There are thousands of unique varieties of hemp. The cultivars used for CBD oil contain significantly higher concentrations of CBD than others. Using these uniquely potent plants, it is possible to extract cannabis oil that contains significant levels of cannabidiol, as well as essential vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other non-psychoactive cannabinoids.
So far, by far the best medicinal relief I have found for my symptoms is a particular strain of cannabis flower called Harlequin — it contains an almost 3:1 ratio of CBD:THC, which is extremely rare and unique in the cannabis world. There are multiple studies you can find online showing the SYNERGISTIC effects of CBD combined with THC. When they are used together, they are much more medicinally effective than either one is on their own. Most cannabis strains today have zero CBD because growers realized everyone just loves their THC, but the Harlequin strain is a god send.
Ingesting — think CBD lattes, edibles, or just a drop of oil on the tongue — is likely much less effective than inhaling, says Blessing. When CBD-containing oil is ingested, it wants to join the other fat in your body; most of the CBD taken this way will just stay in that fat, inert and never getting to the brain. When inhaled, CBD bypasses the digestive system, which wants to store fat.
That said, both Blessing and Carson warn that CBD should still be considered a drug, which means it can interact with other drugs. “CBD does interact with drugs that people are taking,” says Blessing. “So if you’re taking an opioid cough suppressant, or you’re taking serotonin-based medicine, like an SSRI, you can have strong drug interactions.” While most coffee shops are likely using doses too low to cause such interactions, Blessing says it’s something to be aware of. “If a coffee shop happened to have a way of making a product with a lot of CBD in it, then that could really interact with the medication this person is taking, and the effects they think are due to CBD could partly be due to that medication interaction,” she says.
Despite this, CBD is something nobody knows much about, and certainly nobody is monitoring it properly. CBD is widely marketed as a supplement, despite the Food and Drug Administration saying it does not qualify as such (this is because it is an active ingredient in drugs which are either approved or under investigation to be approved). CBD goes largely unregulated by the agency; on the FDA’s FAQ page, a vague answer maintains there are “many factors in deciding whether or not to initiate an enforcement action.” The Department of Agriculture handles research grants and pilot programs for hemp, but that’s where its involvement ends.
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