Comprehensive Guide to CBD

What is CBD?

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is one of over 113 different cannabinoids that are naturally-occurring within cannabis sativa. Hemp and marijuana are both members of the cannabis family and have differing amounts of CBD within their chemical makeup. Unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning it has no mind-altering effects. Due to the lack of psychoactivity, CBD offers a great option for people looking for the numerous therapeutic and medicinal benefits of cannabis products without breaking federal and/or state law and without the high.  

The Discovery of CBD and its Medical Value

Cannabis has held medical value for centuries, offering natural treatment for a large scope of conditions. With historical records showcasing the earliest recorded medical use of cannabis dating back to 1400-2000 BC, hemp and marijuana have been a part of our planet and human history for centuries.

American chemist Dr. Roger Adams was able to isolate the CBD compound in 1940 but was unable to determine exactly what he had isolated. CBD research started initially in 1946 when Dr. Walter S. Low began facilitating lab tests on the effects of CBD on animals. These tests resulted in the discovery that CBD was indeed non-psychoactive.

Raphael Mechoulam began significant cannabis research that led to the successful isolation and identification of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. The isolation of this cannabinoid later led to the identification of the three-dimensional structure of CBD. Although CBD was discovered prior to THC, THC has always dominated research due to its psychoactivity until recent years. Mechoulam’s groundbreaking research eventually led to the discovery of the endocannabinoid system and the subsequent endocannabinoids that are naturally-occurring in human biology. In 1980, Mechoulam found another incredible breakthrough in a study that resulted in the discovery of CBD as a major factor in epilepsy treatment.

Industrial Hemp for CBD Production

CBD can be derived from both marijuana and hemp plants. Marijuana-derived CBD does have significant amounts of THC, making it illegal in states where marijuana is illegal while also providing psychoactive effects. Hemp naturally has a larger rate of CBD with only 0.3% of THC, making it a viable option for CBD products that can be shipped to all 50 states without any mind-altering effects. The demand in hemp-derived CBD has led to a considerable push in hemp farming which resulting in the 2018 Farm Bill legalizing hemp cultivation on the federal level. CBD does have the same chemical makeup and benefits regardless of where it is derived from, providing a more readily available option for consumers nationwide.

Is CBD Legal?

Hemp-derived CBD is legal in all 50 states. It is important to understand that hemp-derived CBD does live in a legal gray area. Hemp is a federally legal commodity in the US, allowing everyone to make the assumption that hemp-derived CBD should, therefore, be legal. There is, however, no legislation written specifically on CBD.  

CBD was labeled as a Schedule 1 drug until September of 2018. The DEA has rescheduled CBD products with THC content that is less than 0.1% to a Schedule 5 drug. This is the first time the DEA has lowered any form of cannabis from a Schedule 1 drug, signaling the agency’s first admission of the plant’s medical value. This rescheduling took place three months after the FDA approved its first CBD-based pharmaceutical drug, Epidolex. Epidolex is a non-synthetic, cannabis-derived medication designed to treat rare forms of epilepsy. Due to the DEA rescheduling of CBD, Epidolex will now be distributed through doctor’s prescription and drug store, rather than a dispensary.  

Marijuana-derived CBD is not federally legal and can only be purchased within brick-and-mortar dispensaries. Since THC content is the main indication of legality among all 50 states, it is vital to source your CBD from a reliable supplier that is third-party, independently tested. Since there is currently a lack of regulation in the CBD industry, there have been instances where testing has shown illegal THC content in CBD products that have been marketed as containing less than 0.3% THC or as THC free.

When Does CBD Expire?

Finished Products

The majority of finished CBD products have a one-year shelf life. Tinctures and isolates can be stored in refrigerators, but refrigeration is not required. Never store tinctures in the freezer– this may jeopardize the other oils present. CBD isolate can be stored in airtight containers in freezers. Topical CBD products vary based on other ingredients present but typically have a one-year shelf life as well. CBD edibles do have a shorter shelf life, but that’s dependent on the expiration of food ingredients. Storing all CBD products in a cool, dark, dry place, not in direct sunlight is always the best practice for your customers. Expiration ultimately differs from manufacturer to manufacturer, making it important to conduct your own research.  

If your customers have tinctures and isolates that are over a year old, it is important to note that these products are still safe to consume. The only issue is potency– the CBD will begin to lose its potency after a year. If the product has changed colors or has a different smell, it is best practice to toss it.   

Raw Products

Raw CBD products tend to have a 12 to 14-month shelf life. Keeping raw CBD products stored away from heat and sunlight in airtight containers can help promote longer shelf life. While raw CBD products don’t necessarily expire, they do begin to lose potency after the 12 to 14 months like any other cannabis product. If stored in an airtight container, raw CBD products can be refrigerated or kept in a freezer.  

CBD for Pets

Every pet as an endocannabinoid system just like you and me. This facilitates the same therapeutic and medicinal benefits for your pets, offering a great alternative to pharmaceuticals. Pets have an even more limited range of treatments, all having serious side effects just like human-grade drugs. With an even larger scope of allergies and toxins, it can be really difficult for pet owners to find natural alternatives for their pets.

CBD pet products are definitely a demanding market providing pets relief from separation anxiety, traveling, motion sickness, loud noises, hot spots, mobility issues, chronic pain, and many other conditions.