CBD companies are coming out with new products that blur the line between cannabis and pharmaceuticals. I tried two “high strength” roll-on products that are marketed to relieve muscle and joint pain. Both helped relieve the tendonitis pain in my hands that wakes me up at night. Both contain CBD along with ingredients like lidocaine (in the cbdMD product); and menthol, cayenne extract, and capsaicin (in the Green Roads product). These are ingredients available in other OTC products meant to treat joint pain. The U.S. FDA (as of 12/20) has not finalized their rules about CBD.
Green Roads and cbdMD are using slightly different approaches for their products.
Green Roads uses terms like “heat relief” for their CBD Muscle and Joint roll-on. They also have the disclaimer that “this product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.” Their “mighty” strength roll-on has 750mg of broad spectrum CBD in a 3 oz. roll-on.
CbdMD takes a different approach. They have a “Drug Facts” panel that lists Lidocaine HCL 4% as the lone active ingredient. They add a whopping 3000 mg of broad spectrum CBD to their 2.5 oz. roll-on. Because 4% lidocaine is FDA approved for topical pain relief they are free to label their product “for temporary relief of pain.”
I found some obvious differences between the two products. The Green Roads roll-on smelled like menthol and my hands tingled a bit after using it. This actually felt good, and it gives the immediate sense that something is working. Products like Icy Hot and Ben Gay work this way – as a “counter irritant” that tricks the brain into not feeling the pain. Capsaicin sometimes feels hot to the touch too, but it also blocks pain transmission from the periphery to the central nervous system. I don’t think there is actually much capsaicin in the green roads product, as it is the very last ingredient listed.
The cbdMD product soaks into the skin quickly, like the other roll-on. There is no fragrance, no tingle, no immediate sensation at all. I just noticed some pain relief after a few minutes. This product takes longer to work, but it seems to relieve pain longer. I never woke up needing a second dose with this product. I don’t know if it’s the lidocaine or the super-strength of CBD that contributes to the longer pain relief.
I’d give a slight edge to the cbdMD roll-on. I like the initial sensation from the Green Roads roll-on and I would be happy continuing to use it. The cbdMD roll-on gave me longer-lasting relief.
We’re getting pretty far from the plant with these products, but I imagine they will be accepted by consumers who may shy away from other cannabis products. If you want to make your own CBD topical try our salve recipe. The menthol makes it more like the Green Roads product.
Disclaimer – I received these products from Cannabis Pharmacy to sample and to review them.
The domain for this blog has changed to CannabisPharmaC.com (without the “y”). Watch the old domain for a new site that will sell pharmaceutical grade hemp-derived cannabis products. “Your Pharmacy’s Cannabis, Delivered!”
Dr. David Allen from 2014 on the discovery of the endocannabinoid system.
CBD Nation is an excellent documentary about CBD and cannabis that most people will never watch. You can watch it on Prime Video for $4.99 (rental) or $7.99 (purchase).
Maybe it was supposed to be released in theaters. Maybe it will be free next year. It’s worth paying this small price to watch this year. If you have friends and family who are skeptical about medical cannabis, buy it for them as a gift.
The film starts with a study that found high levels of pharmaceuticals in bay mussels. The obvious contrast is with the cannabis plant that can heal without many of the side-effects of harsh drugs. We then hear true stories of patients, including young Jayden David who had life-threatening seizures. The legal medical cannabis industry is a patient-driven phenomenon. Harbourside Medical Center in Berkley provided Jayden with a CBD tincture in 2011. This medication virtually eliminated his seizures.
Jayden David’s epilepsy was controlled with CBD from cannabis.
Raphael Mechuloum is interviewed briefly at strategic points throughout the film. Mechuloum is the Israeli researcher who discovered THC also discovered the seizure-blocking effects of CBD 35 years ago.
Medical cannabis and CBD are presented as alternatives to harsh pharmaceuticals; and as promising treatments for difficult syndromes such as Graft versus Host Disease (GVHD). This leads to a presentation of the endocannabinoid system – our body’s natural system that helps maintain balance. Our bodies produce natural cannabinoids that maintain the balance of other systems in the body. Cannabis appears to be a plant that contains substances that help our bodies maintain and restore balance.
Rylie Maedler was the inspiration for Rylie’s Law legalizing medical cannabis for children in Delaware
Rylie Maedler was a young girl when she developed an aggressive bone tumor that began destroying the bones in her face. Her mother began researching alternative treatments for shrinking tumors and started Rylie on cannabis oil. Surprisingly these treatments worked to regenerate the bones in her face and to shrink the tumor. She did not require the reconstructive surgery that is usually needed. The Delaware legislature unanimously passed “Rylie’s Law” to legalize medical cannabis for children like Rylie.
Veterans with PTSD are then featured. Colin Wells is a founder of the group “Veterans Walk and Talk” who use medical cannabis and hike several times a week in Southern California. The founder of Irwin Naturals then describes his mission to offer CBD at reasonable prices.
The film is professionally produced and it makes a strong case for cannabis medicine. I wish this documentary could be widely viewed without paying a fee, but I guess that’s not realistic. Check it out on Amazon Prime Video or Apple Video. It’s worth the small cost of admission.
The documentary film CBD Nation premiers August 25th on Amazon Video, iTunes, and other streaming services. Forbes described the film this way:
Featuring leading experts in cannabis and medicine, including Raphael Mechoulam—the Israeli scientist who discovered THC, the endocannabinoid system and the therapeutic efficacy of CBD to treat medical conditions—the 83-minute film exposes 60 years of often ignored published reports and ongoing research.
The trailer gives a pretty good idea of what is covered. Maybe this will help even more people recognize that cannabis does have healing properties.
Update: 8/21/20 – The DEA made most delta-8 THC illegal today subject to a 60 day comment period. Here is a good summary of what has happened.
Original Article from 6/2020:
The fuss about THC has always been about
Δ9 (delta 9) THC. It’s responsible for the high in marijuana.
Δ8 (delta 8) THC is a very similar molecule that is present only in small quantities in most cannabis.
Resourceful chemists have recently found a way to create
Δ8 THC from hemp.
If you Google “delta 8 THC” you will find references to it being legal, and other equally reliable articles stating that is Federally illegal. Older articles always refer to it being illegal because it was considered an isomer of delta 8 THC. The DEA considers isomers of illegal drugs to also be illegal. The 2018 Farm Bill defined hemp in such a way that isomers created from hemp are legal. As long as
Δ8 THC is derived from hemp it is now considered to be legal. States can still make it illegal, so check with your state laws to be certain.
The term `hemp’ means the plant Cannabis sativa L.
and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all
derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and
salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9
tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on
a dry weight basis.
A new subreddit covers issues related to
Δ8 THC. Most users report that it is sedating and calming, with a more intense “body high” than CBD has. Others describe it as making you “stoned without being high.” It does seem to be psychoactive, but it doesn’t seem to cause the changes in thinking that occur with
Δ9 THC – no paranoia; but also no positive mood and mental changes that some seek from marijuana.
There is also evidence that
Δ8 THC will show up as THC on a urine drug screen. You should avoid it of you are drug-tested (even though it is probably legal and hemp-derived). Some have also reported that it does not work in edibles. To get effects you may need to dose sublingually with
Δ8 THC oil or vaporize
Δ8 THC distillate .
Δ8 THC is known to be neurprotective. It has been shown to reduce nausea in children receiving chemotherapy for cancer. It is believed to act on both the CB1 receptor and the CB2 receptor, but in a different way than
Δ9 THC .
You should avoid driving while taking any new cannabinoid.
Δ8 THC is stronger than CBD and is more likely to impair motor skills.
For more information check out:
There are a lot of YouTube videos on using your Instant Pot pressure cooker to decarb cannabis. Because it uses pressure, the Instant Pot can reach temperatures of 245 degrees Fahrenheit before water boils. It maintains this temperature evenly during the period it is pressure cooking. Some bright cannabis fans discovered that you can pop your weed into a mason jar, screw the lid “finger-tight,” add 2 cups of water, and cook it for 40 minutes. This heating (or decarboxylation) converts the non-psychoactive THCA to the psychoactive delta 9 THC. While this process works for THC (and also for CBG) it does not produce enough heat to decarb CBD.
Toasted Blonde has one of the more entertaining videos showing how the Instant Pot decarb works for THC.
What about converting CBDA to CBD? Cannabidiol (CBD) requires either higher temperatures or longer decarb times. The makers of the Ardent Nova decarboxylator recommend running the decarb cycle twice if you are decarbing CBD hemp flower instead of THC marijuana. The same principle works for the Instant Pot. You decarb the hemp flower for 80 minutes instead of 40 minutes. (Ardent just announced a new version with different cycles for THC and CBD – and they recommend using the THC cycle if you are decarbing CBG-dominant cannabis.)
If you are using the Instant Pot to infuse CBD oil you can decarb for 40 minutes, wait for the flower to cool, add MCT oil to the mason jar, and run the Instant Pot for an additional 40 minutes. By the end of the process you will have a home-made CBD oil that will need to be filtered through a coffee filter or a commercial filter. It will probably taste more herbal and possibly more smoky than the CBD oil/tincture you buy.
Decarbing cannabis on a baking sheet in the oven can be a smelly process no matter how many smell barriers you erect. The Instant Pot method only smells a little bit. That’s another major advantage. If you have an Instant Pot then you should really try this method.
The FDA is increasingly cracking down on CBD products in the marketplace. New rules are expected later in 2020 and there has been a lot of speculation about what might be banned. The FDA is charged with (among other things) protecting the public from unsafe foods and drugs. They also have responsibility for regulating “dietary supplements.” They have been active in warning companies that make health claims when marketing CBD, and many companies use the familiar “dietary supplement” label when listing how much CBD is in their products.
Hemp flower is an agricultural product; and is obviously not a dietary supplement. It closely resembles marijuana, and a few states have even banned “smokable hemp” because it is hard to distinguish it from marijuana. It remains legal in most states, and it is one of the least expensive ways to get CBD and other cannabinoids into your system. The 2018 Farm Bill made hemp legal federally, and the FDA does not appear to have jurisdiction over the sale of agricultural products such as hemp flower.
In 2020 most hemp flower is CBD-dominant, with CBD being the primary cannabinoid present. CBG-dominant flower is newer and less is known about it and its effects. Studies thus far have found anti-cancer and anti-microbial benefits. Research is ongoing. If highly-processed CBG products become popular the FDA may step in and regulate them too. CBG flower and CBG-dominant full-spectrum hemp oil will be harder to regulate.
Full spectrum hemp oil is only one step removed from the hemp plant. Hemp oil is created when hemp is processed in such a way that the alcohol and/or oil soluable components are extracted from the plant. These are then dissolved in a neutral oil (such as MCT oil) and they resulting “hemp oil” is sold in small bottles. This oil generally contains CBD if the hemp strain is a high-CBD hemp strain. If the hemp strain is a high CBG hemp strain then the resulting hemp oil will be an oil that is high in CBG instead.
The FDA gets involved based on the labeling of products such as CBD oil. If the label includes instructions for taking the product by mouth, then the FDA likely has reason to view it as a dietary supplement, a medication, or a food product. If the label is mute on the use of the oil, then the FDA may not have any reason to regulate the sale of the product.
Those of us living in the U.S. are currently awaiting the FDA’s new regulations. While you wait, consider trying hemp flower. Most people seem to be smoking it like marijuana, but vaping is safer. (Vaping the dry herb is much safer than vaping a commercial liquid product.) You can also heat it and eat it. The cost per milligram of CBD is much lower in the raw product and you have a better chance of getting the “entourage effect.”