The Conservative Push to Legalize CBD
The following first appeared inThe Leaf Online.
Traditionally, there has been one pharmacological divide between legal categories of cannabis: flowers containing 0.5% THC or less were classified as 'hemp,' and anything over that was 'marijuana.' This is the standard recognized by the United Nations (UN), although the United States policy has traditionally viewed all forms of cannabis as the same. But that may soon change as a new way of classifying cannabis has gained traction in state houses and the halls of Washington, D.C., based not around THC content but rather the ratio between THC and CBD.
In mid-November, the FDA approved trials of the drug Epidiolex, a high-CBD medication specifically designed for children with childhood epilepsy. Conservative states, such as Utah, have joined in the drive to legalize CBD medicines, driven by both the CNN special and a Mormon mother going public with her desire to try marijuana-based medicines to alleviate her child’s epilepsy. Pennsylvania has also proposed legislation allowing for CBD medications. Alabama may discuss legalizing CBD as early as January 2014, and a wave of families moving from states where marijuana is prohibited to legal states may spark more legislation in the coming year.
There are at least 66 known cannabinoids present in marijuana, and until recently, THC was thought to be the only active ingredient worth synthesizing or producing for pharmaceutical applications. The new policy moves in Washington and in multiple conservative states therefore represent a welcome injection of nuance into what has historically been a monolithic national debate. But while the buzz around CBD-based medications has found its way into the halls of various state legislatures, a strong dose of humility is warranted. Studies have not yet been conducted to determine what kinds of marijuana extracts work best against seizures, cancer, Alzheimer's and a host of other ailments. While CBD enjoys the spotlight of today, who knows which cannabinoid might be favored tomorrow: whether CBD, its much-maligned cousin THC, or even some mystery cannabinoid still undiscovered.
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