From pain care advocates to famous actors and actresses, CBD is all the rage. CBD proponents claimed the substance is effective in relieving a variety of symptoms, from general pain; reducing anxiety and stress; as well as in treating inflammation, insomnia, headaches, hangovers, nausea, skin disorders, joint pain, muscle spasms, and menstrual cramps. Aside from general ailments, there is growing belief that CBD has clinical effectiveness as well. CBD is an increasingly popular option for patients with specific diseases as a natural treatment, including for those suffering from chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, PTSD, epilepsy and other mental disorders ranging from schizophrenia to bipolar disorder.
CBD is mainly produced as an oil concentrate, allowing it to be mixed in juice or other liquids and consumed by drinking. However, the substance can also be vaped. CBD is also commonly blended into bath bombs, lotions, and ointments as a topical treatment.
The science on the effectiveness of CBD is still quite young, although preliminary studies have shown that it might alleviate psychotic disorders, lessen anxiety, relieve mild or moderate pain, and reduce insomnia in both humans and animals.
Yet while advocates for CBD purport a variety of positive health effects that can be derived from using it, the product’s status as a drug —and it’s very close association to marijuana —have led many to speculate on the product’s legality.
CBD is legal for medical use without a prescription in the same eight states that deem it legal for recreational use: Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.
This where the question of CBD legality gets a little murkier. There are 17 states having specific legislation for both the THC-levels found in CBD as well as for the specific conditions being treated with CBD. These states are: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Before it is considered legal to purchase or use any CBD product in these states, it is required that you possess a state-issued medical prescription issued by a certified medical doctor. Each state has a particular concentration of THC it allows to be present in a CBD product, with concentration percentages up to %0.08.
As of December, 2018, hemp derived CBD products and derivatives are considered legal under Federal law. This is due to the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill that dictated that hemp growers and CBD-product manufacturers that hemp will no longer be equated under drug laws with its psychotropic sibling, marijuana.
The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act, paving the way for the wholly legal cultivation, possession, sale and distribution of hemp-derived CBD products. In addition, the 2018 Farm Bill leaves it up to states to regulate and limit the production and sale of hemp and hemp products within their borders.
Despite the fact that a wide variety of states that have legalized some or all forms of marijuana and cannabis and hemp derived CBD, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration continues to classify marijuana derived CBD as a “Schedule I” drug. The DEA defines “Schedule I” drugs as "drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse." An important caveat to this federal classification pertains only cannabis derived CBD.
The Endocannabinoid System ECS is a biochemical communication system in the human body that regulates physiology, mood, and our everyday experience. The ECS was discovered in the 1990's by Dr. L.A. Matsuda during trials whose original goal was to understand how the intoxicating substances found in marijuana affected human physiology. What Matsuda's team discovered was a complex network of cannabinoid receptors structured with the cellular framework of both the central and peripheral nervous systems. Cannabinoid receptors are found numerous places through the body’s structure, and as such, they are crucial for optimal health. In fact, they play a significant role in regulating many bodily functions like motor control, pleasure, immune system function, pain, appetite and sleep.
The ECS’ primary function is to regulate how quickly neurotransmitters within the brain are being released, slowing them down or speeding them up as necessary in order to return to and maintain internal homeostasis after the body has endured a threat. There is preliminary scientific evidence to indicate that when these receptors are stimulated by cannabinoids, or CBD, our bodies system’s can communicate more effectively with themselves. This accelerated biophysical communication can help to relieve depression, lower intestinal inflammation, lower blood pressure and reduce fear and paranoia.
While much remains to be learned about the ECS, there are a few basics that the scientific community largely agrees on. The ECS helps fine-tune the vital physiological functions in both humans and animals. The ECS is key in promoting homeostasis across a wide variety of key daily functions, notably sleep, appetite, pain, inflammation, memory, mood, and even sexual behavior. Presented in the most basic terms, the ECS helps modulate the regulation of homeostasis across all of the body’s major systems, ensuring that each of these disparate systems work in concert with one another.
Despite the fact that research regarding the effects of phytocannabinoid cannabidiol, or CBD, on the ECS, scientists have learned that the system recognizes and respond to cannabinoids from external sources. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH) manipulating the endocannabinoid system by introducing external cannabinoids like CBD may play a role in treating a variety of medical ailments, from general aches and pains to acne, diabetes, schizophrenia, alcohol withdrawal and heart disease. As new research emerges and new clinical trials begin, we remain at the forefront of discovery regarding how CBD products can work with the ECS to help and heal.