It is for this reason that all the finished hemp goods that you see for sale in America, from food products to clothing to building materials, are part of an imported hemp industry that has surpassed $688 million annually. The size of this import industry is one of the major catalysts for hemp legalization in the U.S. As a renewable source of a range of products, hemp provides an exciting new step in American agriculture.
Tia has been Live Science's associate editor since 2017. Prior to that, Tia was a senior writer for the site, covering physics, archaeology and all things strange. Tia's work has appeared in Scientific American, Wired.com, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Tia grew up in Texas and has an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin, a master's degree in bioengineering from the University of Washington and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California Santa Cruz. When she's not editing stories, Tia enjoys reading dystopian fiction and hiking.
Cannabis, especially the cannabinoid CBD, has also demonstrated its abilities as a powerful anti-convulsant. This property is what accounts for cannabis’ ability to reduce the severity and frequency of seizures, especially for people with epilepsy. In the United States, epilepsy is the most widely adopted qualifying condition for medical cannabis use, especially for children.
Although cannabis as a drug and industrial hemp both derive from the species Cannabis sativa and contain the psychoactive component tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), they are distinct strains with unique phytochemical compositions and uses. Hemp has lower concentrations of THC and higher concentrations of cannabidiol (CBD), which decreases or eliminates its psychoactive effects. The legality of industrial hemp varies widely between countries. Some governments regulate the concentration of THC and permit only hemp that is bred with an especially low THC content.
Cannabis was also known to the ancient Assyrians, who discovered its psychoactive properties through the Iranians. Using it in some religious ceremonies, they called it qunubu (meaning "way to produce smoke"), a probable origin of the modern word "cannabis". The Iranians also introduced cannabis to the Scythians, Thracians and Dacians, whose shamans (the kapnobatai—"those who walk on smoke/clouds") burned cannabis flowers to induce trance.
To this point, CBD oil has existed in a kind of liminal space— at once an illegal drug, a legal medication, and some kind of “dietary” supplement. It’s possible this could change in the coming years, however. GW Pharmaceuticals, a U.K.-based firm, has developed a “pure CBD” medication called Epidiolex that has shown promising test results. It is currently on a fast-track to receive FDA clearance. For some patients, Epidiolex could be a miracle cure. This summer, in Wired magazine, writer Fred Vogelstein chronicled his family’s own struggles to find an effective treatment for his son’s epilepsy—including experiments with hemp oil— and the immense hurdles they overcame to gain access to Epidiolex prior to its FDA approval. The drug could be for sale on pharmacy shelves in the near future, though exactly how near is hard to say.
Jump up ^ Devinsky, Orrin; Cilio, Maria Roberta; Cross, Helen; Fernandez-Ruiz, Javier; French, Jacqueline; Hill, Charlotte; Katz, Russell; Di Marzo, Vincenzo; Jutras-Aswad, Didier; Notcutt, William George; Martinez-Orgado, Jose; Robson, Philip J.; Rohrback, Brian G.; Thiele, Elizabeth; Whalley, Benjamin; Friedman, Daniel (22 May 2014). "Cannabidiol: Pharmacology and potential therapeutic role in epilepsy and other neuropsychiatric disorders". Epilepsia. 55 (6): 791-802. doi:10.1111/epi.12631. PMC 4707667. PMID 24854329.
A 2016 review of animal studies indicated that cannabidiol has potential as an anxiolytic for relief of anxiety-related disorders and fear. Reviews of preliminary research showed cannabidiol has potential for improving addictive disorders and drug dependence, although as of 2016, they indicated limited high-quality evidence for anti-addictive effects in people.
The scientific debate regarding taxonomy has had little effect on the terminology in widespread use among cultivators and users of drug-type Cannabis. Cannabis aficionados recognize three distinct types based on such factors as morphology, native range, aroma, and subjective psychoactive characteristics. Sativa is the most widespread variety, which is usually tall, laxly branched, and found in warm lowland regions. Indica designates shorter, bushier plants adapted to cooler climates and highland environments. Ruderalis is the informal name for the short plants that grow wild in Europe and Central Asia.