We are now going to discuss cannabis products more in detail so as to clarify misconceptions that you may have and of course to educate you about the cannabis revolution that is now rapidly taking place around us.
In our previous post, we read about 2018 United States farm bill that became law on December 20, 2018.
CBD hemp oil, unlike CBD oil derived from marijuana, is now legal in all fifty states.
In the United States, we’re in the middle of a cannabis revolution.
Our nation is slowly waking up to the truth that cannabis, what was once dubiously considered a dangerous psychoactive substance, is not only safe but plentiful in medical benefits.
Sales of legal cannabis products is expected to grow from $6.6 billion in 2016 to $24.1 billion in 2025.
However, even in the light of the overwhelming benefits of cannabis in the medical world there is still a lot of confusion.
Our goal is to clear up the misconceptions about cannabis products and their legality.
Then we can all focus on the benefits of hemp oil as well as the ins and outs of buying and taking it.
Cannabis vs Hemp
Cannabis has been around for thousands of years and is believed to have originated in South or Central Asia.
The two main species of cannabis are Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica.
Both Cannabis sativa and indica contain varying amounts of psychoactive and nonpsychoactive components.
Cannabis sativa is more commonly known for its stimulatory, mental effects while Cannabis indica is more known for its relaxing, body-calming effects.
What Is Hemp?
Industrial hemp is a type of cannabis, defined by the federal government as having THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive compound found in cannabis, of 0.3 percent or less.
That amount has not been shown to make a person feel “high.”
In fact, some researchers and physicians argue that having even a small amount of THC helps CBD work better in the body because of what’s known as the “entourage effect.”
For comparison, some marijuana products contain amounts of THC that are up to 100 times more potent.
Hemp, one of the oldest known crops cultivated by humans, has a long and twisted history in the U.S., often conflated with marijuana and banned as a crop in 1937.
But hemp can produce hundreds if not thousands of consumer goods, including fiber, paper, textiles, rope and even biofuel.
What is the Difference Between THC and CBD?
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the two primary cannabinoids that occur naturally in the Cannabis sativa plant, most commonly known as cannabis.
Both of these substances interact with the cannabinoid receptors found in the human body and brain but they differed dramatically in their effects.
CBD is non-psychoactive which means that it will not get the user high.
Because of this trait, CBD appears more frequently than THC in dietary and natural supplements.
What is THC?
THC is the main psychoactive component of the cannabis plant.
In other words, THC is the primary agent responsible for creating the ‘high’ associated with recreational cannabis use.
This compound works, in part, by mimicking the effects of anandamide and 2-AG.
These neurotransmitters are produced naturally by the human body and help to modulate sleeping and eating habits, the perception of pain, and countless other bodily functions.
The effects of THC include:
- Altered senses of sight, smell, and hearing
- Reduced aggression
What Are the Natural Benefits of THC?
Research studies indicate that THC may useful in helping with:
- Side Effects of Chemotherapy
- Multiple sclerosis
- Spinal injury: Lessen tremors
- Nausea and vomiting
- Chronic pain
- Digestive health
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol is one of the most critical cannabinoids contained in the cannabis plant.
It exists both in agricultural hemp, as well as medical cannabis.
While cannabinoids are present within several plants in nature, cannabis is the only plant known to contain CBD.
CBD has the same chemical formula as THC, with the atoms in a different arrangement.
This slight variance causes THC to create a psychoactive effect, while CBD does not.
This fact means that when you ingest CBD for medical purposes, you will more likely experience a relief of your unwanted discomfort, with little or no noticeable effect on your cognitive abilities.
What Are the Medical Benefits of CBD?
Research studies indicate that CBD may be useful in helping with:
- Pain(neuropathic, chronic, cancer-related, etc.)
- Multiple Sclerosis(MS)
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis(ALS)
- Broken Bones
- Mad Cow Disease
- Bacterial Infections
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Substance Abuse/Withdrawal
- Heart Disease
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome(IBS)
CBD vs. THC for Pain
Meaning THC consumed in this capacity should be done in small amounts.
Additionally, many individuals experience difficulty managing the side effects associated with THC, rendering useless any potential benefits.
Some experts suggest that a combination of THC and CBD is the ideal way to approach pain, giving validity to something known as the entourage effect.
What Is the Entourage Effect?
The cannabis plant, packed full of more than 80 cannabinoids and even more terpenes, is an astoundingly complex crop.
Marijuana is not just THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol).
It’s literally hundreds of other things, and the superb quality and multidimensional abilities of cannabis indeed are not solely due to the presence of THC and CBD.
The term “entourage effect” has been used to describe the synergistic manner in which the more than 80 cannabinoids and 100+ terpenes work together to produce the healing magic that cannabis is so widely recognized for.
When the separate components present in cannabis stand alone, they aren’t nearly as strong or effective as when combined together.
This teamwork is greater than the sum of all the individual parts, hence the term “entourage”, which means a group of people surrounding and supporting another main individual.
There are plenty of accounts from individuals who have had personal experiences that all seem to say the same thing:
Weed works better as a medicine when it’s used full-spectrum, rather than just using the isolated compounds (like pure THC or CBD) by themselves.
Many argue that consuming the plant in its whole form provides all the necessary cofactors to facilitate proper absorption.
This argument is at the heart of the debate over CBD oil from hemp vs. CBD oil from cannabis.
While it may be cheaper and more cost-effective to extract CBD from industrial hemp, users may ultimately experience less benefit due to the absence of clinically significant levels of terpenes and other compounds (which occur in abundance in high-CBD marijuana).
While high-CBD cultivars of cannabis do contain much higher levels of various cannabinoids, terpenes, etc., it does not mean that there aren’t potential drawbacks to its use.
Agricultural hemp is much closer to the kind of cannabis that one would find growing naturally in the wild, whereas high-CBD marijuana is hybridized and toyed with by growers to produce the highest levels of the desirable compounds.
There is no hard science (yet!) when it comes to the theory of the entourage effect theory.
It is up to each individual to decide which option is best for them.
Why does CBD see more usage than THC in natural supplements?
THC is an illegal drug with considerable immediate and long-term cognitive side effects.
These include impaired thinking and reasoning, a reduced ability to plan and organize, altered decision-making, and reduced control over impulses.
Also, chronic use of THC correlates with significant abnormalities in the heart and brain.
CBD lacks the harmful cognitive effects of THC.
In fact, CBD can counteract the psychoactive effects of THC.
Cannabis plants containing small amounts of CBD and high levels of THC result in a stronger ‘stoned’ feeling, while plants with more CBD and less THC create a weaker, more relaxed, effect.
Given the increasing popularity of medical cannabis, breeders are currently creating strains with higher CBD to THC ratios to minimize the psychoactive side effects.
Overall, the lower health risks of CBD, combined with its efficacy, make it a better candidate for natural applications than THC.
CBD Still Faces FDA Scrutiny
While hemp production may eventually be a boon for U.S. farmers, for now, CBD may still face legal hurdles, even with the passage of the Farm Bill, says Miller, legal counsel for the U.S. Hemp Roundtable.
Indeed, FDA commissioner Gottlieb emphasized that though hemp growing is now legal, the agency—under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act—still has authority to regulate the use of compounds from the plant, including CBD.
Gottlieb said that could mean regulating CBD products as prescription drugs, which would require them to first undergo rigorous studies for safety and effectiveness.
Or, Gottlieb said, the agency could issue a regulation allowing the compound to be used in foods or dietary supplements.
“We are taking new steps to evaluate whether we should pursue such a process,” he said.
The agency intends to hold hearings on that question “in the near future,” he said.
In the meantime, the agency noted that it will continue to go after companies that make unapproved health claims on their products.
Since 2015, the FDA has cracked down on dozens of companies selling CBD products online for making unsupported health claims.
It noted in letters to the companies that CBD can’t be sold as a supplement because it was introduced into clinical trials as an investigative new drug.
While regulators plot their next moves, retailers and manufacturers are gearing up.