CBD as a new global resource. Editor: Serge Carracas. 1st September 2020
A new wave of acceptable use
CBD has been in the news media for around a decade now as an acceptable and viable option for a variety of uses. Depending on which publications you read or media you watch, there are mixed reactions to its apparent rise to stardom and popularity as a new market. Those who know their ‘pot’ history will judge any associations with cannabis as fraught with grief, propaganda and a concerted effort to demonise usage.
The story gets more complicated. Negative aspects that have been associated with cannabis, such as lab created strains of skunk with astronomical street values (and associated crime), arguably high levels of THC and observable strong psychoactive effects have served to further muddy the waters when evaluating the worth of CBD and cannabis related products. CBD is cannabidiol, though it is produced legally with all but a tiny amount of its more dangerous psychoactive component THC or tetra-hydra-cannabinol removed.
The jury is still not out on wether the complete removal of THC would render CBD all but useless in many applications, although the practice of removing THC, except for what can legally be acceptable by each country and state within which it is sold, has opened the floodgates to an industry that was estimated to be worth 3.088BN USD globally in 2018, and is estimated to grow to 2.207 trillion by 2026.
At the time of writing, Canada is legalising its sale and use, as have many states in the US. As we know, some parts of a more federal europe such as Portugal and Amsterdam have decriminalised usage and possession to a degree, which it is argued, de-incentivises criminals and makes them easier to track and apprehend.
Infusions, food and topical use
A wide range of derivative products like coffee, tea and beer infusions, gum drops/sweets, massage ointments and topical creams form a larger market that creates even more access to percieved and/or actual benefits of CBD, which, for the purposes of this article I won’t make any specific claims, but will instead shed some light on developments and research.
These products do help codify the legitamacy and safety of CBD on shelves and at online stores but they appear to have very reduced concentrations of the compound. Coffee can average as low as 1mg per 10g serving which, it could be argued equates to around 0.10% CBD content, an almost imperceivable dose. It’s not surprising that the novelty value of this new product is perhaps what is driving the propensity of products on the market now.
Tinctures are classed as Full-Spectrum, Broad-Spectrum and Isolate, in oil. Which, in that order are, extraction from the full plant with many more compounds such as terpenes and flavinoids included, a more stripped down form of CBD with some compounds and other matter removed, and lastly the fully isolated CBD compound or CBD Isolate. As I said earlier, scientists and physicians still do not agree that by fully isolating CBD you can access its true benefits.
Of course, it is against the law to make unaproved or misleading health claims about CBD in the UK. I can’t comment on the situation in the readers country. The MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency approved the CBD for medicinal use in 2016. More recently, the FSA (Food Standards Agency) guidance, which is about to be more heavily enforced in the UK and will mirror equivalent legislation in the EU, will take products off the shelves if vendors have not registered and applied for the relevent (and potentially costly) licences by March 2021. This has come as a shock to many small and growing businesses. Producers, consumers and research groups should watch this legislation carefully and lobby their respective governments so that it doesn’t impact the whole european and global industry negatively.
More and more ground-breaking research is informing public debate and international policy regarding the production, sale and use of CBD. We see its use in treatment of multiple-sclerosis and epilepsy as well as more commonplace conditions such as anxiety and sleep loss. An NHS Primary Care Trust in Manchester UK is working with British CBD suppliers. New research into psychiatry and the endocannabinoid system also looks very promising. CBD is part of the quest to solve some of the greatest endemic problems of our time. This is just the tip of the iceberg and to really touch on the issue of medical research I would need to write several more posts. So I invite you to do your own research from as wide a range of sources as you can.