Cannabidiol, or CBD, was introduced to me as an ingredient in skincare products, tinctures, and gel capsules. And it comes from hemp. A green, good-for-you gimmick? I wondered.
This kind of wondering can cover 10,000 years. Although scientists only obtained the CBD compound from cannabis in 1940, we know CBD has been used from 2900 BC, contained in medicine made from seeds and flowers of cannabis – and as far back as 8000 BC, in woven fiber from wild cannabis stalks.
The whole plants are strikingly different in height. Cannabis known as industrial hemp can grow up to 20 feet tall (cultivated from Sativa), whereas the cannabis better known for its “high” is comparatively short, at 3 feet tall (usually cultivated from Indica). Hemp fibers are used to make paper, textiles, biodegradable plastics, construction material, fuel, and more. The plants have even been used in environmental cleanups, to absorb heavy metals and toxins from soil, in a process called phytoremediation.
To learn more about industrial hemp – as many U.S. states and countries worldwide are starting to do – is to see the whole-plant potential beyond its medical and nutritional value as a flourishing cash crop that can better economies and the health of the planet.
But still. What on earth is CBD? Cannabis plants are known to contain at least 113 active chemical compounds called cannabinoids. The two most prevalent cannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which induces psychoactive effects; and CBD, which has no psychoactive effects. Whether Sativa, Indica, or Ruderalis, cannabis plants contain different THC : CBD ratios. Industrial hemp is rich in CBD and contains less than 0.3% THC; so if a plant has more THC than that, it is not considered to be “industrial hemp.”
On January 8, 2018, on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, while discussing California’s new legal marijuana market, Meryl Streep described a foot rub she’d been given. “It has initials,” Streep said, “‘TBD’ or something like that. But it’s an amazing thing.” Unsure of what effect skin products with cannabinoid ingredients have, they concluded they’d ask Whoopi Goldberg, co-owner of Whoopi & Maya. (Goldberg’s products contain both THC and CBD and are sold in California and Colorado, two states that allow recreational and medical marijuana.)
Scientists discovered as recently as 1992 that the human body has an endocannabinoid system, or ECS, believed to be responsible for our homeostasis, through which cannabinoids naturally interact. According to MedicalNewsToday, CBD “seems to influence the body to use more of its own cannabinoids.” Yep – its own. Move over, endorphins. The “runner’s high” is now attributed to endocannabinoids. One industrial hemp CBD-derived product maker, Ananda Hemp confirms. Our ECS, they write, is “already making cannabinoid-like structures every day to create cellular balance through nearly every biological system in your body.” Hemp-derived cannabinoids, they continue, might “help regulate sleep, appetite, pain modulation, mood enhancement, and sexual activity.”
As more research is needed for health or medical claims, the FDA restricts companies from stating health benefits of CBD oil. Meanwhile, the DOJ’s tight rein on cannabis as a controlled substance holds it hostage from scientists who need to do that very research. The AMA in a 2009 report on use of cannabis for medicinal purposes, has said “endocannabinoids likely play a role in the regulation of a wide variety of functions and disease states. Some of the most prominent include appetite regulation, peripheral energy metabolism, obesity and associated metabolic abnormalities, pain and inflammation, gastrointestinal motility and secretion, central nervous system disorders, neurotoxicity/neuroinflammation/neuroprotection, and certain mental disorders, including substance misuse.”
Where to find CBD oil products? Below are a few online options legal in all 50 states.
Ananda Hemp products contain Kentucky-grown industrial hemp-derived CBD oils. Their Spectrum products contain a unique blend of cannabinoids, e.g., CBD, CBL, CBN, CHG, and CBDA, with terpenes and essential phytonutrients from hemp flower extract; and organic hemp seed oil. The 10 ml bottles Spectrum 200 ($39.95) and Spectrum 600 ($89.95) respectively offer a generous 20 mg and 60 mg active cannabinoids per serving. Their 30-softgel Spectrum Gels 450 ($64.95) and 60-softgel Spectrum Gels 900 ($119.95) have 15 mg active cannabinoids per serving. And a tin of Spectrum Salve 125 ($23.95) contains 125 mg active cannabinoids. Their site is generous with educational info that reinforces “hemp not high,” and takes care to explain their compliance to federal and commonwealth laws. To learn more about Ananda Hemp and their products, go to https://www.anandahemp.com/
CBD For Life products contain EU-imported industrial hemp-derived CBD oil, and an abundance of other ingredients in their skincare, oral and now hair care lines. Their Face Cream ($35) with 100 mg CBD and Eye Serum ($32) with 60 mg CBD contain grape seed oil, orange peel, lavender, lime, and have a light citrusy scent. Their Hand & Body Massage Lotion ($22) with 100 mg CBD, contains pleasantly scented oils of apricot kernel, lemon peel; and the Face & Body Cleanser ($17) with 80 mg CBD and lemon peel oil has a more neutral scent. At 6.5 oz, both lotion and cleanser contain a generous amount of product. Their Lip Balm ($9) with 20 mg CBD seems scent-free and to actively soothe the lips. The peppermint-scented Foot Cream ($20) with 100 mg CBD; and 3 rubs ($25 each) with 120 mg CBD in Original, Lemongrass, and newly-added Lavender scents are all powerfully scented. The green bottled body spray CBD/Menthol Camphor ($26) with 100 mg CBD and their one oral product, Oral Spray ($25) with 100 mg CBD has CBD listed as 99% pure. Both sprays leave a lasting, tingly effect. The company’s addition of Shampoo and Conditioner ($25 each and $10 each for travel size) also contain 99% Pure CBD. (Note: Amounts of CBD here are sourced from a Reddit post, as I did not find them on their site or products.) Learn more about CBD For Life and their products at https://www.cbdforlife.us/
Green Mountain CBD products contain Vermont-grown industrial hemp-derived CBD oil. This site is refreshingly straightforward with three products that contain 20 mg per serving, and are made with organic coconut oil. They sell 90-count 90 Bottle Capsules ($90) with 1,800 mg CBD per bottle, and 30-count 30 Bottle Capsules ($30) with 600 mg CBD per bottle. Their third product is a 30 ml pot of Edible Salve ($30), suggested as a cracker spread or substitute for recipes calling for coconut oil. Learn more about Green Mountain CBD and their products here Green Mountain CBD https://www.greenmountaincbd.com/
Plus CBD Oil products contain EU-imported industrial hemp-derived CBD oil. Choose from six methods of taking the oil: Balm (starting at $35.95) at 50 mg CBDA/CBD or 100 mg CBD per serving, Capsules (starting at $29.95) at 10 or 15 mg CBD per serving, Concentrate (starting at $26.95) at 5, 10 or 38 mg CBD per serving or gold formula at 12, 17 or 60 mg per serving, 1 or 2 oz Drops (starting at $37.76) in unflavored or peppermint at 3 or 5 mg CBD per serving, Softgels (starting at $17.96) at 5 mg CBDA/CBD or 15 mg per serving, and 1 or 2 oz Spray (starting at $19.95) with options of unflavored, peppermint, vanilla, and extra virgin olive oil at 1 or 3 mg CBD per serving. So many choices! Learn more about Plus CBD Oil (part of public company CV Sciences) here https://pluscbdoil.com/
Prefer in person? Willner Chemists at 100 Park Avenue and East 41st Street carries some hemp-derived CBD oil products.
How is CBD oil legal to purchase? Since The Agricultural Act of 2014 (which allowed each state to initiate hemp farming research) defined industrial hemp as distinct from marijuana, “it is not a violation of the federal Controlled Substances Act to purchase, sell, and possess processed hemp products,” Hilary Bricken of Canna Law Group states in an Above The Law article. “As a result of the Hemp Industries Association case,” she says, “companies and individuals may freely sell CBD derived from processed hemp (not from marijuana), imported from outside the U.S.”
State laws regulating industrial hemp-derived CBD vary. In New York, for example, sales from state-grown new industrial hemp products are permitted if in relation to market and other research; while Kentucky’s pilot industrial hemp program allows for licensed commercial growing, production, and sales.
Whether the tall Sativa plant cultivated for industry and CBD, the shorter Indica known for its THC potency, and even the scrawny, lesser-known, auto-flowering Ruderalis – we have much to learn about cannabis in all its varieties. When medically managed, THC’s role in pain relief may offer tremendous hope in lessening our nation’s opioid crisis. A caveat of recreational and medical marijuana use, where legal, involves age restrictions and driving responsibly – just as we do with alcohol. If federal restrictions were relieved, scientists could more effectively research the health benefits of CBD and all cannabinoids. And locally and nationally, the industrial hemp industry could improve our economy and roll back climate change.
The other night when TV show host Kimmel asked Streep about her new foot rub, their discussion and laughter more than hinted of the “high” factor, what many of us associate with the word “cannabis.” How soon we reach a wider perspective is up to us.
For a resource on cannabinoid research, education and laws, check out http://www.echoconnection.org
– For a scientific paper on the discovery of cannabinoids, see https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1760722/ –
– To check on the status of industrial hemp state statutes see http://www.ncsl.org/research/agriculture-and-rural-development/state-industrial-hemp-statutes.aspx
– To read a 2017 publication about challenges and barriers in conducting cannabis research go https://www.nap.edu/read/24625/chapter/17
– And for more resources like the chart below, and a community of people interested health benefits of CBD, go to https://www.reddit.com/r/CBD/ or https://www.reddit.com/r/cbdinfo/ –