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CBD, otherwise known as cannabidiol, is one of several dozen active compounds in marijuana, and the primary nonpsychoactive ingredient—meaning it doesn't get you high. And these two shops are among at least half a dozen retail stores in Chicago that carry products purporting to contain the stuff.
At first it might seem like a no-brainer for vape shops to carry CBD. But its presence alongside e-cigarettes and giant glass bongs is actually surprising: CBD extracts produced by state-licensed medical marijuana cultivators are heavily regulated by state agencies, sold only in state-licensed dispensaries, and restricted to Illinoisans with medical marijuana cards.
Meanwhile, CBD extracts available for purchase by the general public appear to be produced with no regulatory oversight at all. The answer can be found in the patchwork of national, state, and local laws that govern the production, cultivation, and sale of marijuana and hemp products in the United States. Hemp and marijuana are strains of the same plant species, cannabis sativa. Though they're both cannabis plants, hemp and marijuana differ notably in their genetic makeup and are cultivated and harvested in different ways.
CBD is found in varying levels in both plant varieties. The plant commonly referred to as marijuana contains higher amounts of THC tetrahydrocannabinol , the psychoactive compound responsible for getting you stoned. The difference between the CBD products sold at vape shops and those for sale at dispensaries stems from their source: CBD extracts available for commercial retail are derived from hemp, while those produced by state-licensed cultivators are extracted from marijuana.
But no matter from where it's sourced, CBD is the same chemical compound—a fact that adds a layer of confusion and absurdity to its legal status.
There's not a top-down policy. The laws governing CBD start with the Controlled Substances Act of , which labeled all varieties of the cannabis plant, hemp included, a Schedule I drug—meaning it's illegal to grow or sell it and the federal government considers it to have no medicinal value whatsoever. But a "hemp amendment " that was included in the farm bill—and championed by Republican Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell—changed those rules.
Previously, hemp could be imported, but it couldn't be grown in the U. The amendment allowed states to create pilot programs to research and cultivate hemp, which the legislation defines as a cannabis plant containing 0. Marijuana plants grown today contain THC levels hovering around 20 percent.
The bill also allows for the marketing of hemp products. Although it's not currently permitted here, legislation is pending in Illinois to allow for the cultivation and sale of hemp. Hemp has long been grown for a variety of purposes: CBD as a favored hemp product is a more recent development. Over the past several years, as CBD started to gain a reputation for having a variety of therapeutic benefits, hemp producers began marketing and manufacturing CBD extracts.
Preliminary research and anecdotal evidence suggests CBD may carry valuable anti-inflammatory, antiseizure, and pain-relief properties, and may also be effective in treating substance abuse disorders, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
The legal picture became infinitely more complicated once states like Illinois began piloting medical marijuana programs and other states, including California, Colorado, and Washington, legalized recreational weed. While marijuana remains a federally scheduled drug at the national level, its legal status actually depends on where you live. Revolution, like all state-licensed medical marijuana cultivators in Illinois, has been subjected to strict scrutiny since the state's Medical Cannabis Pilot Program took effect in Access to its products is restricted to medical marijuana cardholders, and access to those so-called "green cards" has been hard to come by—just about 16, state residents have obtained them since the launch of the program.
Meanwhile, retailers sell CBD products sourced from hemp to the general public with little fanfare and no state or federal oversight—with mixed benefit to the public. CBD Kratom owner David Palatnik operates out of two locations—his first shop in Bucktown and a recently opened second location in Andersonville.
Palatnik says he first tried CBD as a sleep aid about two years ago after purchasing the extract from a smoke shop. He was inspired to open to his shop because he believed "CBD should not be sold in a smoke shop, but in a nicer shop that offers a lot more information about what CBD is and a lot more variety. Warrender, who suffers from fibromyalgia, a condition that causes widespread muscle pain, says he tried CBD about a year ago and found it significantly relieved his discomfort.
The extract can be ingested as a tincture under the tongue or as a vaporizer liquid. But because sales of CBD in vape shops fall outside the bounds of the state's medical marijuana program, these products are unregulated. You might buy something labeled CBD, but "you might not be taking anything at all—you might be taking pure glycerin and flavor," Shroyer says.
Of these, 18 tested positive for the presence of at least one cannabinoid compound. But three contained less than 0.
Palatnik says he purchases all of his CBD products prepackaged from companies based in states where hemp cultivation is legal, tries them himself before he sells them in his shop, and receives lab results from the companies he buys them from detailing each product's chemical composition. Warrender says his company sources "pure isolate"—a crystallized form of CBD—from "the largest hemp manufacturer in the world in Colorado" and then mixes the isolate with a base of vegetable glycerin to create his CBD liquids.
But Warrender declined to provide the name of the Colorado company he works with. He also acknowledges that the industry is "completely unregulated" and says he was compelled to get into the CBD business because other companies didn't include information about dosing or concentration levels on product packaging.
In the absence of a regulatory system, consumers are reliant on company claims and business owners like Palatnik and Warrender to gain any information about the CBD product they're buying. A push for regulations to ensure consumers are actually getting what's advertised on the packaging would be a worthy cause. But given CBD's potential medical benefits and nonpsychoactive effect, there's little evidence to justify making it illegal or even just extremely hard to obtain.
Tell that to the DEA. Last December the agency created a new drug classification for marijuana extracts that seemed to indicate that CBD, no matter its source, would be considered a Schedule I drug—in the same category as heroin—despite the provisions carved out for hemp production in the farm bill and despite the nascent evidence of CBD's potential medical benefits.
This week, the state Medical Marijuana Advisory Board met to discuss allowing sales of flower as a way to increase options and lower costs for patients. Available at dispensaries are highly-concentrated oils and resins, all extracted from extraordinarily potent strains of the marijuana plant. Others are processed into concentrates that look like congealed ear wax or frozen orange juice.
All are essentially variants of what the industry considers butane hash oil BHO. Disposable pens will be available in a number of flavors: THC is considered the psychoactive molecule in marijuana, largely responsible for the "high.
Other states limit the amount they can purchase. Our pharmacists will help determine the appropriate quantity. It's important patients get what they need. The variety of products is expected to explode as more grower-processors bring products to market. We spoke with Visco and Brittany Camac, a pharmacist with Keystone Shops of Devon , about the medical marijuana products available for purchase at Pennsylvania stores.
Dispensaries will carry a variety of disposable and reloadable cartridges of various strains and potencies. The viscous materials are blending with terpenes and food-grade flavors. Self-contained and discrete, oil-filled cartridges will be available in to mg sizes. All forms can be loaded into electronic vaporization devices. Several of the concentrates, budder and live sugar, for instance, are processed before drying, while the plant is still "wet. Consistency is the primary difference.
Budder is creamy and smooth, where sugar has a shimmery and granular look. Wax has a more crumbly texture that can be easily manipulated by hand.
Buyers guide to Pennsylvania medical marijuana products
The first Pa. dispensaries, six of which opened this week, aren't selling Some of the oils are packed into cartridges for use with a vape pen. Some of indica or Cannabis sativa — contain varying ratios of THC to CBD. "If you're looking for the benefit of instant pain relief, go with a cartridge," Camac said. Terrapin is Pennsylvania's Source for Treatment and Relief a different ratio of THC and CBD, from THC-only in our iCan line, to CBD:THC in our iREM line. A variety of Indica, Sativa, Hybrid, and CBD-rich genetics are available to provide patients with When vaporized, cannabis flowers can offer fasting acting symptom relief, along with the medical marijuana vape pen cartridge PA dispensary.