Ministry of Hemp

Ministry of Hemp

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Cannabis Testing Labs: The Problem With Hemp & Cannabis Lab Testing

Hemp and cannabis brands depend on cannabis testing labs to verify the purity and quality of their products. The inconsistency of cannabis testing labs is indicative of a much bigger problem, which is the lack of checks and balances in the cannabis industry.

The inconsistency of cannabis testing labs is indicative of a much bigger problem, which is the lack of checks and balances in the cannabis industry.

One of the largest problems in the cannabis industry is the inconsistency of quality control.

Buying a cannabis product, from CBD oil to psychoactive cannabis, can be quite scary for a consumer. Due to the lack of standardized product testing, you don’t fully know if the producer’s claims are truthful, if the correct dosage is listed, or exactly what’s is in the product.

The government maintains strict controls over the quality of our food, and supplements and medicines we buy over-the-counter and get from pharmacists. Right now, the cannabis industry doesn’t have that. Instead consumers are forced to trust the word of companies which can obviously leads to issues.

There's growing demand on cannabis & hemp product testing labs, but also renewed attention on their inconsistencies too. Photo: A gloved scientist with a vial of CBD and a hemp leaf.

There’s growing demand on cannabis & hemp product testing labs, but also renewed attention on their inconsistencies too.

This problem isn’t simply due to the companies that produce the products, but also to the cannabis testing labs themselves. There’s no doubt that testing is important, but without better standards can we rely on those test results?

THE FLAWS IN LAB TESTING CANNABIS PRODUCTS

As revealed by Forbes, not all cannabis testing labs are created equal.

There’s no minimum requirements for things such as equipment, certifications, and merit for lab testers. As a result, cannabis testing labs can vary dramatically from each other.

The biggest problem though, is the lack of a standardized method for testing the various cannabis products. This can mean that the testing procedures for quality and potency of a hemp plant varies dramatically from hemp oil, distillates, to edibles and beyond. The problems multiply since different labs all have different testing methods, claiming that their methods are more effective than others and can give superior results.

The problem is that this creates inconsistencies in the results, since not all labs are using the same method for testing. This obviously can’t continue to happen. Without standardized testing methods for each cannabis product, the results will continue to be inconsistent which defeats the purpose for testing the product in the first place.

DISHONESTY IN LAB TESTING HEMP?

When a company markets a certain product, they want certification for their product, so their consumers can trust the quality of their product. To get these certifications, the companies have to send a batch of product to a testing facility to test for things such as potency, effectiveness, etc.

Problem arise when those results vary from lab to lab, leading to confusion about the quality of the product. This may even be due to the “friendliness” of certain labs over others, freely manipulating the results to meet the expectations of the producers. Manufacturers aren’t the only ones who test their products. Growers test their cannabis for quality too. With their reputations on the line, they want the best test results possible, so it proves the quality of their cannabis or hemp and hopefully leads to more companies wanting them as a supplier.

But again, with the lack of oversight, growers can substitute the product sent to the labs with a more expensive and higher-quality product, thus producing false results for their crops. Of course, this imply doesn’t that all cannabis testing labs and growers do this, but with the lack of standardized guidelines and someone to enforce those guidelines, it’s something that can happen without any real repercussions.

A FLAWED BUSINESS MODEL?

On top of all of this, the business model for the labs themselves are flawed. The costs for lab equipment, buildings, electricity, accreditation, and salaries for lab testers are all very expensive. On the contrary, the going rate for a test on a single batch is typically under $200. Meaning in order for these testing facilities to make a profit and succeed as a business, they have to operate in a high-volume capacity.

While cannabis companies grow at a stunning pace, demand for the labs which test these products grows too. These cannabis testing labs are much different from their government-ran cousins, which have access to more capital, a better talent pool, more experience, and the power of the federal government behind them.

From the expensive startup costs, ferocious competition, increasing pressure from growers & manufacturers and no one to keep them in check, why wouldn’t a laboratory fix their reports for better results? Again, we’re not claiming any or even most labs do this, but there’s little oversight on their results.

SUPPLY CHAIN: THE BIGGER PROBLEM IN HEMP & CANNABIS

This issue goes beyond the testing companies, as the lack of regulation affects the entire supply-chain of the cannabis and hemp industries.

In other words, if no one is keeping the cannabis testing labs in check, then there is certainly no one keeping the growers, transporters, dispensaries, or producers in check. All of this leads to a lower quality product, and one that consumers can’t trust. If this continues to be the case, a distrust can develop between company and consumer. The cannabis industry has grown both in popularity and revenue in the past decade, and a loose-knit system that depends on hand-shake deals and trust is quite simply just not enough for long-term growth.

Fortunately, industry leaders are trying to improve the cannabis supply-chain.

IMPROVING THE QUALITY OF HEMP & CANNABIS

So how do we solve this problem and all the other problems present in the cannabis and industries? How do we make sure that the companies we purchase from are actually telling the truth, and that there aren’t any unwanted substances in the product?

Increased federal oversight could help improve the quality of cannabis testing labs, and cannabis and hemp products in general. Photo: A scientist in gloves and a white lab coat examines a test tube of green liquid, with a microscope nearby.

Increased federal oversight could help improve the quality of cannabis testing labs, and cannabis and hemp products in general.

We do this by getting support from the federal government. The federal government is the only entity that can effectively enforce regulations upon the cannabis industry that will keep the different sectors in check. Not only do they have the power of enforcement, but they are the only ones to have the resources capable of quality-checking every part of the cannabis supply-chain.

To add to that, the federal government also has the power to enhance other parts of the industry. In addition to quality control, they can regulate things such as financing, shipping, and further research into cannabis. In fact, federal regulatory support is the single greatest challenge to the entire industry. The support for cannabis is already here, with a large portion of congressman and senators publicly backing the plant. Now we need those people in power to start implementing systems that help build up the industry.

There are signs that this is happening, especially thanks to the recent legalization of industrial hemp in the 2018 Farm Bill. But there’s still a long way to go.

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Hemp In India: Exploring The Growing Hemp Industry In India

Mansi Shah of Hemp Fabric Lab tells us about sustainable fashion and hemp in India. Although hemp was legalized in 1985, the industry is still growing.

Recently, we got in touch with Mansi Shah of Hemp Fabric Lab, to learn more about hemp in India.

Hemp Fabric Lab makes innovative textiles that are either 100 percent hemp or blend hemp with fabrics like organic cotton, Tencel, silk, and wool.

As hemp activists, we’re always striving to make things better where we are. Often keeping our focal points on concerns of our country and what we can do within our local communities. Similar efforts are being made across the globe.

A collection of hemp fabric in a variety of colors and textures from Hemp Fabric Lab.

A collection of hemp fabric in a variety of colors and textures from Hemp Fabric Lab. (Photo: Hemp Fabric Lab)

Considering hemp grows naturally in India, it comes as no surprise this resource has been used for generations. But what about the modern hemp industry?

HEMP IN INDIA: A GROWING INDUSTRY

Numerous designers have already incorporated Hemp Fabric Lab into their work. Photo: A female model poses in front of a subway car in India, wearing flowing hemp fabrics.

Numerous designers have already incorporated Hemp Fabric Lab into their work. Image courtesy Mies Studio by Seerat Virdi, created for India’s first Circular Design Challenge organized by Lakmé Fashion Week, Reliance and UN Environment.

“The modern hemp industry in India is at a highly nascent stage,” Shah explained, “even though, paradoxically, the use of hemp fibre and seed for a range of applications — rope, fuel, food — has been commonly acknowledged for several centuries in India’s rural communities.”

A growing number of agriculture training programs and practices are spreading across farming communities to spread knowledge of hemp. Similar to the guidelines set by the Farm Bill in the U.S., India’s goal is for all hemp grown contain less than 0.3 percent THC.

“Over the past half a decade, the interest in and demand for hemp-based products is on the rise, as may be seen with the increase in the number of women artisans and weavers in rural Himalayan villages,” Shah continued. “[those villages] have increased the quantity and quality of indigenous hemp handloom products, such as shawls, stoles, accessories.”

According to Hemp Today, investers recently poured around $150 million USD into the Indian Industrial Hemp Association. Not only is the IIHA hoping to expand on this booming global industry, but they’re also seeking to incorporate more native Indian hemp strains. Unfortunately, most wild hemp in India  contains above 0.3 percent THC. Therefore, the association is seeking to raise the federal limit to 1.5 percent THC.

LAWS AND REGULATIONS SURROUNDING HEMP IN INDIA

It’s interesting to note that the county’s laws surrounding hemp have been looser than that of America’s for the past few decades.

India’s Narcotic Drugs & Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS) of 1985 allows state governments the freedom to establish their own policies in terms of commercial cultivation. That is, “as long as they provide verifiable scientific and operational evidence that hemp cultivated shall not be diverted for misuse.”

After centuries of use before prohibition, hemp in India was re-legalized in 1985. Photo: Young hemp plants grow, seen during the sunset in Northern India.

After centuries of use before prohibition, hemp in India was re-legalized in 1985.

Still, there remains strict guidelines in accordance to the federal government. So much so, only two states in India — Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh — have developed an official set of policies governing the research and cultivation of hemp.

Of course, these efforts can be seen as similar to America’s recent hemp accomplishments. However, the biggest difference is India’s been able to grow hemp legally since 1985, as long as all laws are followed.

It’s due to this and efforts made by IIHA which have allowed for India to explore the different products hemp can create. According to HomeGrown, successful Indian hemp companies include foods and drinks and, of course, fabrics for clothing. In some ways, hemp in India seems more diverse than the ever-growing CBD market here in America.

Yet, the interesting aspect of all this is India’s demand for hemp didn’t grow until recent years.

INTEREST IN SUSTAINABLE FASHION

A male model poses in a long-sleeve white button down shirt made from hemp. White hemp shirt by India’s first hemp-based fashion brand, BLabel. Brands and designers of all sizes are exploring hemp fabric in India.

White hemp shirt by India’s first hemp-based fashion brand, BLabel. Brands and designers of all sizes are exploring hemp fabric in India.

Hemp Fabric Lab came into the picture when they noticed the Indian textile industry lacked easy access to natural fabrics. With that came a demand for sustainable fashion.

However, unlike other fabric companies, Hemp Fabric Lab offers customers the option to purchase a few meters of fabric. They did not want to force individual creators and small companies into minimum order quantities.

“Early on, we also focused strongly on becoming a brand name, with strong market, goodwill, and credibility,” Shah proudly told us. “We continue to work towards that goal through the kind of collaborations we do with [other] brands, as well as our social media voice.”

These kind of sales not only allow for other companies to develop their own sense of fashion, but for the fashion industry as a whole to start incorporating hemp.

RE-IMAGINING INDIA’S AGRICULTURE

“Agriculture in India is at an inflection point,” Shah said. “With a litany of problems plaguing the agrarian rural backbone of the nation.”

These problems range anywhere from an overdependence on intensive commercial crops (such as cotton and sugarcane) to socio-economic factors causing people to leave the countryside and move into the cities. In turn, these leaves rural parts of India ultimately unproductive.

Yet, through all the complications, Shah and her team believe hemp can be a solution to India’s agriculture.

“With hemp’s short cultivation cycle less requirement of water and agriculture inputs, combined with the price premium which can be commanded in the marketplace for hemp raw material and hemp finished products, it’s become increasingly evident to farming communities, government, and industry that hemp is a requirement for the heart of India’s next green revolution.”

Hemp’s ever-growing popularity in India is noteworthy. As is happening across the world, there’s a demand for organic materials and foods. India is no exception and many have been seeking out hemp’s eco-friendly material.

“Over the course of the past few years, there has been an increase in the number of organizations which are beginning to work with and trade hemp-based products in industry segments. However, India’s contribution to the global hemp market is currently less than 0.5 percent. We don’t view the upsurge in companies as competition — rather, we choose to view it through the lens of establishing a burgeoning industry.”

HEMP FASHION PROMOTES ACCEPTANCE OF HEMP

Hemp Fabric Lab allows artisans and small companies to order small amounts of hemp fabric, helping to promote hemp's acceptance in fashion at every level. Photo: A woman in a matching blue, off the shoulder shirt and pants made from hemp fabrics.

Hemp Fabric Lab allows artisans and small companies to order small amounts of hemp fabric, helping to promote hemp’s acceptance in fashion at every level. Image courtesy Sui Mue, a sustainable fashion brand based out of New Delhi, India.

One of the greatest ways to promote hemp is by allowing hemp to have an influence over the fashion industry. This is the final goal of Hemp Fabric Lab which we discussed.

“Our core offering is a wide range of hemp fabrics in woven, knits, and handloom varieties,” Shah told us. “Our parent company Bombay Hemp Company [or BOHECO] largely manages all aspects of industrial hemp from food to textiles to clothing to medicine.”

This cooperation Hemp Fabric Lab and BOHECO have found hopes to develop clothing which will make its way amongst the masses.

“Our B-Label clothing range comprises of semi-formal work wear and casual wear all made 100 percent from hemp, hemp and organic cotton, as well as hemp and lyocell blends that do well in a tropical country like India.”

Their main target is people between the ages of 21 and 50 with a focus on clean, easy-to-wear silhouettes that will allow people for easy, on-the-go clothing.

HOPE FOR THE FUTURE

As Shah mentioned, the hemp industry in India is still just coming into existence. With that, everyone involved has a lot of work to do. Not only in growing this industry, but also in teaching the rest of the world the many benefits of hemp.

“We’re hopeful, having had the support of the Indian government and thought leaders,” Shah said. “It has immensely helped BOHECO in its 6 year journey as an agro-socio enterprise looking to change the perception of industrial hemp.”

And what better place for this industry to occur than India? 60 percent of all districts in the country see natural, wild-grown cannabis. Furthermore, the link between India’s historic culture and hemp is strong. With the input of “modern technology to improve the quality of hemp and its base raw material, it wouldn’t be exaggerated to say that we shall soon see India reclaim its natural piece at a leadership level within the global hemp industry.”

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CBD vs. CBN: Differences, Benefits, And Uses For Two Potent Cannabinoids

In this article, we compare the benefits of CBD vs. CBN. Both of these cannabinoids help create the “entourage effect” in hemp and cannabis that can help us live better lives.

Cannabidiol — also known as CBD — has been getting a lot of attention lately.

As it dominates headlines, sparks controversies, and finds its way onto menus in coffee shops across the country, you could even say that CBD is on track to becoming as well-known as its cousin, THC.

With all the focus on CBD, it’s easy to forget that there’s over 100 other cannabinoids out there, of which CBD and THC are only two. And among all of these naturally occurring cannabis-derived compounds, many have their own powerful therapeutic benefits that are on par with CBD. So with that in mind, which cannabinoid is next in line for its time in the spotlight?

In this article, we compare the benefits of CBD vs. CBN and explain how both can help us live better lives. A seated person cups a mug of coffee in their hands in front of a laptop. Arranged nearby are a small plant, a notepad, a smartphone, a bottle of Every Day Optimal CBD, and decorate letters spelling the word DREAM.

In this article, we compare the benefits of CBD vs. CBN and explain how both can help us live better lives. (Photo: Every Day Optimal)

Our nominee: CBN, short for cannabinol. In this article, we’ll dive into what CBN is, what its benefits are, and how it compares with CBD.

A QUICK PRIMER ON CBD AND CBN

Just in case you’re new to the world of cannabinoids, CBD is one of the primary compounds found in the cannabis plant (which includes both hemp and marijuana). CBD can make up anywhere from 1 percent to 25 percent of the plant, and in most strains, it’s the second most dominant cannabinoid next to THC. While THC is best known for its psychoactive properties, CBD won’t get you high; rather, its skyrocketing popularity is based entirely on its wide range of therapeutic benefits. Many consumers are touting the benefits of using CBD gummies and edibles for daily stress and anxiety, while others use the oils, balms and capsules for ailments like muscle pain, insomnia, and depression.

CBN is a bit different from CBD for a few reasons. Its content in cannabis tends to be pretty low – 1 percent or even less — but this is subject to change over time as the plant is exposed to oxygen or heat. Specifically, as cannabis ages, its THC content breaks down into CBN. Additionally, while CBD has zero psychoactive properties, the same can’t be said for CBN; that said, its psychoactive properties are very, very mild, so you’d likely need to take a massive dose of CBN to feel any sort of high.

Although CBN may be new to you, it was among the very first cannabinoids ever identified, and was successfully isolated for the first time in the 1930s. In fact, prior to the discovery of THC, CBN was considered to be the cause behind the psychoactive effects of marijuana.

BENEFITS OF CBN AND CBD

Despite CBN being on scientists’ radar for so long, research on its use is very limited — especially when compared to the wealth of information available for both CBD and THC. That said, what we know so far about this cannabinoid is promising.

One of CBN’s biggest benefits is that it’s a strong sedative, making it effective as a sleep aid and anti-anxiety drug. According to Steep Hill Labs, CBN’s relaxing effects are comparable to the pharmaceutical diazepam, while a 1995 study on mice found that CBN can increase sleep time as well. Additionally, CBN’s effectiveness for sleep is enhanced when taken alongside CBD, which has been praised for its ability to increase REM sleep, reduce nightmares, and treat sleep disorders such as insomnia and sleep apnea.

Aside from sleep benefits, both CBN and CBD are potent anti-inflammatories with powerful pain relieving properties. Again, these benefits appear to be even more effective when both cannabinoids are taken together. Both CBN and CBD can also relieve pressure related to glaucoma, and both have antibacterial properties, including against antibiotic-resistant MRSA. Among other benefits, CBD is a powerful treatment for epilepsy and anxiety disorders, and CBN shows promise as an appetite stimulant as well.

Full spectrum hemp extracts feature both CBD and CBN among other cannabinoids, promoting the "entourage effect." A person drops a dropperful of CBD oil from a bottle of Every Day Optimal into a cup of espresso.

Full spectrum hemp extracts feature both CBD and CBN among other cannabinoids, promoting the “entourage effect.” (Photo: Every Day Optimal)

WHAT TYPE OF CBD OIL CONTAINS CBN?

If you’re looking to get the most out of CBD and CBN, you’ll want to pick up some full spectrum or broad spectrum CBD oil, as these types of CBD oil contain both compounds. Full spectrum and broad spectrum CBD oils are similar, with one crucial difference: THC.

Full spectrum CBD oil contains all the cannabinoids and terpenes that were extracted from the cannabis plant, including CBD, THC, CBN, and a variety of other compounds that vary depending on the strain. Broad spectrum CBD oil, on the other hand, goes through additional processing to remove all traces of THC, while keeping all other cannabinoids intact.

Full spectrum CBD oil is a popular choice due to what’s called the “entourage effect.” Essentially, the benefits of each cannabinoid are enhanced when taken together. This includes THC and CBD, CBD and CBN, and so on. Meanwhile, broad spectrum CBD oil is ideal for those who desire the benefits of full spectrum CBD oil, but who can’t have any traces of THC.

CLOSING THOUGHTS ON CBD VS CBN

As you can see, CBN shows a lot of promise for a wide spectrum of issues.

At Every Day Optimal, we believe, that just like CBD, it can be quite powerful for pain relief, sleep troubles, and anxiety. When CBN is taken with CBD, these benefits are often even more potent. With all the attention CBD’s gotten lately, it’s likely that we’ll see much more research into the benefits of CBN and other cannabinoids in the near future.

And who knows – maybe CBN will start showing up in coffee shops next, right alongside CBD. We’ll be keeping an eye out for it!

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Cannabis & The NFL: Using CBD & Cannabis In Professional Sports

While the NFL still bans players from using cannabis and CBD, attitudes in other professional sports are beginning to change. Former players, doctors and others are working to let pro-football players and other athletes use CBD and medical cannabis.

With more research shining light on the impact of injuries and treatments of injuries from professional sports, more athletes are coming to the same conclusion: the key to their well-being lies in the cannabis plant.

Professional sports are some of the most well-loved activities of American culture. The mega-arenas of NFL are filled with thousands of ravenous fans screaming for the players to smash into each other as hard as they can, all waiting with nervous energy in hope that their team wins. Watching professional sports can be an exhilarating experience, matched only by adrenaline fueled events such as skydiving or cliff jumping. They also provide fans with an opportunity to be part of something much bigger than themselves. Many fans make their favorite teams a part of their personalities.

Something that tends to get lost in the excitement and joy of being a sports fan are the players themselves. People take their favorite athletes for-granted, never really knowing the extent of dedication and arduous work they do to perform well in the field, octagon, or court. These athletes quite literally give their life to their sports, missing holidays and important family events all to train and play in the sport they love. 

NFL BANS ALL FORMS OF HEMP AND PSYCHOACTIVE CANNABIS

Athletes are constantly straining their bodies with their workouts and with the impacts absorbed in play. With the constant strain on their body, they sustain considerable damage to their muscles, joints, and sometimes even to their brains. The long-term implications of these injuries are extremely dangerous and can even be life-altering.

A professional football player dives for the end zone while holding a football, dressed in a helmet and other typical gear. Despite other sports organizations beginning to soften their position on cannabis, NFL athletes are still barred from using any form of cannabis and avoid CBD.

Despite other sports organizations beginning to soften their position on cannabis, NFL athletes are still barred from using any form of cannabis and avoid CBD.

Unfortunately, the NFL has banned the use of psychoactive cannabis (“marijuana”) in all capacities. This also includes all products that are derived from the cannabis plant, whether it’s for recreational or medical use. Currently, the players are drug-tested during the start of the off-season training camps, usually for THC. They are subject to random drug tests, but for the most part, are only tested once per season. With regards to CBD, the NFL’s rules are very murky. CBD supplements can also sometimes cause positive drug tests. As a result, players simply refuse to take CBD products, with the fear that they could lead to suspension due to the severity of punishments regarding cannabis.

Below, we will explore the impact of injuries sustained by athletes in the NFL and how the medications prescribed to treat them create a vicious cycle. We’ll also look at how an NFL player and a doctor put their careers on the line to fight for medical cannabis treatments, and how other sports organizations are dealing with the relaxing regulations around all forms of the cannabis plant.

THE TRUE IMPACT OF FOOTBALL ON PLAYERS’ HEALTH

In a study by the Journal of the American Medical Association, 110 of 111 tested former NFL players showed signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). CTE is a neurodegenerative brain disease that is caused by constant impacts to the head area, something that NFL players are no strangers to. Some of the symptoms are memory loss, impaired judgement, depression, anxiety and impulse control issues.

It’s important to note that the only way to test for CTE is if the subject is diseased. Meaning, that the median age subjects in the study were 67 years old, with a median participation in football for 15 years. The sample that they tested were more representative of an older generation of football players, where impacts were harder, and equipment dramatically worse. But this is no defense for the modern game of football, where there are still many players who suffer traumatic head trauma. Players like Chris Borland and Jahvid Best were forced to walk away from the game due to repeated concussions and fear of further neurological damage.

Football helmets sit on a football field. Despite advances in safety gear, football players still face repeated injuries and treatment can leave them addicted to painkillers.

Despite advances in safety gear, football players still face repeated injuries and treatment can leave them addicted to painkillers.

This idea of head trauma has been around for a long time, we have just never really had a name for it. Modern scientific studies and popular movies like “Concussionhave propelled the problem to the public eye. Chronic pains caused by concussions aren’t the only long-term health problems professional athletes face, they can also face long-term damage to muscles and to their joints (especially the knees), which are all treated by prescription drugs.

What this creates is a vicious cycle, where athletes’ bodies are constantly being whittled down by their sports, and their team doctors prescribe them to highly-addictive anti-inflammatories and painkillers, many including opioids. Many athletes get addicted to these drugs, some cases as extreme as taking over 100 pills per week, and many carry these addictions with them outside of their playing careers. This effectively not only breaks down their inhibitions, but also their well-being and family life.

RETIRED FOOTBALL PLAYERS ADVOCATE FOR CANNABIS IN PROFESSIONAL SPORTS

Clearly this is a serious & widespread problem, and a lot of professional athletes are speaking up and fighting for better & healthier methods to cope with the damage of sports. Possibly the biggest proponent of medical cannabis treatments is former NFL player Eugene Monroe. Selected as the eighth overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft, Monroe played in the league for seven years, where he saw playing time for the Jacksonville Jaguars and Baltimore Ravens.

One of the top offensive tackles of the game, Monroe retired after being released by Baltimore at just 29 years old. At the time of his retirement he had the highest paying contract on the Ravens and was widely speculated that he was released for his medical cannabis advocacy. In a letter to The Players’ Tribune, Monroe explained his decision:

“I’m only 29 and I still have the physical ability to play at a very high level, so I know that my decision to retire may be puzzling to some. But I am thinking of my family first right now — and my health and my future. The last 18 years have been full of traumatic injuries to both my head and my body. I’m not complaining, just stating a fact. Has the damage to my brain already been done? Do I have CTE? I hope I don’t, but over 90 percent of the brains of former NFL players that have been examined showed signs of the disease. I am terrified.”

Since retiring, Monroe has been extremely involved in advocating for cannabis medical treatment for athletes. He was the first active NFL player for cannabis treatments and has worked with many organizations to try and spread the word for cannabis as a viable medicine such as the “When the Bright Lights Fade” campaign.

The campaign features other NFL players such as former pro bowl Quarterback Jake Plummer who face a similar situation to Monroe’s. Created by the non-profit Realm of Caring, they aim to convince the NFL to change the narrative around medical cannabis and are working with researchers at John Hopkins University and the University of Pennsylvania to study the impact of cannabinoids on former and current football players. Monroe has donated $80,000 to the campaign and has continued to actively support many different campaigns fighting for the use of medical cannabis.

THE TRAILBLAZING DR. SUE SISLEY

Another key player in the fight for medical cannabis is Dr. Sue Sisley, who has spent the majority of this decade researching and supporting the medical efficacy of psychoactive cannabis.

Like a lot of us, Dr. Sisley was a skeptic of the medical effects of cannabis, but after working with veterans at the Veterans Affairs hospital in Phoenix, she saw for herself the medical power of the plant. After her first-hand experience, Dr. Sisley decided to dive head on into the medical marijuana scene. The rest, as they say, is history.

Since then, Dr. Sisley has been part of the first ever government-funded study into the effectiveness of treating PTSD with marijuana. She also took part in the first attempt at treating an NFL player with medical cannabis, outlined in Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s CNN documentary series on the plant. She’s even been appointed the role of Medical Director for Nuka Enterprises who produce the 1906 brand cannabis edibles. She does all of this while continuously providing medical care to patients in her private practice (who she runs with her mother, Hanna Sisley). Dr. Sisley is nothing short of remarkable.

Over 90 percent of the brains of former NFL players that have been examined showed signs of the disease. I am terrified. — Former NFL player Eugene Monroe

While mostly researching the effects of cannabis in veterans, she has also started to do work with athletes, including NFL player Mike James who we mentioned above. She believes that cannabis can be the solution to the opioid and painkiller addictions that run rampant through the NFL.

When asked about the biggest setback that is preventing medical marijuana to be administered to willing patients, Dr. Sisley told us that “the government has systematically impeded studies that reveals the effectiveness of the different application methods of cannabis.”

Without these studies, scientists and doctors are left in a world of chaos when dealing with cannabis. Not only does the impediment of these studies effect the research of application methods, but it effects the research into the plants themselves. With thousands upon thousands of strains, doctors do not know which are more effective with which disease or which ones are good for medical use and for recreational use.

Dr. Sisley also says that there is “no oversight” within behind the cannabis markets yet, at least none that are effective. This, we know, leads to quality control issues within cannabis products. Even the governments’ own approved farm, specifically used for clinical trials, located in the University of Mississippi, has its own quality issues.

Basically, without the support of the federal government, there will always be a lack of understanding behind the medical efficacy of the cannabis plant. This means that veterans and athletes will be left on their own if they seek medical cannabis help.

CANNABIS & HEMP NOW AVAILABLE TO MORE PROFESSIONAL ATHLETES

The UFC is another major sport organization that has had players speak up on the medical effects of cannabis. Fighters such as Yair Rodriguez and Nate Diaz are advocators for the neuroprotective properties of CBD. In an infamous post-fight press conference, Nate Diaz vaped CBD oil. He told the press that it helps him recover from fights. That particular fight was UFC 202, where Diaz fought for the Welterweight championship belt against Conor McGregor, was a five-round bloodbath. It only shows just how important CBD can be to athletes such as Diaz, where they face can face extraordinary injuries in their sport.

Ice Hockey players embrace on the ice during a game. Other major leagues, like the NHL, have softened their attitudes toward cannabis in professional sports and allowed players to access medical cannabis treatments or CBD.

Other major leagues, like the NHL, have softened their attitudes toward cannabis in professional sports and allowed players to access medical cannabis treatments or CBD.

As a result of Diaz’s advocacy and changes to World Anti-Doping Authority Standards, the UFC removed its restriction on CBD at the beginning of 2018. Other major sports leagues such as the NHL and MLB have also allowed players to take medical cannabis treatments, as they tend to focus on cracking down on performance-enhancing drugs rather than federally-banned substances.

The NFL can learn a lot from these other leagues. After all, Football is the most dangerous of America’s major sports. Football not only has higher rates of injury, but the injuries that can be sustained are often much more serious.

A GREENER FUTURE FOR CANNABIS & CBD IN PROFESSIONAL SPORTS

In a country that is slowly changing the narrative around the cannabis plant, we hope to see major sports leagues join the change in order to preserve the health and well-being of their players.

With more states legalizing the use of recreational or medical marijuana (such as Michigan) we can only hope that the federal government will start to ramp up its support too. Without backing from the federal government, the cannabis industry and the community around it are forced to fend for themselves, and researchers are left to depend on private donors to fund studies into cannabis.

But, despite all of these setbacks, the cannabis revolution marches on. With advocates like Dr. Sisley and Eugene Monroe working so hard to promote access, we’re confident in the future of cannabis in professional sports.

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CBD Vs. THC For Chronic Pain: Comparing Two Potent Cannabinoids

Are you trying to decide between CBD and THC for relieving chronic pain? In this article, we’ll explore how these two popular cannabis compounds work to relieve chronic pain — both separately and together.

Are you trying to decide between CBD and THC for relieving chronic pain?

Maybe you’re just curious about the differences between the two. It’s easy to assume that these two compounds are similar, since they both come from the same plant. But while they can both play an important role in managing chronic pain, CBD and THC are very different substances, and each one works differently in the body.

In this article, we’ll explore how these two popular cannabis compounds work to relieve chronic pain — both separately and together.

THE BASICS OF THC AND CBD

CBD (short for cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) belong to a group known as cannabinoids, and they are derived from the cannabis plant – either hemp or psychoactive cannabis (“marijuana”). There are over 100 different cannabinoids, but CBD and THC are the most dominant substances in cannabis, making them responsible for most of the effects that marijuana is famous for.

A seated person stirs Every Day Optimal CBD Oil into a cup of tea. When it comes to chronic pain, there's no clear winner in the CBD vs. THC debate: both have their uses.

When it comes to chronic pain, there’s no clear winner in the CBD vs. THC debate: both have their uses. (Photo: Every Day Optimal)

Both CBD and THC work by interacting with the endocannabinoid system, which refers to a group of receptors in the body that regulate various physiological processes, including pain, digestion, mood, and sleep. Cannabis is well-known for its versatility, helping people worldwide with problems like insomnia, PTSD, and pain – and it’s all because these endocannabinoid receptors are involved in so many different bodily functions.

By far, the most notable difference between CBD and THC is that THC causes a high, while CBD does not. CBD’s lack of psychoactive effects is one of the reasons it has become so popular as of late. In fact, CBD can counteract some of THC’s psychoactive effects (like euphoria and anxiety). This is why high-CBD strains of cannabis are often popular for pain relief, since they allow one to keep a clear head.

THC is also associated with more side effects than CBD, although these tend to be mild and are temporary. Some well-documented side effects of THC are dry mouth, red eyes, and hunger. Most people who use CBD report little to no side effects, with sleepiness being the most common, especially at high doses.

CBD BENEFITS FOR CHRONIC PAIN AND INFLAMMATION

Research has established that CBD is an effective anti-inflammatory, with strong evidence that it can relieve pain from inflammatory conditions such as arthritis. For example, a 2017 study concluded that CBD can reduce osteoarthritis-related pain and inflammation, and prevent nerve damage.

Other studies support CBD for relief of neuropathic pain and incision-related pain. CBD’s effectiveness at relieving different types of pain has led to its popularity among people with conditions such as fibromyalgia, IBS, multiple sclerosis, and cancer.

THC BENEFITS FOR CHRONIC PAIN AND INFLAMMATION

Although there is plenty of research supporting the use of cannabis for pain relief in conditions like Crohn’s disease, chronic migraine, and fibromyalgia, less attention has been paid to the specific benefits of THC. The few studies that are available tend to be small and show conflicting results.

A recent study in Neurology found THC is effective for alleviating chronic nerve pain. A larger study, involving 177 cancer patients, found that while THC was not effective at reducing pain, the patients who took a CBD/THC combination had their pain reduce by over 30 percent when compared to placebo. Another double-blind study supported this conclusion when using THC for post-surgery pain. Meanwhile, a 2017 study found both THC and CBD, when taken alone, were effective for reducing chemotherapy-related pain in mice.

The same study also discovered that when combined, previously ineffective doses of CBD and THC could relieve pain. This relates to an important benefit of THC – it can enhance the pain-relieving properties of CBD through what’s known as the entourage effect.

HOW CBD AND THC WORK TOGETHER: THE ENTOURAGE EFFECT

Although CBD and THC are the most dominant compounds in the cannabis plant, they aren’t alone. There are dozens of other cannabinoids and terpenes that work together to provide different synergic effects. For example, the third most dominant compound in cannabis, cannabichromene (CBC) has shown anti-inflammatory benefits similar to those of CBD.

A seated man holds his glasses in one hand while wincing and holding his neck, as if in pain, with the other. Both CBD and THC can relieve symptoms of chronic pain and inflammation in unique ways, both alone and working in concert with other cannabinoids.

Both CBD and THC can relieve symptoms of chronic pain and inflammation in unique ways, both alone and working in concert with other cannabinoids.

The entourage effect refers to the benefits that one can experience by ingesting multiple cannabinoids together, including CBD and THC. In short, while CBD and THC have their own powerful benefits, they tend to be more potent when combined – especially when it comes to pain relief. An analysis of 18 studies on cannabinoids for multiple sclerosis pain found that the combination of THC and CBD was slightly more effective for pain reduction than CBD on its own.

The entourage effect is why CBD products fall into two categories: full spectrum and isolate. Full spectrum CBD products contain all the cannabinoids and terpenes that were extracted along with CBD. On the other hand, isolate CBD products remove all traces of these other substances, resulting in a product that is pure CBD.

Some people have better success using full spectrum CBD products for pain relief because of the entourage effect. However, due to the variety of cannabinoids and terpenes, full spectrum products can be somewhat unpredictable in their effects. Isolate CBD products are often favored by those who can’t tolerate any traces of THC, or need to avoid it due to drug testing.

LEGALITIES AND LIMITS OF THC IN CBD PRODUCTS

The majority of CBD products you’ll find on the market today are made from hemp, which by law can contain up to a maximum of 0.3 percent THC. This means hemp-derived, full spectrum CBD products are likely to contain low amounts of THC. There are CBD products available that are made from marijuana instead of hemp, and therefore contain a higher percentage of THC. For legal reasons, these products tend to be restricted to dispensaries.

CLOSING THOUGHTS ON CBD VS. THC

As you can see, there isn’t a simple answer for whether CBD or THC is better for chronic pain. Both compounds bring their own benefits to the table, and in regard to chronic pain, there is evidence that they’re more effective when taken together due to the entourage effect.

Either way, it’s clear that cannabis has plenty to offer for chronic pain patients, and cannabis products can vary widely in effectiveness. So if you don’t have success with one product, don’t give up; try something new, whether it’s a different blend of cannabinoids, or a different potency.

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Despite Cannabis Legalization, Access To Legal CBD In Uruguay Is Challenging

Access to CBD in Uruguay remains difficult, despite the South American country’s overall progressive leadership on cannabis law reform. That could be starting to change this year.

Access to CBD in Uruguay remains difficult, despite the South American country’s overall progressive leadership on cannabis law reform.

December 2018 marked five years since cannabis became legal in Uruguay. After Law 19.172 was approved — enabling the State to regulate the cannabis supply chain, from growth to trade – Uruguay seems to have founded a true benchmark in the world, becoming the very first country to legalize recreational and medical cannabis.

Taken under Pepe Mujica’s government – which was considered a role model for leftists in Latin America – this brave step towards regularization represented more than a juridical benchmark. By walking through the wooded capital of Montevideo, it is possible to realize that the legislation has also set a new moral paradigm in the Uruguayan society.

It is not rare to spot a family smoking together at the ramblas (Montevideo’s riverbanks), or even turn the TV on and unexpectedly come across a popular morning show discussing the benefits of cannabis with its audience. The stigma around cannabis definitely belongs to the past.

Progressive in several other aspects (such as legal abortion, affirmative action for the trans community and gay marriage), Uruguay’s policies may sound ideal to many people. But with regards to cannabis, the implementation of Law 19.172 still faces substantial issues: the pioneer country in legalizing marijuana still moves slow when it comes to regulated medical cannabis and legal CBD products.

CANNABIS LAW REFORM BEGAN IN 1970S

Although it was only with Law 19.172 that Uruguay gained a comprehensive, effective legal instrument for the regularization of cannabis, the country first adopted a more tolerant posture towards drugs in 1974 – curiously, during the Uruguayan Military Dictatorship. Over forty years ago, the Law 14.294 already exempted from legal penalty all the individuals carrying, using, or giving away up to 40 grams of marijuana.

Damian Collazo, a grower with CLUC, one of Uruguay's first cannabis clubs, examines plants in their cannabis farm. Although recreational cannabis is legal, access to CBD in Uruguay is limited. CLUC cannot legally sell CBD products.

Damian Collazo, a grower with CLUC, one of Uruguay’s first cannabis clubs, examines plants in their cannabis farm. Although recreational cannabis is legal, access to CBD in Uruguay is limited. CLUC cannot legally sell CBD products. (Photo: Ministry of Hemp / Beatriz Miranda)

By 2012, when Pepe Mujica’s cabinet presented to the Congress the first draft of Law 19.172, the pro-cannabis discussion had already gained sufficient ground. In 1998, Law 17.016 allowed citizens to consume a somewhat larger amount of marijuana (compared to 1974); in 2000, President Jorge Batlle assumed a pro-legalization position; and in 2010, the Congressman Lacalle Pou presented a bill allowing citizens to grow cannabis for personal use.

Since 2013, Law 19.172 stipulates that Uruguay’s government is in charge of regulating all the import, export, growth, harvest, production, acquisition, distribution, storage and trade of cannabis and marijuana-derived products.

Diego Olivera is the President of IRCCA’s key board, the Uruguayan Institute of Regulation and Control of Cannabis. Created with Law 19.172, IRCCA is in charge of supervising the cannabis’ production process, formulating public policies, providing scientific data on cannabis and coordinating scientific cooperation.

Like most pro-cannabis Uruguayans, Olivera evaluates the five-year-period of regulated marijuana as a positive one.

“We are convinced that we adopted the right model,” he said.

On the other hand, he does admit: the regulated medical cannabis market remains a challenge for Uruguay.

LEGALIZATION IN URUGUAY: A MATTER OF PUBLIC SECURITY

Unlike Canada, which legalized medical cannabis in 2001, and recreational cannabis only in 2018 (clearly focusing on a public health strategy), the legalization in Uruguay turned, in principal, to the public security issue.

Olivera said:

“In 2012, 2013, the public discussion evolved very much around security. But this was not an agenda for Uruguay until the 21st century. The public security debate did not really take part of the Uruguayan culture. The cannabis regulation appeared as a response, a strategy to fight the narco-traffic.”

Indeed, Law 19.172 foresees a cannabis regulation strategy that promotes public security, public health and individual rights, altogether. But, due to a greater concern with security, recreational cannabis — and its users, consequently — have been the priority on the last five years. Thus, Uruguayans still wait for a more democratic access to regulated medical cannabis.

Today, Uruguay offers three legal options for the access to recreational marijuana: buying up to 40 grams out of four weed varieties (with higher or lower THC levels), offered at 17 authorized pharmacies; growing up to 6 cannabis plants at home; or becoming a member of one of the 114 cannabis clubs. On the other hand, a patient who suffers from refractory epilepsy, for example, can only find one legal CBD product at Uruguayan pharmacies: Epifractan.

Although Law 19.172 was approved in 2013, Epifractan, a Cannabidiol extract, sold in concentrations of 2 percent and 5 percent, has only been on the market for a year. The only available CBD medicine in the pharmacies, however, is financially inaccessible to many of its users (the 5 percent formula costs up to 200 dollars).

For purchasing imported CBD products, Uruguayan patients have to clear several bureaucratic hurdles, like obtaining a special prescription and an authorization from the Health Ministry. Beyond that, shipping these medicines is still quite expensive, and the government doesn’t provide any bureaucratic or financial assistance for this transaction.

With so many obstacles to access regulated medical cannabis, an unofficial market of CBD-derived products has developed in Uruguay in the last years. Sustained mainly by a network of friends and relatives, these users, or patients, represent over half of the medical cannabis’ consumer market in Uruguay.

CBD IN URUGUAY: MOST PEOPLE BUY UNAUTHORIZED OR HOMEGROWN CBD

According to a research by Monitor Cannabis Uruguay, two thirds of users access CBD-derived products (oils, lotions, etc.) by buying it from unauthorized artisanal producers, by receiving it as a gift (from friends or relatives) or by producing it from their homegrown marijuana.

Maria José Milles and Damián Collazo have been involved with the production of cannabis at least since 2014, when, along with approximately 20 other people, they founded CLUC (“Cultivando Liberdade Uruguay Cresce”, which means “By Growing Freedom, Uruguay Grows”). CLUC is one of the first registered cannabis clubs in Uruguay.

Although none of them knows people who buy Epifractan in the pharmacies, they do know Uruguayans who produce artisanal Cannabidiol oil themselves.

“We cannot sell homemade CBD oil to other people, but we produce it ourselves and give it as a gift to people we know … I personally make it for myself, but also for my mother and a few friends,” said Milles, who is in charge of CLUC’s administration and accounting.

Gardener and agronomist, Damián Collazo takes care of the seeding of ten different cannabis varieties at CLUC. According to him, there are CLUC members who also produce CBD oil to treat serious diseases.

“One of our club managers produce it and give it to her mother, who has cancer,” he told Ministry of Hemp.

For Diego Olivera, there is a mistaken presumption among users that cannabis is a “magical substance,” capable of healing almost everything. He also warns for the risk of self-medicating with a product that was not tested, and whose efficacy and safety isn’t guaranteed.

Diego Olivera, President of IRCCA, in his office with a thermos and mug of mate. IRCCA regulates cannabis in Uruguay, and Olivera anticipates a much greater diversity in hemp and cannabis products in 2019.

Diego Olivera, President of IRCCA. IRCCA regulates cannabis in Uruguay, and Olivera anticipates a much greater diversity in hemp and cannabis products in 2019. (Ministry of Hemp / Beatriz Miranda)

CANNABIS & HEMP IN URUGUAY: A HORIZON FOR FREEDOM

The year of 2019 promises to be better for CBD in Uruguay and medical cannabis users overall. In November 2018, Canadian group Aurora (one of the licensed companies that produce cannabis) inaugurated Uruguay’s first production center for medical cannabis. Aurora’s medicines are expected to be launched in February this year. What’s more, 32 groups already have IRCCA’s authorization to research and produce medical cannabis.

Eduardo Blasina is the director of Montevideo Cannabis Museum, founded in 2016 as an effort to demystify cannabis. Also, he is a partner of Symbiosis, one of the first companies to have won the government’s bid to produce marijuana. Right now, Symbiosis is working on two medical products: a refined CBD oil and a “raw” (the whole extract). They hope to launch both near the end of 2019.

At the moment, Uruguayan political party IR — a member of Frente Amplio, the left-wing political coalition that is in power right now — is working on a bill that reclassifies CBD-oils as phytotherapeutic compounds, instead of medicines. Inspired by Colombia’s and Czech Republic’s laws, the bill aims to facilitate the access to regulated medical cannabis products by allowing smaller producers to become regular sellers.

Considering that, so far, only international companies have been able to meet Uruguay’s rigorous requirements to produce medical cannabis, this bill could mean a more democratic official CBD market.

Diego Olivera is optimistic about the future of medical cannabis: “This year will clearly witness advances in research. We hope to prioritize accessibility, turn the market more dynamic, and invest in other cannabic industries, such as food and cosmetics,” he said.

Despite all the remaining challenges, Blasina also thinks that the implementation of Law 19.172 is at a good pace. He is happy with the legislation, and supports that Uruguay can’t miss the great opportunities ahead:

“More than cannabis tourism, we should invest in ‘tourism of freedom,’ which stands for the idea ‘you smoke if you feel like.’ As a progressive country, we really have the potential to become a multicultural society.”

For more information about cannabis & CBD in Uruguay:

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All About CBD Tinctures: How To Pick The Right CBD Tincture

CBD tinctures are the most popular way to consume CBD oil right now. From carrier oils to extraction methods, we’ve got tips on picking the right CBD oil for you.

CBD tinctures are the most popular way to consume CBD oil right now.

CBD tinctures typically come in small concentrated bottles of liquid with dropper tops, reminiscent of those from your high school science class. This product type allows you to simply place drops of the tincture under your tongue where the liquid contents are directly absorbed into your bloodstream. The remaining liquid is then swallowed.

CBD tinctures are more potent than other ingestion methods of CBD like softgels and edibles which must first undergo digestion before entering the bloodstream.

Additionally, CBD tinctures are paving the way for healthier, more powerful solutions altogether. While conventional tinctures use alcohol as a solvent or a base, new methods of CBD extraction are being used and tested. This presents you with the cleanest possible CBD tincture.

A collection of CBD tinctures in assorted bottles, decorated with hemp buds. Our guide to CBD tinctures explains how to pick the right supplement for your needs.

Our guide to CBD tinctures explains how to pick the right supplement for your needs.

If you’re interested in purchasing CBD tinctures, here’s what you should look for when researching and reading the labels to make the best choice for you.

CBD TINCTURES VS CBD OIL

Traditionally, a “tincture” was a plant or herb extracted in alcohol. Today, however, when people or companies refer to CBD tinctures, they usually mean CBD hemp extract mixed into a carrier oil to make a nutritional supplement, not actually a product containing alcohol.

The term “CBD tincture” has become popularized over the last several years, and is now used interchangeably with CBD oil. When in doubt, check with the manufacturer for a complete ingredients list.

CBD TINCTURE CONCENTRATION

The amount of CBD contained in the CBD tincture you purchase is the most important detail. The greater the ratio of CBD concentration to liquid or carrier, the more potent the tincture will be overall. This means that you can pack quite the punch in something like a small one to two fluid ounce bottle! (CBD content is measured in milligrams, while the tincture liquid itself is measured in either fluid ounces or in milliliters.)

For those who are new to taking CBD, this works in your favor; you can pick up a small bottle and start out taking just a few milligrams of CBD a day. A CBD tincture, even in the smaller range (around 250mg) will last you quite a while.

Take special care in reading labels, especially the front of bottles, which often use less descriptive vocabulary. While some supplements are labeled as CBD oil, some companies market their tinctures as “Hemp Oil.” Unfortunately, neither label tells you how much CBD content they contain unless you locate the distinct amount of CBD contained in the tincture itself. This should be clearly listed in milligrams (mg) on every bottle.

CBD tinctures will vary in their CBD content. Less potent products house between 200-250mg of CBD per bottle, and more potent products can contain as much as 2,500mg and more. Packaging and labeling can be tricky when purchasing CBD tinctures, but this CBD labeling guide explains more!

ALL ABOUT CARRIER OILS

CBD, like many other health-promoting substances, does not have a long shelf-life on its own. It requires a carrier oil to help stabilize and preserve its healthy components. Don’t worry though, these carrier oils aren’t harmful like artificial preservatives, but actually accentuate the health and potency of CBD Oil. Several common carrier oils include MCT oil derived from coconuts or palm oil, olive oil, hemp seed oil, extra virgin olive oil, frankincense oil, and grapeseed oil.

An overflowing scoop of hemp seeds sits near a bowl of hemp seed oil and two bottles of vegetable oil, along with a hemp leaf. CBD tinctures typically combine hemp extract with a carrier oil such as hemp seed oil, MCT oil, or even olive oil.

CBD tinctures typically combine hemp extract with a carrier oil such as hemp seed oil, MCT oil, or even olive oil.

The purpose of these oils is exactly as it seems: they carry the positive effects of CBD into the body, allowing for better absorption and use. The reason different companies employ the use of different carrier oils in tinctures is because each carrier contains its own various properties or functions. For example, olive oil can act as an anti-inflammatory agent, however, MCT oil can provide a much more stable shelf life.

DIFFERENT CBD EXTRACTION METHODS

When hemp is fully grown, farmers must harvest the crop and allow processors to extract the CBD content from the plant. There are multiple ways to do this, and not all extraction methods are created equal. Here are just a few types of extraction methods for CBD Tinctures:

Ethanol Extraction

Like a traditional tincture that requires an alcohol-based solvent, ethanol extraction uses a high proof grain alcohol to separate the CBD from the rest of the hemp plant. For those who are sensitive to additives or other substances, we’d advise choosing a product that is not extracted via ethanol. While ethanol extraction is completely safe, it may not be best for sensitive individuals.

CO2 Extraction

CO2 Extraction utilizes carbon dioxide as the primary element to separate the cannabinoids, like CBD, from the other parts of the plant. You can think of this method almost like “boiling off” the beneficial parts of hemp, while leaving behind the rest. Currently, CO2 extraction is one of the most popular methods and is the cleanest method of extraction.

Alternative Extraction Methods

As the CBD industry continues to grow, we will see new methods of extraction rise to the top (no pun intended). Sustainability and stewardship remain a cornerstone of the hemp industry, and creating clean methods of extraction remain a priority. The great news is that as the demand for CBD increases, new avenues of research and testing will pave the way for consumers to receive the best products possible.

GEOGRAPHIC SOURCING OF HEMP

It’s important to know where your hemp products come from. Right now, Colorado and Kentucky are the big players in providing hemp for use in CBD products. We recommend staying away from companies that source hemp from China, and focus more on U.S. grown and extracted CBD products.

A densely packed hemp field in front of a tree-lined hill. Since hemp can absorb toxins from the soil, it's vital to know the source of all ingredients in CBD supplements.

Since hemp can absorb toxins from the soil, it’s vital to know the source of all ingredients in CBD supplements.

This is particularly important because hemp is a bioaccumulator, that is, it is able to absorb toxic chemicals and substances from the soil, acting as a renewing crop to our land. However, hemp that has absorbed toxins or heavy metals from the soil should not be used for health products like CBD tinctures. For this reason, it’s important to know exactly where your hemp is grown.

OTHER INGREDIENTS IN CBD TINCTURES

CBD tinctures often contain other ingredients to help accentuate the therapeutic and health-supporting effects of the cannabidiol. Some of these added ingredients could be:

Terpenes

Terpenes are essential oils that are found in the hemp plant. They act as conductors, bringing together the effects of all the cannabinoids. Terpenes’ job is to make sure that you get the most powerful, long lasting effects out of your CBD Tincture. Like nature’s amplifier, they’ll help the music last for hours.

Cannabinoids Besides CBD

CBD isn’t the only all star player here. Research is being conducted on over 100 different cannabinoids, natural compounds just like CBD, that are found in the cannabis plant. You may see things like CBG, CBN, CBDA, THCA, and more in the CBD Tinctures you purchase. Don’t worry, all these little guys pack a powerful punch and will only enhance your experience.

Additional Oils

Many times you may see hemp companies add multiple carrier oils to a CBD tincture to ensure you are getting the most bioavailable (or absorbable) CBD. Oils that you will see working in tandem with each other are frankincense, olive oil, blackseed, hemp seed, vitamin E, and other antioxidant substances.

ONLY PURCHASE CBD TINCTURES FROM A RELIABLE SOURCE

Ultimately, the best decision you can make is to buy your CBD tinctures from a trusted source. Verified retailers do the hard work for you and only carry third-party tested, premium CBD oil. They also provide all the information you need to know about each CBD product, from CBD concentration and cannabinoid profile, to extraction method, to geographical sourcing. All of this is in efforts to empower you as the consumer. After all, your experience matters the most.

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Ultimate Hemp Oatmeal: Supercharge Your Mornings With Hemp

Combining the health benefits of hemp and oats with the healing benefits of CBD, our ultimate hemp oatmeal recipe will help you start your day off right. Best of all, it takes just minutes to make.

Hemp oatmeal could supercharge your mornings and help you bet a healthier start to 2019.

With fresh New Year’s resolutions, many of us have pledged to start healthier habits. So, if you’re doing your due diligence to finally start eating healthier, you’ve come to the perfect place.

A bowl of oatmeal with fruit, hemp seeds and chia seeds added sits on a wooden picnic table near a folded flower print tablecloth. Hemp oatmeal can supercharge your mornings and help you eat healthier in 2019.

Hemp oatmeal can supercharge your mornings and help you eat healthier in 2019.

Today we’re giving you a simple recipe that fuses the nutritional goodness of oats with the superfood capacities of hemp and the benefits of CBD. We’ll also explain some of the health benefits from eating oats and hemp.

BRING THE BENEFITS OF HEMP AND OATS TOGETHER IN HEMP OATMEAL

Oats are some of the healthiest grains available. They provide health benefits like weight loss, lower blood sugar, and even reduce the risk of heart disease. Having a balanced nutrient composition, oats are high in fiber and carbs, and are loaded with many important vitamins and minerals. Only half a cup of oats contains 51 grams of carbohydrates, 13 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat, 8 grams of fiber, with only 303 calories! This makes oats a super nutrient-dense food, providing you with a good ratio of nutrition to calories. In addition, oats are rich in antioxidants, can lower cholesterol levels, and lowers blood sugar. To add on to all of that, oats are very satiating and don’t require a lot to make you feel full.

Hemp, of course, is high in plant-based protein, contain good fats, and are also nutrient-dense. One ounce of hemp seeds contains nine grams of protein, twelve grams of fat, and two grams of fiber. It also contains all twenty amino acids and all nine of the essential amino acids which our bodies do not produce naturally. Hemp is also extremely easy to incorporate into your diet through the use of hemp hearts (shelled hemp seeds) and hemp oil. I commonly sprinkle hemp hearts into my food and smoothies; you can even mix chia and flax seeds with hemp hearts to create a trifecta of plant-based nutrition.

CBD offers a wide-range of health benefits as well, most notably it’s anti-inflammatory properties and the calming effect it can have on your body. Coming in as an oil or tincture, it’s easily incorporated into liquids in your dishes or even in your water.

Oats, hemp seeds, chia seeds, and flax seeds are mixed in a microwave-safe bowl. It takes just minutes to mix all the ingredients and cook our "Ultimate Hemp Oatmeal" recipe.

It takes just minutes to mix all the ingredients and cook our “Ultimate Hemp Oatmeal” recipe. (Photo: Ministry of Hemp / Ellijah Pickering)

MINISTRY OF HEMP’S ULTIMATE HEMP OATMEAL RECIPE

Serves: 1

Prep time: 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of oats
  • 1 cup of almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon brown-sugar
  • 1 tablespoon shelled hemp hearts
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon flax seeds
  • Fruit or berries and additional hemp hearts as a garnish
  • Your favorite CBD tincture

Preparation

  • Add all dry ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl
  • Microwave for 2 minutes on high setting
  • Top with more hemp seeds and mix in CBD tincture
  • Can also top with fruits such as blueberries, bananas, or strawberries
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CBD Cocktail Recipe With PlusCBD & Ministry of Hemp (VIDEO)

Ministry of Hemp and PlusCBD Oil teamed up with San Diego mixologist Dan Sutherland to create this delicious CBD cocktail recipe. Watch the recipe and get links to more great CBD cocktails!

Ministry of Hemp teamed up with PlusCBD and and San Diego mixologist to offer this great CBD cocktail recipe!

Looking for other CBD cocktail recipes? Check out these favorites from our archives:

Ministry of Hemp and PlusCBD teamed up to bring you this CBD cocktail recipe.

And look for more CBD cocktail recipes coming up next month for Valentine’s Day!

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Waste Not, Want Not: Recycling Hemp & Cannabis Bio-Waste

As the hemp industry booms, it will inevitably product more waste. We looked at two startups recycling hemp and cannabis waste into useful products.

In a world of increasing pollution, two startups are trailblazing new techniques to reduce waste by recycling hemp.

The community based around hemp is famous for its holistic approach to life. Hemp advocates care about living cleanly, reducing their environmental impact, and trying to reduce waste as much as possible.

Industrial hemp is now fully legal in the United States thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill. As a result, we can expect the hemp industry to grow and produce more waste. Companies like 9Fiber and Kindness 3D see this as an opportunity.

Previously, we reported on Sana Packaging, who use hemp to create sustainable packaging for the recreational cannabis industry. 9Fiber and Kindness 3D differ in that they’re recycling hemp and cannabis waste after it’s produced. They’re helping reduce pollution and helping their fellow human beings at the same time.

9FIBER: RECYCLING HEMP STALKS & FIBER INTO USEFUL PRODUCTS

9Fiber, based out of Silver Spring, Maryland are an agricultural technology company focused on recycling hemp stalk and stem waste. This startup takes hemp bio-waste that’s been put aside by other companies and processes it into raw materials that can be used to make a variety of products.

First, 9Fiber decontaminates any biowaste from federally illegal substances, removing the THC. Next, they process the waste further by removing fiber from the hurd, which is the woody core of the hemp plant. Then, the fiber undergoes final processing before it becomes usable for production. With the recycled fiber and gum-free hurd, 9Fiber is able to make paper, rope, textiles, fuel, bioplastics, fiberglass, hempcrete, and even livestock bedding.

In November, the Colorado Advanced Industries Accelerator Grant Program gave 9Fiber a $250,000 grant. The process to get the grant was a lengthy one, as many startups. With this new funding, 9Fiber plans to expand their operations into Pueblo, Colorado in late 2019. Hopefully, this grant can also help 9Fiber scale with the inevitable boom in hemp production. With the recent passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, 9Fiber’s future is looking bright.

A cluster of stringy hemp fiber separated out from the rest of the plant, photographed against a plain white background. 9Fiber is recycling hemp by separating out the hemp fibers and woody core (hemp hurd). After processing, 9Fiber can reuse these materials in hemp plastic, hempcrete, animal bedding and more.

9Fiber is recycling hemp by separating out the hemp fibers and woody core (hemp hurd). After processing, 9Fiber can reuse these materials in hemp plastic, hempcrete, animal bedding and more.

Adin Alai, 9Fiber’s CEO, told us, “our main goal is to create an entire circular economy.”

While the hemp industry inevitably produces waste, companies like 9Fiber can use that waste to produce other products. Not only is Mr. Alai passionate about his startup, but he believes that the cannabis industry has the potential to be a leading zero-waste industry.

KINDNESS 3D PRINTS PROSTHETIC LIMBS FROM CANNABIS WASTE

Meanwhile, up north in Nova Scotia, Canada, a prosthetic limb production company recycles plastic waste from local psychoactive cannabis (“marijuana”) shops. After Canada legalized recreational use of marijuana, there has been a dramatic increase in plastic container waste. Based out of Halifax, Kindness 3D turns plastic packaging from psychoactive cannabis products into prosthetic limbs.

A student tries out a 3D-printed grabber hand at a school in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Kindness 3D takes plastic waste from recreational cannabis containers and turns them into prosthetic limbs.

A student tries out a 3D-printed grabber hand at a school in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Kindness 3D takes plastic waste from recreational cannabis containers and turns them into prosthetic limbs. (Photo: Kindness 3D Facebook)

Starting as a 3D printing enthusiast, Jake Boudreau started Kindness 3D after coming across templates for prosthetic limbs in an online 3D printing community. Since the creation of the non-profit, he’s been able to send hands to a girl in Costa Rica and a woman in Brazil. He aims to not only recycle reusable plastic waste, but to help people who can’t afford the expenses that come along with prosthetic limbs.

Donate to Boudreau’s GoFundMe and check out the Kindness3D Facebook page!

A GREENER FUTURE THROUGH RECYCLING HEMP

As industrial hemp and cannabis legalization spreads around the world, companies like 9Fiber and Kindness 3D fill an important niche. Efforts like these are vital for reducing hemp waste, and to increase the utility of the hemp plant. Hopefully, recycling hemp will become commonplace, and recycled hemp biomass products can become part of our everyday lives.

Hemp’s future is green, in more ways than one.

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