“It’s a man’s world.” Thanks for the reminder, James Brown.  Cannabis, although a plant, sings a similar song.  The genetic absence of the psychoactive chemical property Delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, in substantial concentration affords the male “hemp” plants unique regulation.  Categorically more permissive regulation than its, at times uber-concentrated THC blooming sister: “marijuana.”  While arguably disparate and unjust, society reaps the benefits of hemp’s special status with cultivation and extraction throughout the ages.

Hemp’s Not-So-Secret History

Ancient China made great use of cannabis.

Introduced to the Americas in 1600s by the colonists, hemp fiber and extracting globally dates back thousands of years.  The Ancient Mesopotamians in as far back as 8,000 B.C. had a variety of uses of the plants. As did Ancient China, Egypt, Greece, Rome and the like.  The plant’s seemingly unbound virility and ability to grow happily, basically anywhere make it a hearty crop.   With an ability to exist everywhere, the name “weed” takes on new meaning. Herein, the nickname becomes it. The female, flowering plants, often dripping with THC trichomes, considered holy to some, becomes prohibited to most others.  The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 and later the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 places industrial hemp and a myriad of its byproducts in a legally retail-able niche, albeit a gray space. This, undoubtedly, stands due in part to the spectrum of beneficial uses the CBD molecule.

Ancient Roman documents depict cannabis plants and instructions for use.

CBD vs. THC

Cannabidiol, referred to my most as CBD is a completely unique chemical compound for the popular, and well know Tetrahydrocannabinol.  This is not to discount THC’s wide variety of uses beyond making your brain happy. It too, possesses an array of quantitatively healing properties.  However, CBDs (and CBC, CBN, CBGs for that matter) literally work wonders with no psychoactive experience.

Although similar in structure, the effect of the CB vs TH compounds is striking.

Research shows CBD agitating the Vanilloid TRPV1 receptor, thus reducing inflammation.  5HT1-A receptor is activated for anxiety relief.   The CBD molecule, through release of the FAAH enzyme, remains relatively uninteractive human brain’s CB1 receptor. Important, as this is the receptor responsible for inducing psychotropic effects. THC, however, is heavy interacting with the CB1 and CB2 receptor, thus delivering the “high” everyone knows.  CBDs provide relief without cognitive interruptions.

Why should we care?

We should care as if our life depends on it, because it some day may!  The healthful benefits CBD produces are so vast and effective, even the FDA acknowledges CBD now.  Although they have yet to issue any seal of approval, the clinical trials are underway nationwide. Present day studies have yielded agreeable findings in symptom relief and even disease regression in: MS, diabetes, AIDS wasting, PTSD even Mad Cow Disease. The CBD compounds have been shown to reduce the spread of cancerous cells.  It all but eliminates seizures in epileptics of all ages.  Inflammation based disease suffers, most common being RA and Crohn’s, now see remission thanks to the natural anti-inflammatory properties of the molecule. CBD has even been seen to aid in weight loss.  Usually when something touts these properties “it’s too good to be true,” hargin it to herrecy, label it as evil.

Alarmist, anti-marijuana propaganda from the Reefer Madness era.

Where can we get it?!

An industrial hemp farmer examines his crops.

Since hemp falls under separate Federal guidelines, technically, it is available nationwide. CBD oil was available at Target online briefly.  In 50 states plus DC, CBD products are available for purchase in 46 of them.  15 are states have solely CBD permissible consumption.  For the sad minority whose states’ have outlawed CBD products altogether, there is a light.  The blue light that glows from any computer, tablet, or cellphone screen.  Online retailers specializing in CBD and hemp products are cropping up. Plus, since it’s Federally legal, you CAN use your credit card to complete the purchase.  As the CBD industry CBD alone is grossing around quarter billion in annual sales now, it appears there is no shortage of consumers checking out with carts full already.