From the 1950s to the 1980s, the Soviet Union was the world's largest producer of hemp (3,000 km2 in 1970). The main production areas were in Ukraine, the Kursk and Orel regions of Russia, and near the Polish border. Since its inception in 1931, the Hemp Breeding Department at the Institute of Bast Crops in Hlukhiv (Glukhov), Ukraine, has been one of the world's largest centers for developing new hemp varieties, focusing on improving fiber quality, per-hectare yields, and low THC content.
There are new CBD companies coming online every week – these span the range from truly awful to really great. So how to choose the best? The quality of the CBD oil itself is obviously the most important factor – and many companies do take the quality of their products seriously. To reward those companies, we gave more weight to the quality of the product than any other category.
CBD may also enhance uptake of cytotoxic drugs into malignant cells. Activation of the transient receptor potential vanilloid type 2 (TRPV2) has been shown to inhibit proliferation of human glioblastoma multiforme cells and overcome resistance to the chemotherapy agent carmustine.  One study showed that coadministration of THC and CBD over single-agent usage had greater antiproliferative activity in an in vitro study with multiple human glioblastoma multiforme cell lines. In an in vitro model, CBD increased TRPV2 activation and increased uptake of cytotoxic drugs, leading to apoptosis of glioma cells without affecting normal human astrocytes. This suggests that coadministration of CBD with cytotoxic agents may increase drug uptake and potentiate cell death in human glioma cells. Also, CBD together with THC may enhance the antitumor activity of classic chemotherapeutic drugs such as temozolomide in some mouse models of cancer.[13,33] A meta-analysis of 34 in vitro and in vivo studies of cannabinoids in glioma reported that all but one study confirmed that cannabinoids selectively kill tumor cells.
Quality is a particular concern, because cannabis plants easily soak up heavy metals from pesticides and other contaminants, Marcu says. If you are buying online, look for a company that documents how it tests its products. (If the website doesn’t indicate this, call and ask.) “Buying from a reputable manufacturer is crucial, because it matters how the plant is cultivated and processed,” Dr. Maroon says. One clue that a company is cutting corners: too low a cost. Good CBD is pricey—a bottle of high-quality capsules is sold in Cohen’s office for $140. But for many, it’s worth the money. Roth spent $60 on her tiny bottle. But when her energy returned the day she started taking CBD, she decided that was a small price to pay.
In the UK, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs treats hemp as a purely non-food crop, but with proper licensing and proof of less than 0.2% THC concentration, hemp seeds can be imported for sowing or for sale as a food or food ingredient. In the U.S., imported hemp can be used legally in food products and, as of 2000, was typically sold in health food stores or through mail order.
Another field in which CBD is creating a buzz is in the area of mood disorders like anxiety and depression. Both conditions have been treated with a variety of medications, courtesy of Big Pharma, that have had varying levels of success. Again, the long list of side effects can be off-putting to someone who just wants to get through the day without the sweaty tension of anxiety or the gray haze of depression.
Marijuana looks contrastingly different from hemp. When you observe their leaves, marijuana’s shape tends to either be broad leafed, a tight bud, or look like a nugget with organd hairs. Hemp, on the other hand, has skinnier leaves that’s concentrated at the top. Few branches or leaves exist below the top part of the plant. When you observe the plants from afar, marijuana looks like a short fat bush. Hemp is typically skinnier and taller (up to 20 ft). At times, it almost looks like long ditchweed – hemp was actually found to grow among weeds in Nebraska. In general, when you compare a marijuana farm with those of industrial hemp, you’ll notice that they are clearly very different from one another.
“The plan? Whip the public into a frenzy over ill effects of marijuana, the psychoactive leaves and flowers of the hemp plant; the reputation of the fibers and seeds used by industry would be posing little threat to society emerged as the ‘assassin of youth.’ The strategy worked. In 1937, with virtually no warning, Congress announced a prohibitive tax on hemp, effectively ending the production and sale of the plant in the United States.
Though use of marijuana among Washington state youth has remained relatively stable over the last several years (see Healthy Youth Survey), youth perception of harm from use of marijuana has been steadily decreasing (meaning: fewer adolescents believe marijuana use is harmful). Marijuana is the second most-commonly used substance among 12th graders (alcohol is the first), with 27% of high school seniors reporting current (past 30-day) use.
Hemp, the non-psychoactive variety of the cannabis sativa plant, is already being integrated into several mature markets such as food, textiles, construction, personal care and nutraceuticals. This relatively quiet cannabis relative is emerging as a potential commodity ripe to not only impact, but possibly revolutionize, tech-driven markets and economies around the world.
Hemp’s greatest obstacle is its association with psychoactive cannabis, despite the important distinction that hemp contains only nominal amounts (no more than 0.3%) of the psychoactive ingredient, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Although the U.S. is the largest importer of hemp products according to the Hemp Business Journal (a New Frontier Data subsidiary), hemp itself has struggled to gain social acceptance in the country and elsewhere. For instance, current U.S. legislation only permits universities and states performing agricultural or academic research to cultivate hemp. However, the 2018 Farm Bill currently in Congress would grant hemp full legalization across the nation. Passage of this bill would be a key step in promoting public acceptance in the U.S. and elsewhere, allowing the country to participate in the rapidly growing global hemp market.
Cannabinoids are known to interact with the hepatic cytochrome P450 enzyme system.[3,4] In one study, 24 cancer patients were treated with intravenous irinotecan (600 mg, n = 12) or docetaxel (180 mg, n = 12), followed 3 weeks later by the same drugs concomitant with medicinal Cannabis taken in the form of an herbal tea for 15 consecutive days, starting 12 days before the second treatment. The administration of Cannabis did not significantly influence exposure to and clearance of irinotecan or docetaxel, although the herbal tea route of administration may not reproduce the effects of inhalation or oral ingestion of fat-soluble cannabinoids.
"We still don't fully understand all of the mechanisms involved in CBD's actions," says Marcel Bonn-Miller, Ph.D, who studies CBD and its effects, primarily on PTSD. "We know some pieces but definitely not the whole story at this point. A lot of our understanding of the many potential benefits of CBD is rooted in work either on the cellular level or in preclinical models with rodents."
Earliest reference to euphoric use of C. sativa appears to date to China of 5 millennia ago, but it was in India over the last millennium that drug consumption became more firmly entrenched than anywhere else in the world. Not surprisingly, the most highly domesticated drug strains were selected in India. While C. sativa has been used as a euphoriant in India, the Near East, parts of Africa, and other Old World areas for thousands of years, such use simply did not develop in temperate countries where hemp was raised. The use of C. sativa as a recreational inebriant in sophisticated, largely urban settings is substantially a 20th century phenomenon.
A 2012 review found that the THC content in marijuana had increased worldwide from 1970 to 2009. It is unclear, however, whether the increase in THC content has caused people to consume more THC or if users adjust based on the potency of the cannabis. It is likely that the higher THC content allows people to ingest less tar. At the same time, CBD levels in seized samples have lowered, in part because of the desire to produce higher THC levels and because more illegal growers cultivate indoors using artificial lights. This helps avoid detection but reduces the CBD production of the plant.
In addition to positively affecting the endocannabinoid system, CBD has been the focus of more than 23,000 published studies about cannabinoids in relation to various medical indications including anxiety, epilepsy, inflammation, cancer and chronic pain to name few. For a more comprehensive look at these and other studies, visit our medical research and education page.
Newer antiemetics (e.g., 5-HT3 receptor antagonists) have not been directly compared with Cannabis or cannabinoids in cancer patients. However, the Cannabis-extract oromucosal spray, nabiximols, formulated with 1:1 THC:CBD was shown in a small pilot randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blinded clinical trial in Spain to treat chemotherapy-related N/V.[Level of evidence: 1iC] ASCO antiemetic guidelines updated in 2017 states that evidence remains insufficient to recommend medical marijuana for either the prevention or treatment of N/V in patients with cancer who receive chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
In 1925 a compromise was made at an international conference in The Hague about the International Opium Convention that banned exportation of "Indian hemp" to countries that had prohibited its use, and requiring importing countries to issue certificates approving the importation and stating that the shipment was required "exclusively for medical or scientific purposes". It also required parties to "exercise an effective control of such a nature as to prevent the illicit international traffic in Indian hemp and especially in the resin". In the United States in 1937, the Marihuana Tax Act was passed, and prohibited the production of hemp in addition to cannabis.
Several animal studies have led researchers to believe that cannabis could reverse signs of aging in the brain. Aging mice treated with small daily doses of THC showed a reversal in cognitive decline. However, past studies on the effects of cannabis on human memory show less promising results. Still, with few viable treatments for dementia, medical marijuana is receiving increased attention in this area.
Synthetic cannabis is illegal in New Zealand. It is designed to imitate the effects of cannabis and is usually dried plant material sprayed with chemicals known as synthetic cannabinoids. It is also available in liquid form. Little is known about the chemicals used in synthetic cannabis and the effects can be unpredictable, especially when mixed with other substances.
According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, there were 455,000 emergency room visits associated with cannabis use in 2011. These statistics include visits in which the patient was treated for a condition induced by or related to recent cannabis use. The drug use must be "implicated" in the emergency department visit, but does not need to be the direct cause of the visit. Most of the illicit drug emergency room visits involved multiple drugs. In 129,000 cases, cannabis was the only implicated drug.
Beckerman also urged supporters of hemp (and of its danker cousin) to be more vigilant than ever about federal and state-level law and policy moves going forward. “Special interests and residual hysteria will continue to try to get in there, to stomp on the little guy, and on consumer rights and safety, and to over-regulate, so it’s more important than ever that we organize and engage,” she said.
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.