A few people have asked me about CBD products recently, and although I don’t incorporate them into my aromatherapy blends, I decided to focus on them for my post today because I do believe that Cannabis sativa products are beneficial.
Before that, let me clarify the difference between hemp and CBD products and marijuana, since there is a clear distinction.
The Difference Between Hemp & Marijuana
Hemp and marijuana come from the same species of plant. Marijuana or Cannabis sativa is an herb that is commonly found around the world, although it originated in Asia. It produces psychoactive effects in the body due to a constituent in the plant called THC or tetrahydrocannabinol.
Hemp is also Cannabis sativa but it is a variety that has low levels of THC. Thus, hemp has no psychoactive effects.
CBD or cannabidiol is another constituent found in hemp and marijuana, although hemp has higher levels of CBD than marijuana. Hemp also has higher levels of CBD than THC. CBD does not produce psychoactive effects in the body.
Both varieties of the plant have benefits, although the use of medical marijuana is highly restricted and is mostly illegal. In some countries, even though hemp does not have psychoactive effects, the use of hemp and hemp products is also restricted. CBD products are often regulated to ensure that they are made from hemp plants and not marijuana plants, but it is not always the case.
Benefits of CBD
Medical marijuana is used to relieve pain, particularly chronic pain, as well as headaches, migraines, nausea, vomiting, and inflammation and has been incorporated into the treatment of multiple sclerosis, various types of cancers, and other chronic conditions (Baron, 2018; Ochalla, 2018).
The adverse effects of using medical marijuana include withdrawal, weakness, fatigue, loss of balance, disorientation, hallucinations, euphoria, agitation, sleepiness, and changes in mental functioning (Karst, 2018).
CBD products can reduce muscle and joint aches and pain, inflammation, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy, seizures, and multiple sclerosis, as well as regulate metabolism and improve focus, productivity, fatigue, insomnia, and sleep difficulties (Green Roads, 2019; Ochalla, 2018). One doctor shared that taking CBD products helped her find relief for some of the symptoms of multiple sclerosis, including brain fog, pain, anxiety, and fatigue (Norris, 2019).
Legal Status of CBD & Marijuana
With the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill in the United States, it is legal for CBD products to be sold throughout the country (Green Roads, 2019). Thus, the boom of CBD products in the market.
Medical marijuana is legal in 33 states, including Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, West Virginia, as well as Guam and Puerto Rico.
Recreational marijuana, and thus medical marijuana, is legal in Alaska, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.
In the rest of the world, CBD products are legal where recreational and/or medical marijuana is legal, which is in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Thailand, United Kingdom, and Uruguay (Green Roads, n.d.).
Please make sure to check the latest legal laws of any country you live in or are traveling to, as there could be legal consequences for carrying CBD products and marijuana.
Does Health Insurance Cover Medical Marijuana & CBD Products?
Despite the increasingly wide use of CBD products and medical marijuana, health insurance companies do not cover their use. At least they do not in the United States. QuoteWizard contributed the below information:
“QuoteWizard, a health insurance comparison website compiled data that found that people in states WITHOUT legal marijuana, shop for health insurance at twice the rate of people in states with legal weed. Why is that? While it’s hard to draw firm conclusions from the data, there are a few possibilities:
- People who have legal access to marijuana are less reliant on regular health care.
- Using legal pot is a viable alternative to some types of prescription medication.
- People in states with legal cannabis are more open to alternative forms of medication which often aren’t covered by insurance.
- Marijuana makes you so healthy that you don’t need health insurance. Or maybe it makes you so lazy that you forget to shop for health insurance.
Since pot legalization is a relatively recent trend, there’s a dearth of reliable data and studies to confirm or deny the claims above.
But one study does echo the finding of point number 2 above. Health Affairs, a that covers health policy thought and research, did a study on medical marijuana and Medicare (Bradford & Bradford, 2016). The study found that Medicare users in states with medical marijuana rely considerably less on certain prescription drugs, specifically those prescription drugs for which marijuana provided a clinical alternative. With patients choosing marijuana instead of prescription meds, the study estimates that Medicare saved $165.2 million thanks to medical pot (Bradford & Bradford, 2016).
Health Affairs published another study focusing on Medicaid, and the findings are similar. Medicaid prescription drug use dropped in states with medical marijuana. The study concludes that if all states had approved a medical marijuana law in 2014, there could be nearly a $1.01 billion in estimated savings for fee-for-service Medicaid (Bradford & Bradford, 2017).
Marijuana is already influencing the health care industry as we are seeing people without legal marijuana shop and compare for health insurance much more due to rising prescription costs. We think that people with legal weed are treating their pain with marijuana versus pills, thus neglecting the need to shop for insurance.
While it’s too early to make any firm conclusions, early signs are promising. If this trend continues, medical marijuana could help make health insurance cheaper.
Methodology: When people go onto QuoteWizard’s website to find health insurance, their location is one of the main parts of data that is compiled. We looked at the rate in which people in non-legal marijuana states filled out a quote form versus legal states to compare their rate of shopping and comparing health insurance plans.”
In addition to considering laws about carrying CBD products and marijuana, I suggest considering reputation, research, source, and effectiveness of these products. Everything isn’t made in the same manner, and I would recommend ensuring the products purchased aren’t synthetic or adulterated.
As with anything, consult a healthcare provider before using CBD or marijuana products. I would recommend that you take the time to determine whether the use of these products fits you and your lifestyle and test them for a short while to see what kind of effect they have on you. We all react differently, and it is important not to assume that because something works for someone it will work for us as well.
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Baron, E. P. (2018). Medicinal properties of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids in cannabis, and benefits in migraine, headache, and pain: an update on current evidence and cannabis science. Headache, 58(7), 1139-1186. doi:10.1111/head.13345
Bradford, A. C. & Bradford, W. D. (2016). Medical marijuana laws reduce prescription medication use in medicare part D. Health Affairs, 35(7). Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1377/hlthaff.2015.1661.
Bradford, A. C. & Bradford, W. D. (2017). Medical marijuana laws may be associated with a decline in the number of prescriptions for Medicaid enrollees. Health Affairs, 36(5). Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1377/hlthaff.2016.1135.
Green Roads. (2019). 5 ways CBD can change your life. Elephant Journal. Retrieved on February 14, 2019 from https://www.elephantjournal.com/2019/01/5-ways-cbd-can-help-you-live-your-best-life-partner/
Green Roads. (n.d.). CBD Legalization Around the World in 2019. Green Roads. Retrieved on February 14, 2019 from https://www.greenroadsworld.com/blogs/news/cbd-legalization-around-the-world-in-2019/
Karst, A. (2018). Weighing the benefits and risks of medical marijuana use: a brief review. Pharmacy, 6(4), 128. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmacy6040128
Ochalla, B. (2018). Does health insurance cover medical marijuana? QuoteWizard by Lendingtree. Retrieved on February 14, 2019 from https://quotewizard.com/health-insurance/medical-marijuana
Norris, J. (2019). What happened when I tried CBD oil for MS. Dr. Jess Norris Wellness Education. Retrieved on February 14, 2019 from https://drjessnorris.com/cbd-oil-ms/
Unsplash, Kimberly Nanney