Cannabidiol (CBD) oil, legalized in the U.S. for medical purposes in 2014, is a component of the cannabis plant. It shouldnât be confused with illegal marijuana, though, which contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component that delivers a high.
According to Ministry of Hemp, CBD was first extracted from cannabis by chemist, Roger Adams, in 1940. However, he didnât know what it was or how it would be utilized until he and other researchers started testing years later. In 1946, doctors Walter S. Loewe and Raphael Mechoulam found no mental/psychotic effect from CBD use on laboratory animals and also identified its chemical structure. In 1980, a study conducted by Dr. Mechoulam found CBD to be valuable in treating epilepsy.
Â CBD has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has categorized CBD as an antioxidant and neuroprotectant (limiting neurological damage following stroke, trauma, etc.).
The U.S. Congress and President Barack Obamaâs passing of the Agricultural Act of 2014 â the Farm Bill â ushered in the research and manufacture of hemp products like CBD. While there is still a handful of U.S. states that do not recognize or allow industrial hemp, North Carolina is not one of them.
For clarity, the definition of industrial hemp in North Carolina is a product that contains 0.3 percent of THC or less and, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), âState legislatures have taken action to promote industrial hemp as an agricultural commodity in recent years. A wide range of products, including fibers, textiles, paper, construction and insulation materials, cosmetic products, animal feed, food and beverages all may use hemp.
âThe plant is estimated to be used in more than 25,000 products spanning nine markets: agriculture, textiles, recycling, automotive, furniture, food/nutrition/beverages, paper, construction materials and personal care.â
To go along with that, the list of potential CBD oil benefits as a supplement has broadened widely and includes treatment of epilepsy and multiple sclerosis; pain relief; reduction of anxiety and depression; aiding in cancer-related symptoms and treatment side effects; lowering blood pressure; even reducing acne.
Deborah Mohrman, ND, is a naturopathic doctor and owner of Concordâs Genesis Herb Garden (genesisherbgarden.com; 704-782-1650), which she opened in 1992.
âThe Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is both the ânewestâ bodily system (not discovered until the
late 1980s) and the oldest in existence,â she says. âThe ECS is made up of a network of receptor sites (CB1 and CB2) on cell membranes, with the highest concentration in the brain and central nervous system. The role of the ECS is the regulation of everything from appetite, energy metabolism, fertility and immunity, to sleep, mood, pain perception and memory.
âThere is virtually no function in the human body that does not benefit from a healthy Endocannabinoid System. In fact, Cannabidiol (CBD) is being touted as a magical elixir, a cure-all now available even in bath bombs and dog treats.â
Other forms include tinctures (liquid extracts); capsules; topicals; suppositories; water, beer, coffee and tea; shampoos and lotions; dried buds, flowers and leaves that can be smoked; vape juice; concentrates; sprays; fresh leaves in salads or juices; and edibles like cookies, brownies, butter and honey.
âThe most preferred method of taking CBD is in the oil form (drops), probably because it is in the system in as little as 20 minutes,â Mohrman shares. âCapsules are available for those who do not like the taste of CBD oil. In addition, we also offer creams for topical pain relief.â
Ken Rodell is a local CBD entrepreneur with World of Hemp LLC. His introduction to CBD oil was actually for his German Shepherd, diagnosed with dysplasia as a puppy. Rather than put him down, Rodell sought a âquality of lifeâ solution.
He has Johann and his two older dogs on a daily CBD maintenance program and says, âHeâs doing fine. His dysplasia will never be completely cured but once heâs up and stretches, heâs 100 miles an hour all day long.â
Rodell has since dug deep into the information thatâs out there about CBD. Since industrial hemp is a facet of business in its infancy in the U.S., keeping up with the ever-changing laws and levels of regulation is dizzying.
Mohrman and her staff actually followed the legal progress of CBD when its usage passed in 2014, but didnât put it into practice until January 2016. âWe wanted to spend time researching the use and side effects before we were comfortable suggesting it to our clients,â she says.
As of this writing, it was expected that President Donald Trump would sign revised Farm Bill wording with regard to hemp production. It basically points to overall use of the hemp plant for product manufacture, and scaling back on the ban against convicted drug felons who want to take part in the business of industrial hemp.
Prior to this, President Obamaâs 2014 Farm Bill allowed farmers to grow hemp in conjunction with/overseen by a state program â in North Carolinaâs case, N.C. State University.
While weâll address potential side effects of CBD, Rodellâs passion is product purity. He says not all CBDs are created equal.
âPurity is an important issue,â he says. âSoil conditions, growing environment, processing methods and storage are some that can impact the quality of the final product. For example, in the extraction process different options exist for the solvents being used, such as CO2, ethanol, alcohol, hexane, propane and butane, which is dangerous.
âThe label wonât necessarily say what the processes were. If anyone says it was grown in China, walk away. Hemp is very fibrous â the most fibrous plant â and it sucks up everything in the soil like metals, toxins and contaminants. There are many European companies offering their products on the Internet and partnering with U.S. businesses. You donât really know if itâs grown in Chernobyl or France,â he adds.
Mohrman agrees. âBe careful where you purchase because there are various ways in which CBD is extracted from the cannabis plant to create CBD oils, and not all these methods are created equal when it comes to the purity and quality of the final product. Some companies that cut corners and produce cheap CBD products may use harmful solvents such as propane or butane to render their extracts.
âIt is very important that you choose your product from a reputable company or practitioner who has researched the product extensively. Factors such as the extraction method, the soil quality, where it comes from and whether it has been diluted and with what are extremely important factors to consider; therefore, do not purchase based on price alone.â
Rodell says there is a âbuy localâ movement here in North Carolina that he believes is important. Legal status has put this stateâs growers behind growers in other states. He knows people with North Carolina ties that have moved here from Oregon, Colorado and California to start businesses and farms. He hopes they will share their knowledge and help our locals close the gap on the learning curve.
There are two processing plants already in North Carolina. As Rodell understands it, they process locally-grown hemp and hemp from other states as well. What that means is, they have extra capacity to process more locally-grown.
While CBD is non-intoxicating and non-addictive, Rodell presents a side effects worst-case scenario. His research indicates CBD-drug interactions can occur in some cases.
CBD and other plant cannabinoids can potentially interact with many pharmaceuticals by inhibiting the activity of cytochrome P450 â a family of liver enzymes. At sufficient dosages, CBD will temporarily deactivate cytochrome P450 enzymes, thereby altering how we metabolize a wide range of compounds. He recommends consulting a medical professional.
âMost people running around selling CBD have no idea about cytochromes in the body,â he says, âso use the grapefruit test (projectcbd.org). If youâre taking a heart medicine â a beta blocker â and your doctor says donât eat grapefruit with this medicine or donât eat grapefruit for five or six hours, donât take CBD or donât take it for five or six hours.â
Very Well Health says that some research indicates side effects could include anxiety; changes in appetite or mood; diarrhea; dizziness; drowsiness; dry mouth; nausea; or vomiting. However, some of these experiences could also come from impurities in the product.
Mohrman isnât concerned about the side effects of CBD âbecause CBD has a much lower potential for side effects than many other pain medications. For some people, itâs only when taking too high a dose of CBD that it could lead to drowsiness and lethargy. Other possible negative side effects include upset stomach and diarrhea but nothing compared to pharmaceutical drugs.
âOne of the most celebrated health benefits of CBD oil is its pain relieving effect. CBD has anti-seizure properties, reduces anxiety and depression, fights cancer, reduces the risk of diabetes, treats sleep disorders, has neuroprotective properties, could benefit heart health, has anti-tumor effects, reduces psychotic symptoms, and has been shown to reduce morphine dependence and heroin-seeking behavior,â she notes.
Rodell says thereâs a subjective therapeutic window when determining the best CBD dosage individually. âEverybodyâs system is different so you have to basically find your own level, what works for you, because you can take too much and all youâre doing is wasting it. Or you can take too little and it wonât have an effect. You really need to monitor your intake. And itâs a clichĂŠ, but less is more. Taking too much canât hurt you, but youâre going to negate the positive effects,â he shares.
Rodell offers some advice for those looking into trying CBD:
â˘ Is the maker of the CBD oil accountable to anyone?
â˘ Ask if the product is laboratory tested (certificate of analysis).
â˘ Find out how the CBD was extracted.
â˘ Where was the hemp grown?
â˘ Donât choose a product from China!
âYou can take CBD forever,â he adds. âI advise people that once they start it and start feeling the effects, they can cut down on the amount they take and find their own level. Then continue with it because itâs a beneficial preventative tool.â
He predicts that, by 2022, CBD will be a $3- to $4-billion industry. Visit worldofhempnc.com, call 704-361-2196 or send an email to Rodell at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
There are writings all over the Internet both advocating and denouncing CBD. Do your research, talk with your physician, then make the decision thatâs right for you.Â
Article By: Kim Cassell
Photos Courtesy: Michael A. Anderson Photography