Why do People take CBD?

People take CBD (cannabidiol) for a lot of reasons.  Project CHD has developed a list of conditions and research on the effects of CBD on each condition.  I will not attempt to duplicate this here.  You should check it out at their site.

Some of the more common reasons that people take CBD include:

Seizure Disorders – In the U.S. there is a prescription form of CBD called Epidiolex that is approved to treat seizures that begin in childhood.  Lennox–Gastaut syndrome (LGS) is a complex, rare, and severe form of childhood-onset epilepsy. Dravet syndrome is a rare, catastrophic, lifelong form of epilepsy that begins in the first year of life with frequent and/or prolonged seizures.

Anxiety and PTSDStudies have shown that CBD can reduce anxiety.  Many currently approved medications, such as benzodiazepines, can cause dependence or have other side-effects.  People often take CBD to help with anxiety.

Fibromyalgia, Migraines and Irritable Bowel Syndrome – These disorders are thought by some to be a form of endocannabinoid deficiency.  CBD and other cannabinoids may become important in the treatment of these disorders.

adult air beautiful beauty
Photo by Oleksandr Pidvalnyi on Pexels.com

Pain – CBD can reduce both acute and chronic pain.  Scientists are still trying to understand this.  CBD isolate (CBD all by itself) works well in a fairly narrow dose range to treat pain, but full spectrum cannabis extracts seem to work in a wider range.  This finding has been called the “entourage effect.” CBD has anti-inflammatory properties and seems to help arthritis pain.

Psychosis – THC makes some people more paranoid and it is thought to induce psychosis in a small subset of people.  CBD can reverse these symptoms and it has been suggested as a possible treatment for schizophrenia. The early results have been mixed.

Sleep – Cannabinoids have been used to help improve sleep, but CBD’s effect on sleep is complex.  Low doses of CBD often appear to be activating, while somewhat increased dose are more relaxing.  CBD can decrease both anxiety and pain – and these are things that keep us up at night.

What do you use CBD for?  Does it help?  Please comment below or discuss this on reddit.


Is Marijuana more Dangerous than you think?

The January 5, 2019 issue of the Wall Street Journal included a piece by Alex Berenson entitled “Marijuana Is More Dangerous Than You Think.” It is based on an upcoming book Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence. Berenson argues that legalization of marijuana has resulted in increased violence and mental health problems.  He uses crime statistics from 2013 (before legalization of recreational cannabis) and 2017 from Colorado, Washington, Alaska, and Oregon to make his point.  Berenson claims that murders in these 4 states increased from 450 to 620; and that aggravated assaults increased from 30,300 to 38,000.

If these numbers are accurate, there are many possible reasons for the increase in violence.  Marijuana may not be involved. Berenson expresses concern about an increase in people who use marijuana heavily – defined as 300 days out of 365.  His assumption seems to be that these people are all using it “recreationally.” Many medical patients also use cannabis (marijuana or hemp) in order to get daily medication.

His more troubling assertion is that the increase in heavy marijuana use is contributing to mental illness as well as violence.  He builds on the fact that paranoia is a well-known side-effect of THC.  A paranoid person certainly could strike out violently.  CBD, on the other hand, has been found to decrease paranoia in many marijuana smokers.

There is research that has found an association between marijuana use and psychotic symptoms. If you have been diagnosed with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder you may want to avoid marijuana. Hemp seems to be very different.  The hemp form of cannabis contains mostly CBD and CBD may actually treat psychosis.  A 2018 full review article is pretty dense but interesting.

Industrial hemp is legal in all 50 states of the U.S. and many other countries. Some former marijuana smokers are reporting that they now enjoy smoking or vaping hemp flower instead.  No paranoia, no intoxication – just relaxation and pain relief. Maybe you should make the switch?

[Edit 1/10] The Seattle Times reported that cannabis researchers are taking issue with the WSJ article and a similar one in the New Yorker.

Of course nobody should go off any medication because they think
that CBD would work better.  This is early research.


Why are so many Seniors Smoking Cannabis?

The demographics of cannabis use are changing, according to a recent article in The Guardian:

“As attitudes towards cannabis shift, the fastest-growing group of users is over 50 – and marijuana’s popularity among seniors is beginning to change the American experience of old age.

Why are more seniors getting high? It might make more sense to ask: “Why not?” As adults reach retirement, they age out of drug tests and have far more time on their hands. Some feel liberated to abandon long-held proprieties.”

Read the full sory at the Guardian

Behind the Scenes Developing CBD-rich Hemp

Seth and Eric Crawford formed Oregon CBD Seeds to develop CBD-rich varieties of hemp. They bred their signature male “Early Resin Berry” (ERB) with a number of varieties of high CBD cannabis to get varieties such as Special Sauce, Lifter, Hawaiian Haze, Elektra, Suver Haze, and Sour Space Candy.  Seth explains the process and gives us hints of what’s to come:

How to take: Vape, Don’t Smoke

We know that smoking is bad for your lungs.  It turns out that smoking marijuana does not seem to cause lung cancer the way that smoking tobacco does.  Is this because marijuana smoke has fewer carcinogens than tobacco or maybe because it also contains some cancer-fighting chemicals?

A desktop vaporizer

CBD hemp flower is too new for studies of the effects from smoking it – but we do know that vaping it is healthier than smoking it.  Most newcomers to vaping CBD hemp don’t know where to start. Here are some ideas.

Dry herb vaporizers started out as desktop devices (think desktop computer).  They plugged into the wall and you used them at your desk.  These units are still around and have been updated with digital features. They cost several hundred dollars.  The vapor can be captured into a balloon-like bag and inhaled from the bag or shared around the room.

Portable vaporizers arrived soon after.  The best models are still well over $100 but they have the advantage of portability.   The dry herb vaporizer that I bought at a local vape shop was around $60 and I was not pleased with the build quality or the battery life.  I did some research and picked up an Arizer Solo online.  There is a newer version (the Solo II) that has digital temperature control.  I didn’t think I needed that, and this model was cheaper.  It’s a bit bulky for a portable, but battery life is good.  You inhale through a glass straw after filling the bottom part of the straw with the flower.  There are 4 small holes for the air to come through or you can add a screen.

Arizer Solo

The manual for the Solo list the following temperatures:

  • Level 1 – 50°C / 122°F
  • Level 2 – 185°C / 365°F
  • Level 3 – 190°C / 374°F
  • Level 4 – 195°C / 383°F
  • Level 5 – 200°C / 393°F
  • Level 6 – 205°C / 401°F
  • Level 7 – 210°C / 410°F

There are lots of models out there.  Two sites that compare different recommended models are Vape-nation and  PersonalWeedVaporizers. These are not “fake review” sites that are really just selling you stuff through affiliate links.  These reviewers have taken their time.  Like lot of sites the emphasis is on the Marijuana side of cannabis, but almost everything also applies to the Hemp side of cannabis.

Temperature chart from Vape-Nation

I’m new at this.  I’ve settled on starting at level 2 and slowly progressing to level 5 over the course of the vape session.  I may miss out on CBC, but I found the vapor getting harsh by the time I hit level 6.  The Solo turns itself off after 10 minutes. Sometimes that is just right and sometimes a bit short – so I just turn it back on if I need to.  I stop when the amount of vapor decreases or it starts to feel harsh.

Vaping CBD hemp flower will not get you high like marijuana bud.  It does deliver a faster and somehow deeper body high than other ways of ingesting CBD.  Pain relief is quick. I sometimes even get a mild feeling of “munchies.”  I am clear-headed throughout the experience with no impairment or paranoia.

There are other good vaporizers out there.  There is a community of people willing to help at r/vaporents at Reddit.  They have a wiki that may also answer your questions and a vape consensus that may help you decide which vaporizer to buy.

If you smoked pot in college the learning curve won’t be steep.  If you are new to smoking or vaping dry herbs it may take a while to get the hang.  Inhale for part of a breath and then inhale room air for the last part.  Don’t hold your breath for more than 3 seconds.  You get most of the good stuff in the first 3 seconds and holding your breath may irritate your lungs.  You will likely get dry mouth/throat so have a beverage to sip on.

Vaping dry herb flower can be one of the most economical ways to get CBD into your system.  Dosing is tricky, and it doesn’t feel like you are taking medicine.  The room will smell a bit like marijuana smoke, but the smell doesn’t linger as long in the air or on your clothes.

Other ways to vape include using liquid-filled CBD cartridges or CBD concentrate and a vape pen or e-cigarette.

Farm Bill Confusion

Hemp farmers and hemp smokers cheered when president Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill in December 2018. Industrial hemp is now legal in all 50 states, and interstate commerce in hemp is also legal. The new law also appeared to legalize derivatives of hemp including CBD. The DEA could no longer treat CBD as an illegal drug like THC.

At some point people read the fine print. Industrial hemp remained defined in the following manner:

The term `hemp’ means the plant Cannabis sativa L. 
 and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all 
 derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and 
 salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 
 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on 
 a dry weight basis.

This means that hemp-derived products, such as CBD oil, still had to contain less than 0.3% delta 9 THC. All such products on the U.S. market already contain such low amounts.

States and Indian Tribes are allowed to manage hemp growing in their states. Section 297 of the new law outlines the guidelines for these state programs. The section that concerned some hemp flower enthusiasts on Reddit is below:

 [must develop]a procedure for testing, using post- decarboxylation or other similarly reliable methods, delta- 9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration levels of hemp produced in the State or territory of the Indian tribe.

Essentially the states and tribes are required to have a “reliable method” to assure that the industrial hemp being grown is really legal hemp, not illegal marijuana. They list “post-decarboxylation” as one example of a reliable method. Presumably it is not the only reliable method.

Currently available industrial hemp flowers sometimes contain both very low levels of delta 9 THC and very low levels of THCA. When hemp flower is smoked or vaped some of the THCA is converted to THC. If all hemp plants were tested post-decarboxylation the effective THC levels might be higher than the legal limit. Some of today’s legal hemp might not pass the new test.

The new law does not actually require post-decarb testing. It says nothing about THCA. It’s too soon to know exactly how the .3% figure will be applied this time next year.

U.S. Hemp is currently grown in demonstration programs authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. These programs are expected to continue and states will be able to expand them this year. Hemp is being grown for seed, for fiber, and for CBD. The strains of cannabis (hemp) grown for these different purposes are quite different from each other. As states continue to develop these programs we should see more hemp on the market in 2019.  We just don’t know exactly how potent it will be.