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Patients Ought To Be Skeptical Of Proposed CBD-Only Legislation


cannabidiol cbd cannabis marijuanaBy Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

In recent weeks, lawmakers in several states have moved forward with legislative proposals to permit specific strains and/or extracts of cannabis possessing high quantities of the cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD), but otherwise maintaining criminal prohibitions on the whole plant.

But is this new direction in the best interest of patients? As I wrote in a recent column for Alternet.org (republished with permission by Cannabis Now under the title “Patients Ought To Be Skeptical Of Proposed CBD-Only Legislation — Here’s Why”), I believe the answer is ‘no.’

Ultimately, patients should not be unnecessarily forced to decide between either accessing the whole plant or its isolated components. They should have safe, legal access to both, and politicians, even well-intentioned ones, should not restrict patients’ right to choose the most suitable option.

Below are excerpts from my commentary. You can read the entire text here.

Patients Ought To Be Skeptical Of Proposed CBD-Only Legislation — Here’s Why
via Cannabis Now

[excerpt]If the plant ain’t broke, why fix it?

For longtime marijuana law reformers, the ongoing political conversation surrounding CBD is instructive. It makes it clear that many politicians’ public opposition to the idea of patients using marijuana therapeutically isn’t because of supposed unanswered questions surrounding the plant’s safety or efficacy. Rather, it is because lawmakers oppose the idea of some people getting high from a naturally growing herb. (The fact that patients can get equally high or even higher from FDA-approved synthetic THC has, for whatever reason, never been an expressed concern of either lawmakers or prohibitionists.) After all, the very same politicians who argue that marijuana isn’t medicine because it hasn’t been approved by the FDA or who allege that the substance hasn’t yet been subjected to sufficient scientific scrutiny utter no such public objections to the idea of legalizing patient access to CBD – a schedule I compound that hasn’t been reviewed, much less approved by the FDA, and that has been clinically studied far less than cannabis.

Perhaps most ironically is that were it not for the advent of legalized whole plant marijuana, a policy change publicly opposed by many present day CBD-only political advocates, lawmakers (and anti-pot groups like SAM) today wouldn’t be aware of CBD, much less advocating for it. The reality is that it was the stakeholders in medical marijuana states, and those who provide for them, who have done the most to explore and promote cannabidiol as a legitimate therapeutic agent. And they were able to do so because they, unlike most federally licensed medical researchers, had access to the whole plant.

We’ve been down this road before. Not long ago, lawmakers and anti-marijuana zealots were dismissing patients’ desire to access the marijuana plant because they alleged that the THC-pill Marinol could adequately meet patients’ needs. Patients and their advocates were skeptical of lawmakers’ claims then, and properly so. Now many of these same politicians are once again dismissing patients’ calls for whole plant medicine by claiming that products and strains containing CBD alone only will suffice. Patients and their advocates ought to be equally skeptical once again.

Source: NORML - make a donation


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Johnny Green


  1. Then why or how does the US government own the patent for medicinal marijuana? If there was insuffient studies done on the plant or the components of the plant, then how were they able to state facts/double blind tests/hypothesises proven/scientific studies completed in order to base to produce enough information to the US Patent office to obtain a patent. If patents are based on guesses and random unproven scientific bases. Then I shall patent the use of cigarettes for a way of executing masses of people, especially those on death row. Forget the electric chair, “humane injections”, gas chamber, hanging, firing squads, etc.

  2. I’ve heard the flax seed story, before. Which is why I took the time to find the original study that claimed to discover CBD in flax. Read the abstract, yourself. What they found was not CBD, but a “canabinoid-like” terpenoid compound that ressembles CBD, but isn’t CBD.

    “The UV spectra and the retention time in UPLC analysis of this new compound reveal similarity to a cannabinoid-like compound, probably cannabidiol (CBD).”


    Don’t believe anyone who tells you to take flax seed oil for CBD. They probably read a story that was written by someone who didn’t understand what they were researching.

    Also don’t believe the hyped concentrates that are allowed to cross state lines. They’re produced from generic hemp paste that isn’t CBD-rich at all. According to this post (http://cvsa.websitetoolbox.com/post/show_single_post?pid=1280807797&postcount=22) you would have to consume an entire bottle of this “legal” tincture to get as much of a dose of CBD as there would be in a single dose (less than a teaspoon) of an extract tincture from a CBD-rich cannabis strain, like Charlotte’s Web.

    I’ve noticed a surge in people marketting this “legal” non-medicine on stories about kids with intractable epilepsy. It’s unscrupulous to make false promises to make a buck off the desperation of these families, which is why I get mad everytime someone says “Oh, well, this thing right here is legal, and it’s what we’re talking about, so just buy that” without doing any research, themselves.

    Really and truly, it does more harm than good promoting these hemp paste oils as a CBD oil substitute. What if some family pins all their hopes on it and their child dies? Think about what that would do to that family — think about how they would react.

  3. Roger Turner on

    it seems to me it is like asperin been around a long time and almost everybody uses it sooner or latter so why all the big fuss cause some of us in power positions can see a big profit in it being illegal while the rest of us not in power suffer their bull shit well time will tell we can pray hope for the best when we have a chance vote it legal till then suffer

  4. Looks like you are trying to get funding for a little trip to CO to make a movie about the legal marijuana shops. Sounds like you are really making a personal vacation you want others to fund. I cannot find any history about you regarding marijuana . It seems its really all about you and not the cause. Why dont you pay your own way with money from your career, seems you have have your hands in a lot of things. Forgive me for being a skeptic but you seem to crave attention.

  5. The Grim Reefer on

    Please do not spam this site with your shameless self promotion, just your opinions and facts related to marijuana. I know you are trying to make a name for yourself its obvious with your massive web presence.

  6. And THC which has health benefits since it helps with pain. There are over 400 organic compounds that are found in marijuana. I believe they all are important

  7. I say “Give us the Plant, The Whole Plant, and Nothing but the Plant” Just my opinion but anything other than that is a pharm plain and simple. We should have access to it in any and every form we want

  8. That’s really stupid to have CBD only because there are many chemicals of marijuana that have health benefits such as CBC, CBG,etc.

  9. norml is trying to warn you about the dangers of promoting one compound over the plant. so you may be stuck for 20 years with cbd oil, just as you have been with marinol.

    what norml is trying (and failing to say in a coherent way) is that the people of georgia are ready to completely go for full medical marijuana right now. the polls show 70-80% in support for medical marijuana in the entire USA.

    hemp oil containing cbd is federally legal right now. cbd is also found in flax seed oil.

    i guess its not important to bother with , seems like its going to be legal one way or the other in a few years anyway. good luck to you georgia and your epileptics.

  10. Fact is, the so-called “CBD-only” legislation is all that CAN pass in places like Georgia, and I also believe Mr. Armentano has mischaracterized efforts he only JUST started paying attention to. Seriously, where was NORML in Georgia five years ago? Their only local presence, for years, was an unupdated website.

    I watched the House committee hearings via internet streaming video (yes, Georgia does that) — all three hours. The only question was HOW to get this done, not IF, and the only people who chimed in with any nonsense concerning FDA approval were the people OPPOSED to the “CBD-only” legislation (people like Sue Rusche), not from a supposed generic lawmaker from Mr. Armentano’s imagination who made a non-existent argument about the FDA in order to limit the bill to “CBD-only.” That simply didn’t happen.

    No, for the time-being, HB885 is not going to help anyone except for children with intractable epilepsy. But the language of the original bill from 1980 was left in for cancer and glaucoma patients — the new language only restricted non-smoked “CBD-only” oil for the epileptic kids. Read the bill. Whole-plant cannabis was not removed from the bill, new language was added to clarify that the KIDS won’t be toking up. A functional program can expand without new legislation because the bill isn’t just “CBD-only.”

    Perhaps the reason Mr. Armentano had to reach into his big bag of assumptions is because NORML has been next to useless in Georgia for the last decade. He and his organization wrote off my state as a LOST CAUSE a long time ago, back when they were prioritizing which states could be flipped. Now that local momentum has built up despite their notable absence, NORML wants to tell us how to do it right? Sorry, but no.

    Local advocates understand how the GA legislature needs to take baby-steps. The legislature has to get used to the idea that they won’t get voted out for passing compassionate use laws. In fact, the legislature needs to hear from their ACTUAL constituents — getting praised for passing this bill — before they consider anything more comprehensive. Then they’ll hear from Georgia voters who suffer from Alzheimer’s, PTSD, etc. because they too want access. YES, it’s going to be SLOW. That’s just how it is. But it’s better than not trying.

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