What is CBD?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of 113 cannabinoids that have been identified in the cannabis plant. It’s the second most prevalent cannabinoid in most marijuana plants, trailing only THC. CBD is unique in that it’s not psychoactive in the way that THC is, which is the technical way of saying it does not get you high.
With many states legalizing cannabis, and a lot of the research taking place on CBD showing promise, CBD is being talked about now more than ever. The market for hemp-derived CBD alone (more on that later) has been estimated at anywhere from $190 to 591 million dollars just in 2018, with Brightfield Group bullishly predicting it will go up to $22 billion by 2022. Even drug stores such as Walgreens and CVS are now starting to carry CBD products, with other large retailers bound to follow suit. The downside of the popularity is that hemp derived CBD is easy to order online or get from an unregulated source. Our blog about cannabis derived vs. hemp derived CBD covers more on that topic.
History of CBD and Cannabis
Humans have cultivated and used the cannabis plant since almost 4,000 years BCE! But it wasn’t until Roger Adams first isolated CBD in 1940 that the world first learned of its existence.
By the 1950s, scientists were able to extract CBD from the cannabis plant, identify its chemical structure, and prove that it isn’t one of the compounds that gets you high. Some research on CBD’s properties were able to take place following that breakthrough, but unfortunately the compound was largely still maligned along with the rest of the cannabis plant.
It wasn’t until individual states began legalizing marijuana that CBD began to be looked at in another light in the United States.
Uses of CBD
Research still has yet to yield a conclusive picture on how exactly CBD works once in the body. It was previously thought to bind to the same cannabinoid receptors as THC, but our current understanding is much more complicated than that. CBD actually binds to the same serotonin receptors that LSD and SSRI drugs do (but not at all in the same way!).
The endocannabinoid receptors and serotonin receptors actually link up in the presence of cannabinoids, with many scientists believing this connection is responsible for CBD’s potential mood-lifting effects. It’s also noteworthy that CBD alone works differently than CBD with THC and other cannabinoids and terpenes, a sensation known as the entourage effect. While some studies choose to focus just on cannabidiol, many more studies look into the effects of THC and CBD used together, or even with full-spectrum cannabis products.
25 countries outside of the US have approved the use of Sativex, a naturally-derived 1:1 THC to CBD marijuana extract for treating spasticity due to Multiple Sclerosis. A recent study in the BMJ concluded that “Sativex can be a useful and safe option for patients with MS with moderate to severe spasticity resistant to common antispastic drugs” with over 70% of patients reaching at least a 20% improvement of symptoms after one month of using Sativex.
In 2018, the FDA approved the very first naturally-derived cannabis product in the US: Epidolex, an oral solution of CBD for two rare forms of children’s epilepsy known as Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome. In trials it was found to significantly reduce the occurrence of drop seizures in individuals with these conditions, which are notoriously difficult to treat with conventional medicines.
For now, that is the only FDA-approved usage of CBD. But while it’s too early to jump to any conclusions, studies suggest that CBD, used with or without THC and other cannabinoids, may also be beneficial to those suffering from:
• Anxiety & Stress
• Mild to Moderate Pain
• Traumatic Brain Injuries
Many people have had success using CBD products, from athletes, senior citizens, or even pet owners with ailing pets. A couple months ago we spoke to local MMA fighter Talon Hammons who uses CBD vapes and tinctures to manage the pain and inflammation he gets from heavy training.
Legality of CBD
Right now the legality of CBD in the US depends entirely whether it’s derived from regular cannabis or from hemp (cannabis with 0.3% or less THC content) as hemp is now a legal agricultural product as of the passing of the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018. Anyone in all 50 states can purchase hemp-derived products, and they can even be shipped interstate as long as the vendor is in compliance with the aforementioned act. These products can be found online, in regular smoke/vape shops, health stores – as vendors don’t need a special license to carry these products. As such, the sourcing is going to be more questionable than CBD products bought at a 502 licensed retailer. Cannabis retailers are required to only carry products made in WA state, even their CBD products.
Cannabis-derived CBD is still treated the same as any other cannabis product: federally illegal (but seldom prosecuted at the federal level) with states having the freedom to pass legalization if they so choose. In states where cannabis is legal, you can purchase cannabis-derived CBD just like any other marijuana product at a dispensary.
One quirk of the FDA approving Epidiolex is that CBD cannot be classified as a dietary supplement, as the FDA doesn’t allow anything being investigated as a new drug or medicine to be sold as such. For most customers, this makes no major difference as it’s a legal drug, but this does mean that active service members are not allowed to take it.
What does the future hold for CBD?
There is still so much for us to learn about cannabidiol. Is it the absolute panacea some people think it is? Probably not, but early research shows that CBD has serious potential to help with a multitude of conditions. New studies involving CBD are taking place all the time, and we’re glad to live in a time where this research is finally able to take place!
We are firm believers that there is a place in mainstream medicine for natural marijuana products, and we look forward to seeing future studies and clinical trials continue to evaluate CBD’s potential.
At The Evergreen Market, we’re proud to offer a variety of CBD products so consumers can make informed
decisions about what they put in their body, with our friendly staff ready to answer any questions you may have! We carry high-CBD strains of flower, CBD tinctures and capsules with varying amounts THC including very trace amounts, high CBD vape cartridges, topicals and more. It’s always good to talk to your doctor before beginning to take any cannabis product to ensure it won’t lead to any bad reactions with any medications you may be currently taking. We do our research to stay informed, but we aren’t medical professionals so always make sure you’re listening to your doctor and keeping them in the loop.
Written by: Nikki Marangon
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