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Polypharmacology of the hemp plant: strength or weakness?

Polypharmacology of the hemp plant: strength or weakness?

Cannabinoid Phyto complex

The hemp plant is a perfect example of a Phyto complex: a herbal medicine that activates a myriad of different targets.

A large number of researchers have explained the importance of synergistic activity among the cannabinoid components present in a lesser proportion, such as terpenes, phenolic compounds and “minor cannabinoids” to complement the most important ones, reduce their unwanted effects or contribute to improvement. of effectiveness. Buy cannabis oil online

With these multifaceted physiological interactions, it can be used successfully for various disorders.

This article aims to explore how the polypharmacological nature of the hemp plant constitutes both its main strength for its reintroduction into medicine, and one of the main obstacles to its scientific research.


What is polypharmacology?

In modern pharmacology, the predominant paradigm has been the search for drugs that act as selectively as possible on specific targets: “single molecules” for “single targets”.
The pharmacology that we currently use is based on the synthesis of drugs designed to be very powerful and act specifically on certain targets.

Since these entities would never have existed in nature, it is not always possible to predict their biological interactions once they enter the human body.

Within this conceptual framework, it is important to avoid “polypharmacology” or the fact that a designed molecule can interact with different targets than desired, which can cause harmful side effects and is the main cause of the withdrawal of drugs from the market. Buy dank vape carts online

However, herbal medicine has traditionally combined phytocompounds with subtle individual effects, but they do have favorable effects in combination and have been more clinically successful than their highly selective counterparts.
Thanks to the exponential growth of molecular research, the “single target” approach has recently come to appreciate the complexity of the pathways that cause most health disorders and polypharmacology (the use of compounds that can be directed against various targets) it is re-emerging as the next parameter for drug discovery.

It is “re-emerging” because, in fact, polypharmacology is the basis of most traditional medicine systems, which combine preparations with various plants that affect different targets and thus achieve a better therapeutic effect and reduction of the overall toxicity of the treatment.

While advances in analytical methods support a more holistic type of intervention, marijuana plays a key role in this iconic openness of modern science to “alternative” phytochemistry.

Comparison between the single-molecule approach and the whole plant approach
One of the main obstacles in the application of plant marijuana in medicine is the limited availability of double-blind (double-blind) clinical trials conducted in humans. CBD VAPE HARDWARE

To date, most of our medical information comes from studies conducted with synthetic THC (Marinol) or standardized marijuana extract in an oromucosal spray (Sativex® and Epidiolex®).

Although this has greatly advanced the current state of the information available at this time about the safety, adjustment, and treatment of symptoms with some specific cannabinoids, it is worth asking what our current understanding of plant marijuana would be like. and of the different chemotypes if the research were not exclusively driven by the economic contributions of some companies that seek to patent (and earn money) thanks to some unique components of the plant.

It is clear that our current regulatory system does not encourage the development of multi-component treatments, which is necessary for natural herbal products.

It is essential that each compound present demonstrate, not only be safe, but also effective as an independent entity, a concept as misleading as judging the performance of a choir by listening to each of the singers separately.

Furthermore, since the burden of proof is already remarkably high, developing a product that contains only two chemicals becomes an almost unattainable goal for companies that do not have a large R&D budget. Dank vapes for sale

According to various governments, although some specific components of the hemp plant (THC and CBD) have medical value, plant marijuana is included in international categories defined as an addictive or dangerous substance lacking any recognized medical utility.

This type of double standard does not seem to be debatable, especially considering that the most recognized researchers in the field report that “the therapeutic impact of the whole plant”, which is known to contain more than 400 compounds, “is greater than the of the sum of its elementary molecular parts. ”

What happens when pharmaceutical companies drive research
Medicinal plants have been of great importance throughout all of human history.

With the availability of clinical analytical methods in the early 19th century, scientists began to extract and modify active compounds from plants, causing the transition from crude plants to synthetic pharmaceuticals.

Beyond an increase in their potency, these newly generated compounds could provide the possibility of profit through the intellectual property: the first patent granted in 1790 opened the doors to large investments in the pharmaceutical sector and allowed creators exclusive access to selling their inventions.

A proverbial example can be seen with, for example, the active substance in willow bark, salicin, which, similar to marijuana, that ancient populations (such as the Sumerians, Egyptians, and Greeks) have been using for thousands of years ) as an analgesic and anti-inflammatory. CBD CIGARETTES

However, unlike hemp, salicin was the only active compound identified in the plant, and this unique molecule has been stabilized in acetylsalicylic acid and rapidly patented as aspirin in 1899 by Friedrich Bayer & Co.

Powered by a centralized effort, aspirin was quickly launched onto the market and by 1950 had already become the best-selling over-the-counter medicine.

By then, however, the mechanism by which this synthetic molecule (Aspirin) interacted with a biological system (our body) continued to be understood, something that was later clarified in the 1970s by Dr. J. Vane and his collaborators.

The current state of our knowledge shows evidence of a drug with a small therapeutic window, which means that the therapeutic range of aspirin-derived salicylates is 15 to 30 mg/dl, while concentrations above 90 – 100 mg / dl often produce serious or possibly fatal side effects. In other words: for almost 80 years, safety standards and regulations around the world accepted without question that aspirin was offered without a prescription and made available to anyone, despite the fact that its mechanism of operation and possible interactions and contraindications.

Years later, a recent clinical trial on osteoarthritis using willow bark showed the absence of the side effects that usually occur with aspirin and the good efficacy obtained by the natural compound, possibly due to the high content. in salicylic acid and other components of the plant, confirming that the choice of products made by pharmaceutical companies does not necessarily constitute a better choice for people’s health. Buy dank vape carts online

On the other hand, despite the impeccable safety profile of marijuana and the number of scientific publications and case studies on the subject, it remains very difficult to start conducting clinical trials with marijuana and regulate its production and sale. This is the challenge that marijuana for medicinal uses must overcome: turning the world upside down and moving from the current paradigm, in which pharmaceutical companies dictate where the money goes for research and, consequently, which drugs Doctors are going to prescribe and what standards should our governments meet.

Patient-inspired research

As healthcare shifts its focus to patients and their caregivers, industry and researchers begin to participate in eliciting responses for people’s well-being.

A patient-inspired approach focuses on medical problems and patient needs, leading to more relevant and direct treatments that need to be translated into medical practice.

There is a great need for consistent and reliable data to guide clinicians and patients in their choice of marijuana chemotypes, their form of administration, and dosage.

A patient survey reports that subjective evaluation is more favorable to plant marijuana than to cannabinoid-containing pharmaceuticals, especially because of the possibility of treating specific symptoms with different strains.

Doing research on plant marijuana offers several clear benefits. The first, and most obvious, is that it is an economic product that does not require a great transformation.

There are large amounts of data showing the safety of marijuana, and many of the compounds it contains are already licensed as food supplements. (16, 18)

In addition to this, we have a large amount of anecdotal evidence and case studies of doctors who are already using this plant as a medicine to guide research and choose the best parameters for its analysis.

Finally, accepting the complexity and holistic nature of this plant is likely to support its application in individualized medicine. Buy cannabis oil online


Individualized cannabinoid medication

By analyzing varieties and changes in plant growth and implementing uniformity and standardization based on proven scientific data, clinical research could effectively use the intrinsic polypharmacology of plant marijuana as an ally in the development of medicine. personalized and the elaboration of individualized medications.

By interacting with multiple targets, marijuana can offer the possibility of treating very different symptoms, in diverse groups of people and at different times of the day. Some molecules, such as terpenes, can modulate and adjust cannabinoids to work synergistically in what has been defined as the “entourage effect.”

Thanks to this network approach, it is possible to tailor the product to each person, minimize side effects, and boost therapeutic benefits.

Despite their complexity, the different chemovarieties can be fully characterized with the same rigor of the standards applied to other pharmaceutical products and designed so that they comply with the detailed specifications issued by the health agencies.



In the past 30 years we have gained a better understanding of the endocannabinoid system. However, so far most of our clinical research has been done with unique cannabinoid molecules made by extraction or synthesis.

This method seems to limit due to several factors: new research in systems biology confirms that it is more effective to partially affect several targets than to affect a single target as a whole. Vapes for sale

There is a clear need to conduct clinical trials with plant marijuana. For this to be possible, it is necessary to introduce validated methods for the production of varieties with controlled quality, since the industry is currently saturated with unsafe and contaminated products and marijuana, which can put people’s health at risk.

The increasing efforts in the investigation of cannabinoid entities should aim at the cultivation of hemp individualized cannabinoid drugs.

However, this scenario does not seem realistic in a world that continues to impede access to herbal medicine.

I am hopeful that the better our collective knowledge about hemp, the more opportunities there will be to create the multiplier effect that is needed to start government funding for patient care rather than for the interests of pharmaceutical companies.

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