Nationwide advocates of CBD rave about its benefits for a broad range of maladies, physical and psychological. For many afflicted with arthritis, epilepsy, anxiety or countless other ailments, CBD has been life-changing, and the benefits felt by users are heralded without any doubt. The success stories, coupled with a lack of side effects or propensity for addiction, have fueled countless users to adopt CBD in their own treatment regiment – and spread the craze to others still. Better yet, unlike THC-heavy products, pure CBD can be found at vape shops and head shops like 710Pipes. While CBD has been life-changing for many, and countless credible sources have conducted research in support of their claims, federal administrators have been slow to meet the public’s demand for research into cannabidiol’s efficacy. PubMed has published research affirming CBD’s role in alleviating the symptoms of more than fifty ailments. As the opioid epidemic rages across the nation, having a non-addictive, non-intoxicating alternative with a significant capacity for relief has been a godsend to users everywhere.
A Second Look Was All It Took
Studies that have been conducted to date have produced overwhelmingly positive results regarding the safety and efficacy of cannabidiol, echoing the claims of its many proponents. Several new studies on its treatment potential are currently underway. One study, conducted by the New York University School of Medicine in conjunction with the National Institute of Health, will examine the effectiveness of CBD in the treatment of comorbid PTSD and Alcohol Use Disorder. Another, funded by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, studies CBD's effectiveness in the treatment of motor disturbances caused by Parkinson's Disease.
The FDA previously classified CBD as a Schedule I drug, to match their classification of marijuana and its derivatives overall. Proponents were infuriated by this classification, as it hinges on the claim that CBD has no medicinal value, which was not in line with research to date. A lack of federal research does not equal a lack of healing power. Thankfully, the FDA recently reassessed that ruling. In their recent review of cannabidiol, they recommended that the DEA classify Epidiolex as a Schedule V substance - the least restrictive of all categories. After considering the eight relevant aspects for classification, they determined that CBD could be removed from control entirely. This stance was accompanied by their acknowledgement that CBD has "currently accepted medical use in treatment" and a "negligible potential for abuse." They amended that CBD is only considered a controlled substance to comply with the regulatory standards of a treaty put forth in 1961, and if said treaty were abolished, the control of CBD should be promptly revisited.
Epidiolex: the Best, and Not the Boogeyman
This ruling is in line with the release and recent approval of Epidiolex - The first FDA-approved plant-based cannabinoid medicine. Epidiolex is designed to treat those with severe forms of early-onset epilepsy. Prior to its release and FDA reclassification, many parents of epileptic children would risk incarceration, outrageous fines, or even custody of their children just to acquire CBD to ease their suffering. They’ve pleaded for their stories to be heard, and for the medicine that helps their children to be free of baseless vilification, let alone recognized for the life-changing treatment it was. CBD provides crucial relief to many in need and is sometimes the only treatment to do so. The release of Epidiolex, alongside the concurrent surge of allocated funding to CBD research, is a tremendous stride in the right direction. The acknowledgement of the FDA that CBD is not the boogeyman it was once derided as, but actively beneficial and free of risk, allows those in the industry a long-awaited sigh of relief (and a well-earned “I told you so” to the man).
With clear federal standards still lagging behind the public's demand for CBD and hemp products, Colorado officials have bridged the gap by regulating the industry at a statewide level. In July of 2017, the Colorado Department of Public Health ruled that industrial hemp may be legally used in foods throughout the state of Colorado. Jeff Lawrence, Director of Division of Environmental Health and Sustainability with the CDPHE, emphasized that CBD manufacturers are being supervised and regulated by state administrators with the same thorough guidelines as any other industry in their jurisdiction, noting that this new realm involves “more of an educate versus regulate.” Statewide approval and regulation help Coloradoans to access CBD with ease, and allow for its purchase from nearby vape, pipe and smoke shops.
Local CBD Production (and the Head Shop Where You’ll Find It)
CNN's Sanjay Gupta covered an in-depth look at Charlotte Figi, a Colorado girl with a severe form of epilepsy. Charlotte was the inspiration and namesake for Charlotte's Web Hemp, a Colorado manufacturer of CBD and hemp products. Such coverage has been essential in getting the word out, bringing the topic of CBD and hemp manufacturing to a wider mainstream audience that may have been unaware of this growing industry.
Between 2014 and 2017, federal oversight of CBD and hemp product manufacturers was apparently limited - in fact, few if any federal inspections took place, manufacturers say. Former White House lawyer James Prochnow explains that routine audits of business practices may occur within the industry, but further federal inspections have yet to occur with CBD largely because no safety concerns have arisen. Such investigations are generally common following safety issues from users, as was the case with the diet pill ephedra. The state's standards for foods mirror the standards for "good manufacturing practices," or GMPs, put forth by the FDA. Manufacturers care about upholding the highest production standards for CBD – especially as a model for other state or federal manufacturers who may eventually follow the torch we’re burning.