Ministry of Hemp

Ministry of Hemp

America's leading advocate for hemp

Tag: cannabis

Hemp Cheeba Chews: Cannabis Candy Maker Turns To CBD

After years of success with their THC-infused taffy, new hemp Cheeba Chews combine their great flavors with the healing power CBD oil. We took a closer look at why this company is transitioning into industrial hemp.

Cheeba Chews, longtime makers of THC-infused candies, is turning to CBD. We thought we’d take a closer look at hemp Cheeba Chews.

Every election season, more and more states open their doors to psychoactive cannabis (“marijuana”). Alongside that, many THC-focused companies are expanding across the country. Businesses that could only operate in Colorado or Washington can now open doors in Vermont, Massachusetts, and Michigan. This expansion is bound to eventually hit the entire country.

However, these very companies are now seeing an ever-growing market for a cannabis product which is already legal nationwide. Since the 2018 Farm Bill, the demand for hemp has skyrocketed. The stigma we hemp enthusiasts fought against is now diminishing. And people who never had interest in cannabis are opening up to all the possibilities CBD products have to offer.

Cheeba Chews transition from psychoactive cannabis to hemp seemed worth exploring to us.

In 2009, James Howler developed a THC-infused taffy for medical cannabis patients within the state of Colorado. The goal of these candies was to provide the public with a safe, reliable form of cannabis which didn’t require a puff of smoke. A decade later, after much success, Cheeba Chews set its eyes on hemp.

Eric Leslie, the Marketing Officer of Cheeba Chews, discussed with us the transition from THC to CBD.

“The demand [for CBD] was coming from many consumers outside of legal cannabis states that we operate in,” Leslie told us. “I believe there is a large contingent of consumers that are totally apprehensive about trying THC infused products, due to societal perception through years of probation.”

After years of success with their signature THC-infused taffy, Cheeba Chews branched out this week with the launch of their CBD chews. Photo: A collection of Cheeba Chews hemp products in various flavors.

After years of success with their signature THC-infused taffy, Cheeba Chews branched out this week with the launch of their new CBD chews.

 

CBD DISTRIBUTION OUTWEIGHING MARIJUANA

While marijuana continues to fight against stigma and prohibition, hemp has taken a large towards becoming the social norm it should have always been.

As Leslie believes, the main reason people are turning their heads towards CBD is to seek out, “an outlet to experiment with alternative health and wellness options while not worrying about any sort of psychoactive disorientation.”

Public opinion and demand seems to confirm this statement. Just recently, CVS Pharmacy announced it’s going to begin carrying CBD products. This is pretty big news since consumers trust drug stores more than the smoke shops that often sell CBD. Furthermore, it really shows the demand has now reached a very corporate level.

“The conversation about CBD has hit a tipping point,” Leslie said, “and consumers are more open than ever to trying hemp derived products.”

Businesses are trying to get into this game as quickly as possible, before the market is saturated with competition. Cheeba Chews are no exception to this. One of their primary goals in creating hemp-based taffy is to reach the very states where marijuana remains illegal.

“We will track local, state, and federal regulations closely as we develop our distribution plan,” Leslie noted. “Having our website as a direct purchasing source for consumers means anyone, in any part of the country, can have access to our reliable and delicious hemp infused Cheeba Chews.”

CBD OFFERS SOMETHING MARIJUANA CAN’T

The healing benefits of CBD encouraged Cheeba Chews decision about releasing a hemp line of products. Despite the many benefits of marijuana, the psychoactive effects turn off many consumers.

“We have always believed in making a positive impact in the lives of those that trust in and consume our products,” Leslie mentioned. “Federal regulations and limitations on ‘official’ research restricts us from explicitly expressing any sort of specific medical benefits, but we believe in the power of CBD.”

Everyday consumers also believe in this power. Word of mouth is powerful! While the government remains reluctant to study hemp, regular CBD users are already discovering new benefits. Due to this, they’re spreading the word around to others in need of natural medicines.

This word of mouth is one of the main reasons finance professionals predict the hemp industry will hit well over $2 billion by 2022. Still, it takes more than just oral communication to develop a prediction. Just as importantly, companies must build trust with their customers.

A densely packed hemp field in front of a tree-lined hill.

The 2018 Farm Bill fully legalizes hemp in the U.S. Legalization helps to reduce the stigma around hemp increase demand, too.

Leslie claimed the primary goal of Cheeba Chews is, “to help distribute our reliable, and trusted products to more people, and assist in continuing to change the narrative and stigma around CBD.”

THE FUTURE OF CHEEBA CHEWS AND HEMP

Leslie expressed excitement about Cheeba Chews’ growing line of CBD-based taffy products

“We’re looking to expand out award-winning taffy flavor variety,” Leslie anticipates. “In fact, next month, we will be launching our new Orange Cream taffy flavor in both our cannabis and hemp line.”

Still, they’re keeping an open mind for products outside of taffy.

Hemp Cheeba Chews are currently available in four flavors on the official website. They’re available for sale to all 50 states. Each taffy piece offers 25mg of CBD.

“With the global CBD movement amplified by the passing of the U.S. Farm Bill, greater understanding of the benefits of Cannabidiol has helped shift public perception of the plant, increasing demand for hemp-based products,” said Eric Leslie.

“With award-winning flavors, consumers already trust and rely on the brand for creating the highest quality cannabis products, and we have taken that same approach in developing our line of hemp chews.”

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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 vs. Marijuana: What’s The Difference Between Hemp & Marijuana?

Today we’re going to talk about Hemp vs. Marijuana. With the rising legalization of all forms of cannabis, things can get a little confusing sometimes.

I’m Jessica with Ministry of Hemp, America’s Leading Hemp Advocate.

Today we’re going to talk about hemp and marijuana. With the legalization of both of these industries, there’s a lot of information popping up, and with more information comes more MISinformation.

So today we’re gonna talk about how they are both similar and totally different! Let’s get to it.

HEMP VS. MARIJUANA: WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE? 

Classification

Cannabis is a family of plants with two primary classifications – indica and sativa. While marijuana can be a member of either the indica or sativa families, hemp is only a member of the cannabis sativa family.

Composition

Cannabis contains a variety of different cannabinoids. The two most dominant are tetrahydrocannabinol, known as THC, and cannabidiol, known as CBD. While both have been shown to have benefits to the human body, THC, has psychoactive effects, which means you “get high,” while CBD does not.

While hemp contains 0.3 percent THC or less, marijuana is abundant with THC, different strains can contain anywhere from 5-35 percent THC.

Usage

Marijuana is grown for medicinal and recreational purposes. Due to its psychoactive properties, marijuana is usually consumed by smoking, vaping or in edibles.

Hemp, on the other hand, has over 25,000 possible applications such as dietary supplements, skincare and body products, clothing and fabric, and even paper, construction, and fuel!

Legality

Hemp is legal to purchase in all 50 states and is legal to ship in the U.S.

Marijuana, however, is not legal in every state at this point. It’s still illegal in many states, some have only legalized medical marijuana, and some states have both legal medical and recreational marijuana.

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CBD In Canada: Why Can’t I Easily Get Legal CBD In Canada?

In October of 2018, Canada became only the second country in the world (after Uruguay) to legalize recreational cannabis. However, access to legal CBD products remains extremely limited in our northern neighbor.

In October of 2018, Canada joined a very niche club, becoming only the second country in the world (after Uruguay) to legalize recreational cannabis. However, if you thought that meant the streets would be paved in green leaves up north, you would be wrong.

Canada is divided into provinces that, like the states in the U.S., have their own laws and regulations separate from federal rulings. That means that although the Cannabis Act applies to all of Canada, depending on where you live your ability to purchase cannabis may differ. As the law rolled out some infrastructure problems made the transition a little bumpy, with supply chain issues and confusing regulations. When it came to accessing CBD products, in particular, consumers were really confused.

WHAT IS CBD?

If you looked at a cannabis flower or leaf underneath a microscope you would see hundreds of tiny little hairs sprouting up called trichomes. Compounds of cannabis, called cannabinoids are produced and stored on the plant’s trichomes. There are over 100 different cannabinoids including THC and CBD. THC, or Tetrahydrocannabinol, is the compound in psychoactive cannabis (“marijuana”) that makes people feel “high.”

CBD, in contrast, has no psychoactive effect and instead has been embraced for a range of medical and therapeutic uses. Used in the drug Epidiolex, it is prescribed and sold at great cost to treat epilepsy. As interest has grown a huge range of products have come onto the market exploding in popularity, crossing genres from wellness products to skincare, to beverages.

An activist holds a "Cannabis for Canada" sign at a 420 celebration. Despite legalization of recreational cannabis, it's still difficult to obtain legal CBD in Canada.

In October 2018, Canada became the second country in the world to legalize psychoactive cannabis (“marijuana”).

IS CBD LEGAL?

This is where things get tricky. CBD has had a complicated journey towards legislation in the U.S. with different states determining it to be either legal or illegal, with the final say often coming down to how it was produced. CBD derived from hemp has generally been considered permissible while CBD from marijuana has not.

With the passing of the Farm Bill, it was thought that all hemp derived CBD would be totally legal but a press release from the FDA threw more confusion into the mix with a warning that CBD cannot be added to foods, that health claims would be rigorously tested, and a suggestion that in the future they would “consider whether there are circumstances in which certain cannabis-derived compounds might be permitted in a food or dietary supplement.”

One of the sticking points seems to be that although there are studies showing CBD can alleviate feelings of social anxiety, and that it reduces inflammation and works as a pain reliever, medical claims made by CBD producers and manufacturers are untested and not regulated federally.

As reported by Ministry of Hemp, in some states CBD products are sold out in the open in major grocery chains and yet in other states, people are still being arrested for selling CBD products.

AN OVERVIEW OF LEGAL CANNABIS IN CANADA

The new official rules in Canada allow members of the public to possess and share up to 30 grams of legally acquired cannabis and grow up to 4 plants per residence for personal use. That provision that the cannabis must be “legally acquired” states that it must come from an approved provincial or territorial retailer. It’s also of note that in the official announcement mentions of CBD products specifically are missing.

The Cannabis Act states that “Other products, such as edible products and concentrates, will be legal for sale approximately one year after the Cannabis Act has come into force and federal regulations for their production have been developed and brought into force.”

It seems that the Canadian government is going with a soft launch focusing on psychoactive cannabis containing THC with plans to address CBD and other cannabis products at a later date.

A photo of an altered Canadian flag flying against a blue sky. The typical maple leaf is replaced with a hemp or cannabis leaf.

After Uruguay, Canada is the second country in the world to legalize recreational use of cannabis. However, legal CBD in Canada remains difficult to come by.

Coupled with this slow rollout is the fact that government officials and lawmakers have not made a distinction between products containing THC and CBD, as Trina Fraser, partner at Brazeau Seller Law, in Ottawa, Ontario explained:

“CBD, in and of itself, falls within the definition of “cannabis” in the federal Cannabis Act.  As such, it is regulated just as all other cannabis products containing THC. Hemp farmers can grow hemp for the purpose of CBD extraction, but the plant must be sold to a federally licensed processor to conduct the CBD extraction, and then the CBD is subject to the same rules as all cannabis extracts.”

CANADIAN CANNABIS LAW CAUSES CONFUSION OVER CBD

Fraser explained that there was a proposal to permit natural health products containing CBD, but it seems the process was stalled and never completed.

As CBD products do not have the same effect as THC consumers believe falsely that they are always legal. “There seems to be a pervasive misunderstanding as to the legal status of CBD,” said Fraser.

“Mary” from Ottawa [name changed to protect from possible prosecution] is one such confused consumer. She uses CBD to control her anxiety and told us that life without it is immeasurably worse. “I really need my CBD products, they help to keep me relaxed and to deal with symptoms of PTSD, but I really don’t understand whether or not I am allowed to legally purchase them. I order offline from a US company and they mail it to me. I have always received it with no problem, but I find I am anxious until I get my package,” she said.

WHAT ARE LICENSED PRODUCERS?

Steven Looi, Director of Origination at White Sheep Corp and an industry expert from Toronto said that “CBD is treated the exact same way that THC is treated, in fact, all cannabinoids receive the same treatment in Canada. CBD is illegal unless it comes from a licensed producer.”

Health Canada claims that to become a licensed producer in Canada applicants must go through a screening process that is the toughest in the world for cannabis producers.

Consumers cannot legally purchase cannabis from any other producer.

“I really need my CBD products, they help to keep me relaxed and to deal with symptoms of PTSD, but I really don’t understand whether or not I am allowed to legally purchase them.” — “Mary,” a Canadian CBD consumer

According to Statistics Canada there are over 100 licensed producers registered in Canada, although there may not be that number currently producing and selling their products.

Only those people with a prescription for medical marijuana can purchase CBD and only through companies authorized by the MMPR — the Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations. Of those 100 licensed Canadian producers, only 23 have been registered under the MMPR and are able to sell directly to the public. Therefore legally purchasing CBD in Canada, even if you have a prescription, can be very difficult.

CHANGE IS COMING FOR CANADIAN CBD CONSUMERS

Changes are coming soon though in conjunction with ongoing public consultation, slated to be completed by the end of 2019. “All sorts of new product types will enter the legal marketplace and permit the legal sale of many products that are currently only available illegally,” said Fraser.

A vial of CBD oil and the flowery top of a hemp plant sit on a wooden tabletop. Experts expect access to legal CBD in Canada will improve in the coming year.

Experts expect access to legal CBD in Canada will improve in the coming year.

However, although it may seem that all of this uncertainty will be ironed out by years end, purchasing CBD in Canada will still require effort, despite the new laws. Legal CBD products will continue to only be available through authorized retailers and products will carry security features on the packaging like cigarettes and alcohol. There will also be strict limitations in place in terms of the health claims producers can make. Health Canada follows the legislative lead and also makes no distinction between CBD from hemp or marijuana.

Looi pointed out that “For folks going the legal route for a CBD, legalization will give them greater access, and more products. For folks that always sourced their meds in the black market, not a whole lot has changed.”

Once edibles and other cannabis products are legalized Looi said Canadians will have access to some of the same types of products that are currently flooding the American market.

“Canadians will have better access to a proliferation of CBD products. Marketing, storytelling and promotion will encourage many new consumers to purchase products featuring CBD,” he said.

As with any emerging industry, there are certain to be teething problems both in Canada and the United States. Unfortunately for CBD users in Canada, the much longed for legalization has not automatically made CBD accessible for all.

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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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Terpenes: Everything You Need to Know About These Scented Wonders

Terpenes give hemp and cannabis, along with many other plants from citrus fruits to lavender, their unique scents. They offer unique benefits too, especially paired with cannabinoids like CBD and THC.

Terpenes are natural compounds found in all forms of hemp and cannabis that give the plant its bouquet of smells.

In addition, terpenes work in concert with the better known compounds found in the plant such as the cannabinoids THC and CBD to provide their own unique health benefits.

One reason we enjoy writing about hemp is the opportunity to learn new cannabinoid science and then get to share it with our readers. We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating, there really is so much more to the cannabis plant than just CBD and THC.

Of course, both of these two cannabinoids, along with the other hundred or so cannabinoids, are instrumental in the healing and feel better properties of the cannabis plant. But increasingly researchers believe other parts of the hemp plant work synergistically with the cannabinoids to maximize the healing properties, Today’s article focuses on one of those parts: terpenes. While all forms of hemp contain terpenes, some are especially prevalent in psychoactive cannabis (“marijuana”), which we’ve noted below.

WHAT ARE TERPENES?

Cannabis isn’t the only plant that produces terpenes. According to Wikipedia, terpenes “are a large and diverse class of organic compounds, produced by a variety of plants, particularly conifers.” Terpenes give these plants their unique scents and assist plants in a variety of ways.

Terpenes attract pollenating insects for plant reproduction. They also ward off or even kill predators. They slow plant maturation and regulate metabolism. Terpenes are a major component of plants’ essential oils. Aromatherapy treatments frequently use terpenes due to their medicinal properties. Some terpenes develop because of stress to a plant, like excessive heat.

The exact number of terpenes found in the cannabis plant ranges between 100-200 depending on different variations in scientific classification.

A woman smells a lemon from her refrigerator. Limonene is a terpene that creates the unique smell of citrus fruits.

Limonene is a terpene that creates the unique smell of citrus fruits.

For example, the popular terpene limonene gives citrus fruits their unique smells. It is found in both lemons and oranges, but in different concentrations thus creating a different scent, or variations.

Here we discuss nine primary terpenes found in hemp and share the healing properties of each.

DIFFERENT TERPENES EXPLAINED

Below, we look at 9 of the most prominent terpenes: mycerne, limonene, carophyllene, pinene (Alpha/Beta), terpineol, borneol, linalool, eucalyptol, and nerolidol.

Mycerne

Mycerne is the most common terpene found in hemp. In some strains, over 60% of the essential oil is made up of mycerne. It smells very similar to cloves. Scientists consider myrcene a potent analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antibiotic.

Mycerne blocks cytochrome, aflatoxin B, and other pro-mutagenic carcinogens. It has a relaxing, calming, anti-spasmodic, and sedative effect. Myrcene works synergistically with THC and may also increase the psychoactive potential.

The essential oil of  citrus fruits contains high levels of myrcene. Many claim that eating a mango 45 minutes before consuming psychoactive cannabis results in a faster onset and greater intensity.

Limonene

Limonene is often the second, third or fourth terpene found in cannabis resin and produces the smell we find in citrus fruits. Like mycerne, limonene contains anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-carcinogenic properties. It is also said to protect against Aspergillus and other carcinogens found in smoke.

Even more, a cancer study from 2013 revealed that terpene reduces tumors in women with early-stage breast cancer. Limonene quickly and easily penetrates the blood barrier, which increases systolic pressure. What’s more, some experts say limonene increases attention, mental focus, well-being, and sex drive.

Citrus fruit rinds, rosemary, juniper, peppermint, and several pine needle oils all contain limonene.

Caryophyllene

Many herbs and spices contain caryophyllene. Black pepper contains high amounts, giving it that spicy flavor.

As with the previous two terpenes, caryophyllene has anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and anti-fungal properties. It has affinity for our bodies’ CB2 receptors making it a common ingredient for anti-inflammatory topicals and creams. Topical application of caryophyllene also relieves toothaches.

A cluster of peppercorns.

The terpene Caryophyllene gives black pepper its spicy scent. It also has anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties.

One interesting note about this terpene is its promising role in alcohol rehabilitation. In a study on mice, scientists found that caryophyllene reduces the voluntary intake of alcohol.

In addition to black pepper, Thai basils, cloves, and cinnamon leaves have caryophyllene. Lavender also produces caryophyllene in small quantities.

Pinene

Pinene, as the name implies, creates the smell associated with pine and fir trees. Doctors use pinene in medicines as an expectorant, bronchodilator, anti-inflammatory and local antiseptic. Pinene also improves concentration, personal satisfaction, and energy. Patients suffering from arthritis, Crohn’s Disease, and cancer may benefit from pinene.

A unique fact about pinene: Smoking cannabis with high levels of Pinene may give the sensation of sucking more air, which can lead to coughing or hyperventilation.

Many conifers and non-coniferous plants, balsamic resin, pinewoods, and some citrus fruits produce pinene.

Terpineol

Terpineol smells of lilacs, crabapple, blossoms, and lime blossoms. Plants with high-levels of pinene often also produce terpineol. If you’ve ever enjoyed Lapsang souchong tea, part of the flavor came from the terpineol in the pine smoke used during processing.

Terpineol creates a sedative effect often connected to indica strains of psychoactive cannabis. During tests on mice, terpineol reduced mobility by 45 percent. Experts also believe terpineol has antibiotic and antioxidant properties.

Commercial producers of terpineol often derive this terpene from Monterey cypress trees.

Borneol

Borneol smells like mint and camphor. Chinese herbalists use borneol in medicines against fatigue, stress, lingering illness.

Some researchers believe this terpene’s natural insect repellent properties and could be used against diseases caused by ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes such as West Nile Virus. One study published even show that borneol kills breast cancer cells.

Linalool

Linalool has a floral smell similar to lavender and spring flowers. It is currently being used in the treatment of various cancers.

Linalool has a calming action, antianxiety, and produces sedative effects. Linalool is responsible for the sedative effects of certain psychoactive cannabis strains. In tests on mice their activity decreased by 75%. It also has analgesic and anti-epileptic properties.

A mug of peppermint tea on a saucer, garnished with fresh mint leaves. Often found in hemp and cannabis, the mint family of plants also produces the terpene

Often found in hemp and cannabis, the mint family of plants also produces the terpene linalool.

Patients suffering from arthritis, depression, seizures, insomnia and cancer have all found relief with this terpene.

The Lamiaceae plant and herb family, which includes mints, laurels, cinnamon, rosewood, and Birch trees, all produce linalool. Linalool is a precursor in the formation of Vitamin E.

Eucalyptol

Eucalyptol is the main ingredient in eucalyptus essential oil. It has a minty smell and found in small amounts in psychoactive cannabis.

Eucalyptol relieves pain, improves concentration, and inner balance. Plants containing eucalyptol enhance meditation and concentration. It is showing promise as a treatment for Alzheimer’s, but it’s still in early stages of research.

The Eucalyptus plant, bay leaves, sage, sweet basil, and cardamom contain notable quantities of eucalyptol.

Nerolidol

Nerolidol has a unique woody and fresh bark aroma. Nerolidol contains anti-fungal, anti-cancer, and anti-malarial properties. It may prevent certain kinds of parasites.

Neroli, ginger, jasmine, lavender, and tea tree oil contain nerolidol.

UNDERSTANDING AND USING TERPENES

Again, these are just some of the most common terpenes found in hemp and cannabis. There are many more. These profiles were summarized from Alchimia and Greencamp, where you you can read more on terpenes.

After reading this article, we hope you understand how the benefits of terpenes and pair so perfectly with the benefits of CBD, and all the other cannabinoids. We hope you start incorporating them into your daily CBD regimen.

Bees pollinate from a field of lavender. If you can't find the terpenes you want in your hemp supplements, you may be able to supplement by adding other natural plants like lavender, which is high in nerolidol.

If you can’t find the terpenes you want in your hemp supplements, you may be able to supplement by adding other natural plants like lavender, which is high in nerolidol.

More and more CBD supplement companies recognize the importance of terpenes and now add different terpenes to their products to supplement those already found in hemp. Some brands even sell terpene concentrates for customers to incorporate on their own.

However, if you’re unable to find the terpenes you want through your local CBD store or online, try looking to a non-cannabis plant type or spice and simply combine with your CBD.  You might not achieve the same synergistic effect as when the terpenes are naturally present, but you should still receive the healing properties of the terpenes themselves and the healing properties of the CBD.

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How To Research CBD Oil: Discovering CBD After An Injury

When Haddayr Copley-Woods injured herself cycling, she started to research whether CBD could relieve her pain. It did, but she also discovered that vaping CBD offers almost miraculous relief to her anxiety, too.

Editor’s Note: In the second part of our series of first-person accounts about CBD oil, author Haddayr Copley-Woods explains how she learned to research CBD oil. In the previous installment, Annalise Mabe told us about using CBD for Crohn’s disease. -KO

“You’ve turned into a filthy hippy,” my son told me as I drove him to school yesterday morning. “You think weed cures everything.”

“I don’t think it cures everything,” I said.

“And,” I added with the enormous dignity appropriate to my age and station in life (48, crippled, insane, living paycheck-to-paycheck), “I’m too young to be a hippy. Also, it’s not weed. It’s hemp.”

“It’s the same plant,” he said with obnoxious adolescent assurance.

“No, it isn’t,” I said.

“It’s a different strain, but the same plant,” he said, rolling his eyes. Moms don’t know anything.

“No, it isn’t — infinity plus one,” I said.

A woman types on a laptop on a desk with books and notepads nearby. After an injury left her hurting, Haddayr Copley-Woods needed to research CBD in order to discover how it could help her chronic pain and anxiety.

When Haddayr Copley-Woods injured herself cycling, she began to research CBD in order to understand how it could help her chronic pain and anxiety.

“Okay,” he said, getting out of the car, “but there is no such thing as infinity plus one. And maybe look it up. Ya damned hippy.”

HOW TO RESEARCH CBD WHEN YOU DON’T LIKE MARIJUANA

So that’s how I wound up writing YOU WERE RIGHT I WAS WRONG on the Facebook page he only keeps to humor me a few days later.

Same species: “cannabis sativa,” different strain.

Because I’m now using CBD oil regularly, it was SO important to me that it not be the same. Because, you see, my mom was actually a hippy. And years ago, when a traitorous sister told her that I’d tried pot, she called me on the pay phone at my college dorm, weeping with joy. “You know,” she said. “Now you understand.”

“I was stoned,” I said. “I understand that I was stoned.”

And I hung up on her.

See, my mom likes to feel altered. While pot is what she thought made me Deep and understand the Mysteries of the Universe, she mainly prefers alcohol.

Related: I have complex PTSD from a rough childhood. And I HATE feeling out of control in any way. When your childhood feels like one big mess you’re endlessly failing to clean up, and the adults are so out of control that you feel that you have to create order yourself (but you have no skills to do it), when you experience gaslighting so thorough that you can’t even trust your own instincts or memories — you sometimes become a control freak.

Well, I did, at any rate.

The feeling I got the first time I tried pot: that I couldn’t control the hysterical laughter, like I couldn’t trust my eyes or my thoughts or my sensations — it was far too familiar of a feeling.

I don’t want to feel that way ever again.

Not a hippy. Not by a long shot.

WHY I NEEDED CBD: HOW I GOT MYSELF INTO THIS

The accident happened so slowly that I was able to think: “I’ll bet this is going to be fun to watch,” before I fell.

A bicycle with basket, bell, and flower-print decorations leans against a wall. A cycling accident left Haddayr Copley-Woods hurting, and started her on a journey towards discovering CBD oil's benefits.

A cycling accident left Haddayr Copley-Woods hurting, and started her on a journey towards discovering CBD oil’s benefits.

I was biking illegally on US Bank Plaza in downtown Minneapolis, like you do, looking around for an address which wound up being (duh) the US Bank Building. I was biking so slowly I could barely stay upright, keeping my eyes peeled for pedestrians and craning my neck at addresses, which is why I missed the very short yet very solid concrete driving barrier directly in front of me.

“Huh,” I thought. “I’m going to crash. Maybe I should put down my foot or brake or something.”

Instead, I hit the barrier with a delicate bump that could hardly be called a crash and then verrrrryyyyy   slooooooooow w w w w lyyyyy fell to the ground, twisting so that I fell on my back.

I lay there for a while, contemplating my folly and looking up at the beautiful blue sky with perfect puffy cartoon clouds framed by skyscrapers.

“Wow,” I said aloud. “Wow. Even for me, that was impressive. Wow wow wow.”

Very soon, a small group of people surrounded me, asking if I were all right.

“If you have some liniment.” I quoted from the classic science fiction novel “A Wrinkle in Time” as I scrambled out from under the bicycle and onto my feet, then continued, “I’ll put it on my dignity. I think it’s sprained.”

I have this quote well in-hand not only because I am a giant nerd but also because I fall down in public a LOT. In addition to PTSD, I have a mobility disorder, and I love to bike, and I apparently make bad decisions.

“Well,” said a man whose outstretched hand I’d declined as I rose, “It was a very graceful fall!”

See? I told you. Fun to watch.

HOW LINGERING PAIN LEAD ME TO RESEARCH CBD

I could tell I had a very minor concussion (my Very Storied Past has made me a connoisseur of concussions) based on the sort of pixelated overly-bright world around me. My butt hurt.

After sitting down on a hard plastic chair for three hours of instruction, I requested a standing desk at work.

After a while, I was rocking and letting out teeny tiny moans much like I had years ago when in the early stages of labor.

So I took some Advil and Tylenol, which are the drugs I used to combat my post-C-section pain sixteen years ago because I hated the experience of Vicodin so much. Anyway, they were enough. I am not macho about this; I just have a very high pain tolerance. Usually, they take care of anything life can throw at me.

This time, they didn’t even make a dent in my pain.

“I’m friends with a lot of potheads, and they love me very much and want to help.”

My doctor, who is excellent, told me to ice it, referred me to physical therapy, and sent me home. (We had already rejected opiates — she knows my background and my need to feel alert at all times. Hypervigilance, they call it.)

So I asked friends for pain control advice.

DANG I’m friends with a lot of potheads, and they love me very much and want to help.

I turned them down for the reasons outlined above, and I was very skeptical when some suggested hemp oil. But after several people suggested CBD oil for my pain and my anxiety, I started to google.

A stethoscope rests near a hemp leaf, some hemp flower buds, and a jar of CBD oil. Although CBD is widely recognized as safe, many medical professionals are still reluctant to recommend it. Patients are often forced to research CBD for themselves.

Although CBD is widely recognized as safe, many medical professionals are still reluctant to recommend it. Patients are often forced to research CBD for themselves.

“Do your research!” Everything I read told me.

So, first I turned to the experts.

WHAT MEDICAL EXPERTS SAY ABOUT CBD OIL

Does CBD oil help anxiety?

Cincinnati-area psychiatrist Andrew Nachum Klafter, MD, HATES pot.

“Marijuana is a terrible drug for your brain,” he says. “Absolutely awful. It saps all your motivation. It’s incredibly addictive. It messes up your brain really badly.”

Except he didn’t say ‘messes.’

While I’m not quoting him as stating a fact (studies are conflicted on this one), I wanted you, Dear Reader, to understand that he hates pot even more than I do.

“It’s figuring out what’s going to work for you. When it comes to ways to helping people feel better, why wouldn’t we want to do that?”

And yet, Klafter feels differently about CBD oil. Some patients tell him that it helps with anxiety. “There aren’t good studies on efficacy,” he says, “but the studies I have seen have convinced me that CBD oil, assuming that’s what they are buying, is probably relatively safe.”

St. Louis Park-based Kathleen Mathews, LICSW, is also concerned about her patient’s safety, and has found online research bewildering.

“That said, I’ve seen enough anecdotal evidence that it’s something that I probably will suggest to some people with sleep issues, PTSD, and anxiety,” says Mathews.

She is quick to say she doesn’t believe it’s a miracle cure.

“I know it doesn’t work for everyone. But (psychiatric) meds don’t work for everybody. It’s figuring out what’s going to work for you. When it comes to ways to helping people feel better, why wouldn’t we want to do that?”

Does CBD Oil help pain?

Since my primary concern at first was pain, I turned to a family practice doc to talk about that.

“I have heard from patients that the use of cannabidiol is somewhat effective for pain relief and anxiety,” says Minneapolis doctor Jared Frandson, MD, “so I have suggested that patients could seek this out as an alternative to medical cannabis from a dispensary … which is very expensive.”

Outside of this specific application, Frandson is not so sure about recommending it to clients. “There are few large randomized trials on cannabidiol and the ones that I’ve seen are relatively small and have mixed results,” he says.

How much CBD Oil should I take?

Because the supplement industry is not regulated by the FDA, Frandson also doesn’t know where to tell his patients to get quality CBD oil or how much they should take — although one interesting study suggests that a middling dose rather than a very high or very low one is best for anxiety.

Why aren’t there large studies on CBD oil?

“I think the larger barrier is the fact that it’s still considered a Schedule I controlled substance,” says Frandson.

Outside of one very narrow and recent exception to this rule, this designation places hemp and CBD in the same category as drugs such as heroin and meth, and puts a near halt to most studies in the U.S. Applying for permission has been extremely cumbersome if not impossible over the past decades.

A gloved scientist with a vial of CBD and a hemp leaf. Scientists are reluctant to research CBD due to legal and regulatory barriers, but that's beginning to change.

Scientists are reluctant to research CBD due to legal and regulatory barriers, but that’s beginning to change.

Part of Frandson and Klafter’s worries are about whether or not their patients are getting actual CBD oil. “I would want to have some reassurance that the product itself is what it says it is and that it is pure,” says Frandson.

MEDICAL EXPERTS ON THE FUTURE OF CBD

Andrew Klafter can see a future for CBD oil-derived pharmaceuticals for anxiety and PTSD.

“I’m confident that sometime in the next ten years we will see FDA-approved medications,” he says.

There are a few reasons for that.

First, the DEA has attempted to smooth its application process for large research institutions seeking to study Schedule I Drugs as of January of this year. Due to the popularity of CBD oil and explosion of the industry, it’s hard to imagine Big Pharma won’t salivate over that market.

Second, the DEA’s exception-to-the-rule approval of a CBD-based medication has opened the door to more companies getting this exception. Knowing that it’s possible to make a profit is going to be enticing.

Third, America is just getting fed up with the illegalization of cannabis. State after state is flouting the federal law, and it seems only a matter of time before the ban is lifted completely.

So if you prefer your medicines to be pharmaceutical, in ten years you just might be in luck.

Here’s the thing, though: I don’t prefer my medicines to be pharmaceutical. While I think there is a time and a place for the Medicine Industrial Complex (namely: emergency care, birth control, antibiotics, and vaccinations), a lot of this distillation and studying and patenting and distributing sounds a lot like barring me from what will help me NOW.

And even Frandson and Klafter, both MDs who are heavily invested in Western Medicine, suggest that people try CBD now, because they are both convinced at the very least that it is safe.

I get acupuncture for tendonitis and depression and I take goldenseal tincture to prevent colds, I use slippery elm bark for sore throats and dandelion root for bloating. I figured all of this stuff out without help from drug companies, and I found I could research CBD oil and safely try it without them, too.

In addition, the pharmaceuticalization of a plant could threaten existing growers and distributors, many of whom prefer to sell the whole plant (I will get into that later). There are reasons people search for healing on their own.

One of those reasons is cost: the oil I wound up buying is around $50-75 a month for what I needed. When this plant is ground down and separated and synthesized and someone puts a patent on it, you can bet your sore butt it will be many, many times that cost.

Yes — all the talk about how impossible it is to know what you’re really getting is intimidating. But it’s not really true.

HOW TO RESEARCH CBD OIL FOR YOURSELF

1. Search for scientific studies online

First, I googled the obvious: “CBD oil and pain studies,” “CBD oil and anxiety studies,” “CBD oil and PTSD studies.”

Particularly when it came to pain, it was impossible for me to separate CBD oil from marijuana, such as in this British study: Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain.

A woman in a cafe studies her smartphone screen. One way to research CBD for yourself is by searching online for studies and articles about using CBD oil to treat your symptoms or conditions.

One way to research CBD for yourself is by searching online for studies and articles about using CBD oil to treat your symptoms or conditions.

Nearly everything else I found was exactly what the MDs had told me: relatively small studies, mainly outside of the US, that were not double-blind or long enough to satisfy my science brain. Still, it was hopeful enough to make me want to try it anyway, because my butt HURT, man.

So I knew I wanted to do this.

2. Learn more about CBD oil

This wonderful article about finding the correct CBD oil helped me to understand the basic bones of the product: Top 5 Ways to Identify High Quality CBD Oil.

I knew I wanted:

  • Oil distilled through pharmaceutical-grade ethanol or supercritical CO2 extraction.
  • Hemp grown in the U.S.
  • THC lower than 0.3 percent
  • Full spectrum (the whole plant)
  • Recent third-party lab results prominently displayed
  • Vaping oil that did not contain Polyethylene or propylene glycol as thinning agents

3. Where to buy?

What company is reputable? How soon can I get my hands on some?

I mean by butt was on FIRE.

Knowing I wanted oral oil for pain (slower acting but longer lasting) and the vape for anxiety (shorter-lasting but nearly instantaneous), I googled Top Ten CBD Oil Companies, and I started inputting dates. Who was on several lists for multiple years? Why?

I created a list of companies that were on multiple lists for multiple years, or companies that had a long track record, and then narrowed down my search by my checklist above. I did some pricing comparisons (see ‘paycheck-to-paycheck’ above), I sent the companies I’d like to buy from questions and noted how complete and how fast their responses were, and decided who I’d buy from.

HOW CBD OIL WORKED ON MY PAIN

Then, I experimented on myself.

I’m going to admit that I had high hopes. I have always been the friend who helped loved ones with cancer find psychoactive cannabis, and I saw what pot did for their pain. It seemed like a miracle. (Oh, dang. Is my kid right about me being a hippy, too?)

But when I took the CBD oil — a nice big mouthful of the oral oil — it didn’t even make a dent in the pain. Not after I waited patiently for the hour several places online recommended.

Aw, damnit, I thought. I guess it has to have THC in it. I’ll take my equally useless Advil/Tylenol cocktail for reasons I can’t articulate and call it a night, even though I can’t sleep with this pain.

But somehow, the combination of Tylenol, Advil, and CBD oil DID make a dent in my pain. I was able to stay at my desk (still standing; I am not a superhero) without lamaze breathing. The pain stopped waking me up. I was just a lady with a pretty damn sore butt.

Googling around, I found a few other anecdotal stories of CBD oil making other pain relievers far more effective, and one or two studies saying the same thing. It was an enormous relief for me.

So I would say if you are a middle-aged mom who hates the feeling of being stoned because you have Issues and constantly have to drive your obnoxious, insulting kids around so you need to stay sharp and also probably the illegality of pot in your state gives you pause, go ahead and try some CBD oil with your Tylenol and Advil.

If CBD doesn’t help and, depending on the laws around you, you may need to investigate THC or other cannabinoids, which may have more effect on some kinds of pain.

A woman exhales vapor after using a CBD vape. After doing her research CBD, Haddayr Copley-Woods discovered that vaping CBD offered instant and profound relief to symptoms of anxiety caused by Complex PTSD.

After doing her research CBD, Haddayr Copley-Woods discovered that vaping CBD offered instant and profound relief to symptoms of anxiety caused by Complex PTSD. (Photo: Flickr / Electric Tobacconist, CC-BY license)

HOW VAPING CBD OIL WORKED ON MY PTSD ANXIETY

This is the big OH MY GAWD moment.

My PTSD is pernicious — I am always hypervigilant, I have flashbacks in embarrassing awkward places. I freak out over stupid crap and then over nothing at all.

It affects my parenting, because I become so anxious I start snapping at my kids, or I freak out and tremble and freak them out. It affects my partnership, because living with someone who has PTSD has been likened to living with an alcoholic — despite my six years of treatment, you never know which person I’m going to be from minute-to-minute.

I take an antidepressant which helps the anxiety in a rather nebulous sort of way. I sometimes can control things with yogic breathing, but often it’s too late and I’m punching myself in the head, hyperventilating, and crying.

“Oh, honey,” she said. “You just don’t know what calm feels like.”

So I got the vape pen, and on my first incredibly anxious night I tried it.

Went out on the porch. Clicked the thing five times to activate the battery. Inhaled. Held it in my lungs for a long time. Exhaled.

And it was like an anvil came down out of nowhere and squashed the panic. It was just blocked. It was just gone.

“Are you sure I’m not high?” I asked my partner, five minutes later as I sat at the dinner table wondering if I had the munchies.

“Oh, honey,” she said. “You just don’t know what calm feels like.”

And that was it. The vape didn’t fog my brain. It didn’t draw a cloud of cotton over my hurt. It didn’t make me feel out of control. CBD just … stopped the panic. Instantly. And I felt calm. Peaceful. Still.

Writing this now, a month or so later, I am getting tears in my eyes over the simple fact of it.

SOME FINAL TIPS ON RESEARCHING CBD

I’ve become that person now, the one who demands her friends with anxiety try just ONE HIT off of my vape. I watch them as their faces slowly light up with amazement. As their panic just … stops.

My sample size is tiny. But for my friends and I, vaping CBD for anxiety is 100 percent effective.

If you’ve been wondering about CBD oil, and you have a complex background like I do with feeling high or buzzed, follow my steps:

  1. Figure out the best type of CBD for you (full spectrum or isolate; edibles or CBD tinctures for slower, longer-lasting help, CBD vape for nearly instantaneous help).
  2. Find the company by comparing ‘top CBD’ lists and ensuring quality by following my checklist above.
  3. Google for reviews of the company, and ask customer service questions.
  4. Start with a very small dose of CBD and go from there.

Maybe it won’t work, like half of the damn antidepressants I’ve tried. But maybe it will, and you can take some of your health care into your own hands.

Anyway, maybe that makes me a hippy. And maybe it’s the same damn plant as weed. But CBD oil is legal in all 50 states, it helps an awful lot of people, and it’s something you can do for yourself NOW.

A woman poses with a hemp leaf in hand, partially obscuring the right side of her face. Haddayr Copley-Woods believes everyone has a right to find relief from pain and discomfort. For her, the first step was to research CBD.

Haddayr Copley-Woods believes everyone has a right to find relief from pain and discomfort. For her, the first step was to research CBD.

I’ve spent my life hearing from people that doing something for myself was wrong for so many reasons: because as an unlovable kid and teen I wasn’t worth being taken care of by anyone. Because moms should put everyone else’s needs before our own. Because disabled lives just aren’t worth bothering much about and we are SUPPOSED to be in pain and pretty miserable.

It has taken me many years of therapy to shout down those lying voices.

I now know that if I can get closer to a calmer and less painful place, it is all right for me to try to get there.

And you — you, reading this now — it’s all right for you to seek relief, too.

1 Comment on How To Research CBD Oil: Discovering CBD After An Injury

Investing In Hemp Stocks: Getting Started With Hemp & Cannabis Stocks

After years of stigma around cannabis, suddenly people are talking openly about investing in hemp stocks. We offer some tips for getting started in this volatile, exciting market.

After years of stigma around cannabis, suddenly people are talking openly about investing in hemp stocks.

A couple weeks back, we overheard a local UPS driver shared how his wife just got her medical marijuana card and that he’s been putting money into cannabis stocks and was making a killing. After hearing about the driver’s huge success, two thoughts came to mind. The first was how cool it was talking so casually about cannabis and marijuana stocks, second was how do we get in on this?

Almost immediately, the writer perused some popular marijuana stocks and learned that many investors were in fact making money hand over fist buying marijuana stocks, but not everyone was. The cannabis market as a whole is extremely volatile, which means it’s very easy to quickly make and lose money.

However, this doesn’t mean one should shy away from these stocks. Ask a stock broker and they will most likely tell you that a diverse portfolio of mixed stocks performs best on average. Meaning, it’s about risk tolerance and balance and volatile cannabis stocks should be a small part of a stock portfolio, not the other way around.

The Wall Street road sign in New York City, New York. In this article, we lay out some basics of investing in hemp stocks. Be careful: We're not investment experts, and can only get you started doing your own research!

In this article, we lay out some basics of investing in hemp stocks. Be careful: We’re not investment experts, and can only get you started doing your own research!

In this article we’re going to share some “hot stocks” in the marketplace, including details on our UPS driver’s stock and share some important market information, as well as things to look out for should one decide to invest. Remember, all investments carry risk and investors need to weigh any and all risks before investing in the stock market.

INVESTING IN HEMP STOCKS: UNDERSTANDING CANNABIS MARKETS

To start, it’s important to first take a look at the entire cannabis market as a whole. This can help answer some very basic questions for investors. For example, is the industry moving in the right direction? Are certain industry sectors doing better than others? Is one more risky than another? Of course, these are just a few questions one should be asking, there are many more.

Let’s take a look at the cannabis market information as reported by Grandview ResearchIn 2016 the U.S. Legal marijuana market size was estimated at 7.06 billion and expected to grow at CAGR of 24.9 percent from 2017 to 2025. Globally the industry is expected to reach $32billion.

Of the two marijuana segments, medical marijuana was the largest segment and estimated to be valued at USD 100.03 billion by 2025.

When it came to products, the marijuana buds segment was estimated to be the dominant type and is estimated to be valued at USD $82.9 billion by 2025.

Cannabis Industry Sectors

Marijuana sector breakdowns were not easy to come by and choices were few. Of all the ones perused, Bloomberg’s chart was the most detailed. Even though these numbers are a few years old and market share has probably shifted some, most likely it hasn’t changed enough to significantly change the order.

    1. Pharma/Research USD $1.5b
    2. Producer USD $645m
    3. Consumer USD $302m
    4. Real Estate USD $216m
    5. Consulting USD $170m
    6. Tech USD $162m
    7. Industrials USD $54m

LOOKING AT CANNABIS STOCK INDICES

We’ve all heard of the Dow Jones and the S&P 500 stock indices. These major stock indices consist of groups of stocks whose combined daily performance is an indicator of how a market is doing without having to track individual stocks. According to Investopedia, “investors and other market participants use indexes to track the performance of the stock market.”

Cannabis stocks have their own stock indexes and there are plenty to choose from. Each index will have their own set of guidelines outlining the requirements a company must meet in order to be listed on that particular index. Below are three major cannabis indices.

Global Cannabis Stock Index (GCSI)

GCSI has been in existence since 2013 and they represent the overall publicly traded market for the medical and legal marijuana sector. There are currently 61 cannabis related companies listed on the index and is rebalanced every quarter.  The last rebalance took place in September and each stock was required to have an average daily trading value in excess of $600,000 and a minimum price of at least $0.25 (10-day average). Lastly, Canadian and Australian companies must have a U.S. listing in order to be included in the index.

North American Marijuana Index (NAMI)

The NAMI tracks leading stocks in the legal cannabis industry in the United States and Canada.  The North American Marijuana Index is broken down by 2 sub-indices: The U.S. Marijuana Index and the Canadian Marijuana Index.  Where a company is primarily operating determines which sub-index they’ll be listed.

The NAMI began on January 2, 2015 with an inception of 100 points.  Both indices are rebalanced quarterly on the last day of March, June, September, and December of each year.

To be included, companies must meet minimum trading requirements. They must have a market capitalization of $80 million, daily trading volume of $2million and a share price of at least $1.00. Companies with $5 million of revenues over the prior years are exempt from the above trading requirements.

The Green Market Report Index

This is the newest of the cannabis indices. The Green Market Report Index officially launched January 31, 2018.  This index consists of 30 stocks selected based on market capitalization, revenue production, plus high standards of company operations. They focus solely on pure cannabis companies with a rebalance review each quarter.

HOW TO INVEST IN HEMP

Now before you go calling your local stockbroker, it’s important to remember that while some investors make money buying cannabis stocks, many others do not. As with any investing, it’s important that you do your own research. The Motley Fool recently published an article on investing in marijuana stocks. Below is a synapsis of some key points.

Understand The Different Markets

There are basically two markets when it comes to cannabis: medical and recreational marijuana.  Medical marijuana is legal in 30 U.S. states and recreational legal in nine states. One of the most commonly used medical marijuana products is cannabidiol (CBD).

Know the marketplace you want to invest in

When it comes to cannabis, there are three type of cannabis stocks

  1. Marijuana growers — These companies cultivate, harvest and distribute to the end customer.
  2. Cannabis biotech’s — These companies focus on developing cannabinoid drugs.
  3. Providers or ancillary products and services — These companies provide products and services to growers, such as; lighting, hydroponic systems, etc.

Understand the risks and what you’re willing to lose

For cannabis stocks, the biggest risk is the legal and political issue facing the industry. While some states have approved either both recreational and medical marijuana, or simply for medical use, but regardless cannabis is still federally illegal.

Supply/Demand imbalance

Imbalances can happen for a variety of reasons. With regards to the marijuana industry, many cannabis stock prices are valued higher than they’re worth. For example, a stock price might be overinflated because of potential future growth that analyst’s price into the present day stock price.

This can pose huge risks to the marketplace later on once the huge growth is achieved. It’s very likely the growth targets will cause a supply gut.

HOT STOCK PICKS: CANNABIS STOCKS

To give you an idea of how hot the cannabis market is, just take a look at the United States Marijuana Index.

According to Investopedia,As of June 29, 2018 the United States Marijuana Index, despite a lot of uncertainty around regulations, has over the past 1 year gained 71.49 percent, as compared to about 12 percent gain seen by the S&P 500. Given that is not exactly an apples to apples comparison, but it does make a case to at least investigate investments in marijuana stocks.”

Tilray (TLRY)

Tilray is listed on NASDAQ. This stock is interesting because the stock was only issued to the public this past July and has already jumped over 600 percent from it’s first day IPO price. This was the first marijuana stock to go public with only 9 million shares being offered.

Many believe that Tilray could see a steep decline in the future, but for now, it’s being used to speculate the future of legalized marijuana in Canada.

Chart Basics

  1. Average Trade Volume: 8,175,928
  2. Market Cap: 9.406B
  3. Price/Earnings Ratio (TTM): N/A
  4. Earning Per Share (TTM): -.030

Canopy Growth (CGC)

Canopy Growth is listed on the NYSE. So far in 2018 this stock has climbed 100 percent. This cannabis producer has received multiple rounds of investments from beverage specialist Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ). Many are speculating Constellation Brands will eventually buy them outright and add cannabis to its lines of brands like Corona and Svedka.

Chart Basics

  1. Average Trade Volume: 1,984,482
  2. Market Cap: $5.98B
  3. P/E ratio (TTM): N/A
  4. EPS (TTM): $.0950

Aurora Cannabis (ACBFF)

Aurora Cannabis, Inc. is listed on the OTC market. ACBFF is another big Canadian pot company. Last March, Aurora Cannabis acquired rival MedReleaf in a .25 billion all stock deal.  According to the original press release, combined, these two companies expect to produce over 570kg per year of cannabis.

Chart Basics:

  1. Average Trade Volume: 1,857,787
  2. Market Cap: $4.101B
  3. P/E Ratio (TTM): N/A
  4. EPS (TTM): -$.03

GW Pharmaceuticals (GWPH)***

GW Pharmaceuticals is listed on the NASDAQ as an American Depository Receipt (ADR)This UK Company had a huge win this past June when the FDA approved the first drug of its kind derived from pure plant CBD called Epidiolex. This drug is approved for treatment of epileptic seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.

Chart Basics:

  1. Average Daily Trading Volume: 463,151
  2. Market Cap: $3.918B
  3. P/E Ratio (TTM): N/A
  4. EPS (TTM): -$9.67

Stock information provided by Investopedia.

HEMP STOCKS TO WATCH

While these two stocks haven’t experienced huge jumps like Tilray and Canopy Growth, both of these hemp companies are poised for breakouts. Also, both have stock prices near $1 per share, which may be a good opportunity for newbie investors to start with.

Global Hemp Group, Inc (OTCMKTS:GBHPF)

Global Hemp Group is listed on the over-the-counter market. GBHPF is a Canada-based company with operations in Montreal, Canada and Los Angeles, California. Currently Global Hemp Group is completing it’s hemp cultivation projects in New Brunswick, Canada, Oregon and the United States.

Global Hemp plans to develop value-added industrial hemp-based CBD products next.

Chart Basics

  1. Average Trade Volume: 192.17k
  2. Market Cap: NA
  3. P/E ratio: NA
  4. EPS: NA

Hempco Food and Fiber (OTCMKTS:HEMP)

Hemp, Inc is listed on the over-the-counter market. Hempco Food and Fiver is a producer and distributor of hemp-based products. They have a 56,000 sq. ft processing facility in Alberta, Canada, where they produce hemp-based foods. With the legalization of cannabis, Hempco plans to utilize the hemp stalk as a fiber source for industrial building and textile uses.

In 2019, Hempco expects hemp production capacity of 240,000 lbs/month.

  1. Average Trade Volume: 32.13M
  2. Market Cap: 6.68M
  3. P/E Ratio: NA
  4. EPS: $ -0.02

Stock information provided by 420intel.com.

A person uses a laptop keyboard while books on investing sit nearby. While investing in hemp stocks is appealing for many reasons, it can be hard to get started. We've offered some hot cannabis stocks and resource for continued learning.

While investing in hemp stocks is appealing for many reasons, it can be hard to get started. We’ve offered some hot cannabis stocks and resource for continued learning.

WHERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT INVESTING IN HEMP

Hopefully this article has whet your appetite to the huge potential hemp and cannabis stocks have right now and in the foreseeable future. As already stated, it’s very important that investors do their homework and due diligence before taking on any investment. To help get you started, below are some educational resources that offer valuable content.

IN CONCLUSION: HEMP STOCKS REPRESENT AN EXCITING, VOLATILE INDUSTRY

As the cannabis industry continues to evolve there will bound to be more volatility in the marketplace just like we see today, as well as new hot-stocks to buy. We’ve included links throughout this article to help you learn more. It’s the perfect time to learn about this exciting industry. And who knows, you might end up sharing the killing you made trading cannabis stocks just like our UPS driver!

Happy trading!

Disclosure: Rob Railis owns stock positions in various industries. He does not own any positions in the stocks outlined in this article. Our Editor in Chief Kit O’Connell owns two shares of CGC, one of the stocks mentioned in this article, in addition to stock positions in various industries including a small number of shares of other cannabis stocks.

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