CBD Isolates/Concentrates: Anyone familiar with smoking hash or other cannabis concentrates like wax and BHO will be no stranger to this delivery method. Simply sprinkle some into a vaporizer or water pipe, ignite, inhale, and enjoy! We find that this option is useful for individuals looking to elevate their regular consumption of CBD-rich cannabis flowers or other smokable herbs.
What makes CBD so appealing is that it’s non-intoxicating, so it won’t get you high, though it “is technically psychoactive, because it can influence things like anxiety,” Jikomes said. Although much of the marketing blitz around CBD centers on the fact that you can take it without getting stoned, there isn’t much research looking at the effects of CBD when used in isolation, with a couple of exceptions. One is the use of CBD to treat seizures: CBD is the active ingredient in the only cannabis product that the Food and Drug Administration has signed off on — a drug called Epidiolex, which is approved for treating two rare forms of epilepsy. Animal models and a few human studies suggest that CBD can help with anxiety, but those are the only conditions with much research on CBD in isolation.
Cannabis consumers have long prized potency (a high THC content) as one of the main factors that makes a particular strain more desirable. Though traditional demand for THC has caused an oversaturation of high-potency products, many consumers are starting to prefer less intense products that are lower in THC and higher in the non-intoxicating compound called cannabidiol (CBD).
An important issue in the discussion around cannabis-derived oils is: how much THC is a legal CBD product allowed to contain in order not to be considered a narcotic? Authorities sometimes choose to deal with these regulations in a pragmatic way, recognizing that laws once designed to control marijuana abuse may not be fully applicable to hemp. For example, in the Netherlands, a maximum level of 0.05% THC is allowed in CBD products, even though, formally, any detectable trace of THC is illegal according to Dutch narcotics laws. This approach is based on the fact that even hemp varieties of cannabis produce a small amount of THC, and therefore naturally derived CBD extracts will carry some THC in the final products.
A quality CBD topical cream provides the advantage of being able to apply the active therapeutic hemp extract directly to the site of aggravation or discomfort. This is particularly useful for application to joint areas or superficial muscle tissue, as the cannabidiol compound will diffuse across the dermal layers directly to the site of pain and inflammation.
There’s a growing body of scientific evidence to support the use of topical CBD products to ease pain, inflammation, and the symptoms of arthritis. One study using rats found that topical CBD has “therapeutic potential for relief of arthritis pain-related behaviours and inflammation without evident side-effects.” More scientific research on humans is needed to confirm all of CBD’s benefits, but the initial research into topical use in humans is also promising.
Those warning letters aside, there’s not a lot of federal oversight right now over the claims being made or the products that are being sold. Cohen warned against buying CBD products online, because “there’s a lot of scams out there.” Yet his clinic sells CBD, and he admits, “I say ‘Don’t buy online,’ but ours is worth doing, because we know what we’re doing. We ship all over.”
The theoretical logic is there, Gerdeman says. What exactly is that thinking? Well, there are a few different ways CBD could help regulate pain—by increasing your natural endocannabinoids, decreasing your inflammatory response, and desensitizing your pain receptors (although it’s still unclear whether this stands when absorbed topically compared to orally).
Even if a topical contains active THC, it still won’t induce that intense “high” you’d get from smoking or ingesting cannabis. With most topicals, cannabinoids can’t breach the bloodstream; they only penetrate to the system of CB2 receptors. Transdermal patches, however, do deliver cannabinoids to the bloodstream and could have psychoactive effects with a high enough THC content.
However, not all hemp is dangerous: the high concentration of Vitamin E found in hemp seeds has been found to act as an antioxidant and an inhibitor of bacteria and viruses. So the key to ingesting hemp oil is to make sure it doesn’t promise any psychoactive qualities, and ensuring that the growing environment is as organic and toxin-free as possible.