A lot of big-ticket movies have a star or two, but are still pretty crappy at the end of the day, filled with uninspired performances by actors who might as well be the relatives of the director or one of the producers. These are the flicks that leave you wanting a refund and swearing you will never get tricked into seeing something like that again. A step up from this Nicolas Cage drek are your garden variety “good” movies – ones that feature top-billed performers supported by other noteworthy cast members. These are the movies that prompt you to make note of an actor or two to look out for in the future. The truly great movies – think the Coen brothers – are full cast productions. Everyone on set has earned their way there, and show up ready to put their best on cellulose (or the modern zero-and-one digital equivalent). And this last category – the top-to-bottom, front-to-back masterpieces – are the film parallels of the stacked ensemble of over 200 active compounds present in each and every cannabis plant.
Good ol’ delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol – or THC – is obviously the star, the quintessential 999-time Oscar winner who makes everyone else on screen look better by simply existing in their realm. Second billing belongs to Cannabidiol, or CBD, a versatile, wide-ranging star in its own right. These two main cannabinoids are supported by dozens of secondary cannabinoids, which have therapeutic effects ranging from fighting inflammation to analgesic, muscle-relaxing, and antispasmodic properties, among others.
Scores of terpenes, the fragrant oils found in cannabis and an extensive variety of other plants, support a wide range of healing while giving cannabis its distinct smell. The research on terpenes in marijuana has intensified over the past few years, and the production and distribution of isolated terpenes has become an active and abundant market.
The cutting edge research has moved on to flavonoids, “a diverse group of phytonutrients (plant chemicals) found in almost all fruits and vegetables. Along with carotenoids, they are responsible for the vivid colors in fruits and vegetables. Flavonoids are the largest group of phytonutrients, with more than 6,000 types.” They make up approximately 10 percent of the active chemical profile of our favorite little bush. These compounds have strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory (one flavonoid found in cannabis has been found to be 30 times stronger than aspirin in this area), cardiovascular, neuroprotective, and anti-cancer effects, and have long been used in Ayurvedic medicine systems. Flavonoids are found in a vast range of fruits and vegetables, and are responsible for taste and color in both these plants and cannabis strains.
There are also cannabis-specific flavanoids. These interact with cannabinoids and terpenes to create what the good medical cannabis doctor in Israel, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, and his fellow researcher S. Ben-Shabat, named the “entourage effect,” the synergistic relationship that allows these compounds to work together to create wonderful reactions in the human body – our masterpieces of the silver screen. If I were to pick a film that perfectly described the relationship in each and every cannabis plant, I would go with “The Wizard of Oz,” the 1939 masterpiece that not only launched a young Judy Garland into Hollywood super-stardom, but also featured career roles for Margaret Hamilton as Miss Gulch/the Wicked Witch of the West, and the dual roles of farm workers/Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion. At the next level of the cast, it gave us the gift of all those munchkins, and even the flying monkeys, whose performances will stick in our collective cultural mind for the foreseeable future. Plus, that film goes perfectly with “Dark Side of the Moon” and a fatty.
I think I just figured out what I am up to this weekend, DGO. Hope it’s a great one for you.
Christopher Gallagher lives with his wife and their four dogs and two horses. Life is pretty darn good. Contact him at [email protected].