8 Things You Should Know About CBD
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant. This cannabinoid has been generating a lot of excitement over the past few years – and for good reason.
With an impressive array of therapeutic benefits, CBD-rich cannabis strains and oils are often touted as “medical marijuana without the high.”
People have been using it to treat a wide range of ailments:
These ailments are just a small fraction of what CBD can potentially treat, but there are still a ton of misconceptions surrounding CBD that we must all take into account when discussing this powerful compound.
“Discussing CBD can be tricky because there are so many nuances,” says Martin Lee, director of Project CBD. “And one of the problems is that there are a lot of misconceptions and even downright lies propagated by some purveyors of CBD-rich oils.”
Project CBD was formed in 2010 at a time when there was very little information about CBD available for medical marijuana patients, physicians, and the general public. The project has since become one of the go-to resources for people who want to get the latest facts and developments.
“This stuff really can help people; the outcomes are really quite amazing sometimes – even when they’re not 100 percent what you hoped for,” Lee says.
“But there is still a lot of confusion, and we try to learn from the physicians who are really doing cutting-edge work [with cannabis], learn from the families, from the patients. We learn what they’re discovering on their own and we share that information in terms of how to actually use CBD therapeutically.”
Here are some of the interesting takeaways from Green Flower’s conversation with Martin Lee on the current state of CBD.
1. CBD is not legal in all 50 states.
Despite what anybody may tell you, CBD is still federally illegal.
“There is no law on the books or court decision that states CBD is exempt from federal law,” Lee says.
This is also the case with hemp-derived CBD products. It may be legal to import hemp from overseas, but those laws say nothing about CBD.
2. Hemp? Better used for other purposes.
Hemp and cannabis are like non-identical twins, Lee says. And while there are hemp-derived CBD products out there that have helped people, industrial hemp is probably better suited for about 20,000 other uses besides CBD products.
One of the problems is that typical hemp genetics still contain much lower levels of CBD than the popular CBD-dominant strains of cannabis. In other words, hemp requires much more plant material for CBD concentrations.
“Because hemp is a bio-accumulator, it absorbs any heavy metals or other toxins present in the soil,” Lee says. “And when you’re using more plant material you increase any potential intake of this other stuff.”
If you know the plant was grown in clean soil, so much the better, but in the end, for Lee, the issue isn’t really about industrial hemp versus cannabis. “We can discuss the pros and cons between the two, but for me the real issue revolves around whole-plant CBD versus CBD as an isolate.”
3. CBD by itself is not such a good idea.
People hear all these great things about CBD and they don’t realize THC is still part of the equation. Even in low, non-psychoactive amounts THC works synergistically with CBD and all the other cannabinoids and terpenes present in cannabis.
“People approach CBD thinking they don’t need THC, which can lead to a rude awakening,” Lee says. “But parents [of epileptic children] are starting to realize that there is more than one option here, that any single product promising to be the cure-all is actually only one little part of the spectrum of what you can do with this stuff.”
A recent study in Israel, Lee says, has shown that pure CBD requires much higher doses to reach the same efficacy of whole-plant CBD and that the dose had to be precise. “If the amount of pure CBD was too low or too high, the effectiveness fell off entirely.”
Lee cautions against any of the so-called pure CBD products out there, including a new CBD powder which is supposedly 98% CBD, because you never know what can happen when you start isolating compounds for consumption like that.
4. CBD can potentially interfere with other medications.
“In some cases, taking a CBD-rich product could trigger adverse side effects from other drugs we might be taking,” Lee says. “So using CBD could result in a patient feeling worse than before.”
This is certainly cause for concern and a very complex issue – all the more reason to expand our understanding of cannabis as medicine.
Project CBD recently published an informative article about CBD interacting with other meds if you want to learn more.
5. CBD consumed with the cannabinoid THCA is proving beneficial.
While varying levels of THC synergize quite well with CBD, Lee has heard from people who have also experimented with THCA and CBD.
THCA is the raw, non-psychoactive form of THC, only turning into THC if heated.
“For a lot of people this is doing the trick, and it’s exciting that they’ve found that out,” Lee says. “And again it’s just one of the many options with this plant.”
6. ‘Lab-tested’ CBD may not be as accurate as you think.
Quality lab testing is critical for understanding the percentages of CBD and THC in any product. It’s also critical that the lab is competent enough to catch molds, fungus, microbes, pesticides, and insects.
Unfortunately, “lab-tested” is not an automatic sign of quality and assurance in the cannabis industry because many labs have yet to get it right.
This being an issue in the legal cannabis industry, imagine the quality and assurance you’re dealing with out there on the black market!
I’ve heard horror stories from parents unknowingly giving their epileptic kids oil that was actually THC-rich instead of CBD-rich, or oil full of dangerous microbes that actually made the patients even more ill.
7. What about consulting a doctor?
Consulting a credible, trustworthy physician about cannabis may not be so easy depending on where you live (which is exactly why Green Flower is developing online cannabis courses & classes with cannabis experts RIGHT NOW).
The truth is that there are so many nuances to cannabis as medicine – in this case for CBD-rich therapy – that cultivating a relationship with a physician who can guide you to the right options is paramount.
For some of us, it is easy to experiment with cannabis, but for others there are very real and very difficult health issues at play. Seniors, children, PTSD, cancer patients, life-crippling insomnia, chronic depression, chronic pain, arthritis, and so much more.
Initiatives like Project CBD and Green Flower will never stop striving for worldwide legitimacy of this plant.
8. CBD may not work for everyone.
The success rate with CBD-rich therapy is far from perfect. But many of the failed attempts at CBD could be due to any number of factors, whether it’s an inadequate product or simply the WRONG product for a specific case.
It’s important to do all the research you can, to have safe access to high quality medicine and physicians who know cannabis. But at the same time we need to remember that even with all of the available resources, approaching CBD-rich medicine may still take a bit of trial and error – just like most other medications.
Want to learn more about CBD or other aspects of cannabis and health? You can catch Martin Lee along with 20+ other cannabis health experts at the VIRTUAL Cannabis Health Summit for free on January 23-24.
Register free to watch the summit!