Marijuana contains both THC and CBD, and typically, a plant has much more THC than CBD. Strains higher in CBD are being bred and cultivated for smoking, but the primary use of CBD is to extract it into an oil for medical use. While CBD is derived from marijuana, it is unlike THC in that it is not psychoactive. That is to say that it does not give a person the mind-altering “high” that THC is well-known for providing.
For example, the six hemp oil companies the FDA had investigated in February had explicitly advertised CBD products for use in the “cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of diseases.” The agency sent warning letters to the companies, ordering them to change their product labeling or face potential legal action. Then, in May, the FDA announced it was excluding products containing cannabidiol from its definition of dietary supplements altogether. Hard, the spokesman for Medical Marijuana, Inc., said the company views “these developments as positive because this allows the debate regarding CBD to come to the forefront.” He characterized the FDA’s May announcement as “an opinion” and added, “Medical Marijuana, Inc. and HempMeds, along with industry associations, are working on determining how we can come to a mutual understanding on the matter with the FDA.”
Today, dozens of companies produce CBD in an array of forms. CBD can be inhaled through vape pens, applied in topical salves, ingested in edibles, or swallowed in oil-based tinctures. Oil has become the dominant CBD delivery method for kids with epilepsy, since it is easy to administer and ingest, and there is no shortage of it available for sale online. There are dozens of companies boasting names like Healthy Hemp Oil, Dose of Nature, and Natural Organic Solutions, each of them selling CBD products at prices ranging from trivial to dizzyingly steep. You don’t have to look hard to find them. If you have a PayPal account and $100 to spare, you could have a vial of hemp oil delivered to your doorstep.
Guzmán leads me around his cramped lab—centrifuges, microscopes, beakers, petri dishes, a postdoc researcher in a white smock extracting tissue from a mouse corpse pinned under bright lights. It’s your typical bioresearch lab, except that everything is devoted to the effects of cannabis on the body and brain. The lab focuses not just on cancer but also on neurodegenerative diseases and on how cannabinoids affect early brain development. On this last topic the Guzmán group’s research is unequivocal: Mice born of mothers regularly given high doses of THC during pregnancy show pronounced problems. They’re uncoordinated, have difficulty with social interactions, and have a low anxiety threshold—they’re often paralyzed with fear at stimuli, such as a cat puppet placed near their cage, that don’t upset other juvenile mice.
Indeed, hemp oil products have grown out of a market largely devoid of regulations or safety protocols. The state of the CBD industry harks back to the age of elixirs and potions hawked from covered wagons to the awed denizens of pioneer towns. There are no industrywide standards in place to ensure that CBD oils are consistently formulated batch-to-batch. There is no regulatory body screening products for pesticides, heavy metals, solvent residues, and other dangerous contaminants. The laboratories that companies contract to test their CBD products are themselves neither standardized nor consistently regulated. No medical research exists to recommend how much CBD a patient should take, nor is there detailed, reliable documentation of how CBD interacts with most epilepsy medications.
And now, onto the thorny issue of legality. The simple answer to the question is yes – if it is extracted from hemp. The 2014 Farm Bill established guidelines for growing hemp in the U.S. legally. This so-called “industrial hemp” refers to both hemp and hemp products which come from cannabis plants with less than 0.3 percent THC and are grown by a state-licensed farmer.
Until 2017, products containing cannabidiol that are marketed for medical purposes were classed as medicines by the UK regulatory body, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and could not be marketed without regulatory approval for the medical claims. CBD oil with THC content not exceeding 0.2% was legalized throughout the UK in 2017. Cannabis oil, however, remained illegal to possess, buy and sell.
When Brandon Krenzler’s daughter Mykayla was diagnosed with a form of childhood leukemia in 2012 at the age of seven, he began researching medical marijuana products that might ease her symptoms and blogging about the results. The next year, he received some samples of Real Scientific Hemp Oil, which he administered to Mykayla. But the oil made her sick.
Elias Anderson, one of the owners of Going Green, said representatives from HempMedsPx approached him after Krenzler published the lab’s findings on his blog. “They were like, ‘What are we gonna do about it?’” Anderson recalled, “And I was like, ‘Nothing. We have standards, and I stand behind my test results.’” Still, the company’s representatives were insistent and advised Anderson to have Kenzler take down the lab’s findings. In an email to the New Republic, Hard, the Medical Marijuana, Inc. spokesman, contended that the sample of hemp oil that Going Green Labs tested had been “tampered with” by a competitor after Krenzler obtained it. “HempMedsPX, if anything, told the lab they cannot publish results from products [for which] they had no chain of custody tracked,” Hard said, “and if they did—that could prove to be very bad for the lab.” He also characterized Krenzler and Anderson as “haters” of Medical Marijuana, Inc., and suggested that much of the criticism of the company and its products comes from commercial competitors.
Preliminary research indicates that cannabidiol may reduce adverse effects of THC, particularly those causing intoxication and sedation, but only at high doses. Safety studies of cannabidiol showed it is well-tolerated, but may cause tiredness, diarrhea, or changes in appetite as common adverse effects. Epidiolex documentation lists sleepiness, insomnia and poor quality sleep, decreased appetite, diarrhea, and fatigue.
Topical solutions also vary greatly in potency. For example, Prevail Botanical’s salve contains 1,000 milligrams of CBD in 2.2 ounces. Floyd’s of Leadville cream has 700 milligrams in a 30-gram (1.05 ounce) container. These deliver higher amounts of CBD than other topicals I tried, such as PlusCBD’s balm (100 milligrams in 1.3 ounces) and Medterra’s cream (750 milligrams in 3.4 ounces). Remember, more isn’t necessarily better.
If CBD-dominant products alone are not enough to treat a particular case, products with a higher ratio of THC are sometimes recommended to better manage pain. For day use, more stimulating, sativa varieties with higher concentrations of myrcene could be added to the formula. In general, for pain, and especially for evening and nighttime, indica strains are favored for their relaxing, sedative effect. A person without experience with THC should use caution and titrate slowly up to higher doses. Research as well as patient feedback have indicated that, in general, a ratio of 4:1 CBD:THC is the most effective for both neuropathic and inflammatory pain. Each individual is different, however—for some, a 1:1 ratio of CBD:THC can be more effective, and others prefer a high-THC strain when it can be tolerated. Each patient’s tolerance and sensitivity will differ, and through titration the correct strain and ratio combination can be found.
The same terms could be applied to what's actually in CBD products. While some do contain CBD, others (often marketed as "CBD-rich hemp oil") may have barely any, Asquith says. And depending on state laws, they can include varying levels of THC too – a combination shown to have some benefits, but also drawbacks, of course, if you're not looking for a high. "People will play all these games with the numbers because the consumers aren't really educated in this space yet and it's easy to get taken advantage of," he says. "It's the milligrams of the actual CBD molecule that matter."
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It’s a truism to state that pain is an inevitable part of life. And it’s true that we all, from time to time, experience pain that is short-lived and treatable. But those who deal with chronic pain know the debilitating, life-sucking reality of this condition. And traditional medications often come with long lists of side effects which can be as debilitating as the pain itself.
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The CBD vaporizer category is pretty crowded, but this CBD Vape Shot Kit from Alternate Vape continues to win the hearts of our customers, even over more expensive versions. The device itself is small, portable, lightweight, convenient, and easy to use. Simply add your favorite flavor, screw on the top, and you’re ready to start vaping. It’s the ideal starter kit for beginners new to CBD vaping, and it comes with everything you need: one e-pen, one USB charger, and one pre-loaded CBD cartridge.
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