Higher Profile: Dr. William Courtney

AC/DC: Alternative Cannabinoid Dietary Cannabis
Higher Profile: Dr. William Courtney
Dr. William Courtney with his wife, Kristen; Photo courtesy of Dr. William Courtney

When the cultivar AC/DC first hit the market many supposed it was a tribute to the 70s rock band or the scientist Nikola Tesla.

But it was actually a Northern California physician, Dr. William Courtney, formerly based in Mendocino County, who created the cultivar with a high cannabidiol or CBD content, specifically for juicing leaf.

Dr. Courtney’s higher education began at the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology. He then earned a Doctorate in Medicine from Wayne State University, interning for his Residency in Psychiatry at California Pacific Medical Center. He’s currently a member of the American Academy of Cannabinoid Medicine, the International Cannabinoid Research Society, the international Association of Cannabis as Medicine, and the Society of Clinical Cannabis. He also teaches Continuing Medical Education (CME) courses in clinical cannabis.

Known for advocating for juicing the fan leaf as a dietary supplement, Dr. Courtney helped put his now-wife Kristen’s Lupus into remission after she traveled to California to be helped by him. Kristen was told she’d never have children, but ended up marrying the good doctor. They proceeded to have three children together.

He next made headlines in 2013 when he crossed over from the non-psychoactive delivery of juicing leaf, to the high tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, concentrate of cannabis oil, successfully helping to put an eight month old infant’s brain tumor into remission.

The Father of AC/DC

Dr. Courtney is the father of AC/DC, creating the cultivar from Cannatonic seeds acquired during a visit to Barcelona, Spain from Resin Seeds.

As detailed in the New Settler Newsletter (Autumn 2011) Courtney’s trip was purposeful, as he is known for being on the lookout for high CBD strains. 

“We gave some presentations while there,” Courtney was quoted. “But, the primary goal was to find more board prolific genetics.”

The story includes hash making locals and weed-eating goats, but Courtney brought the seeds home, potted them up and the rest, as they say, is history.

According to Leafly.com highlights of AC/DC are it is a sativa-dominant phenotype of the high CBD cannabis strain, Cannatonic, with a ratio of 1:20, or one part THC to 20 parts CBD. In fact, the CBD often tests higher than others at upwards of 19 percent, with no psychoactive properties to speak of.

There is actually no compound within the plant called THC. In its raw form the compound is called THCA, and doesn’t become the psychoactive compound of THC until heated. Like its sister compound, THC, THCA has anti-inflammatory properties, with many neuroprotectant properties, promoting brain function health. It’s also been said to slow the growth of certain types of cancer cells.

“If you don’t heat marijuana, you can go up to five or six hundred milligrams and use the plant strictly as a dietary supplement by upping the anti-oxidant and neuroprotective levels which come into play at hundreds of milligrams of CBDA and THCA,” he explained. “It is this dramatic increase in dose from 10 milligrams of psychoactive THC to the 500 milligrams to 1,000 milligrams of non-psychoactive THCA, CBDA, and CBGA that comprises the primary difference between traditional medical marijuana treatments and using cannabis as a dietary supplement.”

In other words, juicing allows the patient to get the maximum whole plant compounds without the high. Aside from using a juicing machine, a handful of leaves can also be added to a blender with other fruits to make a beneficial smoothie.

Alternative Cannabinoid Dietary Cannabis

Cultivar names can be vulgar, are often silly, or plagiaristic, but when Dr. Courtney thought up AC/DC, it was nothing short of meaningful – with humor thrown in for good measure. 

From a hand written note, Dr. Courtney penned:

The strain of plants we have recently identified I’m now calling ‘Alternative Cannabinoid Dietary Cannabis’ – that’s AC/DC. 

The name, in part, was selected because of the humorous nature of cannabis strains.

In this case, the humor is: If you heat the plant, you will decarboxylate THC-acid and you will get high, you will get your 10 milligrams. If you don’t heat it, you can go up to five or six hundred milligrams and use it as a dietary cannabis. – Dr. Wm Courtney

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