Strain-specific topicals attempt to harness certain terpenes and cannabinoids in a chemical profile similar to that of Blackberry Kush, Permafrost, Blueberry, or whatever other strains the processor wishes to imitate. Along with THC, CBD, THCA, and other cannabinoids, topical producers may also select ingredients and essential oils for additional relief, like cayenne, wintergreen, and clove.
He emphasises that the company’s products are “whole-plant extracts that include a variety of phytochemicals, not just CBD. These beneficial compounds include a range of phytocannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids that work together.” This isn’t necessarily seen as a positive by researchers, with McGuire saying: “They muddy the water.” However, Sativex is also a plant extract containing other cannabinoids and substances. David Potter, chief botanist at GW Pharmaceuticals, which makes the drug, says the evidence at the time the drug was developed “suggested there was a synergy between these active ingredients”.
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.