Frank Talk – A Q&A About CBD

Lots of people have lots of questions about CBD and our CBD products. We’ve gathered answers to many of the most common of them here. Please use our contact us form to let us know if you have other questions that we can answer.

Help me understand — are cannabis, hemp and marijuana the same thing?

No, hemp and marijuana are not the same thing. Although hemp and marijuana are plant cousins, they derive from different varieties of cannabis sativa.

 

As for the term “cannabis,” some people use it to describe marijuana alone; others use it to broadly classify the 80-some plants in the cannabis genus, which is why it can be confusing.

Exactly how are hemp and marijuana different?

The most legal important difference between hemp and marijuana is the amount of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol — THC — present.

THC creates the psychological high that comes with marijuana use. By law, marijuana contains more than 0.3% THC, although when marijuana is used as a recreational drug, THC concentrations more often range from 5% to 30%.

By law, hemp must contain less than 0.3% THC.

Another important difference between hemp and marijuana is their concentrations of cannabidiol, or CBD. CBD concentrations are high in hemp and low in marijuana.

 

HEMP

MARIJUANA

THC concentration

Low, 0.3% or less

High, 0.3% or more by law, but typically 5% to 30% in marijuana used as recreational drug

CBD concentration

High

Low

Psychoactive to users?

No

Yes

Is CBD legal?

Yes. Congress passed in 2018 the Hemp Farming Act, which legalized hemp as an agricultural crop in most states. The Act also legalized CBD, hemp oil and hemp seed oil in all 50 states.

Why am I seeing so many CBD products now?

CBD is attracting interest from consumers and researchers alike because it has a good safety profile, and early evidence shows it may be useful in treating various medical conditions.

According to the World Health Organization, CBD doesn’t trigger abuse or dependence in people. CBD has proven effective in treating epilepsy in clinical trials; one pure CBD product (Epidiolex®), completed Phase III trials, and was originally approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in June 2018.

According to WHO, CBD is generally well tolerated. Reported adverse effects may have resulted from drug-to-drug interactions between CBD and patients’ other medications. Patients who take CBD products and have positive experiences can be reviewed in the “Comments” section on the Public docket on the FDA website here.

How does CBD work?

CBD is believed to positively activate the body’s endocannabinoid system. Click here to learn more about how that system functions and how CBD interacts with it.

Is CBD regulated?

Yes and no, which is admittedly a problem and explains the explosion of CBD products now available online and in stores.

The most appropriate federal agency to regulate CBD is the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, CBD products are not currently regulated by the FDA as either dietary suppliements or prescription products, due to the fact that there is already a FDA approved brand product with CBD listed as the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API), namely Epidiolex®. While the agency has not issued formal regulations for other CBD products currently on the market, it is actively evaluating data and working with other government agencies to determine the best path forward in order to protect the safety and health of consumers. You can read all FDA updates and information regarding CBD here.

The FDA also has sent warning letters to manufacturers who made false claims about CBD concentrations and cures, marketed CBD as a dietary supplement, or added CBD to food — none of which is permitted. You can read those warning letters here.

If CBD is not regulated, how do I know a product is safe or effective?

Currently, CBD manufacturers don’t have to meet common standards for safety, quality, or effectiveness — and that means some manufacturers may intentionally or unintentionally mislead the public about CBD content, or how their CBD oil is processed.

A study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association found that nearly 70 percent of CBD products were mislabeled, unfortunately.

But that doesn’t mean consumers have to be in the dark. You still have control. Here are tips for ensuring CBD products contain what you want them to.

* Read labels carefully and look for evidence of a third-party laboratory validating CBD concentrations. Asterra products are tested by a third-party laboratory and come with a Certificate of Analysis (COA)

* For greater assurance, check the product’s COA to see if the validating lab meets ISO 17025 standards. This indicates that the lab complies with international scientific standards.

* Also, see if the company uses testing methods validated by one of these highly respected, standard-setting organizations: The American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP), the Association of Official Agricultural Chemists (AAOAC), or the U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP).

* Finally, do your own research about CBD products. Sites offering a wealth of information include…

The Foundation of Unified Cannabis Standards (FOCUS) is a nonprofit trade organization dedicated to protecting public health and consumer safety, and safeguarding the environment, by promoting integrity in the cannabis industry.

The National Cannabis Industry Association, a nonprofit trade organization with a mission of advancing a legal and responsible cannabis industry.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This site links to research investigating the effects of CBD on various disease states.

Project CBD is a nonprofit organization in California founded in 2009 by journalists covering the science related to the cannabis industry.

The University of California-Irvine’s Center for the Study of Cannabis provides an up-to-date library of cannabis-related research.

Will CBD negatively affect the drug test I take for work?

We formulate our CBD to be pure, containing no THC. CBD is not a controlled substance, has no psychoactive effect, and should not affect drug screenings.

How much CBD should I take?

We recommend that you discuss CBD with your health-care provider before use. That advice holds true no matter the medication someone is taking. CBD is generally considered safe, but there’s little research on how it might interact with other over-the-counter or prescription medications.

Since the effects of CBD vary from person to person, we recommend taking a single dose of the lowest strength available. Then, after you have determined how your body responds, you could increase dosing as necessary to achieve your desired response.