In 2018, The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first CBD-based medication after years of research suggesting that CBD is beneficial to treat two rare and severe forms of childhood epilepsy. The FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has said the approval was “a reminder that advancing sound development programs that properly evaluate active ingredients contained in marijuana can lead to important medical therapies.” He noted that the action was “not an approval of marijuana or all of its components” but rather of one specific CBD medication for a particular use. In April, an advisory committee unanimously recommended approval of the drug for the two types of epilepsy. FDA CBD rules approving hemp as medicine have helped spread awareness about CBD and acceptance regarding its use.
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The most commonly used form of CBD is CBD oil. Combining CBD extract with a carrier oil like coconut oil, it can be ingested or vaped, bringing a lot of variety. But because marijuana legalization is in such a murky situation with both federal and state laws to grapple with, CBD oil's legality can be hard to parse depending on where you are. Let's start with legality at the federal level.
Oils: CBD oils are the most potent and unprocessed form of cannabidiol. CBD oil is removed directly from the flowers, stalks and seeds of the hemp plant during the extraction process. The most effective CBD oils are full spectrum, which means that they include all compounds found naturally in the plant, including the cannabinoids (with trace amounts of THC), terpenes and essential oils. You can find CBD oils in a bottle with a dropper. This allows you to ingest the oil by using it by mouth.
I stopped by Moon Juice after work, feeling a little nervous and excited all at once. “You might notice that your body feels a bit heavy after you try it—sometimes when I take it I feel like I just want to sit down and chill,” said the women behind the Moon Juice counter who helped me. Prepped for potential side effects, I emptied one dropper’s worth of CBD oil into my chamomile tea as soon as I got home … And didn’t feel anything. A few hours later I got into bed and immediately fell asleep.
Pharmacology published a study in 2016 looking at medical marijuana for migraines, specifically in relation to its effects on serotonin, with very positive results. You’ll notice that neither study looked at CBD in isolation from other cannabinoids (which is an issue with a lot of research on CBD and pain). Truthfully, the research on CBD alone just isn’t sufficient to make any pronouncements about its effects on headache pain.
Unlike THC, CBD will not make you high. That said, this doesn’t mean CBD is not at all psychoactive, as many assert, says Jahan Marcu, PhD, director of experimental pharmacology and behavior at the International Research Center on Cannabis and Mental Health in New York City: “CBD does change cognition. It affects mood, which is why people take it for anxiety. And some find that it makes them more alert.”
CBD is a compound found in the hemp plant, also known as Cannabis Sativa L. CBD products that are available on the market, such as Green Roads products, are made from industrial hemp. The main difference between hemp and industrial hemp is that the latter has Non-Detectable THC. THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is a psychotropic chemical found in cannabis. The CBD products available to all customers in the U.S. contain very small amounts of THC.