As mentioned above, CBD is no longer considered a Schedule I controlled substance under the Farm Act. However, under the DEA’s definition, it remains on the list. This allows for individual states to create exceptions to the status of CBD, even when cultivated from hemp plants grown legally under the act. It also maintains illegal status for any CBD sourced from plants produced in settings that are not consistent with that Act, or by an unlicensed grower. It is expected that more clarification on the status of CBD will come early this year (2019).
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.”
This means that CBD oil products that are derived from these “not marihuana” parts of imported hemp plants are not federally banned, and the natural cannabinoids in hemp-derived products are exempt from DEA enforcement. While hemp cannot be legally cultivated in the U.S. except under state-regulated programs, hemp-derived oil has been a legal import in the U.S. for decades.
So when people began touting the benefits of CBD for pain, it was a big deal. A non-addictive substance that can ease pain without making you feel high or groggy? It’s easy to see why CBD has been making so many waves. In fact, cannabis plants have a long history as a pain reliever. Whether or not it’s true that Queen Victoria took CBD-rich cannabis to help with menstrual cramps, it is certainly true that her royal physician, Sir J. Russell Reynolds, listed cannabis as “one of the most valuable medicines we possess.” Victorian doctors aside, there are also ancient Assyrian and Ayurvedic manuscripts that recommend cannabis for pain.
To make matters more confusing, nine states (including California, Washington, and Colorado) let residents buy cannabis-based products with or without THC. Nearly two dozen other “medical marijuana states” allow the sale of cannabis, including capsules, tinctures, and other items containing CBD or THC, at licensed dispensaries to people whose doctors have certified that they have an approved condition (the list varies by state but includes chronic pain, PTSD, cancer, autism, Crohn’s disease, and multiple sclerosis). Sixteen more states legalized CBD for certain diseases.
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.
At first, I was wary. Although I live in Los Angeles, where it seems like there’s a medical marijuana depot on every corner, I’m not one for doing drugs (legal or otherwise). I mean, I don’t even take Advil when I get a headache! But despite the fact that CBD oil is made from hemp, it doesn’t contain THC. THC is the compound responsible for the “high” that comes with ingesting marijuana. In fact, scientific reviews have proven that CBD “does not interfere with several psychomotor and psychological functions,” and is safe to ingest without any side effects. Let me repeat: YOU WILL NOT GET HIGH FROM CBD!
If you haven’t been bombarded with CBD marketing or raves about it from friends, get ready. This extract—which comes from either marijuana or its industrial cousin, hemp—is popping up everywhere. There are CBD capsules, tinctures, and liquids for vaping plus CBD-infused lotions, beauty products, snacks, coffee, and even vaginal suppositories. Already some 1,000 brands of CBD products are available in stores—and online in states that don’t have lenient cannabis laws. This is a tiny fraction of what’s to come: The CBD market is poised to exceed $22 billion by 2022, per the Chicago-based research firm Brightfield Group.
Tinctures – Typically tinctures are small glass or plastic “dropper” bottles that have cannabidiol oil mixed with a preserving solution such as alcohol. Tinctures were very a very common way to ingest botanical oils prior to the industrial revolution and are experiencing a resurgence in popularity as more people are looking for natural remedies. Tinctures with droppers allow you to put a few drops in your tea, under your tongue, or to bake the oil directly into your food.