Phillip Hague, the chief horticulturist at a Denver cannabis company called Mindful, sniffs the roots of a plant to check on their health. He’s grown cannabis most of his life and has traveled the world researching its many varieties. He’s interested in developing new strains with higher concentrations of marijuana’s lesser known compounds that appear to have medical uses. “Cannabis speaks to me,” he says.
Research suggests that CBD may exert some of its pharmacological action through its inhibition of fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), which may in turn increase the levels of endocannabinoids, such as anandamide, produced by the body. It has also been speculated that some of the metabolites of CBD have pharmacological effects that contribute to the biological activity of CBD.
What Meagan saw in Colorado impressed her—the growing knowledge base of cannabis producers, the kinship of parents coping with similar ordeals, the quality of the dispensaries, and the expertise of the test labs in ensuring consistent cannabis-oil formulations. Colorado Springs had become a mecca for a remarkable medical migration. More than a hundred families with children who had life-threatening medical conditions had uprooted themselves and moved. These families, many of them associated with a nonprofit organization called the Realm of Caring, consider themselves “medical refugees.” Most couldn’t medicate their children with cannabis in their home states without risking arrest for trafficking or even child abuse.
Because it takes a significantly larger amount of hemp stalks to produce hemp oil, there is an increased risk of contamination of toxins contained within the plant. This is a result of hemp's strong bio-accumulator properties, where it pulls toxins from the soil it grows in. Many hemp oils are also known to lack the full spectrum of terpenes and other cannabinoids that are believed to act synergistically with the CBD, meaning that consumers receive less of a benefit. That being said, there are some brands that test rigorously to make sure that the CBD content, as well as the terpenes and other cannabinoids, are up to par. It's a good sign if they offer to provide a certificate of analysis, which will tell you what kind of compounds are in the hemp oil and in what concentrations
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Kane fingers one of his innocuous-looking plants, expressing mild bemusement at the U.S. ban on commercial hemp cultivation. “Hemp produces fibers of unparalleled quality,” he notes. “It’s a tremendously high biomass crop that replenishes the soil and doesn’t require much in terms of inputs. We import tons and tons of hemp each year from China and even Canada, yet as a matter of federal policy, we can’t legally grow it. There are places where farmers in the U.S. can literally look across the Canadian border and see fields that are yielding huge profits.”
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However, Bonn-Miller told Live Science that he thinks cannabis research is on the upswing. "If we flash forward five years I think you'll see more studies," he said. Those studies could reveal more conditions that CBD may be helpful for and may also reveal that some of the reasons why people say they use CBD oil are not supported by the science but are instead a placebo effect. "And that's why we need to do the studies," he said.
Marijuana-derived CBD, on the other hand, is only legal in any state that has legalized marijuana. CBD and anything else derived from a cannabis plant is still classified by the DEA as a Schedule I drug (defined as a drug with "no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse"). And in 2016, the DEA stated that all extracts containing more than one cannabinoid would remain classified as Schedule I. However, the approval of Epidiolex may change that.
In the apparent rush to accept weed into the mainstream, to tax and regulate it, to legitimize and commodify it, important questions arise. What’s going on inside this plant? How does marijuana really affect our bodies and our brains? What might the chemicals in it tell us about how our neurological systems function? Could those chemicals lead us to beneficial new pharmaceuticals?
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In 2012, voters in Colorado and Washington state passed initiatives legalizing cannabis for adults 21 and older under state law. In November 2014, Oregon, Alaska, and Washington D.C also approved recreational use of marijuana. In November 2016, four more states - California, Massachusetts, Maine, and Nevada - voted in recreational marijuana. It is important to note that the federal government still considers cannabis a dangerous drug and that the illegal distribution and sale of marijuana is a serious crime. Under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), marijuana is still considered a Schedule 1 drug. Cultivation and distribution of marijuana are felonies; possession for personal use is a misdemeanor; possession of “paraphernalia” is also illegal. Cultivating 100 plants or more carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years according to federal statutes.
Scientific studies have established that synthetic, single-molecule hemp-oils have a very narrow window of efficacy and requires great precision to achieve that efficacy, whereas lower concentration, whole-plant, full-spectrum, phyto-nutrient rich nutritional supplement regimens are already showing efficacy for many. Full-spectrum compounds interact collectively and enhance their therapeutic benefits. Scientists call this the “entourage effect.” Numerous hemp compounds have medicinal attributes, but the therapeutic impact of whole plant hemp is greater than the sum of its parts.
Hempseed is considered by leading researchers and medical doctors to be one of the most nutritious food sources on the planet. Shelled hempseed is packed with 33% pure digestible protein and is rich in iron and vitamin E as well as omega-3 and GLA. A recent report funded by the Canadian government states that hemp protein comprises 66% high-quality edistin protein, and that hempseed contains the highest percentage of this of any plant source. Unlike soy, hemp is not genetically modified, and it doesn't contain the anti-nutritional qualities commonly found in soy.
In general, the preparation methods for unregulated cannabis oil are relatively simple. They do not entail highly specialised equipment, and use easily accessible solvents such as petroleum ether, naphtha, alcohol and olive oil. For this reason, people who have access to cannabis plant material, from either legal or illegal sources, may prepare it at home by themselves.
Possession or manufacture of cannabis and cannabis extracts is illegal in most jurisdictions. People caught with small amounts of extracts can face extremely harsh prison sentences. As of 2017 in some regions of the United States mandatory minimums of a year in jail still exist. However, it is widely produced in states where cannabis has been legalized.
Although hemp and marijuana are essentially different cultivars of the same plant – Cannabis sativa L – marijuana has been cultivated to concentrate high levels of THC (frequently as much as 18%), in the plant’s flowering tops, whereas hemp, which is primarily grown in Europe to make clothing, paper, biofuels, bioplastics, nutritional supplements, cosmetics, and foods, contains less than 0.3% THC.
Figuring out how much CBD oil to take can feel like trying to navigate through a complicated maze. The sheer volume of CBD brands on the market can create confusion for consumers, and when you take a closer look, it’s not difficult to understand why. Not only do vendors use different source materials (CBD-rich cannabis vs. industrial hemp, different strains, etc.), but they also implement different extraction techniques .
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