Are you looking to learn more about Cannabidiol? You’ve come to the right place. We know there is a lot of confusing information online. Here's the basic information that you should know about using and buying Cannabidiol. Let’s jump in…

Cannabidiol Basics

If you’re new to cannabidiol, you’ll want to start here.

In this section you’ll discover topics like benefits, current research, legal status, history, and many more.

  • What is CBD (Cannabidiol)?
  • CBD vs THC: What is the Difference?
  • What is Cannabidiol’s Legal Status?
  • How Does CBD Work?
  • Hemp vs Marijuana: What’s the Difference?
  • What’s the Difference Between CBD Oil from Medical Marijuana and CBD Oil from Industrial Hemp Oil?
 

Cannabidiol Buying Guide

We know that choosing the right CBD product can be confusing at first.

That’s why we created this easy to read guide.

In it you’ll discover the different types of CBD products, the most popular brands, and some of our most popular products. Check out our Buy Cannabidiol Guide here.

 

Latest Cannabidiol News

Our blog showcases the latest news in the ever growing cannabidiol industry. See as CBD oil gets mentioned by Michael Pollan, CNN’s Sanjay Gupta and more!

To read the latest news on CBD head to our blog here.

 

What is CBD (Cannabidiol)?

What-Is-CBD-Cannabidiol

“So what is CBD (Cannabidiol), anyway?” is a question we are commonly asked.

Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is a natural substance that has recently come into the spotlight for a number of reasons.

It is a relatively new food supplement that is still being researched, and while the initial results are promising, there is a lot of doubt, misinformation, and sheer confusion surrounding it.

Recently, CBD oil has become an accepted means of relaxation, and the substance’s popularity is rising fairly rapidly.

As the use of CBD oil is very new, there are still significant gaps in what we know about its effects. While we can confidently say the substance is safe and legal, its exact benefits are still an issue of hot debates and fervent research.

In this article, we are putting the most important facts surrounding Cannabidiol together to cut through some of the confusion and give you a clearer picture about this new cannabinoid known as CBD. This article covers:

  • The benefits of CBD
  • Where does CBD come from?
  • CBD’s legal status (and the confusion surrounding it!)

Finally, we have included our “Cannabidiol Definitions” section to help you make sense of all the technical terms and jargon surrounding CBD.

 

What Are the Benefits of CBD?

benefits

Numerous people are reporting success in using CBD to reach a desired state of calm and relaxation.

Strictly as a chemical substance, CBD also has strong antioxidant properties, a fact that so far has been largely ignored by the broader food supplements industry.

As each person is different, and because CBD’s effects are still under study, we strongly encourage you to do your own research before incorporating CBD to your daily life.

 

Where Does CBD Come From?

hemp-plant

CBD is extracted and separated from specific varieties of cannabis, often known as hemp. Chemically, CBD is one of 85 chemical substances known as cannabinoids, which are all found in the cannabis plant. CBD is the second most abundant compound in hemp, typically representing up to 40% of its extracts.

However, here is where the confusion starts.

Unfortunately, the most abundant constituent of cannabis is the cannabinoid known as THC, an intoxicating and illegal substance that is responsible for causing marijuana users to get “high.”

While CBD is completely separated and isolated from THC and CBD cannot get you “high,” there is still a lot of stigma as many people tend to mistake CBD for THC. These fears, though unfounded, are understandable to an extent, especially since the terminology surrounding CBD can be very confusing.

Nonetheless, it is impossible to get “high” by smoking or ingesting CBD-high hemp (that has only traces of THC), as it is also impossible to get high by consuming CBD oil products (that contain virtually no THC).

CBD is extracted in oil form and is often found mixed in hemp oil extracts in varying concentrations.

 

Is Cannabidiol Legal?

Yes, CBD is legal worldwide (a controlled substance in Canada alone). As we’ve seen above, there is a lot of misinformation surrounding CBD, partially because its chemical properties are poorly understood and partially because of its close resemblance to THC.

Until relatively recently (1980s), scientists believed that CBD was a natural precursor to the formation of THC, and since THC was a strictly controlled substance back then (it still is), it only followed that CBD should be equally strictly regulated.

However, CBD is actually unrelated to the chemical chain that results in THC. They share some characteristics but are created via different paths. Again, unlike THC, CBD is considered a legal cannabinoid and is safe to consume in any amount and concentration.

 

Cannabidiol Definitions

We understand that there are some confusing terms related to Cannabidiol, so we wanted to take the time to explain them to you. Below is a list of the most important terms to understand related to Cannabidiol:

  • Cannabis – A type of flowering plant that includes three distinct variations: Cannabis ruderalis, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis sativa. Cannabis has a wide range of industrial and medical applications. It has been used since antiquity for its sturdy fiber, for oils, and for medicinal purposes. However, it has also been used as a recreational drug, a fact that renders the cultivation of cannabis strictly regulated because of some variations including high concentrations of THC.
  • Hemp – Hemp refers to the high-growing varieties of cannabis that are grown to be specifically used for fiber, oil, and seeds. These are then refined into numerous products including wax, resin, cloth, pulp, paper, rope, fuel, and hemp oil.
  • Cannabinoids – A very diverse chemical family that includes natural as well as artificially created substances. Different cannabinoids have widely varied effects, with some cannabinoids proven to have soothing and relaxing properties and others classified as illegal drugs.
  • CBD – A naturally occurring cannabinoid, and the second most abundant constituent of the Cannabis plant. CBD is legal and safe to consume, yet has long been in the shadow of THC.
  • THC – The most abundant constituent of the cannabis plant and a strongly psychoactive cannabinoid, THC is responsible for getting “high” from smoking marijuana and, as a result, its production and usage are strictly regulated.
  • Psychoactive – Any chemical substance that can enter the brain from the bloodstream and directly affect the central nervous system is considered psychoactive. Many psychoactive substances have medical applications (such as anesthetics, psychiatric drugs, etc.), but some of these substances are used solely for recreation, causing dangerous side effects and addiction.
  • Intoxicating – Any substance that can cause you to lose control of your faculties and alter your behavior is considered intoxicating. Almost all illegal drugs have intoxicating properties, although worldwide most intoxication cases are attributed to alcohol. Intoxication can be caused by substances that directly affect the brain (i.e., psychoactive) or by indirectly causing damage to your organism (i.e., through toxicity, hence the term).
 

Closing Words / What Makes CBD Different

In today’s world, there are countless supplements on the market. Yet, even as a newly popularized supplement, CBD stands out as a naturally calming and soothing. In addition, scientists are staying open to the possibility of wider applications of CBD in the near future.

For many people, CBD products are becoming a relaxing addition to their daily lives. However, since each person’s needs are different, we always encourage you to do your own research to see if CBD oil is right for you.

As we strive to be the most consumer-focused provider of CBD oil in the market, we will be creating more articles to point out the most recent CBD research and all related scientific breakthroughs.

Our aim is to provide a balanced and accurate view of everything and anything related to the use of CBD, so stay tuned for more objective information about CBD and always be prepared for some critical thinking and research of your own as well.

 

CBD vs THC: What is the Difference?

cbd vs thc

Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the two most abundant cannabinoids found naturally in hemp.

Classed as phytocannabinoids (as opposed to endocannabinoids and cannabinoids that are manufactured artificially), both CBD and THC interact with specific cells mainly in our brains (but also in other organs).

Both CBD and THC have a wide range of applications and are similar at the molecular level. This has led the public to often confuse them, and even the scientific community believed that CBD and THC were in fact the same substance until relatively recently.

However, the chemical properties of CBD and THC vary widely enough to classify THC as a psychotropic drug strictly controlled by federal authorities, while CBD is regarded as legal and safe worldwide.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation surrounding these substances, propagated in part by interests that seek to promote one substance over the other. In this article, we will give you the lowdown on some scientific facts about both CBD and THC, explaining objectively and in simple terms the differences between CBD and THC.

 

CBD vs THC in Clinical Application

CBD

Both CBD and THC interact with cells within our bodies by activating thecannabinoid receptors. Without venturing too deeply into technical terms, we can say that these receptors are responsible for transmitting signals within our bodies, causing different physiological effects.

Some cannabinoids are capable of desirable effects (they are beneficial to us). Others cause undesirable psychotropic effects in our bodies (such as getting “high,” or causing depression, etc.), and a few of these substances cause both desirable and undesirable effects.

Currently, there are no documented studies that show undesirable effects from CBD, which is why this particular cannabinoid is legal worldwide. However, there are many studies showing CBD to cause only desirable effects or no effects at all. (Not only that, but CBD has also been shown to protect against the negative effects of THC).

It is important to point out that research is still underway for many applications of CBD.

THC

THC was the first phytocannabinoid that was discovered and has been much more extensively researched than CBD.

We know with fairly high certainty that THC is strongly psychoactive and can be intoxicating even in small amounts. This means that THC can alter your behavior and cause you to lose control of your faculties, properties that make it a popular (illegal) recreational drug in the form of marijuana.

Nonetheless, THC has desirable medical applications and has been shown to be effective as a moderate-strength analgesic (a type of drug that offers relief from pain) and an effective form of treatment for the symptoms of “serious” diseases including AIDS and for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.

These invaluable properties of THC have given rise to the use of marijuana for legal medical purposes. Medical marijuana is safe when prescribed by a doctor and can significantly improve the quality of life for many people suffering from serious and/or chronic diseases.

 

What Do Scientists Say?

Overall, it is generally accepted that CBD is safer than THC for a number of reasons. There have been certain studies that found statistically significant correlations between long-term use of THC and certain psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia, depression, and psychosis.

However, we must note here that in scientific studies such as these, correlation does not imply causation; that is, the usage of THC might be linked to psychiatric disorders without necessarily being that root cause of them. (Much like lighters are linked to smoking, but possession of a lighter does not necessarily mean you are a smoker.)

As we have also seen above, CBD is considered to have wider applications than THC. Since CBD has been much less studied than THC, scientists assume that there are many new applications of CBD that haven’t yet been discovered. On the other hand, THC’s applications are more or less completely explored by now due to all the research on medical marijuana over the past decade.

 

So What’s Better, CBD or THC?

The CBD vs THC debate is something that often crops up in the circles of cannabis users, and it mainly stems from misinformation that surrounds these substances.

Based on what we’ve seen above, we can answer the question by saying that CBD and THC are so different that it’s difficult to compare them directly. But while THC can be abused as a drug, CBD is safe and has no recreational applications. In fact, many misinformed people, along with many recreational marijuana users, often brand CBD as “useless” because it cannot get them “high.”

Like most things in life, the usage and properties of CBD and THC aren’t black and white. It’s hard to label THC useless when it has so many documented medical benefits, and you cannot just blindly trust CBD as it is still possible (though unlikely) for scientists to find some side effects with its long-term use.

However, there is so much more to both CBD and THC than just THC’s psychoactive properties that it is a shame not to explore their applications and learn the truth about them, especially since they are both being used nowadays to better the lives of countless people on a daily basis. Science is an evolving process and it pays to stay up to date, especially on new industries like CBD.

 

How Does CBD Work?

how does cbd work with the brain

At HealthyHempOil.com, we are frequently asked, “How does CBD work?”

It’s no surprise that it does work — but many people want to know “how,” and the real reason might surprise you.

In this article, you’ll discover how CBD actually works with your body and not against it (like some synthetically made medications).

First off, you should know the basics of what CBD is. We cover this in our“What is CBD?” article, but as a refresher, you should know what a cannabinoid is…

 

What is a Cannabinoid?

Simply put, cannabinoids are naturally occurring compounds found in the cannabis plant. There are dozens of compounds including Cannabidiol (CBD), THC, and a host of other cannabinoids. Together they are responsible for the benefits and drawbacks to medical marijuana and industrial hemp-based products.

Technically, CBD and its sister cannabinoid compounds are classified as phytocannabinoids, which means that they’re derived from plants. But there are also several other types of cannabinoids you should know about too.

For example, the cannabinoids produced within the body’s endocannabinoid system are known as endocannabinoids (such as arachidonoylethanolamine, virodhamine, and many others). There are also cannabinoids manufactured via chemical reactions in laboratories, known as synthetic cannabinoids.

As you’ll see later, each type of cannabinoid interacts with the body in different ways. So now that you understand what a cannabinoid is, how does CBD work with your body?

 

Our Cannabinoid Receptors and the Endocannabinoid System

Here’s the second half of the equation. You see, your body actually has areas that are made specifically for cannabinoids — they are called cannabinoid receptor sites.

These sites make up the endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for numerous physiological and mental processes that occur naturally within the body.

As we just stated, the endocannabinoid system includes a number of specialized cell receptors in the brain and in various other organs throughout the body.

These receptors fall into two types: CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are found mainly in the brain (but also in the liver, kidneys, and lungs), while CB2 receptors are found mainly in the immune system.

Here’s the fun part — cannabinoid substances actually bind with these receptors to coordinate various functions across the body.

 

What Kinds of Effects Can Cannabinoids Have on the Body?

As we discussed above, there are several types of cannabinoids. Even within phytocannabinoids, there are wide ranges of compounds and effects that we are still learning about.

Some of these cannabinoids interact strongly with one or both CB receptors, causing various effects, from regulating mood and helping us concentrate, to causing euphoric effects and feeling “high” (like THC). Other cannabinoids, like CBD, have fewer direct effects on the endocannabinoid system (keep this in mind as you read the next section).

To recap: Cannabinoids represent a diverse class of chemical compounds that can be very different from each other. Their only common feature is that they all act on the body’s cannabinoid receptors, either directly or indirectly.

 

External vs. Internal Cannabinoids

The endocannabinoid system works mainly with our the body’s own cannabinoids, which are produced internally. For example, arachidonoylethanolamine (AEA) is produced within the body and is thought to regulate several functions.

However, when cannabinoids are taken externally, it’s difficult to distinguish between the clinically desirable effects and the therapeutically undesirable effects of various phytocannabinoids. This is because cannabinoid receptors send a variety of signals that often interconnect to coordinate the body’s functions, so it’s hard to tell them apart.

For example, CB1 receptors send signals that regulate senses, while cannabinoids that interact with CB2 receptors can at the same time affect gastrointestinal response and peripheral nervous system sensitivity.

See why external cannabinoids (like CBD) can be a little more complicated?

Also, since people often take numerous different cannabinoids together (for example, using medical marijuana), it is hard to attribute specific effects to specific cannabinoids. That’s because unprocessed cannabis includes more than 60 different types of cannabinoids, including CBD and THC.

In addition, some cannabinoids interact synergistically, producing unique effects that are not found when using them individually. For example, CBD inhibits THC’s psychotropic effects when the two are taken together. However, CBD does this (and produces many other effects) without directly interacting with the cannabinoid receptors. At first, scientists thought there was a third type of CB receptor just for Cannabidiol, but the answer was far more interesting and revealing.

 

How Does CBD Work?

We just stated that CBD is fairly unique as far as cannabinoids go, because it does not seem to interact directly with either the CB1 or CB2 receptors. So what does it do if it’s not interacting directly with our receptors?

Here’s where it gets good…

Cannabidiol has a particularly low potential for binding with the CB1 and CB2 receptors, but instead acts as an antagonist of the receptors’ agonists. That’s a mouthful.

In layman’s terms, this means that CBD keeps the receptors working at optimal capacity and helps the function of all other cannabinoids, including the body’s own endocannabinoids.

Still with me? If you want to know more about the effects, read below, but if you’re often put off by scientific words, you might want to skip down to the conclusion…

 

What Effects Does CBD Have?

Now to understand CBD’s function within the body, we need to examine how receptors like CB1 and CB2 interact with other chemical compounds. But first you’ll need to know these three terms…

  • Agonists – chemicals that bind to a receptor and activate it to produce a biological response.
  • Inverse agonists – chemicals that bind to the same receptor as agonists but produce the exact opposite result.
  • Antagonists – the complete opposite of agonists as they inhibit or dampen the functions of a receptor.

The indirect interactions of CBD with the endocannabinoid system has many effects, some of which surprised scientists and are still being researched. Some of CBD’s functions include:

  • Effectively increases CB1 density, amplifying the effects of all cannabinoids that bind to CB1 receptors.
  • Acts as a 5-HT1a receptor agonist in the brain.. This means that CBD has calming and soothing effects such as some potent analgesics, but without the side effects.
  • Acts as inverse agonist of CB2 receptors, effectively reducing the effects of cannabinoids that make CB2 receptors less responsive.
  • Acts as an antagonist for the putative GPR55 receptor, an element of the endocannabinoid system that is still being researched. (It is suggested thatGPR55 may be a third type of cannabinoid receptor altogether.)

Between the above functions, most of CBD’s observed effects are well explained. However, scientists are still unclear about how some effects of Cannabidiol are actually occurring. The most possible explanation is via the hypothetical GPR55 receptor, or through more indirect and synergistic effects that still await discovery.

 

Conclusions

Contrary to how most cannabinoids function, CBD interacts very mildly with the cannabinoid receptors themselves and instead either helps other cannabinoids to be better absorbed or stops the effects of whatever makes the receptors work less effectively.

The indirect nature of CBD’s effects have made it difficult for scientists to pinpoint its exact effects up to now, but many positive effects of this unusual phytocannabinoid are still being studied.

The endocannabinoid system is closely interconnected with the nervous and immune system. Since CBD has been shown to boost just about every function of our cannabinoid receptors, it is proven to have far-reaching soothing and relaxing effects.

 

Hemp vs Marijuana: What’s the Difference?

Hemp vs Marijuana

You may have heard some people say that marijuana and hemp are exactly the same, while others swear they are different. The debate of hemp vs marijuana is fueled by the confusion and misinformation that surround the cannabis plant.

In this article, we will dispel several myths and shed light on the differences between industrial hemp and marijuana. To help us answer the question in our article’s title, we will need to peek into botany, genetics, linguistics, and even law, as this is a tangled subject.

So, let’s begin…

 

Defining Cannabis

As you may know, industrial hemp and marijuana come from the same genus of flowering plant– cannabis. The term “genus” essentially refers to a sub-family of plants and not a single species. This means that there may be multiple types of the cannabis plant, which are all cannabis but have remarkable differences. So, in terms of scientific classification, multiple species can exist within a single genus, and that’s exactly the case with cannabis.

 

The Different Growing Varieties of Cannabis

The genus of cannabis is thought to include three distinct species of the cannabis plant, namely Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis.

Cannabis sativa is the most common strain of cannabis. It has been cultivated throughout history for a number of purposes, including the production of seed oil, food, hemp fiber (for clothes and rope), medicine, and even recreation.

Cannabis ruderalis is a species native to Russia that flowers earlier and is able to withstand harsher conditions than Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica. It is the hardiest of the three, but it is relatively poor in terms of cannabinoids as ruderalis has a lower THC content than either sativa or indica.

Cannabis indica was first discovered in India and is a cannabis species that is described as shorter and bushier than sativa. Problems with botanical taxonomy have led some scientists to still doubt the existence of Cannabis indica as a distinct species of cannabis.

In nature, Cannabis ruderalis typically has the lowest levels of THC, Cannabis sativa has a higher level of THC than it has CBD, and Cannabis indica has a higher level of CBD than it has THC. However, since man has been cultivating cannabis (and especially Cannabis sativa) for thousands of years, the effects of artificial selections have led to several different types of cannabis even within the same species, depending on the purpose the cannabis was cultivated for.

 

The Power of Artificial Selection

Cannabis has been cultivated by humans, for a variety of purposes, since antiquity. So it comes as no surprise that there are several different species and even different varieties within the species, depending on the purpose the plants were bred for. Through artificial selection, different species of cannabis have different properties–some have been used for medicinal purposes, others as food, and others to create clothes, ropes, and other items.

Industrial hemp is produced by strains of Cannabis sativa that have been cultivated to produce minimal levels of THC and are instead artificially selected and bred to grow taller and sturdier. This is done to enable the plant to be used effectively in the production of hemp oil, wax, resin, hemp seed food, animal feed, fuel, cloth, rope, and more. Industrial hemp is exclusively made from Cannabis sativa.

Medical marijuana is produced mainly from variants of Cannabis sativa that have been selectively bred to maximize their concentration in cannabinoids. Cannabis ruderalis is almost exclusively grown due to its naturally occurring very small quantities of THC .

 

Hemp vs Marijuana: So What’s Really the Difference?

The major (and arguably the only) difference between industrial hemp and medical marijuana is that industrial hemp is exclusively made from Cannabis sativa that was specifically bred to produce the lowest concentrations of THC possible.

Hemp-producing cannabis has tall, fibrous stalks that are very strong and have very few flowering buds. On the on the other hand, marijuana strains are short, bushy, and have high amounts of THC. In fact, industrial hemp and medical marijuana are so distinctively different that most lay people wouldn’t be able to tell that they belong to the same genus of plants if they encountered them in the wild!

While marijuana is bred with the only purpose of maximizing its THC concentration, industrial hemp always has trace amounts of THC and naturally occurring high amounts of CBD (it has the highest CBD/THC ratio of all cannabis strains, even Cannabis ruderalis) This means that industrial hemp’s chemical profile makes it incapable of inducing intoxicating effects and getting you “high” from ingesting it.

 

Industrial Hemp Supplements

Since industrial hemp is naturally rich in CBD and has been bred to have only trace amounts of THC, many people today are turning to industrial hemp products as an alternative to medical marijuana. Medical marijuana is not legal in all states in the US and many countries worldwide, while products made from industrial hemp can be a safe and legal alternative. You can get many of the same beneficial effects of medical marijuana from industrial hemp products without getting “high.”

Industrial hemp products are completely safe, as they are made according to federal standards and are produced in FDA-registered facilities within the US. If you are interested in seeing more, please check out our line of premium industrial hemp products.

 

What’s the Difference Between CBD Oil from Medical Marijuana and CBD Oil from Industrial Hemp Oil?

Cannabidiol

Most of our readers know you can get Cannabidiol (CBD) products made from industrial hemp. Many of you also know that you can get CBD products from medical marijuana.

So what’s the difference? Yes, medical marijuana can contain any level of THC whereas CBD products from industrial hemp contain negligible amounts. But what about the CBD?

Is the CBD from industrial hemp the same as the CBD from medical marijuana? In this article we’ll explore what we know about these substances.

 

Cannabidiol is Still Cannabidiol

Here’s the main concept to understand. In regards to its chemical composition, which is precisely known to scientists, CBD remains unchanged regardless of which plant produces it.

To further expand on this, the term “Cannabidiol” refers by definition to a chemical substance.

There is no room for different interpretations and the substance is just that. Any single difference in the molecular composition would mean it’s no longer Cannabidiol but another substance (again, by definition). This is pure chemistry and allows no room for ambiguity.

However, the main question people have is not just about the CBD compound, which is constant from plant to plant, but the actual difference in CBD oil from various plants.

 

What Goes into Cannabidiol Oil?

We’ve established the fact that naturally occurring CBD is the same CBD regardless of the plant it came from. However, CBD and CBD oil are not in fact the same thing. As we’ve seen above, CBD is a chemical compound with sharply defined characteristics, while CBD oil is a mixture of various natural substances as they are derived from the plant of cannabis.

The production of hemp oil involves extracting the fatty acids from the stalks of the cannabis plant. Within these fatty acids fat-soluble substances can be found, and as cannabinoids are fat-soluble, they come out of the plant, dissolved in the oil.

To make this more concrete, let’s use an example here. This is a high-CBD hemp oil product made from industrial hemp. It has a concentration of CBD between 18% and 24%. This means that it has 18%–24% parts CBD dissolved in the actual oil, which is composed by other substances. So 18%–24% is pure CBD, and the rest are hemp oil extracts and other fatty acid substances.

 

Medical Marijuana vs. Industrial Hemp CBD Oil

The main point we want to make here is that CBD is always CBD, but CBD oil from hemp is not the same as the oil that is extracted from medical marijuana.

The main difference between the two remains that CBD oil from medical marijuana can contain any varying amount of THC. As a result, this type of CBD oil is considered a Schedule I drug and is not legal in many states in the US and countries worldwide.

As industrial hemp is naturally high in CBD and contains only traces of THC, the hemp oil produced from it is safe and non-psychotropic. This CBD oil is actually a lot different than the oil produced by extracting the fatty acids of the cannabis plants that are bred for soothing purposes.

Besides the difference in THC concentration, the CBD oils will also have differing amounts of other cannabinoids. But those make up a much smaller percentage of the overall volume and are not as pronounced in their effects as CBD or THC are.

Content Sourced by HealthyHempOil.com

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Massachusetts will place a four-month ban on all sales of vaping products, the state’s governor announced Tuesday, ushering in the most extensive state-level crackdown on e-cigarettes after a mysterious illness has afflicted hundreds and killed nine people. The move is the latest response from policymakers to growing alarm about the popularity of e-cigarettes among young people and fears that the products, which have yet to be vetted by the Food and Drug Administration, pose unknown health risks. Bans on sales of flavored vaping products took effect this month in New York and Michigan, and the Trump administration said it plans to enact a similar regulation at the federal level. Flavored products have attracted particular scrutiny from policymakers who say they are getting children hooked on nicotine. But Massachusetts would go beyond a flavor ban to also temporarily eliminate tobacco and marijuana e-cigarettes from the market. Officials say the halt will allow time to properly investigate a crisis that’s expanded to 530 cases in 38 states as of last week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “The purpose of this public health emergency is to temporarily pause all sales of vaping products so that we can work with our medical experts to identify what is making people sick and how to better regulate these products to protect the health of our residents,” Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) said in a statement. San Francisco became the first major U.S. city to effectively ban all e-cigarette sales this summer by targeting products that have yet to gain FDA approval. But San Francisco’s policy will not go into effect until early next year, while Massachusetts’s new rules take effect immediately — and on a much larger scale. The state’s new policy drew swift criticism from e-cigarette advocates and companies that have long argued their products help rather than hurt public health by offering smokers an alternative. Some public health officials, too, have promoted vaping as a tool to reduce smoking among adults — notably in England, where vape shops sit on the grounds of some hospitals. Sixty-one potential cases of vaping-linked illness have been reported to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health as of Tuesday, the governor’s office said. Official investigations nationwide have connected many of the illnesses to marijuana products bought off the street, but no one item has been linked to all cases. And some patients have reported vaping nicotine, though health professionals note people may be reluctant to admit to using marijuana. As The Washington Post has previously reported, the illnesses are largely affecting young people: An investigation by state health departments in Illinois and Wisconsin traces the first signs of illness among 53 tracked patients to April. The victims — mostly young men with a median age of 19 — overwhelmingly ended up in the hospital, many under intensive care. A third went on respirators. Patients typically experienced coughing, chest pain or shortness of breath before their health deteriorated to the point that they needed to be hospitalized, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Other reported symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, fever and weight loss. Many victims have ended up with acute respiratory distress syndrome, a life-threatening condition in which fluid builds up in the lungs and prevents the oxygen people’s bodies need to function from circulating in the bloodstream.   While the illnesses have given new urgency to long-brewing concerns over vaping, lawmakers explaining new e-cigarette restrictions in other states have focused on the broader threat of teen addiction. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) announced her state’s flavored e-cigarette ban Sept. 4 as state health officials declared youth vaping a public health emergency, highlighting research on nicotine’s harm to developing brains and on substances in vaping products with unclear long-term health effects. Michigan’s health department also cited evidence that youth who use e-cigarettes are more prone to take up smoking, which most experts believe to be more dangerous than vaping products. A 2018 government-funded study found that the percentage of U.S. high school seniors who report vaping nicotine within the past month doubled over just a year, sparking a new wave of alarm that e-cigarettes are reversing decades of decreasing youth tobacco use. E-cigarette use among teens has risen faster than any product tracked in the survey’s 40-plus years of existence, researchers say. Preliminary results from this year’s version of the National Institutes of Health-funded study indicated another jump in student vaping, and researchers expressed particular concern over their finding that about 1 in 9 teens vapes nicotine near-daily. Massachusetts is no exception when it comes to vaping’s popularity among young people. More than 40 percent of the state’s youth reported trying e-cigarettes in 2017, and 1 in 5 said they used the products regularly, according to the governor’s office. High school students’ usage rates are six times as high as adults', the office said. While Massachusetts officials focused Tuesday on a need to investigate illnesses, they said that they, too, are concerned about youth vaping.   “Vaping products are marketed and sold in nearly 8,000 flavors that make them easier to use and more appealing to youth,” Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito said in a statement. “Today’s actions include a ban on flavored products, inclusive of mint and menthol, which we know are widely used by young people.” The Massachusetts governor’s office seemed to anticipate concerns about smoking alternatives Tuesday, saying it will devote more resources to programs that encourage people to quit smoking and increase the capacity of the Massachusetts Smokers’ Helpline. Opponents still blasted the move as counterproductive. Austin Finan, a spokesman for leading e-cigarette manufacturer Juul, warned Tuesday that bans on the sale of vaping products will encourage a black market of products with “unknown ingredients under unknown manufacturing standards.” He added that bans will affect adult smokers’ ability to quit and push former smokers back to old habits.   Gregory Conley, president of the nonprofit American Vaping Association, called Massachusetts’s halt on sales of nicotine vaping products “absolutely absurd,” emphasizing evidence that links the vaping-related illnesses to illegal and contaminated THC cartridges. “We agree with the FDA — if you don’t want to die or end up in the hospital, stop vaping illicit marijuana oils,” he said. The tough new regulations also dismayed small-businesses owners facing steep losses. Jonathan Lau, who runs two vape stores in Brighton, Mass., said he and other vape shop owners — part of the retail industry’s fastest-growing segment over the past decade — were “blindsided” by the governor’s announcement. With vaping products making up close to 90 percent of his shops’ sales, Lau said, he will probably have to close down.   Employees have been told to show up for work Wednesday, but Lau does not think his stores will open. “Basically, it’s a death sentence for small businesses in the vape industry,” he said. Officials around the country have warned people to stop using e-cigarettes altogether while investigators try to get to the bottom of the illnesses and deaths. An executive order from California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) last week directed the state’s Department of Public Health to launch a $20 million public awareness campaign about the risks of vaping both nicotine and cannabis substances. California health officials on Tuesday also joined the calls for consumers to stop vaping while the cause of vaping-linked illnesses remains unclear.   Other states are signaling interest in following Michigan, New York and now Massachusetts’s lead in taking a tougher stance on e-cigarettes. “We’re seeing more and more states exploring what emergency powers they have,” said Michael Seilback, assistant vice president for state public policy at the American Lung Association. Seilback would not express an opinion on Massachusetts’s choice to suspend all vaping sales, telling The Post only that states are being “forced to make hard decisions” and emphasizing his group’s support for the bans on flavored vaping products that other places have adopted. He’s eager to see the Trump administration’s proposed ban on flavored vaping sales come to fruition. “We think that strong federal action would prevent a piecemeal approach where different jurisdictions are looking at these products differently,” he said.   Original article

2 months ago

The Grass is Greener where it’s Sun Grown

There is something special happening in Northern California’s cannabis community. In one of the most unique growing regions in the world, farmers have been living off the land and growing this country’s cannabis for decades. Now, this inherently sustainable, craft cannabis movement is rising to the forefront of California and the United State’s cannabis industry, setting the landscape that promises to set the standard of sustainable, ethical, and natural agricultural practices. Cannabis is rooted deep in human culture: its earliest written reference stems from Western China about 500BC. Traditionally grown outdoors in the lush environment where the plant naturally thrives, growing indoors is a relatively new, energy intensive method of cultivation. As Michael Steinmetz, CEO of FlowKana, states: “Indoor is simply a relic of prohibition and a cultural phenomenon that emerges when farmers have to go into hiding to protect their livelihoods while they cultivate this amazing plant. Indoor cultivation produces 25 times more CO2 than outdoor grows, and are 70 times more energy intensive than commercial office buildings. To produce just one kilo of cannabis indoors is equivalent to driving across the country five times!” Even though outdoor grows are clearly more energy efficient, the divide between sustainably cultivating cannabis in California’s ubiquitous Emerald Triangle and industrial farming practices (think massive, industrial indoor grows, sucking energy and water out of the desert in Southern California) is growing ever deeper. This is at odds with consumer behavior: trends are showing that consumers want to invest in sustainable, authentic, and local businesses, leading us to question whether hefty investments in these desert grows harkens the impending doom this burgeoning industry. Why go vast and vacuous when consumers crave niche and nostalgia? The California cannabis industry is like no other. Though there’s millennia of history behind the plant, the process, and the people whose livelihoods depend on it, the corporatization of cannabis is still very much in its infancy. This is equally thrilling and daunting. There’s promise and potential to correct social stigmas and injustices, to negate environmentally harmful agriculture practices, and to promote a plant with universal healing qualities. There’s also ample opportunity for big companies to elbow in: corporations are oozing in, focused on the bottom line with little regard for honoring the plant’s history, purpose, and potential. Surprising no one, the California cannabis industry is picking up steam to become a race to the quickest buck, abandoning the rich history, potent healing potential and complex social realities of the plant to dry up in the desert dust.   It is time to get back to the roots of this industry.    I had the privilege of spending a hot August day with the Humboldt County Grower’s Alliance (HCGA). My goal was to absorb all that Humboldt County and its cannabis community had to offer — to talk to farmers, to smell their flowering plants, to indulge in the abundance of natural beauty that is their every day. As it goes, we started the day at the HCGA office in Eureka. Walking out the offices’ white wooden door, we readied ourselves to tour cannabis country. Driving down the 101 past Ferndale, we made our way towards the coast on Mattole road. There, we were treated to some of the most spectacular views along the Lost Trails of the Pacific Ocean. It felt like we had been transported to another world. From there, we cut back inland towards Petrolia. The grandeur of the Mattole Valley became more apparent with every sharp turn and steep hill we climbed in the Subaru. This valley has been the epicenter of California’s cannabis industry since it’s community fled north from San Francisco in the 1960s and 1970s to live off the land. It was incredible to witness it for the first time with my own eyes. “This wasn’t a profiteering machine, it was getting back to the land, being self sufficient, and growing some cannabis to help promote and fund a vision of community.” — Terra Carter, Executive Director of HCGA says.  During one of the loudest and most volatile times in this country’s history, Humboldt County cannabis flourished in a community built on a back-to-the-earth ethos. Cannabis, among seasonal vegetables, herbs, and animals provided these communities and families the resources to live in such remote locations.  What transpired over the next few decades in this valley sounds like it was ripped from a summer blockbuster. With the ineptly named War on Drugs came military aircraft humming over the valley. The US government flew two U2s[1] over Humboldt to build their battle plan against farmers. This is the same spy plane they flew over the USSR. Helicopters buzzed through the valley searching for plants. Sometimes, they came so low that their noise and resulting vibrations would break windows and knock down houses. Humboldt was like a war zone, complete with a few farmers holding their ground by gun. Others hid in the woods or fled from their property with their families- some temporarily, and others permanently.  As the raids continued farmers developed innovative ways to keep their community and livelihoods going: some started to grow their plants on platforms high in the trees, others constantly scanned the skies, ready to pull their plants back from the fields and under the cover of the forest at a moment’s notice. As we drove deeper into the valley, I began to see the lengths to which farmers went to set their roots, both familial and agricultural, as far out of reach as possible. Seclusion protected these families from the National Guard and from the bad players in the area taking plants, money, and whatever else they fancied by force. Though I met with people who were ostensibly breaking the law, I did not get the sense I was surrounded by criminals — because I wasn’t. Humboldt (like the rest of California, the USA, and the world) definitely has had their fair share of criminals in the industry, but for the most part this is a community of outlaws. They were never criminals. They simply did not have the legal infrastructure in place to run their business. It’s important to remember this distinction, especially since every person in the cannabis industry today is a federal outlaw. After driving for miles on dirt roads wrapped tightly around the mountain, we came across a signless intersection. We turned left up a steep one-lane road that we followed for a mile. At the peak we found cleared land and a single structure atop. “Welcome to DewPoint,” crowed the fearless, smiling Andelain. She and her husband are second and third generation farmers. They grew up overlooking the Mattole Valley and now live on a sustainable mountain property they built themselves. Nestled amid the mountains for a decade, their property relies entirely on solar energy for all of their electrical needs. Andelain likes to boast that her cannabis is fully sun-grown. Meaning, not only do they grow without any artificial lights, but even the water irrigation pump is powered by the sun. Andelain and her husband remember this mountain as a thriving community since their earliest days in the area. “It wasn’t just your parents raising you, but your neighbors, and the people at the school and fire department. This was the community our parents started building with their cannabis businesses, and the one we continue to invest in today.”- Andelain During the years of quasi warfare in the Mattole Valley, Andelain remembers the fear she felt helping in her family’s garden, where they grew vegetables, fruits, and cannabis. “My earliest memory was being in the garden and hearing the ‘copter coming down the valley and my dad running through the garden thinking ‘That’s weird I never heard my dad move like that’. I remember my dads arm swooping around my body and pulling me up and running into the bushes with his hand around my mouth. Men in armor with rifles repelled down, cut our plants, and flew away. After that, my family moved into town. We lost everything we had on that mountain” Now, Andelain has the opportunity to carry out her life’s long purpose and passion: to bring high quality medicine and peace to those who need it, legally. Pure as her mission is, it is accompanied with bureaucratic side effects.   Unsurprisingly, California has some of the most extensive environmental laws in the country. To touch the land costs thousands of dollars in permitting and licensing. This is for good reason. California produces 17% of the country’s food and is constantly on the verge of drought. A state that is already reeling from the planet’s warming and is responsible for feeding nearly 1/5 of the country, it’s a sobering reality to consider placing an added burden on a state that’s already stretched thin on agricultural resources. Thankfully, California is taking some small but meaningful steps to abate this disaster. “Regulation has now given us the opportunity to be the most sustainably grown agriculture product in the world” says Carver. Most farms we saw in Humboldt have set up rain capture and storage containers to have water available throughout the dry months without needing to suck it out of aquifers.  The special sauce of Humboldt County Cannabis that can’t be replicated or matched is it’s heritage. This growing region not only sprouted on off-the-grid farms- where all energy had to be produced on site and trash had to be at a minimum, with the closest garbage drop is sometimes 45 minutes away. But, it has also survived and evolved through military raids and environmentally disastrous moments.  Humboldt has suffered. Their Redwood forests were indiscriminately leveled by industrial logging companies, while their rivers were overfished by commercial fishing companies. The community that lived off these lands did not stand for it. Several organizations, inside and outside the cannabis industry, banded together to protest these industries and their actions- one of which being the infamous 738-day tree-sit by Julia Butterfly. These industries decimated the environment- pushing the river’s salmon population close to extinction and polluting its waters with industrial runoff.  After years of fighting for and implementing corrective policies and regulations, we were able to take a break in the heat of the day to go swimming in the now clear, crisp, and cool Mattole river. While the river and surrounding environment is healing itself, so to speak, this time around, there are no guarantees that nature can continually bounce back from the impact of big industry. I could see it in the way everyone talked about being able to swim in the river, that being able to dunk our heads into its crisp water, is a luxury that should never be taken for granted. To me, it was a sign that with dedicated advocates, smart policy, and responsible farming and business practices, supporting a cannabis industry in the region without impacting the environment is possible. With the California cannabis industry blooming in a world where the Amazon is burning, communities experience systemic water shortages, and corporations prioritize profit over people, there has never been a time where being an educated and active consumer is more important.  Being a conscious consumer does make a difference: we are sowing the seeds from which the cannabis industry will continue to grow.