By: Camila Villagonzalo
In an era where veganism thrives, and holistic health remedies are found everywhere – it’s no surprise cannabis alternatives are growing in popularity as well.
The use of cannabis has exploded into mainstream media over the past decade, courtesy of the many health benefits derived from the plant. The bulk of these health benefits stem from a non-psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant, CBD.
CBD or cannabidiol can help treat a range of medical issues – from epileptic seizures to anxiety to inflammation to HIV/AIDS and sleeplessness.*
According to WebMD, CBD is extracted from the flowers and buds of hemp plants, and therefore does not produce intoxication or get you “high.” Could this be the reason why cannabis alternatives have earned a favorable reputation in modern medicine?
Today we seek to establish just how THC set the stage for the meteoric rise in the use of its counterpart, CBD, and why the use of CBD oil is growing in popularity.
Did Medical Cannabis Pave the Way?
In the not-too-distant past, cannabis was illegal in most Western countries, and any use was met with stiff penalties, fines, and in some cases imprisonment.
According to Rolling Stone, roughly 40,000 inmates of state and federal prisons have been convicted on a charge involving marijuana possession and are still serving time.
Until the 1970s, scientists struggled to find solutions to emerging diseases within the confines of the prohibited drug laws.
However, in recent times the government has loosened its stance on the matter and allowed for universal access to the non-psychoactive compound extract for medical purposes. Furthermore, cannabis is now available and federally regulated for recreational use in several states.
There’s no denying that cannabis research has provided the groundwork for the development of CBD oil – which is now legal and widely available. CBD is a compound extracted from the hemp plant with negligible THC content allowing users to avoid any psychoactive side effects.
Perhaps the ease of access to information – smartphones and social media – has rapidly advanced the cause in terms of legalizing marijuana. Or maybe the government grew tired of the illegal, and tax-free manufacture and sale of cannabis products.
Either way, the persistence in marijuana use and research – for both medicinal and recreational purposes – seems to be paying off big time.
Health Benefits of Cannabis
Numerous studies and comprehensive experiments have found cannabis to be helpful in treating various illnesses. According to CBDvapepenguide.com, CBD oil can help, prevent and treat several cancers, rheumatoid arthritis, depression, PTSD, and even HIV. This has likely contributed to the widespread acceptance of its use.
Unlike pharmaceuticals, cannabis products won’t pave the way for detrimental secondary illnesses, nor do they put you at risk for harmful side effects, making them some of the best medicines available today.
Although there is inconclusive yet substantial research showing CBD oil to hold great promise in curing almost any illness, sourcing quality CBD still proves to be a challenge.
Hydroponic Growing: A Solution for Quality CBD oil
According to Entrepreneur, CBD oil from hemp plants is often preferable over marijuana because of its low THC levels. Hemp-derived CBD oil is legal in most parts of the U.S., while cannabis-derived (higher THC content) oils tote the line of legality.
California is one of the largest producers of cannabis and hemp plants do to the vast amount of land, and fairly temperate environment.
However, harsh summers prove problematic as the region tends to experience frequent wildfires. Plants grown outdoors are often tainted with soot and smoke, and then sold to consumers – posing incredible health risk.
Another problem is the current regulatory process. Many licensed growers actually fail tests on the biological and chemical contaminants in their products after wildfires – often detrimental to the business. This leads growers to avoid the process altogether, and resort to black market cannabis production.
Sketchy sourcing does more harm than good when it comes to medical cannabis, but this fear that licensed growers share can be alleviated with hydroponic growing.
A solution for growing quality cannabis would be to apply Hydroponic gardening techniques, paving the way for fresh produce year-round and accessibility to the plant in smaller, urban environments.
This is because hydroponic gardening doesn’t require the use of soil, only light, temperature control, nutrients, and water.
To overcome any legal threats in the cannabis industry, hydroponic growing addresses the cultivation, processing, manufacturing, and extracting by avoiding negative environmental influences during the growth process. This makes for cleaner, safer plants with minimal risk to growers and consumers – further fanning the flames of CBD exposure, profitability, and popularity.
A Breakdown of the Growing Popularity of Cannabis Products
To highlight just how the landscape is shifting, look just across the border. Canada recently legalized recreational marijuana and it’s now completely mainstream.
Today, medical cannabis is legal across 30 states and approved for recreational use in 9 states. It won’t be long before the rest of the country follows suit with a considerable amount of legislation in the pipeline, and countless organizations rallying behind the push for universal legality.
Legality has hindered CBD oil use in Africa, the Middle East, the Asia Pacific region, and Europe but there has been an increase in the production of cannabis products nonetheless.
In the US, where some of these restrictions have been lifted, CBD annual product sales have risen to a staggering $591 million over the last four years. This is nearly a 500% increase.
The reasoning behind these figures:
i) The internet
Internet use has skyrocketed over the past twenty years and e-commerce has become the standard means for consumption across the West. With an increase in digital purchasing, CBD oil has become a convenient and accessible alternative to cannabis.
According to a study by the Brightfield Group in 2017, only 40% of sales are made in-person, while the lion’s share take place online. They’ve estimated that the hemp-CBD market could hit $22 billion by 2022.
ii) CBD oil is considered a nutritional supplement
Generally, cannabis-derived CBD is the primary target of restrictive legislation, while hemp-derived CBD is loosely regulated. As a result, foreign and domestic markets have greater access to these products.
Thanks to continued market acceptance and bullish marketing efforts, experts believe the CBD industry will experience a compounding growth of 50% over the next couple years. The future is certainly bright for CBD, and the popularity train is only getting faster.
* Any statements or claims about the possible health benefits conferred by any foods or supplements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and are not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease.