What is CBD and how did it become a $1 Billion Industry?
Cannabis contains cannabidiol or CBD. In the United States, CBD oil is worth $1 billion. In addition, it is totally legal.
When applied topically or consumed through smoke inhalation or edible consumption, CBD interacts with neuroreceptors in your endocannabinoid system, which sends signals between your cells to help regulate your movement, mood, homeostasis, and immune system.
The CBD products industry in the U.S. is estimated to be worth a billion dollars. And it’s perfectly legal.
So, what does CBD have that marijuana doesn’t?
One billion dollars are estimated to be spent on CBD oil in the US. In addition, it is totally legal.
Martin Lee: The fact of the matter is we’re kind of in the midst of a CBD craze right now.
Narrator: Martin Lee is the director of Project CBD, an educational platform that focuses on cannabis science and therapeutics.
Lee: CBD stands for cannabidiol. That’s a component of the cannabis plant that has significant therapeutic properties, but it’s not intoxicating. It doesn’t get you high like THC.
Narrator: Cannabis plants aren’t all created equal. Take a look at these two varieties. One is marijuana, the other is hemp. One gets you high, the other doesn’t. The key difference is what’s on the inside.
Lee: THC and CBD are the main components of the cannabis plant.
Narrator: Cannabis plants contain a lot of THC.
Dave Chappelle: I don’t know about y’all, but I can’t even move.
Narrator: Hemp, on the other hand, has hardly any THC at all. But what it lacks in THC it makes up for with higher amounts of CBD.
Now, CBD won’t get you high, but it does have a redeeming quality: it’s legal. And at least according to the marketing, it has a relaxing effect. Let’s find out how this stuff is made.
You can make an extract at home once you have a cannabis plant.
Lee: As simple as using olive oil or butter and heating the trim from the plant or a little bit of the green material from the plant. Obviously, that’s not very useful for mass industrial production, to be cooking up something in your kitchen with butter and cannabis.
Narrator: But the more common way involves a specialized, complex machine.
Lee: Supercritical CO2 extraction is one of the most common ways. Initially, the texture is like a coffee grind. CO2 supercritical machines utilize this material. The extraction process may take up to 24 hours. And ultimately you’ll end up with a thick, golden oil that’s very waxy in texture.
Narrator: You can also extract it using ethanol and hydrocarbons.
You can find this oil in a number of different products these days.
Lee: It can be administered in various different forms. It might be ingested, it might be applied topically.
Narrator: They even have CBD oil products for your pets. I stopped by a cafe in New York that sells all sorts of CBD-infused products. I tried both a CBD matcha latte and a macaroon. These snacks tasted great, and I felt a little more relaxed after, but it was hard to tell if the CBD was actually doing anything for me or if it was all in my head.
Scientists are actually still trying to figure out exactly how it affects the body.
Lee: So, there really is a scientific basis for understanding why CBD can work, but we’re still really a long way of mastering the hows.
Narrator: Still, CBD may have more benefits than just a relaxing afternoon. Some initial studies have shown that CBD can help with a number of different medical conditions. In June 2018, the FDA approved Epidiolex, a CBD drug used to treat epilepsy.