May 26, 2024

CBD: Medical Cannabis Without the Need for a State Card

3 min read

Most people think of marijuana when the topic of medical cannabis comes up. They assume consumers need a state-issued card to legally use cannabis medicines. But that’s only half true. The need for a card rests almost entirely in what a given cannabis medicine contains.

In Utah, patients need a state-issued card to purchase medical cannabis products from one of fifteen pharmacies in the state, including Zion Medicinal in Cedar City. But all the medicines sold at those pharmacies rely on THC as the active ingredient. Here’s the thing: THC isn’t the only cannabinoid offering medicinal benefits. CBD is another.

More About CBD

CBD (cannabidiol) is one of more than a hundred cannabinoids and terpenes harvested from cannabis plants. Growers and processors extract CBDA, decarboxylate it, and are left with CBD ready to be packaged or added to other products.

As Harvard Health contributor Peter Grinspoon, MD explained so well in an April, 2024 post, CBD is one of two cannabinoids that naturally occur in abundance in cannabis plants. THC is the other. The main difference between the two is that THC is psychoactive while CBD is not.

It is also interesting to note that CBD is the primary cannabinoid found in hemp plants. THC is the primary cannabinoid in marijuana. Both hemp and marijuana are varieties of cannabis. They are legally distinguished only by the amount of THC they contain.

No Card Is Necessary

Washington legalized hemp with the 2018 Farm Bill. As a result, there was no realistic way to justify leaving CBD and derived products on the list of control substances under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). As Grinspoon put it in his post, that would have been like “making oranges legal, but keeping orange juice illegal.”

The net effect of the 2018 Farm Bill is that CBD is legal across the country. A small number of states have taken it upon themselves to regulate it, but CBD is largely unregulated from coast-to-coast. Consumers can purchase it that neighborhood convenience stores, gas stations, department and grocery stores, and even online. No state-issued card is necessary.

This begs the question of whether CBD offers any medical benefits. The answer is a resounding yes. Between anecdotal evidence and an emerging body of clinical data, we are coming to understand that CBD can help with a variety of conditions. Here are just some of the conditions Grinspoon mentioned in his piece:

● Anxiety.
● Insomnia.
● Chronic pain.
● Inflammation.
● Addiction.

Grinspoon also explained that there is no evidence to date suggesting any serious adverse effects from consuming CBD. He noted that even the World Health Organization sees no threat from CBD from either an adverse reaction or addiction standpoint.

It’s Not for Everyone and Everything

As a writer, I am aware that posts like this one have a tendency to give people the impression that CBD is a wonder drug that can be used with impunity. Avoid any such assumptions. First and foremost, CBD isn’t for everyone. Just because it relieves anxiety for a friend doesn’t it mean it will help with your anxiety. You and your friend are different people.

Also note that CBD is not a cure-all for every ailment you suffer from. CBD has some defined medical benefits, but those benefits are limited. Do not assume that using copious amounts of CBD will eliminate all of your health concerns.

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