In your internet travels, you may also come across products called “terpsolates.” The manufacturers of these products infuse CBD Isolate with terpenes (but not cannabinoids like THC). These terpenes may enhance the effectiveness of CBD — or maybe they just make it smell good. This may be a good place to point out that not all CBD products are created equal. The industry is still largely unregulated, and the quality and quantity of CBD in a given product will vary wildly. Third-party testing definitely helps to monitor companies’ claims, but it’s still up to you as the consumer to do your homework on the best CBD products.
But scientists have found that CBD doesn’t bind well with endocannabinoid receptors. Instead, CBD influences the system indirectly. This creates many benefits, which is why you’ll hear of CBD as a treatment for so many different medical conditions. And, unlike THC, it won’t make you high. When it comes to pain, we know that CBD has multiple functions. First, it influences neurotransmitters and receptors. One receptor known to be involved with pain and inflammation is called TRPV1 — also known as a vanilloid receptor. CBD binds to the TRPV1 receptor, influencing the way you perceive pain. CBD can also affect the production of neurotransmitters like serotonin and glutamate, which are related to pain sensation.
Success stories like Oliver’s are everywhere, but there’s not a lot of data to back up those results. That’s because CBD comes from cannabis and, like nearly all other parts of the plant, is categorized by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) as a Schedule 1 drug—the most restrictive classification. (Others on that list: heroin, Ecstasy, and peyote.) This classification, which cannabis advocates have tried for years to change, keeps cannabis-derived products, including CBD, from being properly studied in the U.S.
For example, prosecution of misdemeanor marijuana cases in Tarrant County has increased seven times the state average since the beginning of the current district attorney's administration, exceeding even more conservative neighboring jurisdictions. Not to mention, both the Republican governor and the Texas Republican platform support decriminalization of marijuana.
And now, onto the thorny issue of legality. The simple answer to the question is yes — if it is extracted from hemp. The 2014 Farm Bill established guidelines for growing hemp in the U.S. legally. This so-called “industrial hemp” refers to both hemp and hemp products which come from cannabis plants with less than 0.3 percent THC and are grown by a state-licensed farmer.
These trichomes are tiny, hair-like crystals that cover the leaves and buds of the cannabis plant. Trichomes product the hundreds of known cannabinoids that can be found in cannabis. Of the 100+ cannabinoids that have been identified in the cannabis species, CBD and THC have been studied the most extensively for their role in the endocannabinoid system.
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.
Nabiximols (Sativex), a multiple sclerosis drug made from a combination of TCH and CBD, is approved in the United Kingdom and Canada to treat MS pain. However, researchers think the CBD in the drug may be contributing more with its anti-inflammatory properties than by acting against the pain. Clinical trials of CBD are necessary to determine whether or not it should be used for pain management.
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.
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.