CBD continues to be a gamechanger. The applications of this cannabinoid, which can be made from either cannabis or hemp, keep growing—as does its popularity. Let’s take a look at what’s been going on with CBD lately.
I never thought I’d be typing the words “Mitch McConnell did the right thing,” but here we are. The senate majority leader from Kentucky announced that when he returns to the Senate this month, he plans to introduce the 2018 Hemp Farming Act, which will remove hemp from the list of controlled substances, and legalize it as an agricultural commodity. (This is actually the second time McConnell has done right by hemp; in 2014 he supported a pilot hemp farming program in a farm bill.)
At a press conference with Kentucky’s agriculture commissioner, Ryan Quarles, McConnell stated, “We all are so optimistic that industrial hemp can become sometime in the future what tobacco was in Kentucky’s past.” (Well, except for the slavery that was used to harvest that tobacco for decades, and the untold cases of cancer, heart and lung disease, and all the other fun health issues which tobacco has going for it.)
McConnell’s bill, which has bipartisan support, “will also give hemp researchers the chance to apply for competitive federal grants from the US Department of Agriculture—allowing them to continue their impressive work with the support of federal research dollars.” Federal support of hemp production and research is great and all, but don’t think for a second that any of that support will go toward anything smokeable, as McConnell says his bill will help in “recognizing in federal statute the difference between hemp and its illicit cousin.”
First, anyone from Kentucky should avoid using the term “illicit cousin.” And while it was never addressed in so many words, I’m confident in stating that this enthusiasm for seeing Kentucky become Hemptown, USA, has far less to do with the literal thousands of petrochemical industrial and personal care items that hemp can replace, and more to do with the liquid gold that CBD oil has become. The Hemp Business Journal has calculated that the market for CBD will hit $2.1 billion in sales of consumer products by 2020, a 700 percent increase from 2016, and $450 million of that will be CBD sourced from hemp.
With CBD now legal in 43 states, we’ve reached a point where Brooklyn coffee drinkers can now get a CBD-infused latte at Bushwick’s Caffeine Underground. Just make sure you don’t get it in a to-go cup on your way to Tennessee, as February 2018 saw the execution of “Operation Candy Crush,” a joint task force of law enforcement from local, state, and federal agencies that raided 23 retailers in Nashville’s neighboring Rutherford County and made 21 indictments. The charge was selling CBD-infused edibles, something that became legal in Tennessee in 2017 as long as the products contain no more than .03 percent THC. This action was taken after Rutherford’s sheriff received a call from a concerned parent who said that their child had come into possession of some CBD candies. The stores were shut down and the cash seized, but the next day a judge ruled that the cash be returned, and the stores were allowed to open and resume selling a completely legal product.
Tennessee sheriffs—and parents—should probably educate themselves on what CBD actually does, particularly in light of a new pre-clinical study by the Scripps Research Institute as reported by Science Daily. In it, researchers applied a CBD gel once a day to rats that demonstrated addiction-like behavior to cocaine and alcohol and had the ability to self-administer these substances. The rats were put in stressful situations to see if the rats would relapse. According to the study, “researchers reported that CBD effectively reduced relapse provoked by stress and drug cues; CBD also reduced anxiety and impulsivity in the drug-experienced rats.”
And although the CBD was completely absent from the brains and plasma of the rats 72 hours after application, researchers found that five months later, these same rats “still showed a reduced relapse induced by stress or drug cues.” Although the study was confined to alcohol and cocaine, it stands to reason that CBD could show promise as a tool in treating those with opioid addiction as well.