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CBD Is Here to Stay, Time to Get Familiar

If you live in the South, you’ll more than likely see a church of some denomination on just about every street corner.

Bridget B. Sullivan

Now, you’re seeing storefront lawn signs, banners, clear cling window stickers, and neon-lit signage promoting CBD products on some of the very same corners.

National news publications have cover stories about the CBD market, estimating that it will pull in anywhere from 15 to 25 billion dollars in revenue by 2025. Time, Forbes, National Geographic, AARP The Magazine, and others have featured articles on the business of CBD and/or cannabis. Locally, Queen City Nerve has covered dispensary openings, conferences and nightlife stories focused on the industry.

[Editor’s Note: We’ve also got a new column focused on the legalization of marijuana coming out next week to go hand-in-hand with this one, but back to Bridget.]

Since these three letters are everywhere these days, here’s some science information I’ve come across in my cannabis education journey.

There’s a vital communication system in our bodies called the endocannabinoid system (ECS) that regulates your day to day life. It’s named that way because studying how cannabis affects the body led to the discovery of this once unknown system. The amount of resin, cannabinoids or molecules that work in concert with your ECS is what draws the biggest difference between hemp-derived and marijuana-derived CBD, along with the terpenes that provide the aroma and flavors.

CBD tincture (Photo courtesy of Charlotte CBD)

CBD stands for cannabidiol, not to be confused with cannabinol (CBN) or cannabinodiol (CBND). CBD’s molecular formula contains 21 atoms of carbon, 30 atoms of hydrogen and two atoms of oxygen. Get this, tetrahydrocannabinol (known as THC) has the same molecular structure. The arrangement of the atoms is what sets these two apart when it comes to the type of effect either will have on your body, and that’s where a lot of the confusion comes in.

CBD (non-psychoactive) and THC (psychoactive) are natural compounds found in the Cannabaceae family, flowering plants that contain two groups of organisms: Humulus and Cannabis. Humulus lupulus (hop) to be specific, is often used to flavor beer. Cannabis (sativa) or better yet hemp, is grown for its fiber, often used to produce food like hemp seeds, strong rope used for climbing, housing materials like insulation and CBD products including smokable hemp.

Hemp-derived CBD contains a lower percentage of THC. By law in North Carolina, the THC levels must be less than 0.3% to be sold in stores, whereas marijuana-derived CBD contains more than 0.3% THC, legal in certain states for medical and/or recreational purposes.

Still with me?

In North Carolina, hemp-derived CBD is available to purchase throughout the state, and if you’re deciding to use smokable products, they should always come with a certificate of analysis (COA) as proof that it has been tested and qualifies as a legal product — it’s also a must have to avoid legal headaches.

As it relates to non-smokable products, the COA is more than likely taken care of on the label or packaging. If what you’re buying on these various street corners doesn’t have a label with ingredients, recommended amounts to take, or a COA, you might want to reconsider.

Smokable flower (Photo courtesy of Charlotte CBD)

If you have a child or one you look after who has been diagnosed with a specific form of epilepsy, you can fill out an Intractable Epilepsy Caregiver Registry Application and send it to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. Upon approval you can purchase marijuana-derived CBD oil to help treat the child’s condition. Something to keep in mind.

Hemp-infused CBD is harmless, though there’s been pushback against the sale of smokable hemp products from police departments, state law enforcement agencies and district attorneys, as reported here by our news partners at North Carolina Health News.

You best believe the number of CBD signs, along with smoke shops and dispensaries, will only increase as we get further into 2020, so get used to it. I’ll be here each month to walk you through some of the ABCs of CBD. This is the journey I’ve been taking, so I’d be happy for you to come along with me. I’ll tell you about some of those smoke shops, dispensaries, upcoming conferences, workshops, and gatherings with folks more knowledgeable than me. Stay tuned.

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