People who have heard about CBD-infused drinks, cosmetics and pet food may be wondering why that cannabis extract isn’t attracting as much polarized attention as THC. Read on and learn everything that you need to know about CBD and THC, and why CBD is gaining in popularity in nearly every industry.
A Brief Primer on Cannabinoids…
The cannabis plant has more than 100 different compounds within it. These are called cannabinoids and terpenes, so you should therefore not imagine that the cannabis plant has only two compounds. However, two of the most abundant cannabinoids in the cannabis plant are CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).
THC is the psychoactive cannabinoid that makes cannabis consumers “high” while CBD isn’t psychoactive.
Marijuana vs. Hemp?
Cannabis is a general term used to refer to a family of plants that have similar compounds (cannabinoids). Marijuana and hemp are therefore members of the same family.
However, hemp has a very small amount of THC in it. The U.S. federal government describes a given plant in the cannabis family as hemp if that plant has less than 0.3 percent concentration of THC. By the same token, marijuana is the other member of the cannabis family that has THC levels that are higher than the threshold for the hemp plant.
Remember, “hemp” and “marijuana” are arbitrary terms given to the same plant only that the level of THC determines which of those two words you will use to refer to the plant you are looking at.
Why is CBD Readily Available Yet Marijuana is Illegal?
As already mentioned, CBD is one of the non-psychoactive compounds found in the cannabis plant. This cannabinoid has several medicinal properties, such as anxiety, pain and insomnia relief.
Recently, President Trump signed into law the Farm Bill of 2018 and this law changed the legal status of hemp to an agricultural product (just like soy, corn or any other plant). Consequently, extracting CBD oil from hemp doesn’t break any U.S. law.
In contrast, marijuana is a Schedule 1 controlled substance that is illegal at the federal level. However, dozens of states have legalized medical marijuana and nearly a dozen have legalized adult-use marijuana.
The laws and attitudes surrounding marijuana haven’t affected the reputation of CBD and that is why it is widely available.
Do Consumers of CBD Face Any Safety Risks?
Interestingly, nearly all the literature available on CBD says that it is safe for consumption. However, little is known about how this compound may interact with other substances, such as conventional medications, in the body.
Additionally, CBD extracts haven’t been used for a long enough time to assess their effects on pregnant women and their unborn babies. Caution is therefore recommended for people in high-risk categories (expectant mothers and babies, for example).
As you can see, CBD seems set to continue on its forward march now that hemp is an agricultural product that can be widely cultivated for various purposes. Cannabis industry players like Marijuana Company of America, Inc. (OTCQB: MCOA) and Lexaria Bioscience Corp. (CSE: LXX) (OTCQX: LXRP) would like to see a time when marijuana is accepted the way hemp is now accepted.
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