As we walked into the Village Square Publix last week, We was stopped short by the latest sale display. Right there, just inside the door, was a veritable monument to hemp products. How times have changed, we thought.
So, we took a detour through the health supplements section… where a very helpful lady, apparently dedicated to this location in the store, showed me what was available for all that ails me, through shelf after cooler of edible, topical, ingestible, drinkable, and convenience items.
We have since started to pay attention to the same products in other stores. Somehow, in a really short timespan, terms such as CBD, THC, and hemp have stepped forward in our consumer awareness, while the old terms… pot, weed, marijuana, etc… have taken a step back.
The terms Pot/Grass/Ganja/Green/Weed all refer to marijuana, but we don’t even need euphemisms any more, because as science and medicine catches up, we have approved three-letter acronyms to stand in their place.
But with so many new terms flooding us, it’s really easy to get confused. Let’s unconfuse things…
First of all know that we are talking about a naturally grown plant, around since the days of the Bible. Marijuana and hemp are two varieties of plants in the cannabis sativa genus. The cannabinoids of the plant - the chemical compound that makes up CBD and THC - is what decides what your usage will look like.
Cannabis Sativa is the only known source of the psychoactive cannabinoids THC and CBD. These cannabinoids are concentrated around the plant’s sticky, resinous flowers to serve as a protective layer against predators.
To make things more confusing, you sometimes see the word “sativa” used to describe a strain of marijuana, even though the overall genus has the word “sativa” in it.
Marijuana (Cannabis) grows fast, produces a flower, is native to Asia on the Indian subcontinent has been used in textiles, medicine, ritual, farming, and manufacturing. Diverse and therapeutic benefits have continued its use across all countries for millenia. Despite this ubiquity, marijuana has been prohibited almost everywhere for most of the 20th century. Making it illegal has significantly set back research, but fortunately, thinking has evolved around this natural plant.
Marijuana has been recently decriminalized and legalized and reports have been flooding in of people being able to achieve appetite while undergoing chemo, lessen or stop seizures, go off heavy-duty narcotics, anxiety medication and much more.
Beer or Tequila? CBD or THC, Indica or Sativa?
Let’s look at a common, legal vice - alcohol. A small quantity of alcohol can make you buzzed, and more quantity or strong alcohol can make you drunk. Similarly, different types of cannabis result in different effects. Knowing what effect each type will achieve will help you choose what you want or need. The Indica strains are generally more sedative and generally suggested for evening as they are calming. Sativas are often suggested for daytime as they generally provide more energy
As you go down this rabbit hole, you’ll see two terms used to describe two strains of marijuana, dispensed to treat two different sets of symptoms and promote two different sets of health benefits. They are Indica and Sativa, but sometimes you’ll see them as Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Sativa, which can be confusing because it’s all in the Cannabis Sativa genus.
Indica is a wide-leafed, short, bushy plant that is a fast grower and high producer of high CBD buds (flowers) that have lower THC quantity.
- increased mental relaxation
- muscle relaxation
- decreases nausea
- decreases acute pain
- increases appetite
- increases dopamine (a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers)
- for night time use
Sativa is a slow-growing, narrow-leafed, thin plant that grows taller than Indica, and has light green narrow leaves. Sativa plants are lower in CBD and higher in THC.
- treats chronic pain
- increases focus and creativity
- increases serotonin (a neurotransmitter involved in the regulation of learning, mood, sleep, anxiety and appetite)
- for day time use
Hybrid varieties are blends of Sativa and Indicas and can be produced either Sativa dominant or Indica dominant, taken for both relaxation and boosted mood.
How does marijuana work?
Remember - CBD’s will not make you high. Hybrids can, if they have a higher degree of THC in them. THC will make you high. And this is how:
“THC’s chemical structure is similar to the brain chemical anandamide. Similarity in structure allows the body to recognize THC and to alter normal brain communication. Endogenous cannabinoids such as anandamide function as neurotransmitters because they send chemical messages between nerve cells (neurons) throughout the nervous system. They affect brain areas that influence pleasure, memory, thinking, concentration, movement, coordination, and sensory and time perception. Because of this similarity, THC is able to attach to molecules called cannabinoid receptors on neurons in these brain areas and activate them, disrupting various mental and physical functions and causing the effects described earlier. The neural communication network that uses these cannabinoid neurotransmitters, known as the endocannabinoid system, plays a critical role in the nervous system’s normal functioning, so interfering with it can have profound effects.” - Courtesy of drugabuse.gov
Hemp has been on and off in the U.S. market for a long time, suffering varying states of approval and acceptance due to association with its sibling, marijuana. It’s amazing how many people assume they are the same thing. It hasn’t even been a year since TPD raided Natural Life for selling hemp products, but politics is about perception and the only thing that can change that is Education and Awareness..
So, to be clear, hemp is only related to marijana, or cannabis, by being on the same family tree… cannabis sativa. Hemp has hundreds of industrial uses… insulation, paper, clothing among a few. It does have trace amounts of THC in it (less than .3% to be sold legally), but because of that low volume it would be extremely inefficient to use raw CBD hemp as a source of THC. (We’re sure it’s been tried, however.)
Hemp produces CBD at the 20% levels, though… making it ideal for use as the retail source of the compound.
It’s important to note that in 2018, the Hemp Farming Act passed, also known as the Farm Bill (though there have been others with the same name). This bill made industrial derived CBD legal nationwide, which is why we are now seeing so many CBD products in the mainstream.
Hemp Seed & Hemp Seed Oil
So where does hemp seed and hemp seed oil fit in?
Hemp seeds are the seeds of plants in the cannabis sativa family, but not specifically cannabis or marijuana. Hemp oil is derived from these seeds. They have no THC and only trace amounts of CBD. They are used as an ingredient in health food, paint, and beauty products.
Please know that hemp seed and hemp seed oils do not contain CBD (unless specifically added), so be careful when making purchase decisions.
Why Consume CBD?
Cannabinoids- the active chemicals in medical marijuana- are similar to chemicals the body makes that are involved in appetite, memory, movement, and pain. The active cannabinoids in the plant are known as phytocannabinoids. The other cannabinoids are endocannabinoids, which exist in your body. Yes, you have a system already in your body to interact with cannabis.
Research suggests cannabinoids might:
- Reduce anxiety
- Reduce inflammation and relieve pain
- Control nausea and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy
- Kill cancer cells and slow tumor growth
- Relax tight muscles in people with MS
- Stimulate appetite and improve weight gain in people with cancer and AIDS
CBD compound can be put into oils and tinctures for sublingual delivery, as well as beverages, and can be vaped.(courtesy Web MD)
So, with all these terms flying about in a largely unregulated consumer ecosystem, it’s really easy to make mistakes, especially when purchasing CBD. Since CBD and hemp seed oil swim in the same gene pool and have a lot of names in common, they are frequently marketed as the same thing, so keep these things in mind...
- Just because a product has hemp seed oil in it does not mean it has any CBD. Read the label.
- Lots of products have pictures of cannabis leaves on them. Again, read the label.
- Hemp seed oil is often called cannabis sativa seed oil. Accurate, but misleading.
- It’s not (yet) required to put actual milligrams of CBD on bottles, but it has become common. Stick to products that actually list the CBD amounts.
- Beware low prices. CBD is expensive to produce, period. If it’s too good to be true… well, you know.
- Buy online only after you’ve tried a locally acquired product first.
The best route is to purchase from a local store sanctioned for medical marijuana… they are the only actual regulated sources of CBD.
Keep in mind that, even in legitimate quality CBD products, dosages and effects vary. If you are taking CBD to regulate pain, take the minimum amount of product you need and graduate up. The same is especially true for anxiety.
Remember that studies on CBD are very new. We are relying on the mass anecdotal evidence of the world for the efficacy of this product. It’s seems like a good bet, and we’re hoping for a massive “We told you so” to the legal and conservative medical world, but until then we need to be our own guides.
Marijuna and CBD in Tallahassee
Marijuana can be consumed in many ways, from dried flowers (or buds), which is commonly found in rolling papers as a joint, or in a bong, pipe, or vaporizer. Extracted resin is used to make oils (commonly found in cooking butter and used in brownies and other edibles you’ll see for sale), hash or hashish, tinctures, dabs, shatter, butter (or budder).
Prescribing and Dispensary Locations in Tallahassee (as of this writing)
Medical Marijuana Treatment Clinics of Florida - Tallahassee
2777 Miccosukee Rd
(850) 906-5000 https://www.mmtcfl.com/tallahassee/
MEDCAN Medical Marijuana Card Certifying Clinic
1849 Capital Medical Ct
(850) 222-2222 http://www.med-can.com/
DocMJ Doctors Marijuana - Thomasville Rd
Alternative Medicine Practitioner
1902 Thomasville Rd #2 and 800 Capital Cir SE Unit 10
(888) 908-0143 https://weedmaps.com/doctors/docmj-2
Harvest House of Cannabis
Cannabis Clinics, Cannabis Dispensary, Alternative Medicine
1800 W Tennessee St
(850) 329-5361, harvestinc.com
Knox (Cannabis Dispensary)
1902-2 Thomasville Rd
(850) 466-877, getfluent.com
1345 Thomasville Rd
(850) 848-4768, https://curaleaf.com
1212-2 N Monroe St.
(800) 977-1686, https://www.vidacann.com/
Trulieve - Tallahassee
800 Capital Cir SE
(850) 512-1968, www.trulieve.com/dispensaries/tallahassee-fl
Surterra Wellness - Tallahassee
1639 Village Square Blvd
(850) 385-1101, www.surterra.com/stores/Tallahassee/
Terms You Should Know
Compounds that bind to receptors in the human body’s endocannabinoid system, producing both psychoactive effects, in the case of THC, and non-psychoactive effects, in the case of CBD.
The distinct chemical makeup of an individual cannabis plant, which varies both because of genetics and because of environmental factors. Researchers are now experimenting with how to tweak light and soil composition to express or suppress certain chemical components.
A variety of the cannabis plant that contains vanishingly small amounts of THC. Its use to humanity lies in its extremely strong fibers.
A synthetic form of THC used to treat ailments like nausea and low appetite. Its cousin is Sativex, which also includes a dose of CBD that may help offset the psychoactive effects of THC.
A family of compounds that give cannabis its unique smell. However, terpenes are not limited to the cannabis plant—citrus plants have them as well. Many plants use these volatile compounds to ward off insects.
The Entourage Effect
The anecdotal, though increasingly data-backed, theory that different compounds in cannabis contribute to the high the plant produces.
Valuable Additional Resources