Despite a brief stint of social stigma during the 20th century, cannabis has returned to its place of prominence as one of the most effective medicinal herbs for human health.
The medical value of cannabis stemmed from the cultivation of hemp, a member of the cannabis family. Hemp is valued for its highly nutritious and abundant seeds, as well as its fibrous materials that can be used to make paper and clothes. Evidence suggests that hemp may have been cultivated on the island of Taiwan as far back as 8,000 BCE.1
History of Medicinal Cannabis
Three distinct species and seven subspecies of cannabis have been used as medicine throughout the ancient world from Europe and the Middle East to China.
It didn’t take early herbalists long to recognize the tremendous benefits from this fascinating family of plants. The Chinese word for cannabis is “DaMa” which loosely translates to “great spice that causes numbness.”
The modern Chinese term for anesthesia, “MaZui,” is a derivative of “DaMa” and literally translates to “intoxication by cannabis”–– a testament to the central role these herbs have played in the treatment of pain for thousands of years in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).2
Today, cannabis is at the center of an exciting wave of discovery led by modern medical science. Research on the fascinating natural compounds found within cannabis has led to a greater understanding of the inner workings of the human body.
Until recently, very little was known about the endocannabinoid system, which functions as a biochemical communicator in the nervous system. The endocannabinoid system and the cannabis family of plants seem to fit each other like a key to a lock.
This exciting phenomenon has led to a greater understanding of how the special natural compounds in cannabis can be applied to regulating physiology, improving the mood, and regulating countless other natural processes upon which human health and sanity depend.
What Is the Endocannabinoid System?
Since the Federal Government has loosened its regulation of cannabis for medical and recreational use, there has been a massive influx of information regarding the way this remarkable plant can affect the way people feel and function.
One component that scientists discovered was a system of receptors located in the mammalian central nervous system. These are comprised of neurotransmitters and special receptors that respond surprisingly well to the organic compounds found in cannabis, called cannabinoids.
This system of receptors has been dubbed the endocannabinoid system (ECS) or the system of inner cannabinoids.3 There are two important types of receptors in the ECS: CB1 and CB2.
CB1 receptors are primarily located in the brain but are also found in other parts of the body. These receptors can produce long and short-term changes in neurotransmissions and also affect moods and sleep duration.4
CB2 receptors function throughout the immune system and gastrointestinal tract. When the body is suffering inflammation, there are more CB2 receptors in the body working to restore homeostasis. CB2 receptors are also very active in the skin. A person suffering from an unhealthy ECS may show symptoms like psoriasis or eczema.
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Cannabinoids are the active compounds in cannabis. Some cannabinoids include tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), and cannabinol (CBN). Amazingly, the human body creates its own selection of locally produced cannabinoids called endocannabinoids.5
While much is still unknown about why the body requires and produces these compounds, great advances are being made in the exploration of this biochemical communication system. As of now, researchers know the ECS plays an important role in how the body experiences and adjusts to the world.
Due to the critical importance of the neurotransmitters and receptors in the ECS, it plays a vital role in monitoring various processes and systems. This includes sleep, memory, reproduction, fertility, motor control, temperature regulation, pain, appetite, pleasure and reward, immune system function, and mood.6
To put it simply, endocannabinoids and their receptors function like the hands and ears of an orchestra conductor, directing when each of these processes rise and subside. Cannabinoids introduced from external sources can impact the tempo and rhythm of this all-important symphony of good health. So far, there are over 100 identifiable cannabinoids produced in the cannabis family.
The two cannabinoids that have been studied and analyzed most extensively are CBD and THC. The unique way that cannabinoids and endocannabinoids work to regulate health and modulate systems and processes have encouraged the creation of synthetic cannabinoids that are on the cutting-edge of pharmaceutical research.
Everything You Need to Know About THC and CBD
Even the smallest plants feature the most sophisticated chemical production laboratories on the planet. Where animals, including humans, communicate through sounds and behavior, plants communicate chemically through the production of secondary metabolites. Secondary metabolites are chemicals not directly related to photosynthesis or plant growth. Instead, they are what give plant species their unique personality.
Secondary metabolites create the fragrances in roses and the sweet and spicy aroma in cinnamon. The secondary metabolites in cannabis were seemingly tailor-made to interface with the mammalian body in a fascinating way. All three major species of cannabis (Sativa, Indica, and Ruderalis) contain cannabinoids. Over 400 different organic compounds exist in the Sativa strain alone and 60 of these are cannabinoids.7
It is essential to understand the differences between THC and CBD when improving health with herbal medicines.
THC is the cannabinoid responsible for much of the song and dance in the 1960s and a series of hilarious Cheech and Chong films. When smoked or ingested, this compound has the unmistakable capacity to flood the mind and body with feelings of deep relaxation and euphoria.
For some, the effects of THC may include being able to boost processing power in the brain, which qualifies it as a nootropic.8 For others, the trip ends at a bakery with a considerable appetite that recreational users refer to as “the munchies.”
THC causes this distinct reaction through the way it activates the CB1 receptors of the endocannabinoid system. Unlike CBD, THC activates these receptors perfectly; this special fit refers to the capacity of THC to bind well with CB1 receptors, which is called binding affinity. Once THC binds with this receptor, neurons are activated in the brain which affect mood, neurotransmissions, appetite, pain, and more.9
THC causes these blissful feelings by imitating an endocannabinoid. Anandamide is produced by the body and activates the same receptors during times of happiness. This endocannabinoid is a “feel-good” neurotransmitter that works with the very same CB1 receptors activated by THC. The signature feeling of happiness and confidence that comes after an especially rewarding session of physical exertion is caused by a buildup of anandamide and is often referred to as a “runner’s high.”
Anandamide is crucial to the way the body experiences its environment and develops responses accordingly. Since CB1 receptors also affect the way pain is experienced, THC has pain-relieving properties as well. THC’s collective effects are soothing to the mind, relaxing to the body, euphoric, and analgesic.10
CBD reacts differently with receptors of the endocannabinoid system and therefore produces a very different physiological response than THC. Since CBD is not psychoactive, like THC, it is far better suited for treating a variety of ailments. CBD does not bind well with CB1 or CB2 receptors but instead has a negative modulating effect on both of them.
In other words, CBD works to modulate other activities that affect the function of CB1 and CB2 receptors. The presence of CBD causes the body to jump-start its own production of special endocannabinoids. This causes CB1 receptors to improve mood and reduce pain. CB2 receptors are boosted, homeostasis is maintained, and immune function is greatly optimized.11
It should be noted that CBD and THC actually oppose each other in their activities. THC works to activate the CB1 receptors by throwing physiological balances slightly off-kilter. But CBD works in a strict, rhythmic fashion by improving homeostasis which opposes the psychoactive properties of THC. Therefore, CBD normalizes the body’s processes and neurotransmissions.
This is part of the entourage effect. It has been highly-valued by health enthusiasts who desire the benefits of cannabis but hope to avoid disruption to their smooth mental processing. Strains of cannabis have been developed that contain high levels of CBD and lower amounts of THC.
Therefore, one can reap the many benefits of CBD, as well as the analgesic power of THC, and none of the mind-bending aspects of the cannabis high that can hamper professional pursuits.
As more research is completed, a vast frontier of opportunity for CBD appears on the medical horizon. It is no gamble to say cannabinoids and CBD will continue to play an important role in human health possibly more than ever before. Symptoms of some of the most debilitating conditions known to medical science –– especially immunological conditions such as multiple sclerosis and fibromyalgia –– may be remedied with this potent herbal compound.12
Scientifically-Proven Benefits of CBD
The modulating effects of CBD on CB1 and CB2 receptors have been studied for an exciting array of health benefits and treatments to many human conditions. The following lists some of the most noteworthy benefits backed by clinical studies.
Relieves Stress and Anxiety
Everyone gets scared and worried at some point. Sometimes, this can be caused by the presence of a large predator in the vicinity, and other times just by the regular wear and tear of daily life. Physiologically, humans experience fear, tension, nervousness, and worry as stress.
While stress is completely normal, many suffer from prolonged episodes of stress that keep the body in a perpetual state of panic. When the body is exposed to this constant stress, immune functions are hampered, sickness is more prevalent, and the demeanor and disposition can take a serious beating.
One of the most notable ways that CBD works to fight stress and restore a sense of well-being is by maintaining a greater supply of anandamide. This chemical is only produced in the body when it is needed, and those suffering from anxiety and depression have been found to possess smaller amounts of this “blissful” neurotransmitter.
The problem with anandamide is that it gets broken down by enzymes almost as soon as it is released into the bloodstream. CBD provides mood-boosting action by effectively suppressing the production of these enzymes.13
Anandamide allows a greater opportunity to keep the mind afloat and provide its effects through the brain and nervous system. This is far better than levels of euphoria experienced in the throes of a THC-induced high. The natural effects of anandamide keep the mood positive and upbeat without the hallucinogens that come with THC.
Several animal tests have proven that CBD does not activate the endocannabinoid receptors 1 and 2. These same studies found CBD works like an anxiolytic (anti-anxiety drug) and antidepressant that improved performance in several difficult tests.
The Vogel Conflict Test, is used to determine the anxiety effects of a drug. In this test, a subject is provided either water or food and every time they get it they are mildly punished. The more the subject eats or drinks during the tests, the better their capacity to deal with stress and the more effective the medication. CBD proved to be an anxiolytic from performing this test.14
Do you have a big presentation in front of the class or board of directors? According to one review, CBD may provide a little ounce of courage by relieving tension, stressed nerves and helping with social anxiety.15
The need for an effective pain reliever is as old as the medicinal practice itself. Todays pharmaceutical laboratories produce a wide variety of synthetic options which work great for immediate relief, but are not always the best choice for long-term relief. When some pain relievers are used too often they can cause serious side effects like hyperalgesia where pain tolerance dramatically decreases. Others can be harsh on the stomach, liver, and kidneys.
CBD offers an effective alternative to synthetic pain medications and carries no unpleasant side effects even after prolonged use. CBD has even been found effective against pains that are notoriously difficult to treat.16
Pain is experienced as a result of specific chemical processes that occur in the brain as a response to nerve signals in the body. In the brain, the anterior cingulate cortex plays an important role in processing this information and managing the experience of pain. CBD has been found to modulate the activity of the anterior cingulate cortex making it a good option for pain relief.17
One study looked at the relationship of CBD to manage clinical pain. The subjects studied were suffering from mechanical allodynia. This is a condition where pain is experienced from even the slightest touch like using a towel to dry yourself off. The results showed that the pain experienced was reduced with CBD treatment directly to the anterior cingulate cortex.18
Relieves Arthritis Symptoms
Rheumatoid arthritis is an especially unpleasant condition. The immune system targets normal healthy tissues while pathogens aggravate the joints and tissues with severe inflammation. Someone suffering from this condition may have swollen joints that lack mobility. This can become painful as the lining of the joints deteriorate and cartilage and bone tissues soon follow.19
There are both environmental and genetic factors that can contribute to this condition. In addition to mild or severe discomfort of the joints, rheumatoid arthritis can also result in persistent fatigue, insomnia caused by pains, and even muscle weakness.
CBD has been considered an effective remedy for many of these symptoms for a couple of reasons. First, the anti-nociceptive (pain blocking) properties are especially well-suited to the type of pain experienced. Furthermore, CBD oil contains potent anti-inflammatories that can help soothe swollen joints and prevent more pain from being experienced.
Several research studies have been conducted to ascertain the efficacy of CBD in treating arthritis under controlled conditions. A group of subjects with arthritis was studied so the therapeutic and preventive effects of CBD on arthritis could be properly observed.
The results showed that topical application of CBD had done much to minimize the pain of arthritis. There was also evidence that preventative application could reduce the advents of future discomfort and even function as a neuroprotective.20
Regulates Epilepsy and Seizures
Epilepsy is a term used to describe a variety of disorders characterized by seizures. An epileptic seizure can be a mild condition or severe enough to be life-threatening. Sometimes, seizures are nothing more than brief and barely detectable shaking or shivering. Other times, the vigorous tremors can be violent enough to result in physical injury or fractured bones.
CBD and cannabinoids have exhibited promising capacities to control these seizures and prevent neurodegeneration.23
Reports from a parent survey showed that CBD-enriched cannabinoids are a promising treatment for the pediatric treatment of epilepsy. Of the 19 cases examined, thirteen children were diagnosed with Dravet Syndrome, four had Doose Syndrome, and one child suffered from Lennox-Gestaut syndrome.
By the end of the survey, 16 of the 19 cases reported a significant drop in occurrences of seizures while on cannabinoid treatments. Eight out of 19 reported the seizures had been reduced by 80 percent and 6 reported a 25 to 60 percent reduction. Two of the cases reported their children were completely seizure-free after the CBD treatments.
A few other positive side effects included improved moods, better sleep at night, and heightened alertness. In conclusion, researchers decided that CBD is an effective treatment plan for managing epilepsy, but more research is needed to perfect the treatment.24
Inflammation is a natural and beneficial part of good health. However, when inflammatory conditions carry on, they can be considered counterproductive to the healing process and even contribute to experienced pain. To better understand how CBD works as an anti-inflammatory, let’s take a brief look at the function of inflammation.
The inflammation experienced at a wound or as a result of sickness serves two functions: healing and protection against disease and infection. When inflammation sets in, the body is alerted of the presence of something not right. Maybe there is tissue needing to be repaired or a foreign contaminant needs to be removed. In this sense, inflammation is like the distress signal that throws the immune cells into action where needed.25
As the immune cells begin to arrive, cytokines are also released to the area. Cytokines are communication cells and can modulate the behavior of cells in the vicinity. Cytokines are responsible for the burning, redness, and swelling during an inflammatory response.26
Ideally, after a brief stint of discomfort, the inflammation will subside as the healing process begins and normality is restored. However, in the case of chronic diseases and other long-term conditions, inflammation may never really go away, and this can seriously hamper the healing process and cause more issues.
When it comes to relieving inflammation, CBD offers a couple of benefits. First, the negative modulation of CB1 receptors assists in relieving a good portion of the pain experienced. Then CBD begins to interfere with the cytokines activity, thereby reducing much of the inflammation. This phenomenon was observed in a preclinical study performed on subjects with spinal cord injuries.
Another study performed on subjects suffering from acute pancreatitis revealed the role of CBD on reducing inflammation. This study also showed how CBD improves the expression of GPR55 in the pancreas. GPR55 is considered the next most important receptor of cannabinoids and endocannabinoids after CB1 and CB2.27
Enhances Sleep Quality
While the gravity of insomnia may seem less consequential in comparison to some of the other conditions remedied by CBD, lack of sleep can affect close relationships and compromise good health. Symptoms often begin with irritability, lack of concentration, and loss of coordination. Soon they can lead to unhealthy appetites and a dependence on prescription sleep aids.28
Restful sleep is most commonly disrupted by stress, tension, and worry. To counter distress, CBD supports and promotes the production of anandamide, the feel-good neurotransmitter. CBD also interacts with serotonin receptors, which is also greatly improves mood. By dispelling stress and tension, CBD removes one of the greatest obstacles to getting good sleep dreams.29
Chronic pains and discomforts can also resist the mind and body from resting at night. As discussed earlier, CBD functions as an analgesic. When the body is soothed from pain, it is easier to fall asleep and less likely that the cycle will be interrupted.
In smaller doses, CBD has a very different effect. CBD can stimulate the mind and increases alertness during waking hours. This can be helpful for improving the quality of sleep and establishing healthy parameters for the daily sleep-wake cycle.30
Studies have shown that CBD can reduce the occurrences of REM behavior disorder in patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease. REM behavior disorder is a condition that causes people to act out during their dream state.
Under normal conditions, REM sleep keeps the body paralyzed while sleeping, but REM behavior disorder disrupts this paralyzed state and can lead to moving about while asleep. The immediate result is sleep cycles constantly being disrupted by motions of the body. In the worst instances, this condition can cause injury to oneself and others in the vicinity.31
Production of CBD Oils
One of the most commonly used and effective treatments solutions to use CBD are CBD oils. These are produced from hemp plants specially selected and cultivated for their high CBD content. These plants typically contain a greatly reduced THC content and therefore a very low capacity for producing the signature high.
All members of the cannabis family are dioecious, meaning there are male and female plants, each with their special characteristics. It is the female that produces the buds or flowers of the cannabis plants which contain trichomes across their resinous surface.
It is the resin in these trichomes that contains 95 percent of the cannabinoids found in the plant. The stem, leaves, and seeds of the plant may contain trace amounts of cannabinoids but not enough to be suitable sources of CBD. Hemp seeds are highly nutritious containing essential amino acids, protein, omega-6, and other nutrients.32
Once the CBD-rich plant parts have been harvested, there are several ways to extract the CBD. Each extraction method has its own advantages and disadvantages that the consumer should be aware of.
It is especially important to avoid products that apply toxic substances like hexane or butane as solvents. These products may contain harmful residues that can hamper health.
Some of the safer extraction methods are outlined below.
This method uses high-pressure carbon dioxide at very low temperatures. This allows the fragile medicinal elements of cannabis oil to be isolated and preserved for future consumption. This is the most expensive and thorough process. Therefore, the CBD oils made from CO2 extraction are high-priced but also the purest products available.33
Grain alcohol can also be used to extract CBD oils, but this method also damages some of the other constituents that contribute to the healthy oils. Some health enthusiasts might say this option is less than ideal. However, grain alcohol extraction is inexpensive and can be done in little time.
For this extraction method, grain alcohol is boiled in a flask. As a gas, the alcohol rises through a cooling condenser. Then, the alcohol condenses and drips through the hemp material. The cannabinoids dissolve in the alcohol and make their way to a collecting flask while the hemp leaves and other insoluble material remain in the collection system.34
This may be a surprise to many, but olive oil can be used to extract CBD. Time-tested and always effective, olive oil can dissolve and absorb the cannabinoids from the plant. This is the safest method of extracting CBD and can be practiced in the comfort of your home.
First, the leaves are crushed and grinded to allow for more contact with the olive oil. The powder is then added to boiling olive oil. The mixture is allowed to simmer and finally cool down. Then the extract can be filtered out.35
While this method is safe and inexpensive, it is not as strong as a solvent as grain alcohol. Therefore, the resulting extract is a lower concentration. Remember that your CBD-infused olive oil will lose it’s healthy properties if allowed to warm up in the sunlight.
Types of CBD Products and Availability
With greater interest taken in cannabis, cannabinoids, and their potential health benefits, the markets for natural treatments have exploded with CBD-containing products. The international interest in better health and the promise of cannabinoids has fueled a wave of consumerism.
With gummies, vape-able oils, drinks, and more, it is easy to be caught up in the hype surrounding the sensational herb and miss out on some of the true health benefits. The following section presents a closer look at some of the options available, as well as some important pointers and precautions for navigating this vast market and finding the benefits you need.
With such a versatile product to match the different needs of varied consumer populations, entrepreneurs and innovators have been hard at work providing a diverse range of CBD-infused products to suit everyone.
Creating the highest concentrations of CBD available requires using the aforementioned CO2 methods of extraction. CBD isolates, also called crystals, contain almost 99 percent pure CBD cannabinoids and provide the highest health potential. These isolates can be inhaled, crafted into a tincture, or cooked into edibles. However, placing CBD isolates underneath the tongue is most effective as they avoid the potent metabolism of the liver.
Isolates can be found that contain a selection of the original terpene array of the cannabis plant. These products are called terpsolates. Terpsolates can be selected for their special capacity to counter inflammation, provide high quantities of antioxidants, or for their characteristic smell.36
CBD Topicals and Salves
CB2 and CB1 receptors are abundantly found in the skin. CBD topicals have been found to be highly effective for reducing local inflammation and pain caused by arthritis, latent pain from old injuries, and even strained muscles.
In addition to creams and salves, there are also soaps, shampoos, and an entire array of natural skin care products that work to regenerate cells and combat discomforts.
CBD wax is designed to be “dabbed” in a dab rig and inhaled in the same way as THC wax. When CBD wax is applied to a hot surface it vaporizes. The user then inhales the CBD vapor.
Advantages include an especially rapid delivery method and a reduced learning curve in arriving at the best concentrations for personal needs. With any CBD or cannabinoid treatment, but especially when smoking these substances, the individual should begin slowly and gradually until the desired effect is reached and avoid excess.
For those with an understandable aversion to smoking or otherwise inhaling their cannabinoids, edibles offer another effective route to good health. Edibles exist in just about any form you can imagine. There are plenty of bistros and specialty bakeries that supply CBD infused treats and meals.
These can also be ordered online in the form of brownies, cookies, gummies, chocolates, butters, and potato chips. CBD edibles offer a great way to incorporate supplementation into an active lifestyle.
CBD Pills, Capsules, and Tinctures
CBD can also be found in the traditional pill or capsule form and offers a discreet option for supplementation. Because CBD is soluble in fats, these should be taken with a meal. Tinctures offer a sublingual delivery system that won’t be metabolized as quickly.
CBD for Pets
Humans are not the only ones with an endocannabinoid system in need of proper maintenance. Many health food outlets have begun making CBD products for addressing the needs of animal companions. Cats and dogs function with a system of neurons and cannabinoid receptors much like humans.
CBD products can be applied for anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic benefits, as well as to prevent excessive vomiting.37
Important Considerations for CBD Products
Since the laws that restricted the use of cannabis have been adjusted more states are legalizing this product. The demands for cannabinoid-infused products are increasing each day. On the one hand, an age-old treatment for many maladies is finally available on a grand scale.
However, the sudden influx of products has also produced a wide range of products designed to exploit an unassuming market with inferior products. In order to accrue a larger customer pool, these merchants ride the wave of hype.
Many of these products can be identified by the inflated claims they make about the benefits attributed to CBD and cannabinoids in generally. You will find age-defying CBD face creams and tinctures to summon the love of your life. Most of these claims lie far beyond the scope of clinical observations.
To ensure you avoid these vendors on your way to effective treatment, follow the pointers below when selecting your products. Also, don’t miss the section on the legalities of CBD treatment featuring guidelines for staying on this side of the law.
Choose High Quality Over Low Prices
Modern technology has ushered in a golden age of consumerism. Today, just about every need is a click or two away. This has increased the competition among suppliers, and everyone is vying for the most economic routes to their profits. What does this mean for the health enthusiast looking for effective products?
It could mean that companies with inferior products may be spending the most on marketing and filling up all the top spaces in the Google search results. If you were to Google “buy CBD products,” you will also find options that claim to regenerate scar tissue, fix ingrown toenails, and a host of other outlandish benefits –– these are sometimes fairly priced as well.
The solution begins with knowing exactly what you are looking for. Discussing your needs and expectations with a qualified health professional can shed some light on this topic. After that, look for products with high-quality production, reputable raw materials, and high-concentrations of CBD. Lower concentrations indicate the presence of foreign substances which could diminish efficacy at best and at worst carry toxins.
To create a quality product that extracts CBD without trace elements of other organic compounds requires cutting-edge technology and very costly equipment. Because CBD is not regulated by any significant organizations, efficacy will always be somewhat doubtful. This is why cost should not be the deciding factor when selecting your CBD products.
Study Product Labels
A search into CBD oils will result in a wide range of products, some of which may seem similar but are actually very different, even legally so. There are CBD oils, hemp seed oils, hemp CBD oils, cannabis CBD oils, and many more.
Knowing exactly what you are looking for will help you avoid the myriad of options and go directly to the products you need. Once again, don’t make decisions based on the benefits listed but the contents of the products themselves.
Make Sure Your Oil Is Non-Psychoactive
Remember that THC psychoactive but CBD is not. Both of these cannabinoids can be sourced from the same plant. It is essential that you select products that contain no THC if you hope to avoid psychoactive effects from your regular supplementation.
Furthermore, most of the legalities that restrict cannabis use are centered on these psychoactive properties. Products that contain only CBD are not as restricted as those with THC.
Legalities of CBD in the US
Because regulations for cannabis use are very different from state to state and even from week to week, it is easy to fall afoul of a misunderstanding as one Indiana resident discovered earlier this year.
Luckily for this man, the charges against him were dropped, but the potential for jail time and fine has led to some tension in the CBD markets. According to the DEA, CBD is not legal and offenders can be prosecuted and have their products confiscated.38
One of the most pertinent factors deciding the legality of a product today is whether the CBD was derived from hemp or from marijuana. Both come from the cannabis family and share many chemical constituents. Nevertheless, hemp grown for CBD products contains only 0.3 percent of the psychoactive THC cannabinoid. This ensures it has no psychoactive properties and is theoretically legal.39
Some states have restrictions requiring that CBD products are only derived from the stalk and stem of the hemp plant to further reduce any THC inclusions. One problem with this is that hemp plants are phytoremediators, meaning they clean toxins from the air and store them within their plant fibers, especially the stalk. There is a reason to believe these toxins could end up in the final product.
While the legal and medical community is certain that all restrictions on CBD use will likely be lifted, as yet, CBD users must practice caution and research the laws pertaining to their each state.
States Where CBD Is Legal for Recreational Use
As of January 2019, there are eight states in which cannabis and CBD are completely legal for recreational use, no matter its origin. Both marijuana and hemp-derived CBD products can be used for medicinal and recreational use in Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.40
If you live in any one of these states you are in the clear legally for all types of CBD products.
States Where CBD Is Legal for Medicinal Use
There are forty-six states that have adjusted laws to allow for medical use of CBD and cannabis products as of January 2019. Twenty-nine of these states so far have fully legalized medical CBD products derived from either hemp or marijuana plants:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- West Virginia
In addition to the states mentioned above, 17 other states have modified their restrictions to allow CBD medical treatments to be used. Even still, the specifics of the laws in these states are very different in regards to THC and CBD ratios. Taking the time to research how they apply to an individual condition and product can prevent legal troubles.
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
The laws in these states permit the use of medical CBD products, which means anyone looking to use them will need a condition that warrants this treatment as well as a prescription from a qualified medical professional.
Furthermore, states will have different stipulations regarding what warrants a legal amount of THC in any CBD product. This is typically below 0.3 percent, but some states will make allowances for products with up to 8 percent THC –– which is still not enough to induce a high.
States Where All CBD Use Is Illegal
Finally, there are four states where CBD use in any way, shape, or form is illegal. States where CBD use is forbidden include Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota.
Even though restrictions are being lifted, the DEA still lists cannabis as a controlled substance and all use should be done with caution. Those looking to use CBD for health reasons should consider discussing their plans with a medical professional. This could also shed light on the legal options available.41
Side Effects and Risks of CBD Products
CBD has been declared “safe to use” for adults by the medical community. Adults seem capable of tolerating wide ranges of dosages with only isolated reports of negative side-effects. These CBD dosages are considered safe for adults:42
- 300 mg daily for up to six months.
- 1200 to 1500 mg daily for as long as four weeks.
- Sublingual administration of 2.5 mg for up to two weeks.
One important thing to consider is how different doses can be experienced differently by people of different sizes, weights, and metabolisms. Taking a slow, intuitive approach under the direction of an experienced medical professional is an advisable route for the best results. No significant negative side-effects affecting the central nervous system, the mood, or vital signs have been reported including from long-time heavy users.
The most common side effects that have been reported include tiredness. For others, appetite changes have led to bowel discomfort or weight gain. However, these issues are more closely related to diet rather than the effects of CBD.
There still have been no considerable risks associated with regular use of CBD. Nevertheless, pregnant and nursing mothers should always practice caution when adjusting their diets.
Some research suggests those suffering from Parkinson’s disease may see complications in their conditions after taking high-doses of CBD.
On a related note, research has been performed on the use of marijuana. Studies have suggested that marijuana use during pregnancy is linked to affected development of neurons in unborn children. Furthermore, long-term ingestion of cannabis has been associated with behavioral changes and memory problems.42
Medical science continues to learn more about the human body and how it functions through the interaction of cannabinoids with the endocannabinoids system. These insights have led to great advances, not only in the way individuals view health conditions but in the approach to treatments.
The capacity of CBD to address a wide range of conditions comes from its ability to improve the processes that lead to better health––a decidedly holistic approach. As perceptions about CBD continue to change, so do the realities built around them.
It is no stretch of the imagination to predict great revolutions in the field of medical science and practice. Indubitably, CBD will play a greater role in medical treatments as health experts and enthusiasts find new ways of cultivating good health as well as applying precise treatment.
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