You drive down the road and pull into your favorite coffee shop. You pay the barista for your CBD-infused coffee. You continue down the road to your favorite department store to get some CBD-infused face cream before heading to the pet store to buy your 14-year-old boxer some CBD treats to help with his aching joints. The point? CBD products are everywhere these days, with forty-six states allowing the cannabis-derived compound in some form or other. Though federally still illegal, the non-intoxicating compound is fairly low on enforcement officials’ radar, and entrepreneurs and investors are creating quite a buzz around the buzz-less cannabinoid.
That buzz is backed by optimism surrounding the FDA’s approval of Epidiolex in July. Epidiolex (cannabidiol) is a new drug developed to treat rare types of seizure conditions in children and is the first cannabis-derived drug to gain the green light from the Food and Drug Administration.
The federal approval of Epidiolex opened many exciting new doors for medical researchers to study cannabinoids – the active chemicals in marijuana plants, which have been very difficult for researchers to study up to this point because of federal regulations surrounding cannabis. The popularity and success of CBD products has helped educate the public to the fact that not all cannabinoids contain intoxicating effects. Researchers have found that some cannabinoids suppress appetite, increase focus, and help maintain alertness. Scientists hope to find even more promising uses for cannabinoids, including treatment for diseases such as autism or cancer.
In even more promising news for the future of the budding CBD industry, the 2018 Farm Bill, which enjoys the support of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, could potentially legalize every cannabinoid except THC (the compound responsible for the psychoactive effects of marijuana). Ashville, N.C. cannabis business lawyer Rod Knight says “Everyone that this is about to explode and is developing products and processes.” CBD businesses are gearing up to stock the shelves of big-box retailers and stores across the country once the go-ahead is given by Congress.
Because there have been little to no human trials of cannabis, due to its classification as an illicit substance, it will likely be some time before more pharmaceutical products will flood the market. Nevertheless, businesses hoping to cash in on the CBD rush are striving to figure out ways that tout the benefits of CBD without making any specific claims to treat or cure a disease.
The problem is that most consumers have never heard of many of the cannabinoids, and therefore will be unaware of the potential benefits from their use as supplements. Here, then, is a bit of information to help navigate the claims manufacturers may be making in the future regarding supplemental use of minor cannabinoids:
Let’s start with THC-V. In mice, THC-V has been shown to suppress appetite and possibly regulate blood sugar, which may help with insulin resistance. California Cannabinoids founder David Lampach claims that people compare THC-V’s effects to those of speed, but without the anxiety. His company created and markets the first legal THC-V vaporizers, and they are working on clinical trials to test claims that the compound can be used to increase wakefulness and alertness.
On the opposite end of the market, some researchers are looking to CBN as the most promising cannabinoid for inducing sleep. Because CBN is a nonpsychoactive compound, it could be marketed as a natural alternative to narcotic sleep aids.
THC-A potentially has many of the promising benefits of THC, but without the intoxicating effects. This means it is potentially a great anti-inflammatory treatment and may help with pain suppression and nausea relief. L.A. based cannabis researcher Brandie Cross claims that only a tenth of the THC-A is required to have the same anti-inflammatory effects of regular THC. The only catch is that THC-A becomes THC when it’s heated, so for now, it’s mainly used in products like raw cannabis juice in legal states.
Finally, there’s CBG. There is a lot of demand for CBG. So much so that it’s worth about twenty times as much as CBD. It’s believed to have an impressive array of positive effects, but until more research is done, nobody can quite say for sure what those effects are. From anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties to promotion of new brain cell growth, the potential of CBG is promising, but more time and research is needed to pinpoint its most effective uses.