Quality is a particular concern, because cannabis plants easily soak up heavy metals from pesticides and other contaminants, Marcu says. If you are buying online, look for a company that documents how it tests its products. (If the website doesn’t indicate this, call and ask.) “Buying from a reputable manufacturer is crucial, because it matters how the plant is cultivated and processed,” Dr. Maroon says. One clue that a company is cutting corners: too low a cost. Good CBD is pricey—a bottle of high-quality capsules is sold in Cohen’s office for $140. But for many, it’s worth the money. Roth spent $60 on her tiny bottle. But when her energy returned the day she started taking CBD, she decided that was a small price to pay.
To make matters more confusing, nine states (including California, Washington, and Colorado) let residents buy cannabis-based products with or without THC. Nearly two dozen other “medical marijuana states” allow the sale of cannabis, including capsules, tinctures, and other items containing CBD or THC, at licensed dispensaries to people whose doctors have certified that they have an approved condition (the list varies by state but includes chronic pain, PTSD, cancer, autism, Crohn’s disease, and multiple sclerosis). Sixteen more states legalized CBD for certain diseases. But because all these products are illegal according to the federal government, cannabis advocates are cautious. “By and large, the federal government is looking the other way,” says Paul Armentano, deputy director of the Washington, DC–based National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), but until federal laws are changed, “this administration or a future one could crack down on people who produce, manufacture, or use CBD, and the law would be on its side.”
Because the FDA considers CO2 extraction to be GRAS or “generally regarded as safe” for commercial extraction, this method is popular in the food industry. The stability of supercritical CO2 also allows most compounds to be extracted with little damage. In the coffee industry, supercritical CO2 is already widely accepted as safer than traditional solvents to extract the caffeine from decaffeinated coffee beans.
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Anyway, the research showed that in mice, CBD was much more effective when used along with other compounds of the cannabis plant, than when it was used by itself. While they haven’t yet figured out why exactly this is the case, it’s now generally accepted that full-spectrum CBD oil is more effective at treating the majority of medical conditions, than is CBD isolate.
That leaves those touting CBD’s effectiveness pointing primarily to research in mice and petri dishes. There, CBD (sometimes combined with small amounts of THC) has shown promise for helping pain, neurological conditions like anxiety and PTSD, and the immune system—and therefore potentially arthritis, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, cancer, and more.
'If the Patient Information Leaflet that comes with your medication says to avoid grapefruit juice, for instance, then do not take CBD, as the same type of interaction can affect circulating blood levels of your medicine. Even if the leaflet does not mention grapefruit juice, you should still check with your doctor before taking CBD. You should also not take CBD if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.’
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