Recently, the Drug Enforcement Agency designated CBD oil as a Schedule 1 Narcotic, alongside LSD, Heroin and other substances. Schedule 1 substances are supposed to have no recognized medicinal use, but for some reason, the DEA found it appropriate to place CBD oil on the list.
This, despite the fact that thousands of Americans use CBD for a variety of medical conditions. Cannabidiol is well known for its value as an antiemetic, anticonvulsant, antipsychotic, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anxiolytic, antidepressant, and even anti-tumor medication. Why the DEA has decided to punish those suffering from health problems that could be treated with CBD oil is anyone’s guess.
However, hope may be on the horizon. Several legal challenges have been filed against the new DEA ruling, any of which may overturn the recent DEA classification. However, others hope that by making a greater distinction between the source of the CBD will help provide the wiggle room needed for patients to continue to access their medicine.
Hemp Vs. Cannabis
Hemp and cannabis are related plants, but their long history of cultivation has altered their chemical composition in several ways. The most important difference is that hemp is usually grown for industrial purposes – textiles, oils and seed production being among the most important applications – while cannabis is typically grown for medicinal or recreational purposes.
Additionally, hemp is often used in animal feeds and byproducts, so it is important to use THC-free plants when doing so. This is important because the effects of THC on many animals are not well understood – farmers can’t have their sheep, cows and pigs suffering because their biology does not work well with THC.
Accordingly, these considerations have led growers to reduce the amount of THC -– the primary psychoactive ingredient in cannabis – in hemp plants. In fact, most hemp plants have very little THC at all. Accordingly, many farmers are able to grow hemp legally. This has led many to wonder if CBD could be extracted from hemp plants, which may provide a legal avenue through which CBD oil could be produced.
As of now, hemp-derived CBD is still illegal, but advocates are hoping to change this.
CBD from Hemp Vs. Cannabis
A number of important differences are apparent when once compares hemp CBD and cannabis CBD.
One important difference relates to the so-called “entourage effect.” The entourage effect is thought to explain how whole-plant extracts appear to be better at resolving symptoms and treating illnesses than single-cannabinoid oils and extracts do. Scientists suspect that this occurs do to the interplay between the various cannabinoids present in the plant.
This is important because hemp plants have significantly fewer cannabinoids than cannabis plants do. Harvesting a significant amount of CBD, requires processors to use many more hemp plants than they would need when they get CBD from a typical cannabis plant. Some also worry that hemp-derived CBD may be more likely, therefore to contain pesticides, fertilizers or other contaminants.