Although many adults support the legalization of cannabis, public understanding of marijuana is limited. According to a recent report, most consumers are misinformed about cannabis and its derivatives. For example, one in three people consider marijuana and hemp to be the same plant. Also, some internet users often wonder if consuming CBD causes a high due to the presence of a cannabis derivative.
Although marijuana, hemp, and CBD are all related, they differ in some key points. This guide covers the legalities, effects and potential health benefits of cannabis.
Commercially available CBD products
CBD products come in a variety of forms, including oils, tinctures, and edibles. Although people often confuse “CBD tincture” with “CBD oil”, these products are different. This is because tinctures are obtained after steeping cannabis in alcohol, and oils use a carrier oil to suspend the CBD, such as coconut or olive oil.
Since all other cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids have been removed, CBD isolate is also known as pure CBD. Broad-spectrum CBD contains, at a minimum, these additional substances, but no THC. Full-spectrum CBD is comparable to broad-spectrum CBD, except the THC content can be as high as 0.3%.
CBD oil differs from hemp oil in that it is obtained by pressing the flowers of the cannabis plant rather than its seeds. Additionally, CBD oil contains active cannabidiol while hemp oil does not. Therefore, CBD oil could be considered a nutritional supplement similar to fish oil, while hemp oil would be more suitable as a cooking ingredient due to its essential fatty acid composition.
Hemp, marijuana and cannabanoids
Although both hemp and marijuana are plants of the Cannabis sativa species, they seem very distinct. Indeed, there are variations within the same species, as in the case of animal breeds. The fundamental distinction between marijuana and hemp comes down to their psychoactive component: THC or tetrahydrocannabinol. In general, hemp has a THC level of 0.3% or less, which means that products made from hemp cannot give you the high associated with marijuana.
CBD is just one of many compounds, called cannabinoids, found in cannabis. They interact with receptors that control a variety of bodily functions, such as appetite, depression, anxiety, and pain sensation. Tetrahydrocannabinol is also a cannabinoid.
Although more research is needed, anecdotal evidence and clinical studies indicate that CBD is effective in treating epilepsy. Some also suggest that this substance can contribute to the relief of pain or anxiety, but this hypothesis has not been scientifically proven. Marijuana, which contains CBD and more THC than hemp, can potentially cure people suffering from nausea, epilepsy, glaucoma and multiple sclerosis. Some preliminary research has also suggested that it may help people who are dependent on opioids.
Medical marijuana research can help advance treatments, but federal law severely restricts it. This is because cannabis is classified by relevant authorities as a drug substance, meaning a controversial cannabis treatment, which has no recognized therapeutic utility and offers a high degree of abuse. Although the underlying mechanisms are not fully understood, CBD is thought to interact with other cannabinoids including THC to provide the additional therapeutic benefits of marijuana.
CBD and its legal status
With the widespread legalization of CBD, many industries now face new challenges. In France, companies that sell CBD products have faced legal disputes. There is a European law that governs trade between member states and within countries, which states that products legally produced in one country cannot be banned by another. CBD products fall under this directive.
In 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that any attempt to ban CBD flowers goes against the general principles of the European Union. Therefore, the production and sale of CBD is now legally acceptable as long as it contains 0.3% THC or less to be considered authorized (recently, 0.2% in France). People who seek and provide access to these alternative medical treatments therefore no longer have to fear arbitrary sanctions for having complied with the regulations in force.
The recent decision has created a more stable environment for CBD businesses across Europe like 321CBD for example, which offers a huge selection of CBD flowers, and reduced the confusion budding entrepreneurs may have when browsing in these complex laws. This highlights the importance of being up to date with current regulations so that individuals can avoid any negative impact on their activities. As a result, all parties involved now enjoy greater clarity and certainty when dealing with hemp-derived products in France and other parts of Europe.
So far, the French state has taken a cautious approach to CBD and other products derived from hemp cultivation; an attitude that has caused confusion among CBD users who do not believe it poses a risk. This position is also shared by the Court of Justice of the European Union. According to this jurisdiction, EU member countries cannot content themselves with banning locally produced substances without providing proof of the risks to public health associated with these substances. For France to be able to impose any future restrictions on CBD or its derivatives, it must compile enough scientific data to prove that there is a real risk before making a decision. Although it may seem like a daunting task, research on cannabidiol has been conducted since 1963 and no major studies have conclusively demonstrated any potential harm. So far, the available evidence largely indicates that hemp products can be consumed safely with minimal or complete absence of risk factors.