natural,by making the natural illegal and the synthetic a prescription drug.
StevenR
Safer than a drug humans have use without fatality for 5000 years? That's going to need some serious evidence to back it up.
Douglas E Knapp
Isomer are compounds with the same formula but different handedness as in right or left hand. Plants produce only one isomer but the lab produces two. The second one often has unknown consequences and is often the reason for bad side effects that you don't see with plants. So then this means that in this case the plant based drugs are likely safer. Also the side effect of growing the plant is that you end up producing a lot of products like fibers etc that help poor countries. Drugs just help drug companies and rich people.
Colt12
They want to replace something with no side effects and is very efficient in a wide spectrum of conditions.
Daishi
Fentanyl is a cheaper synthetic opium and it's much less effective at pain relief and far more fatal. I agree with @StevenR here. CBD is already very safe. This faces the risk of having large corporations and the medical industry try to replace what works with something they can have more control over in producing.
neoneuron
I, personally will take natural any time.. Anyone in chemistry or biology knows that all it takes is a tiny twist of the same molecule structure to have something miss a property, become a different substance, have different properties, or consequences.. Ask yourself why would you want to "re-invent the wheel???
jerryd
Yes this worked so well with Spice!! Not!! Pot has 10k yrs of selective breeding of many compounds that some selected out are not good. Pot has much less of each and counteracting compounds that make it into a great drug with excellent safety. So unless there is a compelling reason, just stick with the natural not so pure way which is a feature, not a bug. This is just a patent grab so they can gouge people for 17 yrs, is not a compelling reason.
EZ
Gee, it wouldn't happen to be made out of big oil, would it? Big Pharma, Big Oil, Big Government. It all works in harmony. Like a finely tuned Chinese watch.
Will Lauren
Like everyone else already said, whay mess with something that was already perfect? $$$ and control.....exactly. #2. It is completely ridiculous to think that CBD can turn to THC because of stomach acid. Hcl acid break down particles, its not a wizard chemist. If you believe so, try eating some lead and see if it turns to gold. #3 CBD is usually extracted from the hemp plant not marijuana becauseit is around 99.97% and only about .3% THC. Smoke a bale and u might get high. So the idea that we need synthetic CBD is complete garbage as is their science.
Mihai Pruna
Just as effective as in not effective at all?