• By Elizabeth Coots, Extension Agent

Family and Consumer Sciences

What is CBD oil? Let’s start by saying that CBD oil is not medical marijuana. CBD stands for cannabidiol and is derived from the hemp plant, which is in the same family as the marijuana plant.

Hemp and marijuana are both Cannabis Sativa L., but hemp has less than 0.3 percent THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the intoxicating chemical found in marijuana. CBD is one of more than a hundred components of marijuana.

However, by itself, CBD oil does not cause the psychoactive effects, or high, associated with marijuana. In 2017, Kentucky passed legislation that made cannabidiol (CBD) legal in the state, if it is derived from industrial hemp. The Kentucky Department of Agriculture licenses dozens of companies who extract CBD from industrial hemp as part of their Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program. Growers who participate in the program can grow industrial hemp and harvest any of the three components: grains/seeds, fiber or floral material for CBD oil.

The grains and seeds can be processed and marketed as foods. Hemp seeds have a rich, nutty flavor. They are high in protein and a good source of polyunsaturated fat.

Hemp oil is made by pressing the seeds. It is known for being high in polyunsaturated fats as well as having a perfect balanced ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acids of 3:1. The term hemp oil is often misused and misunderstood. It is not the same as CBD oil. Hemp oil can be used for cooking, moisturizers, soaps or lotions.

CBD oil can only be extracted from the flowering portion of the plant. It is marketed as a dietary supplement, not a food. CBD oil contains less than 0.3 percent THC, the component responsible for the high in marijuana.

Numerous claims can be found on the internet touting the health and wellness benefits of CBD oil, especially as a treatment for some types of childhood epilepsy. It is also used by some to combat anxiety, insomnia and chronic pain. Many of these claims are unfounded.

More research is needed on the health benefits and recommended daily intake of CBD oil in humans. Consumers are advised to consult their physician before taking CBD oil and other dietary supplements. More information on Kentucky’s Hemp Research Pilot Program can be found on the Kentucky Department of Agriculture page, http://www.kyagr.com/marketing/hemp-pilot.html.

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