Where were you on 420?

Only recently since I’ve worked in the cannabis industry have I become aware of the 420 “holiday” and how large a celebration it has become since cannabis is legal for recreational use here in California and in many other states. But I truly didn’t know what the meaning behind the 420 was.

So, I did some research and found out that there are a lot of theories as to why that particular number was chosen, but most of them are wrong and have been discredited. Some of those myths include:

  • That 420 is police code for possession, or maybe it’s the penal code for marijuana use.

  • There is a California Senate Bill 420 that refers to the use of medical marijuana, but the bill was named for the code, not the other way around.

Both of those are false. As far as I can tell, the phrase 420 actually was coined by a bunch of high school students. The story goes that back in 1971, a group of kids at San Rafael High School in San Rafael, California had a habit of meeting at 4:20 to smoke reefer after school. Somehow, the phrase caught on—and when the Grateful Dead eventually picked it up, "420" spread through the greater community like wildfire. What began as a silly code passed between classes is now a worldwide event for smokers and legalization activists everywhere—not a bad accomplishment for a bunch of high school stoners.

Now that you the real deal about 420, here’s how I spent the day:

It was quite a jam packed day. What most impressed me, is the diversity of the people choosing to include cannabis in their lives whether it is for medicinal or recreational purposes. We have come a long way baby and it is my sincere hope that I’ll continue on my path in the every emerging legal cannabis industry. I have high hopes for my future!

The Ultimate CBD Guide, my version

The Ultimate Guide to CBD

Unless you have been living under a rock or haven’t had any access to the internet, television or your phone lately, you have definitely heard a lot about CBD and its proposed healing powers. Whether it be the traditional oil, CBD capsules, CBD bath bombs, CBD coffee or even CBD mocktails, the compound seems to be everywhere, claiming to treat a myriad of health conditions.

Why the rise in CBD popularity?  Although the medicinal use of cannabis and its compounds can be traced as far back as 2900 BC, today’s meteoric growth of the CBD industry ,  in part , can be attributed to the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill on December 13, 2018.  With the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill , hemp and all of its elements, were removed from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Previously, officials used the CSA to control the cultivation and distribution of hemp, treating the plant and its components, including CBD, no differently than illicit drugs such as cocaine and heroin. The 2018 Farm Bill removed all restrictions on production of the hemp plant, which is defined as a cannabis plant with a THC level of no more than 0.3 percent. Now, farmers are free to grow hemp and manufacturers are free to make products. Thus, today’s CBD boom was born.  

That boom will only continue to get bigger according to the analysts from Forbes, who predict the cannabis market is on its way to growing by more than 700% by the end of 2020. That being said, there is still a lot of controversy, confusion, and even stigma around the topic of CBD’s. This guide aims to clear up some of that confusion and to help you to navigate through the ever-growing number of CBD products, which are popping up everywhere you look.

First things first-Hemp vs The other Cannabis plant (Marijuana)! Very first thing first is that I am aware that I should not be mentioning marijuana in this ultimate guide to CBD for fear that you the reader may be scared off by the word. Or by the mere mention of it, somehow CBD will be confused for its evil twin THC and lest shed bad light on its exulted brother, CBD. However, this is my blog, no one pays me and therefore, for the sake of clarity, I do mention marijuana every now and again.

After that brief editorial, the next important thing to understand is the difference between the other cannabis plant (marijuana) and hemp.

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Fundamentally, both hemp and marijuana are the same plant: Cannabis sativa. However,  Marijuana, is the flower part of the cannabis plant, which is often smoked or otherwise used for recreation and medical consumption. Hemp, on the other hand, is also part of the cannabis plant, but it is the tough, fibrous stalk which is used for industrial uses.

The other major differences between marijuana and hemp are:

 

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  • THC Content: Marijuana has very high THC content, while hemp has a very low THC content. THC is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that causes people to get high.

  • Appearance: Marijuana plants are typically female and contain large budding flowers, while hemp plants are male and consist primarily of leaves and a stalk. .

  •   Growing Conditions: There is a huge difference in the way hemp and marijuana grow.  Hemp can basically grow in any climate and doesn’t require special attention. Marijuana, however, requires a carefully controlled warm and humid environment. So basically, hemp is way easier to grow and to cultivate.

  • Uses: Marijuana and hemp are used for vastly different things. Obviously, marijuana is mostly used for consumption, whether to get people high or for its medical benefits. Hemp is mostly used for industrial purposes to make building or crafting materials, fuel, clothing or more, in addition to CBD oil and CBD products.

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Now that you clearly understand the difference between Hemp and Marijuana. Let’s look at what gives the cannabis plant its “medicinal” properties, let’s  take a look at CBD’s.

What is CBD? Cannabidiol, more commonly known as CBD, is a chemical extracted from the cannabis plant(from both Hemp or Marijuana). Unlike its sibling tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), it is  non-psychoactive and won’t get you high. It is one of some 113 identified cannabinoids in cannabis plants, accounting for up to 40% of the plant's extract.  CBD’s are said to give you all the health benefits from the Cannabis plant without the side effects of “getting high.”

Furthermore, industrial hemp plants usually contain only .3% THC and 99 % CBD’s. Marijuana plants, in contrast,  have  10% or more THC and  have less than 1% CBD’s.  CBD’s derived from marijuana are usually sold in licensed dispensaries and most of the CBD products that are sold over the internet and in other retail shops are derived from industrial hemp.  

 How does CBD work? The human endocannabinoid system is to thank for CBD’s health promoting properties. Unfortunately, since cannabis research was essentially banned until very recently,  that system is still largely misunderstood.  However, what we do understand about the endocannabinoid system is that it is a biological system, which plays many important roles in the human body and it seems to bring homeostasis to every part of our body

How does the endocannabinoid system work? An easy way to understand how the endocannabinoid system works is to think of it as a lock and key mechanism. The cannabinoid receptors are the locks, and the endocannabinoids are the keys. When the endocannabinoids bind to the cannabinoid receptors, they are able to produce physiological responses necessary for keeping cells alive and healthy.

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Additionally, cannabinoid receptors are found all over the body. They are everywhere – the brain, the spinal cord, the immune system, the internal organs, the peripheral nervous system, and even on the skin! In fact, the endocannabinoid system is the most widespread receptor system in the human body. The cannabinoid receptors we currently know the most about are the CB1 and CB2 receptors. But, you can be certain that there are many other cannabinoids that are yet to be discovered.

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Although receptors can be found throughout the body, the CB1 receptors are predominantly found in the central nervous system – your brain and spinal cord and CB2 receptors are predominantly found in the immune system, specifically the white blood cells. When CB1 receptors are stimulated a myriad of effects occur, regulating many physiological processes, such as sleep, memory, emotional responses, mood, appetite, temperature, among others. CB1 receptors are said to even regulate the sensation of pain. Logically, when you consider the effects of THC, it then makes sense that THC is the cannabinoid that primarily binds with CB1 receptors-resulting in what is normally called “getting high”.

 On the other hand, stimulating the CB2 receptors produces widespread anti-inflammatory effects since they are mostly located in the immune cells. CB 2 receptors mainly are bound to CBD’s and thus, give CBD’s their anti-inflammatory properties.

Through the stimulation of those receptors, CB1 and CB2,  the endocannabinoid system has been shown to regulate:

  • Gastrointestinal activity

  • Cardiovascular activity

  • Pain Perception

  • Modulation of neurotransmitter release

  • Maintenance of bone ma

  • Protection of neurons

  • Hormonal regulation

  • Metabolism control

  •   Immune function

  • Inflammatory reaction

  • Inhibition of tumor cells

To put it simply: the endocannabinoid system is our body’s system of endocannabinoid receptors and the endocannabinoids that interact with them. It is a system that regulates almost every system in our bodies, bringing homeostasis to each and every system.

Since you now know how the endocannabinoid system works perhaps you can better understand the health benefits of CBD’s , which have been scientifically proven.

Health Benefits of CBD’s: While the majority of research done into the effects of CBD oil has been based on animal studies and anecdotal evidence, some pretty clear benefits have been proven through scientific research. Health Benefits such as:

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  •  Pain relief: One study found that multiple sclerosis sufferers experience increased mobility, reduced muscle spasms and reduced pain when treated with a combination of CBD and THC for one month; while another study demonstrated CBD and THC improved pain management for those with rheumatoid arthritis.

  •   Anxiety relief: Several studies have found that the use of CBD oil is helpful in reducing anxiety. A 2011 study published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology found that when people with generalized social anxiety disorder (SAD) were given 600mg of CBD oil prior to a public speaking test. as opposed to a placebo, they experienced significantly less anxiety during their speech.

  • Control of Epilepsy: Clinical trials have found CBD to be highly effective in the treatment of certain types of epilepsy. There is also growing evidence to suggest it could help more types, although further research is needed to fully understand safe and optimal dosing.

  • Treatment of Depression: Many studies have examined CBD oil’s antidepressant-like effects. It’s also been shown to safely improve the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in children.

Additionally,  as mentioned previously there are many anecdotal stories of people using CBD’s to successfully treat cancer, skin diseases, sleep disorders and a myriad of other physical ailments.  Hopefully with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill , the stiff regulations around cannabis research will loosen up,  so we can have more definitive research-based information on CBD’s.

Ways of consuming CBD’s: With the variety of CBD products on the market, it can be difficult to know which is right for you, and which method is the best way to consume CBD for optimal results.

Here are the five primary ways you can get CBD’s into your body:

  • Oral Ingestion: Capsules & Edibles: One of the easiest ways to consume CBD is by eating it. Many edibles come in high-CBD or even full-CBD form. You can find Hemp CBD chocolates,  gummies,  drinks and a lot more, just by googling Hemp CBD edibles  or walking into your local health food store. However, easiest is not always the best way! For you see, when CBD’s are ingested, they enter the digestive tract  and before being absorbed in the bloodstream,  they must travel through the portal vein into the liver, where they are metabolized. The result of this passage through the liver is  a reduction of the concentration of  CBD’s that can actually get into your bloodstream. One reported only a 6% bioavailability when CBD was ingested through the GI tract.   

  • ·Sublingual: Concentrates, Tinctures, Lozenges & Sprays: Sublingual administration is when an isolate, tincture, or spray is administered and absorbed under the tongue. Usually the CBD is held under the tongue for 60-90 seconds before being swallowed. When CBD oil is held under the tongue, some of the hemp extract compounds are directly absorbed into the mucous membranes. The remaining CBD’s that are swallowed, then pass through the liver as any swallowed product does. The CBD’s absorbed by the mucous membranes absorb more rapidly and effectively, reaching the bloodstream without being broken down by first pass metabolism. This method carries with it a slightly higher bioavailability than simply swallowing the CBD compounds.

  •  Inhalation: Vaporized, Smoked & Dabbed: Inhaling CBD is becoming one of the most popular methods of consuming CBD thanks to its quick time to onset and high effectiveness. Today there are a growing number of products available including CBD-specific vape products, hemp flower, and concentrates used for dabbing.

  • Inhaling CBD has up to a 5x higher bioavailability than oral ingestion thanks to the large, highly permeable surface of the interior of the lungs. Inhaling also has a consistently quick onset in only a few minutes. Inhaling CBD has a faster onset but also has a shorter period of effectiveness. Though this method of ingesting CBD’s is highly effective, it still carries the same risks associated with regular vaping and may not be suitable for all users.

    High-CBD cannabis strains – While cannabis strains are mainly used for their THC content, you can also find high-CBD strains which are ideal for medical use. You will still get high, but the high is much less intense and you also get strong medical effects of the CBD-fast. Indica cannabis strains are generally higher in CBD than sativa strains, making them ideal for medical use. Other CBD strains that are becoming more commonplace in your local dispensaries are Harlequin, Cannatonic and Canna-Tsu.

    Moreover, today you can find  100% hemp joints and hemp shatter at your local and unlicensed CBD shop. The most popular and well known being Charlotte’s Web, a strain that was cultivated to help reduce the seizures of a young girl named,  Charlotte Figi.  

  • Topical: Lotions, Balms, Salves & Patches: Administering CBD’s directly to the skin is another popular way to utilize the health promoting properties of CBD. There are a wide variety of lotions, balms, patches and salves available on the market today. These products are designed to alleviate symptoms including aches, pains and skin issues. Topicals are a viable way of getting CBD’s into your body because there are cannabinoid receptors found in the skin

  •   Suppositories: This final method is by far the least popular of all the others that were previously covered. Despite the fact that most people will not choose this route right off the bat, suppositories have been proven to be highly bioavailable and thus a highly effective means of using CBD. Using a CBD suppository has the best of both worlds when it comes to onset and length of effects. Suppositories will show noticeable effects after less than 15 minutes and the effects can last for nearly 8 hours - longer than all other forms of taking CBD.

Which one is right for you? Due to the lack of extensive research, the choice of what CBD product is right for you really depends on you and your willingness to try a couple of routes of administration and see what works for you.  Although there is not one CBD product to fit all, there are several important factors to consider when you do choose a CBD product.  

The first factor to consider is what form of CBD was used  in your product.  Most products contain one of the following forms of CBD:

  • CBD Isolate: CBD isolate is 99.9% pure CBD. During the CBD isolate extraction process, everything contained in the plant matter is removed, including any traces of THC, terpenes, waxes, oils, chlorophyll and more. What you’re left with is pure CBD and nothing else.

  • Full Spectrum Oil: Full-spectrum CBD, on the other hand, contains everything the plant contains. Full-spectrum CBD is full of all the terpenes, cannabinoids, flavonoids, and fatty acids found in hemp, all of which have therapeutic value of their own and help create what’s known as the entourage effect. There are many who think that without the presence of even a small amount of THC, that CBD’s do not act optimally and just aren’t as effective. Of course, there are other folks that have found the results they are looking for without any THC being present in their CBD products.

  •   Broad Spectrum:Broad-spectrum CBD is a little bit of both. Broad-spectrum CBD is full-spectrum CBD without any THC. It offers all the entourage benefits associated with full-spectrum CBD, without any chances of THC being ingested into the body. Broad-spectrum CBD is an excellent choice for individuals that can’t have any traces of THC is their system, whether for legal purposes, passing a drug test, or anything else.

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Other important factors to consider when choosing a CBD product are:

  • Lab Analysis: Knowing the lab analysis of your CBD product is the most important thing. So, just make certain that your product is tested and that you can access the results of those tests. Lab testing is essential to ensure you are getting a pure product. Any legit company will have its batches tested by a reputable third-party lab. If they don’t respond to questions or can prove that they have been lab tested by an outside party—and tested often—keep looking.

  • Look at the ingredients of the product and what the company adds to its product, including other flavors and sweeteners.

  • How the hemp is extracted:  Hemp CBD oil is typically extracted by two methods: CO2 or ethanol. While CO2 is the more difficult extraction method of the two, it is the preferred method for those wanting a purer end product. Most CBD enthusiasts prefer the CO2 method, as it is considered the cleaner of the two, and ethanol can destroy some of the plant’s health benefits, according to this extraction guide by Project CBD.

  • Read Customer Reviews: You wouldn’t buy anything online without reading at least a few customer ratings, so why would your hemp CBD purchase be any different? Read the reviews and always ask questions, even if it means sending an email or getting on your cell.

 Which dose is right for you? CBD does not have an official serving size or  standardized dosage. Again, the lack of research and our Western medical system’s reluctance to accept cannabis as a viable option for treatment, has left us a dearth of dosing standards.  The right CBD dosage is unique to each individual. What works for one person may not be enough for another person.

So, there is no one size fits all with CBD’s  but it is always wise to start small and gradually increase your dosage, until you have achieved your desired effects.

 Fortunately, there have been  no known reports of fatal overdose from CBD or CBD oil. In fact, it appears close to impossible for someone to have a fatal overdose from CBD. According to the National Cancer Institute “Because cannabinoid receptors, unlike opioid receptors, are not located in the brainstem areas controlling respiration, lethal overdoses from Cannabis and cannabinoids cannot occur.” So, if too large of a dosage is ingested, the excess CBD’s that are not utilized will be excreted in your urine.  The bottom line is that if you take too much, you’ll just be wasting the CBD’s in your products. You are not going to overdose!

Is CBD Legal? The 2018 Farm Bill legalized a lot of CBD, but not all of it. Most importantly, it redefined what hemp and hemp products are by federal law. Hemp is legally defined as a cannabis plant or part of the cannabis plant that has a THC concentration “of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”  If the THC concentration is higher, however, then it’s classified as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act. That means the US Drug Enforcement Administration believes it has “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Other than the 0.3 percent THC rule, there’s one other major stipulation as to whether a certain CBD product is federally legal: It has to be derived from hemp grown by a licensed business that is approved by the federal and state government. The marijuana plant itself is now legal in 30 states plus Washington D.C. for medicinal or recreational purposes. However, it is federally illegal, so in theory, the government could decide to arrest everyone who sells or possesses weed.

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One last question that many CBD users have asked is whether it is legal to fly with CBD products. The answer to that question is also not cut and dry.  The TSA currently doesn’t  have an explicit  stance on CBD, except that “you should not carry marijuana nor marijuana infused products because they are federally illegal.” That TSA statement continues on to say “however TSA security officers do not search for marijuana or other illegal drugs, but in the event a substance that appears to be marijuana or a cannabis-infused product is observed during security screening, TSA will refer the matter to a law enforcement officer.”  Translation-TSA is not looking to bust you for your edibles and vape pens. They are however asking you to be a reasonable and prudent traveler, if and when you travel with your CBD products.

What’s the future of CBD? Even though there are some murky legal issues surrounding the legality of CBD’s, the CBD market is thriving. Now that it is freed from the legal red tape, it can be expected to become one of the fastest growing markets on earth! 

Hemp farmers have begun planting as much hemp as possible because demand is only expected  to escalate! The hundreds of thousands of people, who  wanted to try CBD’s but were afraid of prosecutions are now free to do so. Now, with the legalization of hemp, there is nothing stopping anyone who want to try CBD’s as an alternative treatment modality for their health conditions. And, therefore, the sky seems to be the limit for the sales of CBD products. The future of the hemp industry looks very bright indeed and  you can bet that you will continue to see CBD’s make their way into your day through web and at your local hang outs and coffee shops too. Good thing that you know now the real deal about CBD’s.  

 

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