Glucosamine chondroitin. Turmeric. Caffeine. Collagen. What do all of these things have in common? They are all things that people have tried in an attempt to reduce their pain naturally.
Year after year, we hear about the latest trends from our patients; learning the things that they are trying to relieve their symptoms aside from more invasive options like injections and surgeries. The latest trend we are hearing more about - CBD.
With in the past few years as states like Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Michigan, Colorado, Maine, Vermont and Massachusetts have legalized medical marijuana, marijuana and CBD have become huge sources of news. Cannabidiol (CBD) has made a name for itself and is rapidly growing in popularity for its therapeutic benefits. With the passing of the Farm Bill in 2018 allowing industrial hemp and its derived products to be legal on a federal level, large retail chains like CVS and Rite Aid have made announcements to carry CBD products in the future.
What is CBD?
Within cannabis plants, there are over 100 phytocannabinoids (chemical compounds that occur naturally in the plant) including both tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Both CBD and THC interact with the cannabinoid receptors within the brain, but CBD does not cause psychoactive effects (the “high” or “stoned feeling”) like THC which is abundant in marijuana.
How does CBD work?
You’ve probably heard or even learned about the human body’s major organ systems like the nervous, skeletal, reproductive, and circulatory systems. However, few of us have ever heard about the endocannabinoid system, also known as ECS. The ECS system is still being studied in greater detail, but what has already been discovered about this system is it’s role in creating homeostasis amongst the body’s major systems.
The EC system interacts with the cannabinoids that are produced in the body. The receptors for cannabinoids are spread throughout the body and, therefore, play a crucial role in many of the body’s processes. Some of these physiological processes include blood pressure, bone density, stress, sleep, and hunger.
As more information is found on the ECS system, scientists have begun looking at how cannabis-dervied cannabinoids (i.e. CBD and THC) interact with the system. According to Medical Marijuana Inc, “Cannabinoids, like those found in isolates and oils, mimic the behavior of endocannabinoids and interact with the cannabinoid receptors to augment the endocannabinoid system.” So, what does this mean? As we gain more knowledge on the system, we can identify the therapeutic ways cannabis can be used.
How is CBD oil made?
To make CBD oil, one must start with CBD-rich plant material. CBD oil is extracted from the flowers and buds of the hemp or marijuana plant (more commonly the hemp plant as CBD is found in great abundance here). The hemp plant does contain very low levels of THC (0.3% or less), whereas marijuana has concentrations of THC between 15-40%. Once extracted from the plant, the CBD oil can be used in a number of different products. When CBD oil is extracted from the hemp plant, it produces a thick, highly concentrated form. It can then be refined and used in a number of different consumer products.
Unfortunately, there is currently little oversight for manufacturing hemp-derived CBD products, which has led to issues with mislabeling CBD and THC content levels and potential contamination issues from poor processing. Always be sure to read the ingredients carefully before purchasing a CBD oil product, and look for evidence of recent laboratory tests and verification of CBD concentrations when purchasing.
Is CBD oil legal?
It is important for our readers to know that we are not lawyers. The process of legalizing hemp starts back with the Agricultural Act of 2014.
From the research we have done online about CBD and the Farm Act, the legality of CBD depends on what source is used to derive the oil. The Farm Act of 2018 passed by both the House and Senate removed hemp from the Schedule 1 Controlled Substances list. What does this mean?
If CBD is derived from marijuana, it is classified as a schedule 1 controlled substance; illegal on the federal level, but possibly legal under state law. In contrast, if the CBD is derived from hemp, it is not classified as a controlled substance and is therefore legal nationwide. (Source: http://time.com/5516745/cbd-oil-legal-healthy/)
However, within a few short days of the 2018 Farm Bill passing, the Federal and Drug Administration issued a statement making any hemp-based CBD product marketing as having therapeutic benefits, disease claims, or as a dietary supplement illegal to sell unless they (the FDA) have review and approved it. You can read their full statement here.
In more recent news, in April of 2019, the FDA set a public hearing date on the possibility of legalizing CBD in food and drinks. On May 31, the FDA will start the conversation on how to regulate CBD.
So to answer the question “Is CBD legal,” it depends! If the plant that the CBD is derived from is grown in accordance with the Farm Bill, yes. If not, no.
What are people using CBD for?
In June of 2018, the FDA approved one oral cannabidiol called Epidiolex that can be used to treat seizures associated with two rare forms of epilepsy; Lennox-Gastaut syndrome or Dravet Syndrome. Both forms of epilepsy emerge in early childhood.
Otherwise, the evidence of the benefits and uses of CBD are only based on scientific research and patient accounts. It is believed that CBD can help provide relief for:
Depression & anxiety
Autoimmune diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, lupus)
Diabetes & obesity
Skin diseases (acne, psoriasis)
Cardiovascular dysfunctions (high blood pressure)
Neurological conditions (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, dementia)
Gut disorders (Crohn’s)
Neuropsychiatric illness (alcoholism, PTSD)
Again, this list is simply what researchers and patients have said they have seen benefits from using CBD.
Some fairly large brands are starting to dabble on the topic including Young Living Essential Oils, Walgreens, CVS, and even breweries! So what exactly does the future have in store for CBD? We will keep you updated as we know more.