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CBD HEMP OIL. What’s the Buzz?

CBD Hemp Oil. What’s the Buzz?


Dr. Gabrielle Francis

CBD is the newest player to take center stage on the Health and Wellbeing circuit. CBD, stands for Cannabidiol, which is one of many phytonutrients in the Cannabis sativa plant.

CBD is a phytocannaboid derived from both the versions of Cannabis sativa, Hemp and Marijuana. CBD is a non-psychoactive component and does not make you high! So why the buzz? There are numerous studies emerging on the health and wellness effects of CBD hemp oil supplements. This newsletter will help to demystify CBD and inform you about the benefits of this extract when it is derived from Organic Hemp as a full spectrum supplement.

I have decided to use a question and answer format to help you understand it in smaller soundbites…

Feeling Groovy….

What is CBD and CBD oil?

Cannabidiol is a phytocannaboid, a phytochemical that is found in the Cannabis sativa plant. There are many plants and naturally occurring substances that produce CBD. The human body produces CBD as well. CBD supplements are derived from the Hemp plant and may come in the form of isolated CBD or CBD Hemp full spectrum plant oils.

What is the difference between Hemp and Marijuana?

Hemp and Marijuana are both cultivated from the Cannabis sativa plant. Industrial Hemp is cultivated from Cannabis sativa. Hemp is bred to be taller and has fibrous stalks. It has minute traces of THC and is high in CBD oils and other phytochemicals. According to the US laws, Hemp must contain less than .3% THC. Hemp is cultivated for its diverse use as a paper, rope, fiber, superfood supplements, seeds for food supplement oils, and CBD supplements and beauty products.

Marijuana may be from either Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica. It is cultivated for its flowering buds and is a smaller plant. It is high in THC, which is the psychoactive cannabinoid that makes you feel “high”. Marijuana is used for recreational and medical purposes to induce a state of Euphoria and help with pain. Most of these affects are due to the high THC content.

CBD is in both Marijuana and Hemp. However, the CBD is much higher in Hemp. Plus, Hemp has more phytonutrients and phytochemicals that promote health and well-being.

Cannabinoids and the EndoCannaboid system

Cannabidiol, CBD, is one of at least 113 active cannabinoids identified in Cannabis. It is one of the major phytocannabinoids, accounting for up to 40% of the plant’s extract. CBD and the other Cannabinoids interact with a system known as the Endocannboid system.

The Endocannaboid system is a biological system found in the nervous systems of all mammals. It is made up of endocannabinoids, which are fat based neurotransmitters, cannabinoid receptors, and receptor proteins. The ECS helps to regulate many functions in the human body including:

  • Motor function
  • Appetite
  • Sleep
  • Mood and Wellbeing
  • Hormones
  • Metabolism
  • Immune function
  • Memory and Cognition
  • Fertility
  • Pain sensation

The Human body produces cannabinoids and has receptors for them throughout the whole body. There are 2 main types of Cannabinoid receptors in the Nervous system. The CBD1 receptors are in the central nervous system composed of the brain and spinal cord. The CB2 receptors are in the peripheral nervous system and organs.

THC reacts with the CB1 receptors and that is what gives Marijuana is psychoactive affects. Hemp, which has predominantly non-THC cannabinoids such as CBD, CBN and other phytochemicals has a nutritive effect on the ECS and helps to regulate function of mood, inflammation, immunity, sleep, hormones, metabolism, nervous system and appetite.

What is the Entourage Effect? Do I want that?

The use of full spectrum Hemp oil supplements as the source of CBD is ideal as it promotes what is known as the Entourage Effect.

These full spectrum oils have a variety of nutrients and phytochemicals which work synergistically to enhance the benefits of each other. Some of the nutritional components in Hemp supplements include:

  • Essential fatty acids
  • Chlorophyll
  • Glycosides
  • Vitamins such as A, C, B-1, B-2, B-6, D
  • Phytosterols
  • Minerals such as zinc, magnesium, Iron and calcium
  • Proteins and amino acids
  • Terpenes
  • Flavonoids and other Anti-oxidants

The Entourage effect means that the whole plant use allows the compounds in the plant to work synergistically with each other and magnify the therapeutic benefits of the individual compounds. This is a concept common in many herbal traditions and is believed to be why plants have less negative side effects when used in whole form than as isolated compounds.

When the CBD Hemp oil supplements are unadulterated, organic and NON-GMO, they provide a wonderful full spectrum food supplement that nourishes the ECS of the body.

Are CBD and Hemp Oil Supplements Legal?

CBD Oil Supplements derived from Industrial Hemp are legal as long as they contain no THC or less than .3% THC. CBD oils from Marijuana are a regulated substance and are only legal in states that allow medical marijuana with a prescription or have legalized recreational use.

Where is Hemp grown and cultivated?

Most industrial Hemp is cultivated in Northern Europe and Spain. In recent years, there has been a boom in Hemp cultivation in the United States. Good quality hemp may come from Kentucky, Oregon, Colorado, and California. New York state has started a research initiative on Industrial Hemp.

What is the difference between CBD Hemp oil and Hemp Seed Oil?

Hemp seed oils come from cold pressed hemp seeds. They do not have CBD in them. However, they are rich in essential fatty acids and other nutrients. CBD Hemp oil extracts come from Supercritical CO2 extraction of the Hemp Stalks. The CBD Hemp oils are rich in CBD and other phytonutrients.

What is the extraction method of CBD Hemp Oil supplements?

Hemp Oil CBD Supplements are derived from CO2 extraction methods.

CO2 extraction is the process where pressurized Carbon dioxide is used to extract phyto-chemicals from plants. The subcritical CO2 extraction is low temperature and low pressure. It allows the retention of the most terpenes, essential oils and other nutrients. Thesupercritical CO2 extraction is high temperature and high pressure and damages some of the smaller nutrients but allows extraction of chlorophyll and omega fats. The best CBD Hemp supplements use a combination of both extraction methods to yield the greatest amount of high density nutrient products.

Is it important to use CBD from organic Hemp?

YES. It is essential to use only CBD Hemp supplements derived from Organic Non-GMO Hemp. The CBD is an oil and the oils of plants are storage centers for toxins and chemicals. Whenever supplementing with any oils, it is essential to only use products from plants grown with organic and Non- GMO methods.

Is CBD Legal?

CBD Hemp oil supplements coming from Industrial Hemp are legal to use and buy in all 50 states. CBD from Marijuana is subject to state laws relating to medical and recreational Marijuana use. It is best to use CBD Hemp oil supplements from Hemp as a food supplement. It will not make you high!

What are the ways to take CBD Hemp Oil supplements?

There are variety of ways to get CBD Hemp Oil into your health and well-being regime:

  • Pills and Capsules
  • Tinctures and Oil droppers
  • Liquids for food and smoothies
  • Beauty Products
  • Topical creams
  • Vaporizers (not recommended)
  • Chewable snacks

What dosage of CBD should I take?

It is best to start with lower doses and work your way up. There are various options for different concentrations of CBD. There have not been adverse reactions reported with CBD supplements. Remember, CBD is naturally occurring in the human body. It is always best to use full spectrum Hemp extracts as a food supplement.

What is CBD good for treating? What conditions should I use it for?

Decades of research indicate that cannabinoids like CBD interact with the body’s Endocannabinoid System, a complex system that contributes to a variety of biological processes like inflammation responses, relaxation, sleeping, and appetite. By linking with the two main types of cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, which are found on cells throughout the body, CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system, helping it in the regulation of homeostasis — the body’s natural state of balance.

The FDA does not allow the suggestion of CBD oils as a treatment for any diseases. I encourage you to do your own research on CBD for conditions that you are interested in. However, I feel that CBD Hemp supplementation should be looked as a food supplement that supports our ECS and promotes well-being and balance.

The exciting research on CBD has opened up a new window into the ECS and its interaction with our Immune systems, nervous systems, and endocrine systems. This is only the beginning of a new field of research and discovery on healing.

Is CBD Hemp oil safe to use in Children?

CBD Hemp oil supplements are safe to use in all age groups and demographics. It is a food supplement.

Is CBD Hemp oil good for Pets?

There is extensive use of CBD Hemp oils for the wellbeing of Cats, Dogs, Horses and other pets. The Endocannaboid system is found in the nervous system of all mammals.

CBD Hemp Oil…What’s the Buzz? By Dr. Gabrielle Francis CBD is the newest player to take center stage on the Health and Wellbeing circuit. CBD, stands for Cannabidiol, which is one of many phytonutrients in the Cannabis sativa plant. CBD is a phytocannaboid derived from both the versions of Cannabis sativa, Hem

CBD: No high, but lots of buzz

Charts courtesy ArcView Market Research

Charts courtesy ArcView Market Research.

Fred Dreier | May 01, 2015

You can’t turn on the television these days without seeing a story about legalized marijuana and the “ganjapreneurs” who are advancing the nascent US pot industry.

Four states have legalized cannabis for recreational use, and 23 now allow it for medical purposes. Across the country, enterprising pot enthusiasts have baked the plant into almost every food imaginable, synthesized it into ultra-concentrated oils and even mixed it into topical lotions.

Most of this entrepreneurial energy has focused on delivering the plant’s psychoactive chemical, tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. But a growing number of medical professionals and entrepreneurs are pushing products that contain cannabidiol, or CBD, one of the non-psychoactive chemicals in the plant. There is a growing consensus that CBD holds a variety of therapeutic qualities. Health claims range from reducing seizures in epileptic children and offsetting depression, to improving skin.

These entrepreneurs could be paving the way for the supplement industry’s next billion-dollar market. Before that happens, however, CBD entrepreneurs must overcome a handful of self-imposed hurdles, from unprofessional marketing and shady corporate dealings, to an immature supply chain and political infighting. They must also find a way to win approval of the FDA, which recently deemed the products unfit for sale as dietary supplements.

“The industry is not where we’d ideally like it to be, yet,” says Richard Rose, executive director of the Colorado-based Medical Hemp Association. “We’re seeing a lot of rookie mistakes.”

A History of Legislative Change

Various federal regulations and statewide bans targeted cannabis through the first decades of the 20th century. In 1942, the final nail was placed in the plant’s coffin when it was removed from the US Pharmacopeia, which effectively erased any therapeutic legitimacy. By the time Congress passed the Controlled Substances Act in 1970—which lumped cannabis alongside heroin, cocaine and methamphetamines—US doctors had long since abandoned cannabis as a mainstream medication.

That’s not to say that individual physicians and cannabis enthusiasts stopped performing their own medical research on the drug. Nobody knows for sure how many individuals smoked cannabis to treat cancer, epilepsy or glaucoma during its prohibition years. Enough at-home research and personal clinical trails went on, however, for hundreds of advocates and doctors to believe in cannabis’ medicinal qualities through the ’80s and ’90s.

A group of early researchers founded the International Cannabinoid Research Society in 1992 in an effort to study the chemicals in cannabis. In 1998, Dr. Geoffrey Guy persuaded the British government to license his company, GW Pharmaceuticals, to develop a cannabis extract for use in clinical trials. After contacting a Dutch seed company, Guy acquired strains of cannabis that were rich in CBD.

In the United States, a seismic shift came in 2004, when the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a DEA regulation to criminalize the possession and manufacturing of oil produced from cannabis varieties that contain very little THC—commonly called “hemp” or “industrial hemp,” because of their use in rope and building material.

Advocates believe the ruling opened the door for entrepreneurs to acquire, possess, and sell hemp products—including oil, paste and seed oil—so long as the hemp contains less than 0.3 percent THC. Since then, entrepreneurs have cited this ruling as the legal umbrella governing the industry.

Entrepreneurs, however, were still forbidden from growing the plant.

Longtime hemp entrepreneur Chris Boucher, vice president of CannaVest, the country’s largest hemp oil importer, says his early hemp oil customers included shampoo companies, independent supplement manufacturers, and even pet food firms. The oil, Boucher says, comes from both the hemp seed, and from essential oils stripped from the stalk of the plant. Boucher says these companies were drawn to hemp oil’s high protein, as well as its perceived health benefits.

Even though these companies complied with the law, Boucher says, they sometimes received letters from the DEA.

“[The DEA] threatened these mom-and-pop vitamin stores for selling hemp seed oil,” Boucher says. “It made no sense. The THC value was like 10 parts per million. There’s more arsenic in your drinking water than that.”

Boucher and other entrepreneurs believe that CBD products are legal, but the rules are still opaque. On May 14, the FDA published its interpretation of the legality of CBD products and said they cannot be sold as supplements. “Based on available evidence, FDA has concluded that cannabidiol products are excluded from the dietary supplement definition,” the announcement said. “FDA also may consult with its federal and state partners in making decisions about whether to initiate a federal enforcement action.”

The Gupta Effect

The CBD industry’s major breakthrough came in 2013, when CNN aired the first installment in a series called “Weed,” starring the network’s medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta. The program chronicled the story of Charlotte Figi, a child who suffered from Dravet Syndrome—a form of child epilepsy. It told how Figi’s parents used an extract made from high-CBD cannabis oil to successfully treat the child.

Gupta’s story spurred a series of similar media hits in regional and national newspapers across the country.

CannaVest—which imports raw hemp paste from manufacturers in Eastern Europe, refines it in the United States, and then sells it to various marketing firms across the country—saw its business explode. “Our phones rang off the hook after [Gupta’s] story came out,” Boucher says. “All of a sudden you see these people who are completely against marijuana become completely for CBD oil.”

Boucher says the Gupta report also opened the door for mainstream audiences to read recent studies done on CBD and how the substance interacts with endocannabinoids, which are hormones that occur naturally in the human body. Cannabinoid receptors are actually found throughout the brain, and CBD works through these receptors. A 2012 study in the journal Pharmaceuticals cited 34 different studies on CBD, with 18 of them conducted on clinical populations suffering from schizophrenia, cancer pain, Huntington’s disease, insomnia and other disorders.

“Experimental studies suggest that high-dose CBD may decrease anxiety and increase mental sedation in healthy individuals,” the authors wrote.

Other reports cited CBD as impacting mood, stress and the health of the nervous system. Exactly how CBD impacts receptors to achieve these results is still unknown, as are the long- and short-term benefits of the treatment.

Stuart Tomc, CannaVest’s vice president of human nutrition, says the mainstream attention created a tipping point for CBD products. “It’s the only ingredient where you don’t have to put anything on the label to sell it,” he says. “You just steer them to CNN.”

The New Gold Rush

A quick Google search for the terms “CBD,” “Hemp Oil” and “Hemp Seed Oil” will unearth dozens of oils, pills, tinctures, drops and even chewing gum for sale on respected ecommerce retailers, including Amazon, Etsy and even Ebay. Most of these products have come to market within the last two years, Boucher says.

One recent CBD brand is the Nevada-based Life Enthusiasts, owned by Martin Pytela, a veteran of the aromatherapy market who describes himself as a “healer.” Pytela says he started purchasing wholesale CBD oil and selling it after watching the Gupta report on CNN.

“We started seeing a lot of interest from people with twitches, seizures and wound management,” he says. “The other interest was from the cancer crowd.”

Pytela’s 100-milligram bottles retails for $25 each. He says the margin on his product is approximately 40 to 50 percent, comparable to what he got for aromatherapy products. But unlike with these products, he says, he does not have to advertise the CBD, due to the demand. He takes orders via his website or over the phone, then ships via mail. He says the only hurdles he’s encountered have come from the payment processing service Paypal, which sent him a letter announcing it was terminating his service due to the products he was selling.

Pytela says he’s found ways around Paypal and that CBD is now a major part of his business, accounting for 25 percent of his company’s revenues. That’s up from just 5 percent in 2013. And his total revenues have grown 50 percent since then.

“I could buy a kilo of raw CBD for $60,000 tomorrow and start putting it into my own bottles by the end of the day,” Pytela says. “It is really like the gold rush right now.”

Familiar concerns about label claims and purity

The CBD boom has not been without its problems. A handful of companies drew the ire of the FDA in early 2015, when the agency sent 18 warning letters to seven different firms that sell CBD-based products, telling the companies they needed to stop making health claims in their marketing.

One letter, to the Arizona company CBD Life Holdings LLC, read:

“The therapeutic claims on your website and in promotional literature establish that the product is a drug because it is intended for use in the cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease. As explained further below, introducing or delivering this product for introduction into interstate commerce for such uses violates the Act.”

Of course, these letters are not uncommon in the supplements industry, and numerous start-up companies learn the hard way that they cannot make health claims on packaging or in promotional material. But other letters from the FDA spoke to a more problematic issue: The agency says that it performed tests on the CBD products in question and that at least four showed no CBD.

Another troubling development came in November 2013, when an ex-employee of a prominent CBD manufacturer in Denver took to Facebook and wrote about health concerns in the way CBD is manufactured. The post was eventually taken down, but the employee called the raw CBD material, “crude and dirty hemp paste contaminated with microbial life.”

The developments fueled a schism in the CBD industry between industrial hemp entrepreneurs and the expanding number of state-legal cannabis growers. The latter group, by and large, does not trust industrial hemp, since it is grown in China or Eastern Europe and then transported into the United States. These growers and their patients have circulated literature that claims that CBD from cannabis plants carries greater potency and value than hemp and hemp seed CBD.

“The flood gates have opened, and now all of the CBD comes from hemp, which is an inferior source,” says Constance Finely, owner of Constance Botanical Care in San Francisco. “Hemp has the legal edge, but it’s being pushed by a group of people who are irresponsible.”

But the most damaging development came in November 2014, when a CBD advocacy group commissioned a freelance journalist to produce a 30-page report on the industry. The report, titled Hemp Oil Hustlers, painted a damning picture of the industry as a whole. It highlighted alleged fraudulent corporate dealings by prominent CBD distributors and poked holes in the science behind many of the medical claims associated with CBD. It also provided testing results that showed that some CBD oils contained heavy metals and other contamination.

In the wake of the report, the company Medical Marijuana Inc. launched a $100 million lawsuit against the authors. CannaVest also retested its CBD products alongside the authors, and both groups released a joint statement stating that CannaVest products did not show contamination in follow-up tests.

One of the report’s authors, Martin A. Lee, confirmed the presence of the lawsuit and said, “there is good reason to be cautious” of the CBD industry. Boucher called the report a “hit piece” but admitted it did considerable damage to the industry’s reputation: “When you start talking about heavy metals and contamination, that scares people.”

Where the Future Lies

Whether CBD companies make a push into the mainstream supplement industry is yet to be seen. The industry could likely be shaped by the recent FDA announcement. Whether the agency will pursue any action against CBD companies, however, is unclear. The company HempMeds, owned by Medical Marijuana Inc, displayed its CBD products at the 2015 Natural Products Expo West. Already, a handful of groups have reached out to industry organizations. The American Herbal Products Association has approximately 30 members from the cannabis and CBD space, according to Jane Wilson, AHPA’s director of program development.

AHPA has even produced a modular document of best practices and regulatory advice for how these companies can adhere to local and federal regulations.

“We’re trying to educate a relatively new industry about how to comply with regulations from state to state,” Wilson says. “There are a lot of resources we supply to the conventional supplement industry that apply.”

Other cannabis-specific groups are also working to improve the overall professionalism in CBD. The National Cannabis Industry Association holds regular symposiums where best practices are disseminated. Rose coaches CBD entrepreneurs on what they can and cannot put in their marketing.

A resolution to the CBD problem could be on the horizon. The 2014 US Farm Bill for the first time made a staunch demarcation between industrial hemp and cannabis, which cleared the way for some states to launch pilot research programs into the plant. Kentucky alone will harvest 1,742 acres of hemp in 2015.

The move could be a step toward more government involvement and regulation, which Rose believes is what the industry needs.

“We need to improve the standards for the industry and then promote it,” Rose says. “I came out of retirement for this because you can tell it needs some shepherding.”

Explore these and other trends that are reshaping the supplement landscape in the 2015 NBJ Supplement Business Report.

Nutrition Business Journal Awards 2015.