FAQQ: If CBD is non-psychoactive, does that mean it is legal?
A: Technically, CBD is forbidden in any form (pure or from a plant) in the USA, despite its total lack of addictive potential or any rational danger. Cannabidiol and all other plant cannabinoids are Schedule I drugs in the USA. The code number for cannabidiol in Schedule I is 7372. CBD is not psychoactive, but it is illegal in the eyes of the federal government. You may find it listed here: under Schedule I where it says tetrahydrocannabinols. The part saying “and others” includes all phytocannabinoids, even CBD. However there are exceptions. American scientists with a DEA license in some cases are permitted to experiment with pure synthetic CBD. Envelope-pushing medical marijuana entrepreneurs claim that it is legal to import CBD-rich oil extracted from industrial hemp grown in other countries, as long as the THC content of this oil is less than .3 percent (in accordance with federal rules regarding industrial hemp products). But this is a rather grey area of the law. Thus far, U.S. authorities have not moved against a handful of companies that purport to import “CBD hemp oil” with trace levels of THC. The situation is different in many other countries, where CBD is not controlled at all.
Q: What do you mean when you say a cannabis strain or product is “CBD-rich” or CBD dominant?
A: By “CBD-rich,” we mean a cannabis strain or product that has equal amounts of CBD and THC, or more CBD than THC (usually at least 4 percent CBD by dry weight.). By “CBD-dominant,” we mean strains or products that are CBD-rich but have very little THC content.
Q: Can you tell me where to find CBD-rich herb, ingestibles and/or topicals?
A: Depending on where you live, we may be able to suggest dispensaries in your area that carry CBD-rich medicine. The Project CBD website includes a partial list of dispensaries and other sources that are committed to providing CBD-rich medicine.
Q: What should I look for if I find CBD-rich products at a dispensary?
A: A lab-verified amount of CBD and THC should be indicated on the label of any product purporting to be CBD-rich. Look for a listing of the major cannabinoids and what their values are in terms of milligrams per gram or milligrams per milliliter.
Q: I am looking for CBD-rich strains. Do you sell clones, seeds, or mother plants?
A: We do not. Project CBD is an educational news service. We review and certify CBD-rich products, but we don’t sell them. Some seed companies, clone-providers, product-makers, and dispensaries affiliated with Project CBD will be listed on ProjectCBD.org.
Q: I heard about or have a CBD-rich strain. Do you want more information?
A: Yes! Please report strains of interest to Project CBD. Email us here.
Q: Is growing CBD-rich cannabis any different from growing THC-dominant cannabis?
A: The same growing techniques apply to CBD-rich cannabis and high-THC cannabis. If the CBD-rich plant is a Sativa, it will likely have a longer flowering time than an Indica-dominant plant – much like growing high-THC strains. Harvesting earlier or later can impact the cannabinoid levels as well as the terpenoid profile of the plant.
Q: Can a grower increase CBD content by manipulating environmental factors?
A: Contrary to some rumors, a plant cannot be made CBD-rich if it lacks the right genetic make-up. The ratio of THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids is genetically determined, according to a study by biochemist Etienne de Meijer, “Inheritance of the Cannabinoid Phenotype.” A grower can, however, influence overall cannabinoid content by manipulating environmental factors – temperature, light, water acidity, and nutrients – that affect plant health. But no matter how one treats the plant, the CBD:THC ratio will stay the same.
Q: I have heard that CBD is the dominant cannabinoid in hemp plants. Can I just smoke or ingest hemp or ditchweed to get the healing effects of CBD?
A: It is true that hemp fiber or seed strains will be relatively high in CBD (compared to THC), but the overall cannabinoid content of industrial hemp will probably be low. Industrial Hemp is genetically bred to produce fiber for various products or seed for oil and nutritional supplements. Industrial hemp is generally not bred for resin production. CBD-rich yields from hemp are likely to be low without selective breeding for CBD content.
Q: How do I make CBD-rich brownies or other CBD-infused edibles?
A: By the same methods one would use to make any kind of cannabis-infused edible. To make a CBD-rich brownie or another CBD-rich edible, one must first extract a CBD-rich strain into oil (olive, coconut, etc.), butter or ghee (clarified butter). These infused oils or butters are the most common ways to cook with cannabis. One will need to combine the CBD-rich plant material (usually the leafy trim) with the oil or butter and expose to low heat over a long period of time – this will help to avoid breakdown and/or vaporization of the CBD and other cannabinoids. After straining out the plant material, one can substitute CBD-rich cannabutter or canna-oil into your favorite recipes. There are many extraction recipes and tutorials available on-line, including, for example: http://www.thecannabischef.com/content/how-make-cannabutter/
Q: How can I participate in the research effort of Project CBD?
A: Take the survey developed by the Society of Cannabis Clinicians and report the effects of whichever CBD-rich herb or products you are medicating with. The more individual responses, the more confident we can be in the aggregated answers. Please share any comments, findings, or observations by submitting items to our CBDiary.
Q: Why are you trying to do more research on CBD when there are so many journal articles reporting its benefits? Don’t we already know that CBD will be effective against a variety of illnesses?
A: Although cannabidiol has been studied since its molecular structure was elucidated in the mid-1960s and there have been numerous CBD lab studies (using mice as test subjects), only a few clinical studies (using people as test subjects in a controlled setting) have been conducted. While these studies strongly suggest that CBD will benefit people, more real-life investigation is called for. We trust ourselves and the doctors we’re working with to do an honest job. We don’t pretend we’re not biased – we’re hoping that CBD-rich cannabis proves helpful to people in various ways. We trust ourselves, nevertheless, to report the facts as we learn them – period.
Q: Who formed Project CBD?
A: Project CBD was launched in 2010 by two journalists, Fred Gardner and Martin A. Lee. Lee is the director of Project CBD and the author of several books, including, most recently, Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana – Medical, Recreational and Scientific (Scribner 2012). Lee is also the author of Acid Dreams and a cofounder of the media watch group FAIR. Project CBD cofounder Fred Gardner was on the editorial board of Scientific American in the 1960s. He has been managing editor of Synapse, the UC San Francisco weekly, and public information officer for the District Attorney of San Francisco. Since 2003 he has edited O’Shaughnessy’s, the journal of cannabis in clinical practice.
Q: I am from a state where medical marijuana is not yet legal. How can I obtain CBD-rich remedies?
A: To access CBD-rich medicine, one may need to visit – or coordinate with a friend or relative in – Colorado or Washington, where cannabis is legal and available for personal use for those 21 years or older. How one elects to travel with or transport their medication, which is prohibited by federal law, is their own responsibility. High quality CBD-rich products are also available in California. In order to be in receipt of any California cannabis product one must be in possession of a valid medical cannabis recommendation letter from a California physician. Some patients and/or caregivers come to California and establish a temporary California residence to obtain a California ID. With this ID, they can see a California medical cannabis expert, get a letter of recommendation, and then obtain CBD-rich medicine. A number of patients and their families have relocated to cannabis-friendly states in order to access CBD-rich medicine on a consistent basis.
Q: I reside outside the United States. How can I obtain CBD-rich remedies?
A: If you live in one of the 22 countries that have approved GW’s Sativex, a fifty/fifty CBD/THC whole plant under-the-tongue spray, you may qualify for a prescription. The Dutch Healthy Ministry distributes a CBD-rich cannabis strain to people enrolled in the Netherland’s official medical marijuana program. The official Israeli medical marijuana program also works with CBD-rich strains. Those who live outside the USA can also visit – or coordinate with a friend or relative in – Colorado or Washington, where cannabis is legal and available for personal use for those 21 years or older. How one elects to travel with or transport their medication, which is prohibited by federal law, is their own responsibility. High quality CBD-rich products are also available in California. In order to be in receipt of any California cannabis product one must be in possession of a valid medical cannabis recommendation letter from a California physician. Some patients and/or caregivers come to California and establish a temporary California residence to obtain a California ID. With this ID, they can see a California medical cannabis expert, get a letter of recommendation, and then obtain CBD-rich medicine. A number of patients and their families have relocated to cannabis-friendly states in order to access CBD-rich medicine on a consistent basis.
Q: How do I know what dose of CBD I should take?
A: Consult with your physician. ProjectCBD.org publishes patient feedback and dosing data compiled by doctors who specialize in CBD-rich treatment regimens. GreenBridge Medical Services has developed a cannabinoid dosage guide for patients medicating with CBD-rich extracts.
Q: How is CBD metabolized when consumed orally? Is it converted to another compound?
A: CBD is metabolized into an analogous compound, 7-hydroxy-CBD. There may also be some 6-OH-CBD. But scientists know relatively little about the activity (or lack thereof) of these compounds. In 2011, Japanese scientists addressed this question in the journal, Life Sciences.
Q: Will I flunk a drug test if I medicate with CBD-rich cannabis?
A: Drug tests are geared toward identifying THC, not CBD or another cannabinoid. If one medicates with CBD-rich cannabis that has only a small amount of THC, the THC may register on a drug test. A drug test geared toward CBD would not be an effective law enforcement tool, given that CBD is not psychoactive and does not cause impairment.
Q: Is a CBD-dominant cannabis strain with very little THC better medicine than a cannabis strain with a fifty-fifty CBD-THC mix?
A: A CBD-dominant strain or product is not necessarily a superior treatment option compared to a balanced CBD-rich remedy with an equal amount of CBD and THC. A CBD-dominant extract or strain might be optimal for treating anxiety and seizure disorders, whereas most pain syndromes and neurodegenerative disorders may benefit from a substantial amount of THC. CBD and THC act synergistically to potentiate their respective therapeutic attributes. Different ratios of CBD and THC are more suitable for different conditions and different individuals
Q: Can I get CBD from juicing raw cannabis?
A: By juicing or otherwise ingesting raw, unheated cannabis, one consumes THC and the other cannabinoids in their acid form. A CBD-rich strain contains CBD-acid, which, when heated, becomes CBD. Unheated CBD-acid and unheated THC-acid both have medicinal attributes, but there has been comparatively little scientific research into cannabinoid acids.
Q: What is the best way to produce CBD-rich cannabis oil?
The cannabis oil that is typically available in dispensaries is THC-dominant with virtually no cannabidiol. To extract CBD-rich cannabis oil, one must start with CBD-rich plant material. There many ways to extract oil from the cannabis plant, each has its pros and cons. Some methods are safer and more effective than others. Cannabis oils made with neurotoxic solvents like butane and hexane may leave unsafe residues that interfere with immune function and impede healing. Super-critical CO2 extraction, while non-toxic, requires access to expensive equipment and expertise. Home-brewers can also use safer solvents, such as ethanol, or prevent exposure to organic solvents entirely by using olive oil to extract cannabis oil, according to Dr. Arno Hazekamp director of phytochemical research at Bedrocan BV, which supplies cannabis, including a CBD-rich strain, for the Dutch Health Ministry’s medical marijuana program. Hazekamp coauthored this report on cannabis oil extraction methods.