CBD From A to Z

CBD – a Working Definition

CBD is simply shorthand for Cannabidiol, which is one of the many Cannabinoids (a group of closely related compounds -there are more than 100) in the Cannabis plant. CBD found in Cannabis is 100% natural. The human brain has receptors known as the CB1 and CB2 receptors which are responsible for accepting & assimilating CBD and other Cannabinoids into our bodies.

Will It Get Me High?

CBD is non-psychoactive, and this means that it will not get you high the way it’s cousin THC does. Many people do report a “relaxed” feeling when ingesting CBD. Although most people do not report impairment, we are all individuals capable of our own unique experience.

Will I pass a Drug Test?

This is one of the more common questions for average working people. The short answer is “maybe”.

Your safest bet is to use a CBD isolate from a professional and trusted extraction facility. Isolates are designed to remove all other cannabinoids leaving only the CBD. Thus the name, because it isolates the CBD from the other chemical compounds.

Smoke-able flower is a little more questionable because it will contain trace amounts of THC. Not enough to produce a high, but possibly enough to show up on a drug test. This is especially true if the flower you are smoking is above the legal hemp limit. Make sure your product comes from a trusted farm and is tested by a reputable lab.

How Does CBD Relate to Hemp?

The 2018 Farm Bill defines hemp as follows:

Cannabis sativa L. and “any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers,” with no more than a 0.3 percent concentration of THC.

All legal CBD comes from the hemp plant. When you acquire a full-spectrum CBD product it would be more accurate to say that you are buying a full-spectrum hemp product as you are getting the entire cannabinoid and terpene profile of the hemp plant.

Is It Safe?

Negative effects due to CBD are generally unheard of. In some cases lightheadedness or a mild headache is reported, but this is usually the result of lower quality CBD flower.

New York Gets Onboard

The gradual move to “legalize” continues: in April 2021 New York became the 15th U.S. state to legalize cannabis for recreational use.

According to Pew Research, while 67% of U.S. adults support marijuana legalization, public education about cannabis is low. About one third of Americans think hemp and marijuana are the same thing, according to the National Institutes of Health. Also, a popular Google search is to find out whether cannabidiol – also known as CBD – will get them high in the way marijuana does.

Hemp, marijuana and CBD are all relatives, but they differ in important ways. Here’s what you need to know about their legality, effects and potential health benefits.

Both marijuana and hemp belong to the same species, Cannabis sativa, and the two plants look somewhat similar. However, substantial variation can exist within a species. After all, dalmations and chihuahuas are both dogs, but of course they have obvious differences.

The important difference between hemp and marijuana is their psychoactive component: tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Hemp contains just a trace, 0.3% or less THC, meaning hemp-derived products don’t have enough THC to create the “high” traditionally associated with marijuana.

CBD is a compound found within cannabis. There are many – in fact hundreds of such compounds, which are termed “cannabinoids,” because they interact with receptors involved in a variety of functions like appetite, anxiety, depression and pain sensation. Another cannabinoid is THC.

Clinical research has found that CBD is effective at treating epilepsy. There is anecdotal evidence suggesting it can help with pain and even anxiety – though scientifically the jury is still out on that.

Marijuana, containing both CBD and more THC than hemp, has demonstrated therapeutic benefits for individuals with epilepsy, nausea, glaucoma and possibly multiple sclerosis and opioid-dependency disorder, among others.

However, federal law gravely restricts medical research on marijuana, and is slow to adjust.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency categorizes cannabis as a Schedule 1 substance, treating it as if there is no accepted medical benefit and a high potential for abuse. Scientists don’t yet understand exactly how CBD works on us, nor how it interacts with other cannabinoids like THC to give marijuana its added therapeutic effects.

Modern CBD

CBD comes in many forms like edibles, tinctures and oils, just to name a few. Here are some widely used terms used to describe CBD products provided over-the-counter.

While the terms “CBD tincture” and “CBD oil” are often used interchangeably, these are actually different. Tinctures are usually made by soaking cannabis in alcohol, while oils are made by suspending CBD in a host oil, like olive or coconut oil.

“Pure” CBD, which is also called “CBD isolate,” is so named because all other cannabinoids have been removed. Also removed are terpenes and flavonoids, which give marijuana its strong aroma and earthy flavor.

“Broad spectrum” CBD typically contains at least three other cannabinoids, as well as some terpenes and flavonoids – yet contains no THC. “Full spectrum” CBD, also called “whole flower” CBD, is similar to broad spectrum but may contain up to 0.3% THC.

In states where recreational marijuana has been made legal, the list of cannabis-derived products greatly expands to include CBD with much higher THC content than 0.3%.

There is no particular standard dosage of CBD. Many sellers have enough knowledge to make a recommendation for first-timers. There are also many online resources – like this dosage calculator.

Consumers concerned about purity of contents, possible additives, and the accuracy of CBD products, which are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, can look for certification from independent lab testing or by scanning a QR codes on product packaging where possible.

Note that CBD oil is distinct from hemp oil – which comes from pressing cannabis seeds, and may not contain CBD – and hempseed oil, which is a source of essential fatty acids and contains no CBD. It is a nutritional supplement, more smiliar to fish oil than CBD oil.

Legal status

Another big difference among hemp, marijuana and CBD is how they are treated under the law.

Though 15 states have now legalized recreational marijuana, it remains illegal on the federal level in the United States. Technically, those in possession of marijuana in a legal weed state can still be punished under federal law, and traveling across state borders with cannabis is prohibited.

On the other hand, hemp was made legal to grow and sell in the United States in the 2018 Farm Bill.

One might assume then, that hemp-derived CBD would be federally legal in every state because the THC levels don’t surpass 0.3%. But CBD occupies a legal “gray area”. Several states, such as Nebraska and Idaho, still regulate CBD oil as a Schedule 1 substance akin to marijuana.

One recent study found that Americans perceive hemp and CBD to be more like over-the-counter medication, and THC to be more like a prescription drug. Still, the average American does not view hemp, CBD, THC or even marijuana in the same vein as illicit substances like meth and cocaine – despite being classified by the DEA as having a lower potential for abuse than marijuana.

All this to say that the federal prohibition of marijuana does not align with the public’s view – though state-based legalization shows that society is moving on without the blessing of politicians on Capitol Hill. U.S. recreational marijuana retail sales may reach US$8.7 billion in 2021, up from $6.7 billion in 2016.

With growing interest in other cannabinoids, like cannabigerol, or CBG – which some are touting as the next CBD – so too grows the need for further serious medical research into cannabis.