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Science and Medical Strains of Cannabis

By Rev. Dr. Kymron deCesare

As an herbalist and physician’s assistant, I’ve been a healer for several decades, striving ever to do what I can to improve the quality of life of my patients. In this regard, I’ve been blessed with having a secret weapon — being a scientist, a chemist, and having access to a lab like Steep Hill, where I can actually keep track of what is in the plant, how much is in it, and if it’s safe and clean enough to even be considered usable for medicine.

I’d like to share just a few of the amazing strains that we have had the opportunity to study in our lab.

A lot less research has been done on cannabinoid acids (like THCA & CBDA), but from what we do know they mostly have similar medicinal effects, being immuno-modulating, anti-inflammatory, and are not psychoactive. Neutral Cannabinoids (like THC & CBD) exhibit some of the same, along with very different medicinal properties.

Upon heating, THCA decarboxylates mostly into THC (2/3 yield by wt.). Based on literally thousands of peer reviewed scientific and clinical papers, THC has been documented to have medical efficacy in the treatment of pain, inflammation, tremor disorders, bacterial infections, tumors, spasms, appetite stimulation, and a variety of psychological disorders. THC is one of only a half dozen cannabinoids known to be psychoactive.

Below is an example of a THCA-rich strain:

Steephill 1


One of the rarer cannabinoids that has been heavily researched in Israel is Tetrahydrocannabivarin, or THCV. This “short tail” version of THC strongly increases the psychoactivity and energy of the THC, but the duration of effect is only half as long as for THC.

THCV has been found to be important in the treatment of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome), where it has the ability to block panic attacks. It has also been found to be more effective in the treatment Parkinson’s and ALS. THCV is anorectic, decreasing appetite.

Below is an example of a THCV-rich strain, Doug’s Varin. Notice this strain contains about equal amounts of THCA and THCVA:

steephill 2

ACDC is a good example of a CBD-rich strain that contains primarily CBDA. Since CBD is not psychoactive, this strain can be used without cognitive impairment. CBD has been the cannabinoid of choice for the treatment of seizures and tremor disorders in children. Although not as effective in the treatment of pain, it’s anxiolytic and relaxation qualities are superior to THC, working well to reduce anxiety and depression.

CBD is also used to treat tumors, bacterial infections, stimulates bone cell and neuron growth. CBD has also been used to counter the dysphoria sometimes caused by ingestion of THC. Notice this strain has almost no THC, with a ratio of about 20 parts of CBDA to 1 part of THCA:

steephill 3

This next strain has similar amounts of CBDA and THCA. Research has shown that the synergy from using both CBD & THC together has a much greater medical efficacy than either one alone. This has been shown to be the case in treating both the reduction in pain and for dissolving tumors. For this reason, strains like Harlequin are highly prized as a treatment option. The 5:2 ratio of CBDA:THCA assures a low level of psychoactivity without dysphoria, and extends the duration of effect:

steephill 4

These four strains yield a wealth of medicinal options for patients and caregivers alike, and, assuming the plant matter is safe and clean of contaminants, then the treatments themselves have a high level of safety since no one has ever died from an over dose of cannabinoids.

Being a scientist with a lab has been a wonderful augment to my healing knowledge, especially during this exciting time in our Cannabis Industry. Before the end of 2015, there will have been about 30,000 peer reviewed scientific papers written about Cannabis, Cannabinoids and the Endocannabinoid System. As our CEO David Lampach has said, “Cannabis will ultimately be the most studied plant in history.”

The Rev. Dr. Kymron deCesare is Chief Research Officer at Steep Hill an Oakland, California-based science and technology firm that has become an industry leader in cannabis testing and analytics. Steep Hill pioneered the first medical cannabis potency and microbiological contaminants testing methodology used in California, and the company has since developed a variety of revolutionary cannabis industry testing products, including the QuantaCann, and now the QuantaCann2.


Rob Meagher

Rob Meagher

Rob Meagher, CBE’s Founder, President and Editor-in-Chief is a 30 year veteran of the media world. His career has spanned from stints representing the Washington Post, USA Weekend, Reader’s Digest, Financial World & Corporate Finance to the technology world where he worked at International Data Group and Ziff Davis where he was part of the launch team for The Web Magazine, Yahoo Internet Life, Smart Business and Expedia Travels before starting his own marketing and Publisher’s Representative Firm. He also ran all print and online media sales and marketing for the Society for Human Resource Management before partnering with Forbes and then Fortune to create Special Sections covering a variety of topics. Rob, who started CBE Press in 2014, can be contacted at [email protected]

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