One of the great charms of weed, if users and growers are to be believed, is that different strains produce different effects. One strain may give you a high while another may heighten alertness. The combinations and intensity of effects are the driving forces behind the research behind strain diversity and cloning technology used in the cannabis industry.
Geneticist Mowgli Holmes opines that a strain’s character depends a lot on the many other cannabinoids that give it a particular fragrance and flavor. These combine to influence the psychoactive effects of THC. This line of thought is a new one and quite radical and suggests that odor-influencing terpenes may also have a role to play in deciding marijuana’s medicinal value.
Holmes believes that with the genetic data in hand and further research, cannabis breeders will actually be able to tweak a plant’s properties to suit an individual’s need – medicinal or recreational. Sounds farfetched? And it may well be if conventional research is a yardstick.
Scientists are skeptical of the purported synergistic effects that weed growers claim as possible. The main reason for this healthy cynicism is the lack of data to back these assertions. Anecdotal evidence does not count for much in the realm of scientific research.
Weed growers, though, are prepared to swear that their assertions are not entirely driven by monetary considerations. They point out to the neurochemical effects of CBD, an important component of medical marijuana. CBD is thought to have a restraining effect on the psychoactive properties of THC.
Also, they point out that synthetically produced THC, available as a prescription medicine under the brand name Marinol, has been unable to take the place of natural THC consumed through weed. The reason, ostensibly, is the presence of other cannabinoids that alter and mitigate the effects of THC. By itself, THC has the potential to do more harm than good.
The jury is still out on the entourage effect of marijuana. More research that conforms to scientific rigor will help separate myth and lore from fact.