CBD and Multiple Sclerosis

CBD and Multiple Sclerosis

What is Multiple Sclerosis?

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic condition that affects the nervous system, including the brain and spinal cord. Unfortunately it’s a long-lasting disease without a cure. It is, however, not a fatal disease. Most of the 2.3 million people diagnosed with multiple sclerosis [1] have a normal life expectancy and manage their MS with lifestyle changes and medication. The disease can be quite devastating, however, so treatment plans are necessary to give patients the best quality of life possible.

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that has the ability to cause the body to malfunction and attack its own cells. With MS, the immune system strikes the body’s myelin, a protective substance that covers the nerves. When this substance is broken down and the nerves are left unprotected, they are quickly damaged and unable to function properly. The damaged nerves cause a variety of symptoms, each at different levels of severity. 

The symptoms of MS can vary from person to person and they can range from mild to debilitating. They can also remain constant or come and go over time. The most common symptoms of MS are numbness and tingling in one or more of the arms, legs, or on one side of the face. Some may experience weakness, tremors, or clumsiness in the legs and hands. Partial loss of vision, double vision, or eye pain are also common first symptoms of multiple sclerosis. Other common symptoms include fatigue, bladder and bowel dysfunction, weakness, cognitive changes, acute and chronic pain, muscle spasticity, and depression. 

Unfortunately, multiple sclerosis can also affect cognitive function. The damage MS does to nerves causes those with the condition to eventually have the inability to concentrate, problem-solve, or successfully navigate their bodies in relation to their surroundings. This, understandably, also leads to frustration, anger, and depression from the patient. 

Multiple sclerosis is a disease that often comes with treatment involving relapse and remission. While the periods of remission are free of any symptoms of the disease, they often come back for extended periods of time. These periods are called relapses, or exacerbations. Some are lucky enough to experience years of remission, but that doesn’t mean their condition has been cured, they are simply being granted a temporary remission based on whatever therapy they used. The results of the therapy could change over the years, becoming less effective in handling MS symptoms. 

CBD and the Human Body

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the 113 identified cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. CBD is the most prominent cannabinoid extracted from the plant. It produces no psychoactive results and is used primarily for therapeutic purposes. It’s currently undergoing lots of scientific research for its abilities to provide its users with therapeutic benefits with new information being released yearly. CBD doesn’t have any euphoric effects and is a safe option for those who don’t enjoy feeling intoxicated or legally cannot consume THC products. 

The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is an important part of the human body. It is responsible for maintaining the body’s state of homeostasis. If a disruption is introduced in the body, the ECS will start working to correct the problem and make sure everything in the body remains at a stable and optimal level. This is a critical function of human physiology. All the internal systems need to be in a state of equilibrium to work effectively.  

There are three primary elements that make up the endocannabinoid system. The first are endocannabinoids, the compounds that are naturally produced by the body and very similar to the chemical compounds in cannabis. The second elements are the cannabinoid receptors, which are found on the surface of cells throughout the body. Endocannabinoids and cannabinoids will bind to these receptors. Binding allows them to communicate with different systems in the body, helping the endocannabinoid system maintain an equilibrium in each system. The final elements are the enzymes. After the endocannabinoids attach themselves to the cannabinoid receptors and the ECS has achieved stabilization in the body, enzymes break down the compounds to avoid a possible overcorrection.

Since endocannabinoids and cannabinoids from cannabis plants are so similar chemically, it’s possible for cannabinoids like CBD to attach themselves to the receptors in the same way the endocannabinoids do. CBD has the ability to bind to both the CB1 and CB2 receptors. Once attached, CBD acts as an antagonist, or blocker, binding to receptors and dampening their signals. 

For example, CBD works to inhibit the FAAH enzyme which breaks down the anandamide endocannabinoid the body produces. Anandamide produces a calming feeling, so by keeping the enzymes from destroying this compound a naturally therapeutic effect should be felt immediately [2]. Researchers have found that CB1 and CB2 receptors are found in immune cells, which indicates they are both used in regulating inflammation and immune response [3]. Because CBD can attach itself to both these receptors, it could prove to be effective for treatment of multiple sclerosis. 

How CBD Can Help

Since MS is a disease that has no cure, many patients find themselves trying a variety of therapies and medications to try and control their symptoms. Some of these treatment plans work and some do not. Some are only helpful temporarily and which leads sufferers to seek new treatment options when their current plan fails. This has led many to investigate what CBD can offer in the way of relief. 

CBD has been known to exhibit both anti-inflammatory [4] and neuroprotective [5] properties, so researchers are interested in what effects it might have on multiple sclerosis. The benefits of CBD on MS are still being researched, but a recent study suggests that CBD with an equal part THC may help relieve pain and muscle spasms for some MS patients [6]. With reduced pain and muscular issues can come decreased fatigue for MS patients, a common and upsetting symptom of MS [7]. This can give those suffering from multiple sclerosis improved mobility, allowing them a reprieve from one of the most debilitating symptoms of the disease.  

Evidence from studies performed on animals also suggests that CBD could be used effectively as an antidepressant, treating depression in patients [8]. While CBD doesn’t change the chemical compounds in the brain, researchers found that it does change the way those chemicals are processed by its ability to attach itself to receptors, allowing the ECS to stabilize different systems. 

It also has the potential to help those taking prescription drugs to lower their daily dosage of those medications. Studies have found that CBD can be used alone or in combination with other medications to heighten their usefulness and reduce the required dosage needed to get the same benefits [9]. Since many medications have harmful side effects. Patients often deal with side effects like nausea, drowsiness, blurred vision, dizziness, and anxiety. Having the ability to reduce dosage and the side effects associated with the drug can make all the difference to patients sensitive to medications. This also helps cut down on the risk of addiction to painkillers or other prescribed medications which are often common in a multiple sclerosis treatment plan. 

While there has been no evidence of serious drug interactions with CBD, there is always a risk of complications that could go along with adding anything new to a medication treatment plan, so those looking to add CBD or cannabis products to their therapy should check with their doctor before making any decisions. 

CBD for Skin Conditions

CBD for Skin Conditions

CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids are quickly becoming more well known and widespread. After the 2018 Farm Bill made hemp legal in the United States, researchers were finally able to more easily test the capabilities of the cannabis plant and the compounds it produces. From help with seizures 1 to powerful anti-inflammatory properties 2, medical science is uncovering the powerful components of a plant previously considered an illegal narcotic. Cannabis and CBD research is still new and ongoing, but studies have shown CBD to be helpful in the treatment of a variety of common skin conditions.

The Function of Skin

It is common knowledge that skin is the largest organ in the human body. Not only is it the largest, it’s also one of the most complex. Skin acts as a protective barrier against environmental elements, but is also a source of hormones, contains a number of sensory nerves, and even has its own immune system. 

The skin is made of three layers:

  • Epidermis: The outermost layer of skin is made up of keratinocytes, cells that form together to make the epidermis waterproof and to provide protection against UV radiation, microbes, allergens, chemicals, and hot or cold temperatures.

  • Dermis: The second layer of skin is made of collagen and elastic fibers, giving skin its distinct elasticity and strength. Inside this layer of skin also reside hair follicles, sebaceous glands, and sweat glands. Assisting the epidermis, this layer also provides a waterproof barrier and regulates temperature. The dermis is responsible for producing hormonal steroids and vitamin D. This is also the layer where the skin’s immune system is located. Inside this layer of skin live immune cells that activate when the skin has been damaged. Along with the immune system, the dermis also houses a dense arrangement of nerve fibers.

  • Subcutis: The third layer of skin is made up of fats that hold the fuel, insulation, and cushion for the outer two layers. 

How CBD Can Help

CBD interacts with the body via the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is responsible for maintaining the body’s state of homeostasis, meaning if some form of disruption is introduced in the body, the ECS will work quickly to stabilize and correct the system, maintaining optimal functions. All the internal systems need to be in a state of equilibrium for the human body to work effectively.  

There are three primary elements that make up the endocannabinoid system:

  • Endocannabinoids: These are compounds that are naturally produced by the body, but are very similar to the chemical compounds in cannabis, like CBD.

  • Cannabinoid Receptors: These receptors are found on the surface of cells throughout the body. The endocannabinoids the body produces, and any cannabinoids ingested will bind to these receptors. The action of binding allows them to communicate with different systems in the body.

  • Enzymes: After the endocannabinoids attach themselves to the cannabinoid receptors and the ECS has achieved stabilization in the body, enzymes break down the endocannabinoids to avoid a possible overcorrection. 

The endocannabinoid system is responsible for regulating several of the most important bodily functions, including the skin system. The ECS works to maintain the balance of skin functions such as production, differentiation, and immunity. Hair follicles, sebaceous glands, and other cell types located in the epidermis create endocannabinoids, which affect all components of the skin and are responsible for its proper function.

Common Skin Conditions and CBD


Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes skin cells to grow and divide at an accelerated rate. The division of these cells causes skin to become inflamed and red, with scaly plaques forming around the irritation. The inflamed skin can be sore and itchy, and may crack and bleed. There is currently no cure for psoriasis, but there are a number of therapies that have shown positive results. Besides maintaining a balanced diet and reducing exposure to the sun, CBD has also become a popular natural remedy for psoriasis. Studies have shown that CBD can help contain the acceleration of skin cell division and also provide powerful anti-inflammatory benefits 3.


Acne is a skin condition that can affect any person at any age. Often thought of as just something suffered as a teenager, acne is also seen in adults and can be painful and embarrassing. Acne is caused by an increased secretion of sebum and a bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes. While sebum is important for skin protection, if too much is produced it can cause acne. Studies have found that CBD helps reduce the formation of sebum in sebaceous tissues 4

As an additional benefit, CBD has been shown to have antibacterial 5 and anti-inflammatory properties making it especially useful against the bacterium that causes acne. Acne is often inflamed and painful, so the additional anti-inflammatory benefits of CBD could be quite soothing to those who suffer.

Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema)

While this is a condition that usually occurs in children, it can be experienced in adults as well. Atopic dermatitis is more traditionally known as eczema and is more common in the colder months, resulting in red itchy rashes. Corticosteroid creams are prescribed for this condition, however steroids have some less than desired side effects and users often see the issue return after the corticosteroid treatment has ended. 

Atopic dermatitis is an inflammatory disease, so CBD and it’s apparent anti-inflammatory properties have the potential to be effective during treatment. And because the skin has its own ECS system, CBD creams applied topically to the skin can be quickly targeted and distributed to ease any discomfort. 

Seborrheic Dermatitis 

Seborrheic dermatitis is a common chronic inflammatory skin condition that usually affects the face and scalp area. It presents itself in the form of red scaly patches of skin around the hairline, often showing up behind the ears and sometimes in the elbows and knees. Seborrheic dermatitis is mainly caused by increased production of sebum in the sebaceous glands. 

Much in the same way CBD can help with acne and psoriasis, it can also help seborrheic dermatitis by slowing the sebum secretion and slowing down the reproduction rate of the sebocytes, cells that make up the sebaceous glands 6


Rosacea is a common skin condition with symptoms that cause facial redness accompanied by small pimples. It’s also responsible for causing red and watery eyes, dry and swollen skin, and even a burning or itching sensation. It’s also a highly visible condition, so it can be embarrassing to those who suffer. Like other skin conditions, rosacea has no cure and is typically controlled with oral or topical antibiotics and steroid creams. 

Because of CBD’s potential to work as a powerful anti-inflammatory, it can be an essential addition to a treatment plan for rosacea. As an added bonus, CBD has been found to help with stress and anxiety 7, two known triggers for rosacea flare ups. 

How to Use CBD

CBD for the skin is best used topically. While CBD does have other therapeutic benefits for the rest of the body, ingesting CBD with the intention of using it to assist in skin conditions is not an effective use of the product. Instead, find a quality topical product that can be applied directly to the affected area. As with any skin product, make sure to test it out first. Do a small skin test for a few days before applying the product to a larger area. 

It’s also important to check the label on any potential product. Reputable companies will disclose how much CBD is found within their products and even provide a COA, or certificate of analysis, upon request, on the product packaging, or on their website. 

As CBD gains popularity, so do other products trying to ride on its coattails. One such product is often called “cannabis sativa oil.” While it is a cannabis product, it is not CBD. It is actually just hemp oil, which contains only tiny amounts of CBD. Unless you’re just interested in it for moisturization, pass on this oil and look for CBD oil instead. 

Finally, make sure to check state laws. While CBD is legal federally, there are some states that have imposed specific restrictions on the possession or transportation of cannabidiol. Check your local regulations before making a purchase. 

Jobs in Cannabis

Jobs in Cannabis

Cannabis is a growing and newly booming industry. As more and more states legalize recreational cannabis use, and more politicians push for legalization at a federal level, the cannabis job market is seeing a lot of upwards momentum. While much of the country seems to be focused on the increasing job outlook in technology and health care, many are overlooking the incredible expansion happening in the cannabis industry. 

The tracking of cannabis job creation is a relatively new process, started about four years ago by Leafly.com. Leafly.com decided to start tracking when they discovered that federal and state economists were not tracking state-legal cannabis numbers at all, for the sole reason that it is still considered federally illegal. When tracking began, the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) didn’t even have a code for cannabis jobs, meaning there wasn’t a way for economists to track how many jobs were in the field, even if they wanted to. While the NAICS has since added a code for cannabis jobs, they are still not very helpful in determining actual numbers and recent data on the growth within the industry. Cannabis retail jobs are categorized with other retail entities like art supply and hot tub stores, while cannabis growers are put in the same category as hay farmers and agave growers. At the surface, it’s easy to see why they could be lumped together with these other industries, however they are very different types of businesses and with cannabis on its way to hitting historic industry growth, it’s important that it is designated and classified correctly. 

Understanding the importance of this, Leafly.com added its own team of data collectors and analysts using systems put in place by top level economists and industry-leading firms. The data is compiled state by state using statistics generated from the numbers provided by each state’s regulatory agency. 

Current Numbers

As of January 2020, there are more than 243,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs in the legal cannabis industry, a 15% increase from 2019. That means over the previous 12 months, more than 33,00 new jobs were created just in the cannabis industry. What does that really mean? It means that legal cannabis is the fastest growing industry in the United States [1]. 

Massachusetts, Oklahoma, and Illinois are currently the states with the highest increase in cannabis job creation since 2019, with Massachusetts adding over 10,000 new jobs and Oklahoma adding 7,300 new jobs. In fact, Massachusetts now has more legal cannabis workers than hair stylists and cosmetologists. Florida is another state that saw a lot of growth in 2019, which is in part because of its large number of registered medical marijuana patients. With more than 300,000 patients registered, Florida now has the most medical cannabis patients of any state in the country. With so many registered patients, and smokable hemp flower becoming legal, Florida saw an incredible 93% sales boost in cannabis products in 2019 [2].

States with the Most Jobs

Even though it experienced quite a bit of job loss in 2019, California is still the largest legal cannabis employment state in America. However, Colorado is currently the top per-capita cannabis employer, with 1 in every 165 residents working in the industry. California is closer to 1 in every 980. Colorado has also managed to outperform Washington state, even though both states legalized cannabis in 2012. Compared to the number of jobs in Washington, Colorado has almost 10,000 more people employed in the industry, even though Washington has almost two million more residents in the state [3]. 

Both Colorado and Washington, however, have reported a very strong job growth number of 8% within six years of legalization and recreational stores opening for business. Not only do these numbers suggest stunning growth opportunities, they also show a strong indication that opening up legal and retail cannabis sales has drawn customers away from illegal sellers while also inspiring those who would not be considered typical users to explore these new products [4]. 

Cannabis and COVID-19

In a somewhat stunning turn of events, governors and public health officials in states with legalized recreational cannabis declared cannabis sales an essential service in the face of the COVID-19 shutdown of 2020. With other retail establishments being forced close to public safety, leaving only the most essential services like grocery stores and pharmacies open, cannabis finally got some of the recognition it deserves as a medically and therapeutically necessary service. During a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic, having continued access to cannabis was an incredible relief to many who require it for their daily needs [5]. 

Future Outlook

Cannabis had explosive growth in 2018, leading many to gain too much confidence a little too early in the game. With the Canadian market slow to grow, and investment capital waning, and a national vaping warning and subsequent health crisis, layoffs did happen and the industry did slow its growth in 2019 compared to 2018. 

Some of the hardest hit states were California and Michigan, two of the largest cannabis markets in the United States. Due to changes in laws and regulations, these two states were noted to have experienced substantial job loss. For instance, a caregiver law in California expired and changed an estimated 8,000 jobs from legal to non-legal. Likewise, in Michigan, a new regulation format changed the status of formally legal dispensaries to being listed as operating illegally. It should be noted, however, that the jobs affected by these law changes are expected to be reinstated within 2 years once the states work out the kinks in the regulation process and correctly relicense all those who experienced a status change [6]. 

Job Growth

The incredible growth in Massachusetts, Oklahoma, and Florida balanced out any losses in other states that may have occurred, and still returned a very impressive increase over 12 months. Job growth in the legal cannabis industry is expected to far outnumber even the fastest growing occupations in the country over the next ten years. For example, wind turbine service techs and solar photovoltaic installers are expected to see an increase of 57%-63% respectively over the next ten years. Compare that to the 250% increase that is expected for the legal cannabis industry [7]! 

Beyond American borders, Canada has also seen a dramatic increase in cannabis related jobs and an overall industry boom. In 2018 it added legal cannabis to its industry statistical gathering in preparation for the nationwide legalization of cannabis. One Canadian company actually had to import workers to harvest cannabis, helping Canada see a 200% increase in cannabis jobs in that country [8].


Cannabis spending is expected to grow to more than $17 billion by 2020, with a projected total of more than $31 billion in 2022 . When consumers purchase retail cannabis, a portion of that money goes to local taxes, which range from 10% to 37% and are used to fund job creation, school construction, drug abuse prevention programs, and medical research. With projected sales in the billions, it’s important to realize how much of that money will go back into the community via taxes [9]. 

All of the recent job data goes to show the power of the cannabis industry and its almost guaranteed future as an integral and lucrative part of the U.S. and global economies. As further proof of its power, cannabis is expected to help grow the economy, even without any of the concessions that are currently being demanded by other large corporations that are also responsible for playing a part in economic growth. To put it bluntly: the cannabis industry is adding jobs without costing the taxpayers any extra money. The industry is growing and very soon it will be a top contender within the global economy. 

Pollutants in the Endocannabinoid System

Pollutants in the Endocannabinoid System

The human body is a complex system that requires almost constant upkeep and maintenance. It’s the reason that one simple complication can equal disaster if it’s not dealt with swiftly and effectively. One of the reasons the body is able to maintain a strong state of homeostasis is because of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and its ability to detect issues and move quickly to correct them. 

However, the ECS itself is susceptible to damage if it’s not maintained properly, which would start a domino effect of other systems also failing to maintain proper stability without the assistance of the endocannabinoid system. One of the most common issues with the ECS is pollutants making their way in. In this article we’ll explain what that really means and how it can be avoided. 

The Endocannabinoid System

To begin with it’s important to have an overview of the ECS. As mentioned, the endocannabinoid system maintains homeostasis within the body. If one of the systems it controls experiences some sort of disruption, the ECS will step in and correct the imbalance to bring back equilibrium to the affected system. Human bodies are complex and changes can happen at any time, so conditions need to be kept stable in order for cells to maintain optimal performance.

Within the ECS are endocannabinoids, which are small molecules that bind to receptors and active them. These molecules are very similar to the cannabinoid compounds produced by cannabis plants. The two major endocannabinoids found in the ECS are anandamide and 2-AG. These compounds are made up of molecules within cell membranes and the body is able to produce them on demand.

Endocannabinoid receptors are found on the surface of cells and are used to monitor conditions outside the cell and transmit any information about changes happening within the environment surrounding it. If a large enough change is reported, the ECS will receive the message communicated by the receptors and initiate the proper response to balance the system. Endocannabinoids are able to bind to either of the two main receptors, but the result will depend on where the receptor is located and which endocannabinoid it binds to. 

The ECS also contains special enzymes known as metabolic enzymes. These are used to destroy endocannabinoids within the ECS systems once they have successfully achieved homeostasis within the body. This helps ensure no overcorrection will be able to occur after the need for the endocannabinoid has ended.

While research is still ongoing, studies have so far found the endocannabinoid system to be linked to processes like appetite, metabolism, pain, the immune system, memory, sleep, reproductive function, nerve function and mood and anxiety [1].

The Endocrine System

The human endocrine system consists of a series of glands that produce hormones and also secrete them. These hormones are used by the body for a wide variety of necessary functions, including respiration, metabolism, reproduction, movement, and growth. The glands within the endocrine system produce hormones which are then sent into the bloodstream by tissues within the body. These hormones send specific signals to the tissue, telling them what they should be doing. If the glands produce incorrect hormones or an incorrect amount, diseases can develop leading to health complications down the road. The endocrine system is extremely important to healthy living and any disruption within it can be catastrophic to the rest of the systems within the body, including the ECS. 

Endocrine Disruptors

Researchers have begun exploring the link between common pollutants and how they cause a disruption in the endocrine system, which can then lead to a dysregulation of the endocannabinoid system. These disruptors are a large class of chemicals that are defined by how they act in the human body. Endocrine disrupting chemicals have the ability to mimic, block, or interfere with important naturally occurring hormones like estrogen and androgen. The disruption can throw the entire body off balance and trigger a multitude of unfortunate health effects, some of those not appearing for years after exposure.

It’s a difficult process understanding how and why these chemicals have such a dangerous impact on our health and researchers are still studying the effects of them on diseases like cancer and diabetes. They are also studying the link between the endocrine system and the endocannabinoid system. The link between the two systems is clear, with both working to maintain a level of homeostasis within the body and both routinely working alongside other major systems on the body. Both of these systems are also very sensitive to added chemicals, such as the case with the well documented effects of cannabinoids on the endocannabinoid system.


There are unfortunately a number of toxins that humans come in contact with on a daily basis that have the potential to act as endocrine disruptors, but some of the most common and most destructive include:


Also known as bisphenol A., BPA is a well-known chemical that has been used to manufacture industrial plastic for decades. It’s most often found in polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins, such as food and water storage containers. 

BPA can seep into food or beverages that are held within storage containers, especially if they are exposed to heat. 


Diisononyl Phthalate belongs to the phthalate family of plastics, which are commonly added to plastics to make them flexible. DiNP is the most frequently used of the family and is common in many plastic products. It can also be found in items that contain vinyl, wire insulation, gloves, tubing, hoses, and even shoes. It has also been used in inks and pigments, adhesives, sealants, and paints. 

DiNP can be gradually released from these products where it makes its way into indoor environments like homes, schools, and offices. It will often settle on floors and other surfaces, while also accumulating in dust and in the air. 


Parabens are most commonly found in cosmetics where they are used as preservatives. The most common types are methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, and ethylparaben which act to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold in cosmetic products. 

Because of the nature of the products they are contained within, exposure to parabens generally comes from skin contact. Since parabens are commonly found in products like makeup, moisturizers, hair care products, and shaving products, it’s common for contact with the skin to be a daily occurrence. 


A recent study on fish tested the theory that exposure to toxins would cause a disruption to not only the endocrine system, but also the endocannabinoid system. In the experiment, the fish were subjected to the known endocrine disruptors of BPA and DiNP. After 21 days the researchers concluded that the levels of the ECS were altered, specifically in the brain, liver, and gonads as a result of these endocrine disruptors [2].

Another study examined how common pesticides could inhibit the ability of the endocannabinoid system and found that chlorpyrifos and other organophosphate pesticides were in fact able to inhibit the work of the CB1 receptor, an important part of the endocannabinoid system and the receptor that interacts with cannabinoids from cannabis the most often [3]. 

Another later study noted that organophosphorus chemicals actually blocked the endocannabinoid enzymes MAGL and FAAH, which leads to elevated levels of endocannabinoids in the brain and ultimately threw the cannabinoid receptors out of balance [4].


Maintaining a health endocannabinoid system and a healthy endocrine system are essential to a good life. By avoiding potential pollutants that could endanger both is the first step to keeping the systems in check. Human trials are only just beginning on this topic, but as scientists learn more about the endocannabinoid system and the way it is able to interact with the rest of the body, studies such as these will become more important to understanding the effects of dangerous chemicals and the potential for therapeutic treatments to help assist these systems in maintaining a healthy function. 

Older Adults and Cannabis

Older Adults and Cannabis

Cannabis products are seeing legalization all around the country and with the widespread popularity of these products, cannabis use is starting to cross generational lines. What does this mean for the industry, and for its newest customers? 

Boomers and Cannabis

A recent study has shown that overall, marijuana and cannabis is on the rise with baby boomers in the United States. Men in particular are finding their way to it as a treatment for a number of different ailments [1]. Why is this so significant? Well, historically older adults have been against cannabis products, even those who a decade ago did not support cannabis legalization have since started to change their minds. 

The findings of this study represent the changing attitudes of older Americans across the country when it comes to cannabis and marijuana use. Not only did use of cannabis increase in older adults in states where it has been legalized recreationally, but also in states where it has not. Researchers note that this phenomenon signifies a change in thinking across the entire country. 

This particular study looked at three years of data, collected between 2016 and 2018 in adults aged 55 and up. The data comes from 19 states and two territories, and focuses on cannabis use in those participants.  

Men between the ages of 60 to 64 were shown to have the highest rates of marijuana use, with the number of men using it jumping to 12.6% in 2018 compared to 8.9% in 2016. The study also showed that during the same time period cannabis use in men between the ages of 65 to 69 and 70 to 74 almost doubled. This is an impressive number in such a relatively short period of time. Research has shown, though, that the rates of cannabis use in women remained steady over the course of the study.

Scientists are still digging into what has caused such a shift recently, but the overall consensus is that more older adults are willing to use cannabis now because of the reduced stigma attached to it, increased availability of it, lowered inhibitions against cannabis, and the ever-growing list of medicinal benefits. Some of the most important of those benefits being help with chronic pain, anxiety, and sleep conditions [2]. As more older adults start to face these issues and also face the risk of certain prescription medications, they find themselves reaching for cannabis products. 

Effects of Cannabis on Older Adults

Current research shows that cannabis has much the same effect on older adults as it does on younger. Afterall, it interacts with the body in the same way no matter the age of the user. Cannabis finds its way via the endocannabinoid system, or the ECS. This system controls homeostasis within the body. If the body senses any kind of disturbance happening internally, the ECS will kick into gear and point its resources to that disturbance, working to again bring stability to it. The ECS functions using three primary elements called endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes. 

  • The endocannabinoids are chemical compounds found within the human body. These compounds are very similar to the compounds found in cannabis, called cannabinoids. Since the two compounds are so molecularly similar, cannabinoids can easily attach themselves to endocannabinoid receptors. 
  • The receptors are found on the surface of cells throughout the body. When cannabinoids attach to the receptors, they are able to communicate with different systems, ultimately helping the ECS maintain homeostasis. 
  • Enzymes within the ECS are introduced after the receptor and cannabinoid compounds have worked together to achieve the desired level of stabilization in the desired system. Once homeostasis is achieved, the enzymes attach to the cannabinoids and break them down. 


Some are concerned with the possibility of drug interactions when older adults start mixing their medication with cannabis products. A recent study indicated that there is potential for marijuana to interact with certain heart medications when they are combined, potentially putting those users in increased risk of cardiovascular issues. The study also noted increased risk of confusion, dizziness, falls, and other accidents [3]. Everyone adding any sort of cannabis product into their routine needs to speak with their doctor beforehand. It’s not worth the potential risk when it just takes a few moments to ask questions. Research is ongoing and new information is constantly being released, so keeping up-to-date on potential issues, as well as reporting any new side effects to a doctor, are essential right now as the industry grows and spreads to more and more demographics. 


As mentioned earlier, some of the most common uses older adults have for cannabis include uses to help ease pain, anxiety, and sleep conditions. There are many other helpful uses for cannabis, including help with issues related to aging like inflammation, glaucoma, and Alzheimer’s, but we’ll discuss just the most common in this article.


Arthritis Pain

In the United States 23% of adults suffer from arthritis [4]. Arthritis can affect just one joint or several, and is most commonly seen in people over the age of 65 [5]. Researchers have been studying the benefits of cannabis on arthritis pain and the results are very positive. Their studies have indicated that CBD and other cannabis products may help reduce inflammatory pain by changing the way pain receptors react to stimuli [6]. It may also work to reduce joint inflammation and protect the nerves [7]. While there are other treatments for arthritis pain available, many of them have less than desirable side effects. Cannabis can offer a reliable option for pain management without the risk of dangerous side effects. 

Back Pain

Lower back pain is the leading cause of disability around the world [8]. Some back pain can be resolved by rest alone, but many other types require treatment for recovery. Instead of taking prescription opioids for back pain, many are turning to cannabis. CBD, for instance, has no dangerous side effects, is not habit forming, and has been shown to be an helpful option for managing inflammatory back pain [9]. Using CBD along with stronger medications may be able to help a person reduce their need for more potent pills. That means combining CBD with stronger pain medication may help cut down on dependency and the harmful side effects that go along with it [10]. 

Neuropathic Pain

Chronic neuropathic pain comes from damaged nerves, which is different when compared to the tissue pain described above. Research has shown that cannabis may be a treatment option for both types of pain, with many people swearing by cannabis and CBD as a treatment for their neuropathic pain, including nerve trauma and widespread nerve damage [11]. Neuropathic pain is one of the most difficult to treat, yet current studies have revealed that cannabis can be beneficial to those patients who have not responded well to pharmaceutical treatments [12]. 

Anxiety & Stress

Studies have shown that cannabis interacts with two specific ECS receptors found in the central nervous system. Research is still ongoing, but these tests show that the cannabinoid CBD may alter serotonin signals, particularly the receptor that has the largest role in anxiety disorders [13]. 

As mentioned earlier, the endocannabinoid system and CBD work hand-in-hand and this is very much the case when it comes to treating anxiety disorders. The ECS is responsible for regulating stress and anxiety in the body, so when the system becomes overloaded, it is up to the ECS to make the necessary adjustments. Researchers believe that introducing cannabinoids to the ECS can have a positive overall effect on anxious behaviors [14]. 

CBD is also believed to assist in neural regeneration [15]. High levels of stress and anxiety for prolonged periods of time can cause damage to the neurons and the brain. In order to correct that damage, new neurons must be formed and new connections made. CBD helps boost this corrective process and stimulates growth of new neurons, resulting in reduced anxiety. 

Sleep Conditions

There are several factors to consider when investigating cannabis for sleep. First, consumers should determine which cannabis product they would like to try for sleep. Marijuana has been used for centuries as a natural sleep aid [16], however because it does possess psychoactive effects many potential users avoid it. While it is a powerful sleep aid, it may not be for everyone. If consumers would rather avoid the intoxication of THC, they should still be aware that CBD contains a terpene called myrcene. This particular terpene is known to act as a sedative [17] and is a powerful addition to cannabidiol. 

Another factor to consider is the type of CBD being used to assist in sleep. If a consumer decides to use a CBD isolate, they will be missing out on the added benefits that comes with using a more inclusive CBD product, like broad or full spectrum CBD oil. The products that are listed as CBD isolate will have all other cannabinoids and terpenes removed, leaving only pure CBD. While this might be an excellent product for many other uses, it may not be the best product for someone looking for relief from sleep conditions because then they are missing out on a very special process called The Entourage Effect, which only happens when all cannabinoids and terpenes are allowed to exist together and aid each other in their processes, bringing maximum relief to the user. If even one of those compounds is removed, the beneficial results will be lessened [18].


Some are concerned with the possibility of drug interactions when older adults start mixing their medication with cannabis products. A recent study indicated that there is potential for marijuana to interact with certain heart medications when they are combined, potentially putting those users in increased risk of cardiovascular issues. The study also noted increased risk of confusion, dizziness, falls, and other accidents [19]. Everyone adding any sort of cannabis product into their routine needs to speak with their doctor beforehand. It’s not worth the potential risk when it just takes a few moments to ask questions. Research is ongoing and new information is constantly being released, so keeping up-to-date on potential issues, as well as reporting any new side effects to a doctor, are essential right now as the industry grows and spreads to more and more demographics.

History of Hemp

History of Hemp

Early Worldwide Cultivation

For centuries hemp (Cannabis sativa L) has been harvested for its fiber, seeds, and flowers. A plant with seemingly endless possibilities, hemp fiber can produce textiles, rope, clothes, paper, plastic composites, building construction materials, animal bedding, food, drinks, and agricultural supplies. 


It’s commonly believed that hemp is one of earliest plants to be cultivated in Asia, where it is believed to have originated. Recent analysis of fossil pollen has suggested that cannabis specifically originated high on the Tibetain Plateau. For years researchers have concluded the plant evolved out of Asia, but they were unable to pinpoint a more exact location as there isn’t much of a cannabis presence in fossil impressions left behind in rocks. Scientists did, however, have plenty of data on fossil pollen. After narrowing down the fossil pollen locations to those in treeless habitats, researchers were able to conclude that the earliest cannabis fossil pollen was 19.6 million years old and came from northwestern China. Scientists noted, however, that cannabis likely split from the Humulus genus (the genus responsible for the hops used in beer) at some point around 28 million years ago, so there is a chance it originated somewhere else while still a part of that plant family [1].


First most widely used for medicinal and spiritual purposes, hemp quickly spread around the world. With its origins in China, in 2000 B.C. it was brought to South Asia by the Aryan invading forces. Between 2000 B.C. and 1400 B.C. cannabis made its way to the Middle East by a nomadic Indo-European group, who then also took the plant into Russia and Ukraine. Germanic tribes brought cannabis into Germany, and from there it crossed into Britain during the 5th century Anglo-Saxon invasions. Over the following centuries, cannabis moved across the globe, from Africa to South America and eventually North America [2]. 


Hemp seeds are used for a variety of products including:

  • Food: Hemp seeds are a nutritious high protein food that can be eaten raw or ground into meal. They are easily liquified for use in baking or for milk substitute products. While not as nutritious or popular as the seeds, hemp leaves can be consumed raw in salads or pressed into juice. Hemp seeds are notably high in fiber, vitamin B, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, and iron. They also have an amino acid profile that rivals meat, milk, eggs, and soy.
  • Fiber: One of its earliest products, hemp fiber has been used throughout history. Hemp fiber was especially useful in the production of rope, fabrics, and canvas for ship sails. With a texture similar to linen, hemp fiber is both durable and comfortable. In modern culture, hemp fiber is popular for clothing, shoes, accessories, and household decor.
  • Building Materials: Hemp is mixed with lime and manufactured into a concrete-like block and used for building insulation. While not strong enough to support structural elements, hemp has been shown to be as usable as a wood replacement for many types of homes, especially those being built green or needing excellent circulation.
  • Plastic Materials: By mixing together fiberglass, hemp fiber, kanag, and flax to create a composite, many automobile manufacturers use hemp as a component in automobile panels. Audi, BMW, Ford, Honda, Mercedes, and Volkswagen all use hemp in their cars.
  • Paper: Hemp paper is created by using the pulp obtained from industrial hemp fibers. It is generally used as a speciality paper for things like cigarette paper and banknotes. Hemp paper has a longer fiber than wood paper and a higher tear resistance and tensile strength. It’s production costs run about 4 times higher than wood paper, however, so it is not used for large production products like printing or writing paper.
  • Biofuels: Hemp seeds and stalks can be used to produce a biodiesel product called hempoline. It’s also possible to ferment the entire plant and create ethanol or methanol alcohol fuel. This fuel can be used to power diesel engines.

Early American Cultivation

American Colonies

British ships never left without a stockpile of hemp seeds and ship captains were ordered to spread hemp seeds widely in order to ensure there was fiber available in any land they may visit in case a ship needed repairs. 

Seeds first arrived in the United States with the Puritans for the purpose of planting to cultivate strong hemp crops for use in producing clothes, shoes, ropes, paper, and food. Hemp fiber was found to be particularly useful in maritime endeavours, largely because of how easily it adapts to cultivation and its natural decay resistance. The Mayflower itself was constructed with hemp fiber in its lines, sails, and caulking.

Since all British colonies were legally required to grow hemp, by the mid-1600s it had become a major part of the New England economy and had expanded down to Maryland and Virginia. In the years leading up the Revolutionary War, the colonies were responsible for producing the rope, canvas, cloth, and paper that was sent back to Britain for its use. 

American Revolution

After the American Revolution, hemp continued to be an important part of daily life in the young country. In fact, the first drafts of the Declaration of Independence were written on hemp paper. The first currency in the United States was reportedly printed on hemp paper, as were all sail canvases and much of the clothing. Farmers were told it was their patriotic duty to grow hemp and were allowed to pay their taxes with it. George Washington himself grew hemp and pushed for its growth and praised its usefulness in making rope and fabric. Even Thomas Jefferson grew hemp, eventually improving hemp varieties and inventing a special brake for crushing the stems during fiber processing.

Hemp in the 19th Century

Hemp crops remained popular and over the years spread into the American south. Settlers from Virginia brought the plant to Kentucky and started what would become one of the long-standing hemp states in America. By the late 1800s, however, demand for sailcloth and rope decreased as steam ships became the maritime transport of choice. As the Civil War ended, Kentucky was the only state still producing substantial amounts of hemp.

Hemp in the 20th Century


Hemp had lost some of its popularity from previous centuries, but was still a versatile and flourishing crop in America in the early 20th century. However, in 1937 the United States passed the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 which lumped hemp in with marijuana and taxed anyone who dealt commercially in it. This law was a major blow to the hemp industry adding a tax that most farmers simply could not afford to pay. 

Added to the sting of the new tax was the increasing popularity of synthetic fibers and new innovations in the timber industry, creating opportunities for cheaper and more efficient paper pulp. Between new increased and often impossible operating costs and reduced popularity nationwide, the hemp industry found itself in decline. 

During World War II, however, when supply lines were cut off by Japan, the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 was temporarily suspended and hemp grown on U.S. soil was used extensively to make uniforms, canvas, and rope for American troops. Hemp had a temporary resurgence as it became renowned as a necessary crop to win the war, but unfortunately after the war ended the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 was reinstated and hemp farmers were once again taxed heavily for their crops. 

Mid to Late

In 1970 the Controlled Substances Act put the final nail in the coffin of the United States hemp industry by banning cannabis of any kind, including hemp. Under the new law, all cannabis was given a Schedule 1 classification, putting it in the same category as heroin, LSD, and Ecstasy. This classification declared cannabis as having no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Even though the hemp variety of cannabis had no psychotropic effects, it was still bundled into the cannabis classification with marijuana and outlawed. Hemp remained illegal under the Controlled Substances Act for the remainder of the century.

In 1985 a book called The Emperor Wears No Clothes by Jack Herer was published after he spent years compiling historical data about cannabis and its use as hemp and as a drug. The book was extremely popular and positioned Jack Herer to be known as the “Emperor of Hemp” as he became a well-known cannabis rights activist. 

Hemp in the 21st Century

The Agricultural Act of 2018

The Agricultural Act of 2018, or 2018 farm bill, removed hemp from the Controlled Substances list, allowing more opportunities for hemp to be researched and used for its potential medicinal qualities. The push to legalize hemp came from the need to create large scale hemp farms across the country. With the recent slump of the tobacco industry, many farmers and community leaders again realized the potential of hemp farming and the possibilities of the plant.

While the farm bill does legalize the cultivation of hemp, it is still a tightly regulated industry and individuals are not allowed to grow plants at home. Hemp can only be grown on registered farms and is federally monitored for cultivation and production. It is legal to transport across state lines for both commercial and personal use, just as long as those hemp products are produced in a manner consistent with the law. 

2020 and Beyond

Currently, the hemp industry is gaining in popularity as CBD becomes more recognized for its therapeutic benefits and wide array of potential medicinal properties [3]. Since hemp is an excellent source of cannabidiol (CBD) and other cannabinoids like cannabinol (CBN), cannabigerol (CBG), and cannabichromene (CBC) it has been the plant of choice for supplying cannabinoid products like CBD oils, tinctures, flowers, and salves. Hemp has also seen a resurgence of interest in industrial applications, textiles, and food, as well as new interest in hemp-derived personal care and supplemental products. As hemp continues to be recognized for its usefulness in our changing world, it’s possible more uses will be found for it in the upcoming years and its popularity will continue to grow. 

Hemp: A Plant With Many Uses

Hemp: A Plant With Many Uses

Hemp is a popular plant for many reasons, one of them being its use as a valuable source of sustainable and renewable resources. It has always been a plant with many uses, but after a surge in popularity in the United States, followed by a dramatic decline and categorization as an illegal substance, all of its benefits haven’t been fully utilized in recent years. That is now changing as laws are reformed and people become aware of its many benefits. 


Throughout history hemp has been harvested for its bounty of beneficial resources. Hemp is a plant with seemingly endless possibilities, with fiber that can produce textiles, rope, clothes, paper, plastic composites, building construction materials, animal bedding, food, drinks, and agricultural products. Hemp seeds are used to produce food, a variety of oils, personal care products like shampoo or soap, and industrial fluids that can be used for varnishes, sealants, and lubricants. It is even used for essential oils, pesticides, animal feed, bird seed, fuel for cars, and for bioremediation of soil. 

Since early in American history, hemp has been one of earliest plants to be cultivated and for centuries was an extremely popular crop. Seeds first arrived in the United States for the purpose of planting in order to breed and maintain strong hemp crops for new settlers. Soon after the original settlers built up their communities, the colonies were required to grow hemp for use in maritime endeavours. Hemp has a natural decay resistance and easily adapts to cultivation, making it a highly desirable crop in those times.

Hemp was a versatile and flourishing crop in America. Unfortunately the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 and the rising popularity of synthetic fibers caused a severe decrease in hemp popularity and the industry soon found itself in decline. In 1970 the Controlled Substances Act banned cannabis of any kind, including hemp. This essentially caused the entire industry to grind to a halt and cultivation and production to cease across the country.  


Between 1970 and 2018 the DEA classified hemp as a schedule 1 drug, on the same list as heroin and marijuana. The Agricultural Act of 2018 removed hemp from that list, allowing more opportunities for hemp to be researched for therapeutic and medicinal qualities. 

At the core of it, the push to legalize hemp came from the need to create large scale hemp farms across the country after the recent slump of the tobacco industry. Many farmers and community leaders realized the potential of hemp farming and how easily they could convert their tobacco farms into hemp farms. The possibilities of what can be done with this plant are  so incredible, in fact, that even those who have never farmed before are gaining interest in this crop. With it’s multitudes of uses, it really opens up possibilities to potential hemp farmers interested in using this ancient plant for modern purposes. 

The farm bill legalized the cultivation of hemp, but it is still a highly regulated industry and individuals are not allowed to grow plants at home. Hemp can only be grown on registered farms and is federally monitored for cultivation and production. It is legal to transport across state lines for both commercial and personal use, just as long as those hemp products are produced in a manner consistent with the law. Since the process is still so new, there are going to be speedbumps and parts of the process that need a more detailed look. Farmers and the government are doing their best to work with each other to make the coming years as problem-free as possible for a brand new and booming industry.

Parts of the Plant

Each part of the hemp plant has a purpose. This means an entire plant can be used leaving no wasted materials behind — a rare occurrence in modern times where we have adopted some very wasteful practices. Let’s discuss in more detail what every part of the plant can be used for:


After they’re harvested, hemp seeds can be left whole, hulled, or pressed. They contain the most natural amount of fatty acids of any botanical products. Seeds from a hemp plant have what some consider the perfect balance of omega-6 and omega-3, which gives the body the essential nutrients it needs on a daily basis. Hemp seeds are most often used for bread, granola, cereal, milk, protein powder, and as animal food and flour. When pressed, the oil from the hemp seed can be used for fuel, lubricants, ink, varish, paint, dressings, body lotions, and cosmetics. 


The hemp stalk contains two components that are useful: the fiber and the hurd. 

Fiber (or bast fiber) are the long thin fibers that surround the outermost layer of the hemp stalk. This fiber is useful on its own or blended with other fibers and woven into a wide range of products like cloth, rope, canvas, biocomposites, clothes, shoes, and bags. It’s also a highly renewable source of paper; much more renewable than wood paper. Hemp fiber has an advantage over other types of fiber like flax and jute because of its length, strength, and strong antibacterial properties. 

Hemp hurd is the hollow and woody inner core section of the stalk. It’s often used for things like biofuel, animal food, insulation, concrete, bedding, and even as a chemical absorbent. Like hemp fiber, hemp hurd has potent antibacterial and absorbency properties. 

Even the hemp stalk itself is used for things like biofuel, paper products, cardboard, and filters. 


The buds that form on hemp plants are called flowers. These flower buds are what manufacturers use to create the popular CBD items seen in stores throughout the country. While sometimes the flower is just dried and sold as-is, later being used to smoke or in edible products, they are also used as part of the extraction process used to create CBD oils for tinctures and capsules. The flower of the hemp plant contains many important terpenes, cannabinoids, and amino acids that have been found beneficial in the treatment of a number of conditions plaguing humans and animals. 

Leaves and Roots

When the hemp plant is harvested, the leaves and roots are often left in the fields to break down and replenish the soil as they decompose into it. Since the hemp plant itself is so nutrient rich, it feeds those nutrients into the soil as it breaks down, giving the soil the added boost it needs to get ready for the next cycle of crops coming in. 

Sustainable Product

As an interesting side note, hemp does not require pesticides, herbicides, or much water to grow. That combined with its ability to self-fertilize the soil it has just grown out of, makes it a very appealing crop for many American farmers. In fact, every product sourced from hemp is biodegradable and environmentally friendly. Hemp is one of the planet’s best and most natural ground remediators and has been planted at the Chernobyl site to help clean the radioactive material from the ground.

Other materials like cotton, oil, paper (from wood pulp), and plastic absolutely do not come from renewable or sustainable sources, making hemp a better alternative. Many of the industries for the more popular resources are not only unsustainable, they are downright dangerous to the environment. Many of these industries prioritize profit over environment and in effect overuse and damage the land they produce on. 

Future of Hemp

Now that hemp is back in business, the country can expect to see some very interesting things coming to the industry in the future. Even though a form of industrial hemp dates back centuries, after decades of being considered illegal and left with no forward movement, getting a handle on this new section of the business world will take some time for everyone involved. From the government looking to regulate it, to the farmers trying to figure out the best practices for their new business. However, at the core of it is the power of hemp and its ability to be a powerhouse in a number of different categories, one of the most important as a sustainable and renewable resource. Making sure to take advantage of its ability to have every part of the plant used will be the key to watching the industry grow and thrive, and opening up a world of environmental responsibility to future generations. 

CBD for the Digestive Tract

CBD for the Digestive Tract

Researchers continue to be intrigued by the potential medicinal benefits of the cannabinoid CBD. They’ve found it effective for treating inflammation, pain, anxiety, and even certain bacterial infections [1]. They’ve recently turned their attention to its usefulness in treating gastrointestinal diseases. In the United States, roughly 60-70 million people are affected by a variety of digestive diseases [2]. There’s a good change that if you aren’t personally affected, you know someone who is. Those who suffer from digestive tract disorders often battle with their quality of life because these diseases can be very disruptive to daily routines. The possibility of using CBD to help ease some of that discomfort drives researchers to learn more about CBD and how it can be used to treat GI problems.

How the Endocannabinoid System Works

The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is an important part of human physiology. It’s responsible for maintaining the body’s state of homeostasis. If some sort of disruption is introduced in the body, the ECS will start working to make sure everything in the body remains at a stable and optimal level. This is an important function of the human body. All the internal systems need to be in a state of equilibrium to work effectively.  

There are three primary elements that make up the endocannabinoid system:

  • Endocannabinoids: These are compounds that are naturally produced by the body, but are very similar to the chemical compounds in cannabis, like CBD. The two main endocannabinoids in the ECS are called anandamide and 2-AG.
  • Cannabinoid Receptors: These receptors are found on the surface of cells throughout the body. The endocannabinoids the body produces, and any cannabinoids ingested will bind to these receptors. The action of binding allows them to communicate with different systems in the body, helping the ECS maintain an equilibrium in each of the specific systems. The two main types of cannabinoid receptors are CB1 and CB2.
  • Enzymes: After the endocannabinoids attach themselves to the cannabinoid receptors and the ECS has achieved stabilization in the body, enzymes start breaking down the endocannabinoids to avoid a possible overcorrection. Each type of endocannabinoid has a specific enzyme that works at breaking it down effectively. The two enzyme types are called FAAH and MAGL and each is specific to a particular endocannabinoid.

The endocannabinoid system is responsible for regulating several of the most important bodily functions, including appetite and digestion. The ECS regulates digestive functions by communicating with the digestive system using the cannabinoid receptors. Specifically the CB2 receptors, which reside in the digestive and immune systems. When the receptors notice an imbalance in one of these systems, the ECS acts with precision to pinpoint the issue and works to stabilize the problem and get back to homeostasis. 

Endocannabinoid System and CBD

Since endocannabinoids and cannabinoids from cannabis plants are so similar chemically, it’s possible for cannabinoids like CBD to attach themselves to the receptors in the same way the naturally occurring endocannabinoids do. CBD has the ability to bind to both the CB1 and CB2 receptors. Once attached, CBD acts as an antagonist, or blocker, binding to receptors and dampening their signals. 

For example, CBD works to inhibit the FAAH enzyme which breaks down the anandamide endocannabinoid the body produces. Anandamide produces a calming feeling, so by keeping the enzymes from destroying this compound a naturally therapeutic effect should be felt immediately [3]

Researchers have found that CB1 and CB2 receptors are found in immune cells, which indicates they are both used in regulating inflammation and immune response [4]. Because CBD can attach itself to both these receptors, it could prove to be effective for treating those with gastrointestinal issues. 

Common Gastrointestinal Disorders

The digestive system is made up of the gastrointestinal tract, the liver, the pancreas, and the gallbladder. This system helps break down and digest food. Effective digestion means the proper breakdown of food into nutrients and absorption of those nutrients to your body, where it’s used for energy, growth, and cell repair. There are many different kinds of digestive disorders, but the most common GI issues are listed below. 

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

There are two types of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) and in the United States a little over 1% of adults suffer from one or the other [5]:

  • Crohn’s Disease: This disease causes inflammation of the digestive tract. With symptoms including abdominal pain, cramping, fatigue, severe diarrhea, reduced appetite, and weight loss, it is a disorder that can be completely debilitating to those who have it. There is currently no cure for Crohn’s disease and the recommended treatments usually include a combination of dietary changes and a prescription for anti-inflammatory drugs or antibiotics.
  • Ulcerative Colitis: This disease causes inflammation and ulcers in the digestive tract. While technically considered the same type of inflammatory bowel disease as Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis differs in that it only affects the colon and the rectum. It does, however, have all the same symptoms as Crohn’s disease and is also without a cure. Treatment is typically a combination of immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory drugs, with additional prescriptions for pain relievers to manage any symptoms.


Gastritis is marked by inflammation of the stomach lining, and can be caused by a bacterial infection or overuse of pain medication or alcohol. It can also be caused by Crohn’s disease. Symptoms of gastritis include pain of the upper abdomen, nausea, vomiting, and a sense of fullness in the upper abdomen. If untreated, gastritis can cause stomach ulcers which can then lead to stomach cancer. 2 out of every 10,000 people suffer from chronic gastritis [6], however it is a very treatable condition with a combination of antibiotics, antacids, and histamine blockers. 

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) causes inflammation in the large intestine. Its symptoms include abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and weight loss. One of the most common GI issues, it affects 10% to 15% of people in the world [7]. IBS is found to be more common in women than men worldwide. Like other GI disorders, IBS is a chronic condition and has no cure. Most people manage their symptoms with a combination of diet, lifestyle, and supplements. Stress is a trigger for IBS, so often therapy or antidepressants are also recommended. 

How CBD Can Help

Benefits of CBD

Cannabidiol (CBD) comes from the cannabis plant and is one of more than 100 chemical compounds found within the plant that are called cannabinoids. CBD is usually extracted from the hemp plant as it naturally has higher concentrations of CBD, whereas the marijuana plant has higher concentrations of THC. Both plants produce CBD, but it’s often easier to extract from the hemp plant when the psychoactive effects of THC are not required or preferred. CBD does not contain any psychoactive elements and therefore the user won’t feel any sort of intoxication from consuming CBD. It should also be noted that unlike THC, CBD is legal in the United States. 

CBD can be a powerful tool against digestive tract discomfort. Because it’s able to interact with the cannabinoid receptors in the digestive tract and immune system, it can help reduce inflammation and improve how the immune system responds to digestive disorders. It can also be a great option when it comes to reducing stress and anxiety which can be caused by digestive issues, or act as a trigger for them. 

  • Pain and inflammation relief: Studies have shown that CBD can be a powerful pain reliever and is especially beneficial when managing chronic pain [8]. Studies on mice have revealed that CBD works to manage pain by adjusting the way the brain reacts to pain. It is able to release neurotransmitters which in turn act as antidepressants [9]. CBD is also able to attach itself to the CB2 receptors in the immune system which work to suppress inflammation [10].

A recent study of mice who suffered from intestinal inflammation found that they had abnormal levels of endocannabinoid turnover [11]. This means the ECS might not be able to regulate inflammation effectively. To test CBD in cases like this, researchers gave the mice CBD oil and it relieved their inflamed intestines and effectively reduced their pain.   

The combined power of CBD against pain and inflammation makes it a great alternative to traditional prescription medications or treatments that aren’t seeing success in treating uncomfortable or painful gastrointestinal diseases.

  • Anxiety relief: Research is still on-going, but already studies on animals have found that CBD is helpful in reducing a range of anxiety and stress issues [12]. By using the ECS to manage situations that cause our bodies to feel discomfort or distress, CBD can be a great option for those who either experience anxiety or stress from their uncomfortable digestive disorders, or for those who suffer from something like IBS and need to maintain a calm lifestyle or risk upsetting their condition.
  • Nausea relief: There has been considerable research done suggesting the benefits of cannabinoids — including CBD — on easing nausea and vomiting [13]. As these are two very common symptoms of gastritis, being able to use CBD to assist in managing these is incredibly important.

CBD in Your Life

If you or someone you love suffers from a digestive disease, you know it can be frustrating to get the help needed. With many of these diseases currently incurable, it comes down to an effective and tolerable treatment plan. The symptoms of these diseases are life-altering enough, so adding further medications that could themselves come with side effects is not often a desirable choice for many people trying to find relief. For those people, CBD can be a great option. Using its powerful relation to the endocannabinoid system and its ease of use and gentle effect on the body, it can be a life-changing treatment. 

Always talk to your doctor before adding any new treatments and make sure that any CBD you purchase comes from a reputable source with proper certifications and analysis reports. 

Cannabinoids and Infections

Cannabinoids and Infections

In the year 2020 we’ve found ourselves caught up in a global pandemic unlike the world has seen in 100 years. People are scared of the coronavirus called COVID-19, yet curious about what they can do to better protect themselves and their families from it as it makes its way through most countries and populations. There is no vaccine for COVID-19 and this has left many doing their own research for medications and natural remedies that might be able to aid in the fight against this virus. Understandably this has led some to question how effective cannabinoids — specifically CBD — are when it comes to protecting them from this or any coronavirus, or fighting off the infection if they happen to catch it. CBD research is still in its early stages, so in this article we want to discuss what current research has shown about CBD and its impact on infections, and whether or not it can be helpful as a preventative measure against viral infections.

Cannabinoids For Infections

Current research has shown that cannabinoids can be powerful antimicrobials, suggesting that they are agents that can kill microorganisms or stop them from growing 1. Antibiotics and antifungals are well known and commonly used antimicrobials, however research has also shown CBD to be helpful against certain types of infections. We’ll discuss those in more detail below.

Cannabinoids For Bacterial Infections

In the 1950s researchers studied cannabis as a potential treatment for tuberculosis and other diseases [2], however the research hit roadblocks as cannabis became more heavily regulated and was eventually classified as a Schedule 1 drug. More recently, studies have found cannabinoids – the chemical compounds found inside cannabis — to be useful for treating MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) in humans. MRSA is a bacteria known for being difficult to treat and for being unresponsive to many antibiotics. MRSA can often result in death for individuals with weakened immune systems or compromised health.

A study by scientists in Italy and the United Kingdom found that by applying extracted cannabinoids to bacterial cultures from six different strains of MRSA, the cannabinoid compounds successfully killed the Super bugs. In fact, it was just as helpful as the most popular and potent antibiotics that are commonly prescribed for the treatment of MRSA.

The researchers tested five specific cannabinoids and found the two that were the most powerful were also non-psychoactive, meaning they can be extracted from a hemp plant instead of a marijuana plant. Since marijuana is still considered illegal in many places, being able to harvest these beneficial cannabinoids from the legal hemp plant means the access to cannabinoid therapy could be easier and more affordable for those who would be otherwise unable to obtain it [3].

Cannabinoids For Fungal Infections

Fungal infections are often extremely uncomfortable and sometimes embarrassing for those suffering from them. They normally occur on the skin or within the body and frequently overwhelm the immune system. Usually antifungal medications are prescribed, including those with steroid properties. In an attempt to search for alternative treatments or to avoid steroids altogether, people have turned their attention to cannabinoids as a more natural remedy.

Researchers have found that some cannabinoids have moderate antifungal properties, specifically three types of cannabinoids [4]. Much like the cannabinoids used for bacterial infections, these three cannabinoids don’t cause the user to feel intoxicated. They naturally boost the effects of a specific type of oxide inside our bodies, which in turn works as an extremely powerful antifungal.

Cannabinoids For Viral Infections

With compelling evidence that cannabinoids can work for bacterial and fungal infections, some are rushing to conclusions about what that means for its usefulness against viral infections. It’s important to remember that just because they might be successful against certain types of bacteria and fungus, does not mean they will be useful against viruses.

There are currently very few studies about the effectiveness of cannabinoids and viral infections. The only such study that exists at this time is related to using cannabidiol (CBD) to treat viral hepatitis. The research shows that while CBD doesn’t seem to have any effect on hepatitis B, it was shown to actively assist in treating hepatitis C. This is especially important since hepatitis B has a vaccine and hepatitis C does not. Since there is no vaccine for hepatitis C and it has shown resistance to drugs, treatment can be costly. Even though the research is only just beginning on using CBD to help treat hepatitis C, the possibility of it being a beneficial treatment could open a lot of doors for those who suffer [5].

CBD For Stress and Anxiety

These are troubling times. That much we know to be true. The world is worried right now and that can have repercussions on our health. In response to this outbreak, the CDC has published an article highlighting the damage that stress can have in our lives and in our bodies. In this guide they note that stress can lead to the worsening of chronic health problems [6].

Stress can do a lot of damage to our bodies. In a time when we need to focus on maintaining our overall well-being, suffering from stress can be exceedingly dangerous. Stress can cause a person to have headaches, stomach problems, or trouble sleeping. Someone suffering from stress might turn to drugs, alcohol, or unhealthy eating habits. Many can feel fatigued, sad, or overwhelmed when stress consumes them. These behaviors are damaging to our immune system and can make us more susceptible to viral infections [7].

Likewise, there are many who suffer from chronic anxiety, and now those who are feeling newly anxious as the pandemic becomes part of our daily lives. Since so many of the same symptoms of stress show themselves in those who are suffering from anxiety, researchers believe there might also be a connection between anxiety and our immune systems [8]. The research is still ongoing and there haven’t been any solid conclusions at this point, however with such terrifying symptoms associated with feelings of anxiety, relief from it could be very important to those who suffer. This is especially true during these trying times.

CBD has been heavily researched and reported for its value in the treatment of stress and anxiety in both animals and humans. It is effective in reducing both the behavioral and physiological aspects of stress and anxiety, meaning it can help to calm the mind when it won’t stop running, and the heart when it won’t stop pounding [9]. During a time when so many stressful events are happening on an almost daily basis, gaining control over our stress level is important and could mean a healthier immune system.

Will CBD Protect Me From Viruses?

In a word? No. The research is still ongoing and no solid conclusions have been drawn yet. In regards to the COVID-19 virus, there is no vaccine or known cure for it. There are no known medicinal or therapeutic preventative measures. The best line of defense is maintaining social distance and doing your absolute best to keep yourself healthy. This can mean eating healthier foods, exercising, and managing your stress levels.

Experts have already warned the public about outlandish claims by those declaring they have some sort of miracle cure for COVID-19, which includes claims that cannabis or CBD are cures for the virus [10]. Unfortunately there are always people who will prey on others during hard times, and right now we need to be diligent about making sure we have all the facts and finding treatment plans that can work for us without someone else pushing it on us.

So while CBD has been shown to be powerful in the fight against stress and anxiety, there is no proof showing it has any effect on most viruses. If you find yourself struggling with stress or anxiety during this troubling time, perhaps CBD has a place in your life. The effects stress has on your body can be immensely damaging and could potentially make you more susceptible to infections. Getting a handle on that stress before it causes harm is just another tool in your toolbox when it comes to fighting off any viral infection, including COVID-19.



Understanding the difference between hemp and marijuana can be confusing, and even more confusing is understanding the difference between CBD and THC. If you’re new to the world of cannabis and have found the terminology confusing, this guide is for you. It should help you better understand some of the differences in these plants and products.


Hemp and marijuana are, in fact, just different names for the same plant genus called cannabis. Cannabis is a flowering annual herb in the Cannabaceae family that originated in Asia and has been used for centuries for a variety of needs, from industrial to medicinal. There are three main species of plants within this family: cannabis sativa, cannabis indica, and cannabis ruderalis. All three are treated as subspecies of a single species called C. sativa. Cannabis plants produce a group of chemical compounds known as cannabinoids that can produce mental and physical effects when ingested. These cannabinoids are also responsible for deciding if a particular cannabis plant will be called hemp or marijuana. 


Hemp is a term that is used to classify the varieties of cannabis that contain 0.3% or less of the cannabinoid called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Hemp has historically been used for its fiber, seeds, oils, and leaves. It’s most commonly used for industrial purposes and products. Hemp is refined into various commercial items like paper, textiles, clothings, biodegradable plastics, paint, insulation, biofuel, food, and animal feed. 

Commonly believed to be one of oldest cultivated plants in the world, hemp was such a staple of 17th century America that farmers were mandated to grow it and allowed to use it to pay their taxes. It’s even believed that the early drafts of the Declaration of Independence were created on hemp paper. However, the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 and the popularity of synthetic fibers in the following years saw the industry suffer a decrease in popularity. In 1970 when the Controlled Substances Act categorized marijuana as an illegal drug, hemp was assigned in the same category and cultivation of it was outlawed in the United States. It wasn’t until 2018 when the Agricultural Act removed hemp from that list. This allowed an opportunity for hemp to make a comeback as an industrial crop and opened the doors to create large scale hemp farms across the country. 


Marijuana contains more than 0.3% THC, the cannabinoid responsible for the psychotropic and euphoric effects. Marijuana buds come from the dried flowers, leaves, stems, and seeds of the cannabis plant. It’s known for its medicinal and recreational purposes and as a psychoactive drug and has been a highly regulated product since the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act. It became an even more restricted drug after the 1970 Controlled Substances Act categorized it as a Schedule 1 drug. In recent years, many states have slowly loosened their restrictive laws on marijuana use, with many moving from legalized use for medicinal purposes to legal recreational use, with restrictions comparable to alcohol. 

Differences Between Hemp and Marijuana

Hemp and marijuana are sometimes referred to as different species of cannabis, which is not correct. The only difference between the hemp and marijuana cannabis plants is the amount of THC found in each plant. Hemp is cultivated for non-drug use while marijuana is celebrated for its THC levels. Since hemp and marijuana come from the same plant, they look and smell the same. The only real difference between the two is the THC levels found within. Simply put, they are the same plant, but certain cannabis plants are cultivated to contain less than 0.3% THC. Those plants are called hemp and will not get you high. Cannabis plants cultivated with more than 0.3% THC are called marijuana and will get you high. 

While they are the same plant, over the years selective breeding has altered the physical characteristics of hemp and marijuana. Since marijuana plants are used primarily for their cannabis flower, marijuana plants have been bred to be shorter and bushier, while hemp plants are prized primarily for their fiber which is found in the stalks. Hemp plants are generally bred to be taller and skinnier than marijuana plants.


Cannabinoids are the chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant. There are at least 113 different cannabinoids within cannabis, but the most commonly extracted are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). While these two compounds are the most well known, there is ongoing research exploring the benefits of other cannabinoids including tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), tetrahydrocannabivarian (THCV), cannabigerol (CBG), cannabichromene (CBC), cannabinol (CBN), and cannabicyclol (CBL). While all 113 cannabinoids have varied effects, it is CBD and THC that are most frequently used because they are found in the highest concentrations. These are also the cannabinoids that determine the difference between a hemp plant and a marijuana plant.


Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the 113 identified cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. When these compounds are extracted from the cannabis plant, CBD is the most prominent cannabinoid in the extraction. It produces no psychoactive results and is used primarily for therapeutic purposes. CBD is currently undergoing a lot of scientific research for its abilities to provide its users with relaxing, pain relieving, and anti-anxiety benefits. Since CBD doesn’t have euphoric effects like THC, it is a safe option for those who don’t enjoy feeling intoxicated or who cannot because of legal restrictions. 

Currently there is only one FDA-approved CBD medication that’s used for the treatment of certain types of epilepsy, but different varieties of CBD are available over-the-counter and are popular with users for what they believe to be beneficial properties that help treat their ailments. 


Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is another one of the 113 cannabinoids extracted from the cannabis plant. THC is the primary cannabinoid that accounts for the psychoactive properties of marijuana. It attaches to cannabinoid receptors that are concentrated in areas of the brain, stimulating the cells in the brain to release dopamine, which creates the feeling of euphoria.  

Differences Between CBD and THC

Both CBD and THC can be extracted from a marijuana plant, however a hemp plant will not have THC compounds and will only produce CBD. CBD and THC have the same molecular structure of 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and 2 oxygen atoms. The difference in how those atoms are arranged, however, is what accounts for the different effects on the body. Both CBD and THC are similar to the endocannabinoids our bodies create naturally, giving them the ability to interact with our cannabinoid receptors more easily. The interactions that happen affect the release of neurotransmitters in our brains. These neurotransmitters are responsible for relaying messages between cells about things like pain, stress, and relaxation. THC only binds with the cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptors in the brain, which is why it produces a feeling of being high. CBD binds very weakly, and sometimes not at all, to the CB1 receptors. CBD can actually interfere with the binding of THC to the CB1 receptors, causing the feelings of euphoria to be lessened. 

THC is only extracted from marijuana plants, but CBD can come from either marijuana or hemp. Generally CBD with less than 0.3% THC is derived from hemp plants since CBD can be extracted directly from hemp without needing to remove the THC, a necessary step if the CBD comes from a marijuana plant.

Why it’s Important to Know the Difference

Knowing the difference between the plant varieties and compounds within them is not only helpful when researching which product would work best for you, it’s also important if you live in a state where marijuana is not yet legal. Federally, marijuana and THC are still considered illegal. There are currently only a handful of states that have legalized marijuana for recreational or medicinal use. Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp and CBD are now legal federally, however some states have added their own restrictions on these substances. Certain states have made it illegal to possess hemp flowers or certain types of CBD. Make sure to check your state laws before purchasing any cannabis product. 

The popularity of cannabis is on the rise, and is often very confusing for those who are new to the world of hemp and marijuana. This can make it very intimidating when someone is looking for answers to questions about what could work for them. We hope this guide was helpful in differentiating these terms.