Because it does not produce psychoactive effects and hemp is not a controlled substance, hemp-based products are legal to sell, buy, and possess in all 50 states. However, the law is a bit more complex when discussing CBD oils and other hemp byproducts. According to the 2014 Farm Bill, hemp should only be grown and cultivated for academic research purposes. This means that, technically, any hemp-derived oil that is not grown for these purposes would be illegal — though this law is rarely enforced. To make matters more complex, the laws are somewhat unclear in certain states. Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky recently introduced legislation that would legalize all hemp products at the federal level, but this decision is still pending.
Right now, there’s a good chance that you don’t really know what you’re getting from any source. Testing and labeling rules vary by state, but many states that allow legal cannabis also require some kind of testing to verify that the THC and CBD levels listed on the label are accurate. However, this testing is controversial, and results can vary widely between labs, Jikomes said. A study published in March found measurable variations in test results, with some labs consistently reporting higher or lower levels of cannabinoids than others. There are no guarantees that the label accurately reflects what’s in the product. For a 2015 study published in JAMA, researchers tested 75 products purchased in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle and found that only 17 percent were accurately labeled. More than half of the products contained significantly lower levels of cannabinoids than the label promised, and some of them contained only negligible amounts of the compounds. “We need to come up with ways to confidently verify the composition of cannabis products and make this information available to consumers,” Jikomes said.
For ingested CBD, that fat solubility is a problem. “[Ingested] CBD has a very low bioavailability, something between 6 and 15 percent, which varies between people,” says Blessing. Because ingested CBD is so inefficient at actually getting to the brain to stimulate CB1 and other receptors, the doses shown to be effective have to be very high. “There’s no evidence that doses below 300 mg of CBD have any effect in any psychiatric measure,” says Blessing. “And in fact, dose-finding studies show that the lowest clinically effective dose of CBD for reducing anxiety is 300 mg.” Blessing is talking about induced anxiety in otherwise healthy patients, which is all we have studies on; studies of CBD’s efficacy in treating clinical anxiety, which would require regular doses, haven’t been published.
We don’t know how CBD affects the brain in any kind of depth. We don’t know which doses and delivery methods are best for different outcomes. We don’t know how CBD interacts with most other drugs or foods. We don’t know the differences between the effects of isolates and full-spectrum preparations. We don’t even know how many cannabinoids there are. California, for what it’s worth, seems aware and concerned about this whole thing.
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.
Unlike with THC, CBD’s effects aren’t limited to that single receptor. These effects are not precisely known, though CBD certainly has some impact on CB1’s sister receptor (CB2) as well as a receptor called 5-HT1A. When the 5-HT1A receptor comes into contact with a material that agonizes it, the effects can include reduced anxiety and increased calmness.
But one of the big differences between CBD and THC is, according to Jane West, cannabis activist, entrepreneur, and founder of the marijuana networking group Women Grow, that CBD is non-intoxicating. “Its potential benefits come with few or no adverse effects,” West tells MarieClaire.com. “So really, this is something that everyone, even those who are reluctant to consume cannabis, can try to incorporate beneficial cannabinoids into their lives without any sort of high or residual THC in their bloodstream.”
Though a CBD latte might not do much for you — at least not beyond what caffeine and the placebo effect combined can do, which isn’t nothing — it’s also probably harmless in most cases, says Carson, and may even have positive benefits we aren’t yet aware of. “I suspect there’s probably some antioxidant benefit to CBD like there is with coffee,” says Carson. “There’s tons of good things in coffee that we still don’t fully understand, and I think the marijuana plant is much the same way.”
CBD Topical Lotions