American researchers in California say they have demonstrated that a new, far-less-expensive synthetic version of CBD can be as effective in treating certain maladies as the natural version of the compound. The synthetic CBD also promises to be easier and quicker to produce, a team of scientists at the University of California, Davis reported.
The researchers said they have shown 8,9-Dihydrocannabidiol (H2CBD) to be as effective as natural CBD in reducing and easing seizures in rats. The team said it is still probing the safety and efficacy of H2CBD in both animals and humans
The group’s findings were published in Scientific Reports, a science and medical journal.
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration last year OK’d CBD for the treatment of epilepsy in the first approval of a cannabis-derived compound for clinical purposes.
The UK’s GW Pharma was the first company to earn such clearance, for its Epidiolex product, a natural CBD drug crafted as a treatment for two forms of severe childhood epilepsy. But Epidiolex is expensive, with estimated costs about $32,500 per year. A cheaper alternative has the potential to severely impact the CBD sector, which is based entirely on CBD derived from natural sources.
The new study demonstrates how to make CBD using less-expensive, non-cannabis derived substances that can be easily produced even in jurisdictions where marijuana and CBD are still regulated.
Furthermore, the research team noted, H2CBD cannot be turned into THC. While CBD has no narcotic effect, it has proven effective as a mild sedative.
“Unlike CBD, there is no way to convert H2CBD to intoxicating THC,” said UC Davis researcher Mark Mascal. “It’s a much safer drug than CBD, with no abuse potential, and doesn’t require the cultivation of hemp.”