SAN RAFAEL (KPIX 5) -- A Marin County doctor says his research into medical marijuana has identified a compound that can help diabetes patients.
Dr. Michael Moskowitz, President of Bay Area Pain Medical Associates, says it's not about getting high, it's about getting well - and he thinks he's on to something.
Moskowitz believes he has identified a rare component of marijuana called THCV, or tetrahydrocannabivarin, that he says is helping one of his diabetic patients - a patient who's blood sugar level varies between 50 and 1000 in a single day.
THCV is only found in trace amounts in most cannabis strains, but in much higher levels in a strain called Black Beauty. It's leaves are much darker than most marijuana.
The patient's sugar levels became more stable after smoking the Black Beauty strain, said Moskowitz. While less potent in getting a patient high, the higher THCV level seemed to have an effect.
"It's not clear, but it appears that, on a preliminary basis, for the first month that he did that, the extent of how much he varied seems to be less," said Moskowitz.
Although she doesn't have diabetes, Nina Murphy has chronic neck and back pain she used to treat with traditional pain medication. "I was a little skeptical. I haven't used marijuana before so it's not something I was just going to jump into," said Murphy. "I'm extremely pleased and I hope to off my meds in the next couple months so, yeah!"
Moskowitz says more study needs to be done with Black Beauty. "Just having the opportunity to work with something that clearly has therapeutic value, but figuring out how to optimize that and make that work the best for the most number of people is very exciting," he said.
Moskowitz will travel to Miami next week to speaking at a conference to discuss his findings.
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