What is all the fuss about Hemp?
I’ve been there, you walk into your local CVS or Walgreens, supermarkets and health food stores and you are bombarded by an assortment of CBD products everywhere. But what is hemp and could it possibly be beneficial to you? This article will hopefully bring you up to speed with all you need to know about hemp.
There has been a recent influx of hemp products in the market since the passage of the US Farm Bill in 2018, which legalized industrial hemp, and the legalization of medical and recreational cannabis at the state level. hemp products have exploded in availability and popularity since. Sales of hemp products are expected to exceed $4.7 billion this year, according to the Brightfield Group, a cannabis-focused research firm.
Hemp has not been legalized in its entirety in all states however, so please check the laws of your state before purchasing hemp. So let’s get you up to speed about what hemp is, what it is used for and what to look out for.
What is it?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a chemical compound from the cannabinoid family that naturally occurs in the cannabis plant. While scientists have isolated over 100 different types of cannabinoids in cannabis, CBD is the second most prevalent compound in the cannabis plant (second only to THC). Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is probably the best-known thanks to its psychoactive properties. It is the compound that is responsible for the stoned or ‘high’ feeling associated with the recreational drug. CBD is still making headway due to its potential therapeutic benefits.
How does it work?
CBD (and THC) work by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system, a regulatory system made up of naturally occurring cannabis-like molecules. These endocannabinoids work like neurotransmitters, sending messages through the body to help maintain equilibrium. Cannabinoids like CBD and THC interact with the endocannabinoid system at two known receptors: CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are mainly present in the brain where they’re involved with cognition, memory, motor skills and pain but also in the peripheral nervous system, uterus and more. CB2 receptors are mainly in the peripheral organs especially cells associated with the immune system. CB2 receptors affect inflammation and pain.
Although the exact way CBD affects our bodies is still being researched, scientists think CBD encourages the body to produce more of its own endocannabinoids.
Health benefits of CBD
There has been a lot of research into the health benefits of CBD, just ask Google!
How to use CBD
CBD is available in a variety of forms. Some of the most common CBD ingestion methods are listed below. The delivery method affects how quickly it works and the effect it has on the body. How you take it depends what you use it for and your personal preference.
Oils and tinctures are often placed under the tongue using a dropper and absorbed into the bloodstream sublingually.
Topicals are CBD-infused oils, creams and lotions that are intended to be used directly on skin, hair or nails.
Edibles such as gummies can take anywhere from 20 minutes to four hours to take effect.
Vaping, like e-cigarettes, involves inhaling a vaporized liquid that contains CBD oil, usually without Nicotine.
Pills and capsules are ingested orally and look similar to vitamins and/or drugs.
But is CBD legal?
The answer to the question is yes, but it isn’t quite so straight forward.
The US Farm Bill 2018 legalized “hemp,” which the legislation defined as cannabis that contains no more than 0.3% THC, nationwide in order to prevent any psychoactive side effects. Cannabis that contains higher levels of THC is now listed as “marijuana” and remains a Schedule I drug.
To put it another way, if a CBD product comes from a hemp plant, it’s legal; if it comes from a marijuana plant, it’s federally illegal, regardless of local laws. And even if it does come from a hemp plant, there’s often no guarantee it won’t contain THC. This is why it is important to check the Certificate of Analysis or ‘COA’ of any CBD products that you may purchase to ensure the percentage of delta-9 THC is less than 0.3% (depending on your state).
The FDA has still not started regulating CBD products so before you decide to introduce CBD into your health regimen, be sure to consult your physician first.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.