|Sola Dosis Facit Venenum. “The dose makes the poison.” Paracelsus, a Swiss physician and chemist, is credited for this maxim. He coined it 500 years ago.
His famous dictum in its full glory is: “What is there that is not a poison? All things are poison and nothing is without poison. Solely the dose determines that a thing is not a poison.” He built his entire academic and medical career, earning his lasting reputation as the first toxicologist, on framing this concept.
The basic principle seems obvious but in medieval times, the articulation that all things are poison in the wrong dose was radical. With our modern knowledge and perspective, the concept of a harmful dose and what makes a substance toxic now includes many other factors including timing, accumulation, long-term exposure, and interactions with other compounds.
Even the sine qua non of life twins, water and oxygen, can kill. More than a liter an hour will overwhelm your kidneys under most conditions. Four 8 ounce servings an hour is a rate that can kill. Hyponatremia is not something you want to risk. Water drinking contests do in fact result in fatalities.
So what does this have to do with hemp and its bioactive mix of cannabinoids, terpenes and other phytocompounds? Or isolates or concentrated extracts?
By itself, hemp, and its high THC cannabis cousin, have proven to have a non-toxic profile during their more than 10,000 years of recorded cultivation by humans. But modern toxicology studies are about abnormal dosing, cumulative servings, timing and other factors. Substances can be harmful and even have acute consequences long before intake by whatever means of a substance becomes fatal.
Arguably, the world’s longest “clinical trial” or surely close to the longest, and largest in terms of humans in the trial, provides overwhelming anecdotal evidence of the low toxicity profile of the plant family know as cannabis sativa and its many bioactive compounds. Even applying modern comprehensive and conditional standards including the concept of a defined no-adverse effect level (NOAEL) suggest non-psychotropic cannabinoids associated with hemp (e.g., CBD, CBG, CBN and CBC) have very low toxicity.
Although we are talking about hemp and its phytocompounds in this newsletter, overdose deaths from THC, a psychotropic cannabinoid, appear to be zero as well. Having said that, we would be remiss not to mention that most substance abuse deaths occur from impairment-related safety incidents or health complications.
Toxicologists have defined the “median lethal dose” as the amount of a substance required to kill 50% of a test population of animals, expressed in mg per kg of body weight. LD50 is the abbreviation. Human LD50 values are then calculated from this testing. For ethical reasons, testing on animals to determine LD50 is being phased out in favor of other methods but it has been the standard.
Body weight, metabolism, tolerance, drug interactions, compromised physiologic conditions, genetic predisposition, hypersensitivity, development susceptibility, allergies, pregnancy, etc., etc. all factor in to the incredibly complex science of toxicology. Even still, the concept and measurement of LD50 is critically useful in making decisions and setting guidelines ranging from environmental exposure to dosing protocols and pharmaceutical drug design to pharmacognosy (the study of naturally occurring compounds with biological activity in humans for medicinal use).
We will continue down this path to marshal the evidence that further substantiates the very low toxicity of cannabinoids in Part II of this newsletter later this week.
What Makes PPM Unique:
For minor and rare cannabinoids, including 100% hemp-derived CBN (100% THC-Free), we believe PPM is the only domestic producer of these naturally occurring minor cannabinoids selling kilo quantities consistently into highly demanding, large company supply chains.
PPM is led by a team of advanced-degreed scientists with pharmaceutical industry and university research backgrounds representing over 100 years of chemistry, food, natural products, and plant medicine experience.
PPM is committed to advancing the science and providing innovative true whole hemp plant extracts with fully customizable cannabinoid profiles, and minor and rare cannabinoid-based bulk ingredients, both 100% hemp-derived and biosynthesized from hemp plant precursors versions, including CBN, CBC, CBT, GBG, CBDA, THCV, and CBDV, to companies worldwide.
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Every day, every team member at PPM is inspired by the possibilities of plant-based medicine and remedies, and Mother Nature’s genius.