Cannabidiol (CBD) is a nonintoxicating cannabinoid found in cannabis and hemp. Although touted as a “cure-all” or “one-stop shop” by some (myth), there is evidence-based research to validate its usefulness in treating some severe seizure disorders/epilepsy, anxiety, insomnia, chronic pain and nerve pain. With this, it may feel like a miracle medicine to those for whom traditional medications are not working or cannot tolerate due to unbearable side effects. So why not try it, right? Well…
There is a great deal of confusion surrounding CBD products. Hemp or Cannabis based? Legal or not? Where to buy? What to buy? Do I need a medical cannabis card?
Let us try to clear up a few of these…
First, hemp or cannabis?
Cannabis Sativa is the species of plant that houses both industrial hemp and the wide variety of “drug type” cannabis strains. Industrial hemp standards say it must test at or below 0.3% THC content by dry weight. Industrial hemp has been grown for thousands of years and has been used for food, rope, clothing, housing material, and paper. Modern “drug type” Cannabis breeders typically select for strains with higher Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) percentages, producing a genetic pool where almost all of the strains present high amounts of THC and little to no other cannabinoids. In the advent of medical cannabis markets over the last two decades, more breeders have started selecting for high CBD or equal parts THC:CBD strains. Until recently, both were categorized as Schedule 1, but the Agricultural Act of 2018 removed hemp from Schedule 1. This opened opportunities for more access and use of hemp derived products for therapeutic benefit; however, there is very little guidance and regulation for processors and patients on safety and reliability of products at this time.
Do I need a medical cannabis card to buy CBD? Yes and no. Confusing right? If you want to purchase CBD flower or products in a dispensary you will need a medical cannabis card (in medical use only states) or a driver’s license (adult use states) to enter and make a purchase. These CBD products are made from CBD dominant “drug type” cannabis plants, grown and tracked in accordance with the individual state’s rules and regulations. Hemp derived CBD may be purchased by anyone and is often offered in the public area in a dispensary, at pharmacies and grocery stores, provider’s office, or online. Products may claim to be high quality hemp derived CBD and be offered inexpensively at gas stations, smoke shops, convenience stores, and online, while they have little or no actual CBD or medicinal benefit. This is where it gets tricky.
If you qualify for a medical cannabis card in your state, buying CBD that is grown and processed by one of the state certified cultivators is the safest way to go. Many companies have begun formulating robust lines of different types and potencies of CBD products due to its overwhelming popularity in recent years.
If this is not an option for you, there are a few questions to ask to try to find a safe reliable hemp derived CBD product:
1. Where was hemp grown? US grown is preferred
2. How is it processed? Is it full spectrum oil (full range of cannabinoids) or an isolate (CBD only)?
3. Is it certified lab third party tested? Can you view a certificate of analysis?
4. Is anything else added to it? Flavoring? Chemicals?
Always consult with your physician before making changes in any treatment regimens and feel free to reach out with any other questions above, in our Q&A portal! – Nurse Laura