I recently received feedback that the products Floyd’s of Leadville (alias Floyd Landis) is selling are “killing people” and that people who support his products are drug pushers, etc. So I decided to write a short post on the subject.

Cannabis Science – what to believe, fact or fiction? What is the impact of the CBD products that Floyd is selling?

Marijuana or cannabis is the world’s most popular drug, illicit or not, with hundreds of millions of regular users worldwide. The impact of cannabis has peaked to epic proportions, with entire countries legalizing its use, recently Canada. One in three Americans has smoked pot at least once. According to a United Nations report, nearly 40 million use cannabis regularly in North America. However, marijuana remains largely misunderstood by both its advocates and its detractors. On one cote, it is believed to be a stepping stone to other drugs, while to others marijuana is a natural way to treat modern day illnesses or even relax.

Enter Floyd Landis, former Tour De France winner (for a while) who has opened a cannabis shop in Leadville, Colorado called Floyd’s of Leadville. The store offers a range of a certain kind of cannabis called cannabidiol (CBD) products marketed towards sports recovery. The anti-inflammatory characteristics of CBD claims to aid in the recovery of sore muscles and injuries.

Many question the legality and potential of CBD for treating ailments at the same time confusing CBD for pure THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) marijuana products. It becomes even more confusing whether CBD comes from the hemp plant or the marijuana plant. This poses a big legal question.

So is CBD legal?

If we’re talking about hemp-derived CBD, then the answer is always yes. Because CBD from hemp has no psychoactive effects, the purchase, sales, or possession of hemp CBD products are completely legal. Because hemp plant is confused with the marijuana plant, there exists some stigma towards hemp-derived CBD, but from a legal perspective, hemp-derived CBD is completely legal and enjoys the rights of any other legal product.

The Legality of Marijuana-Derived CBD

Marijuana-derived CBD products, on the other hand, don’t enjoy the same luxuries. Because it has been derived from THC-rich marijuana, marijuana-derived CBD is considered a byproduct of marijuana and is judged accordingly. In some states, marijuana-derived CBD is completely legal, while in others, it is completely illegal, but in most states, its a bit of a mixed bag, each state having CBD-specific laws. Floyd’s is not a marijuana product. It is derived from hemp, which allows it to be sold to states outside of Colorado.

Hemp CBD vs Marijuana CBD

They are indeed very different. It is important to distinguish the fact that Floyd’s CBD contains an infinitesimal amount (0.3% or less) of the psychoactive substance called THC in marijuana. Whereas medical marijuana contains 30% THC. Each state has an allowable concentration of THC in a CBD product, ranging from 0.3% – 8%. CBD has no psychoactive effects, you can drive with it, you will not test positive from CBD; whereas THC products will cause the well-known effects of ingesting marijuana: very relaxed state, change in mentation, addiction, increase in appetite, testing positive for THC, etc.

Where’s the evidence?

Before I go into some of the evidence for and against cannabis for recovery and illness, it is important to re-emphasize that Floyds of Leadville products are derived from hemp, not the marijuana plant. Floyds of Leadville is only promoting CBD containing products. If you are expecting to buy Floyds CBD products and set yourself in an alternate universe, it’s not going to happen. For that you would need to go to a medical marijuana store.

CBD is all the rage right now for treating sleeping problems, anxiety, arthritis pain, and decreasing inflammation, and of course recovery. It is undeniable that you know someone who has used CBD for their various illnesses. There are many studies out there glorifying or villainizing the effects of cannabis. Realize that there is a lot of bias baked into these studies. Some are very well done. First word of caution is to read the headline. If the headline (especially in social media) reads something like, “CBD oil will cure your cancer” or “Cannabis use increases recovery by 50%”, reader beware.

Most health care providers know little about cannabis, as the endocannabinoid systems that are being teased out in the research have only recently come to light. We know there is an anti-inflammatory effect to cannabis, and the research is ongoing. Be aware of unreliable sources, opinions stated as facts, selection skewing, controlling of variables.

Marijuana has long been considered an alternative pain medication, with THC, the principle psychoactive compound in the plant, getting most of the attention. CBD is another active component and offers some of the same medical benefits (anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, analgesic), but without the side effect of getting high. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) removed CBD from its list of banned substances in January, which prompted many professional athletes, including ultrarunner Avery Collins, mountain biker Teal Stetson-Lee, and former ProTour rider and Triathlete Andrew Talanasky to replace ibuprofen for CBD.

Since marijuana is still considered a Schedule 1 drug (LSD and heroin), the research on CBD has been slow to accumulate. And because many states have already legalized the drug for medical use, pharmaceutical companies have little incentive to conduct costly clinical trials demonstrating its efficacy. (CBD remains illegal in several states that have yet to pass medical-marijuana or CBD exemptions.)

The risks and benefits and alternatives of cannabis as medicine need to be known so the plant can be used safely to everyone’s advantage. Most people don’t realize that all medicines stem from a plant in one way or another. Many chemotherapy and heart drugs are still derived from plants. Fear and social attitudes have no place in well-done scientific studies. Equally, unscientific enthusiasm for a widely used herb has no place in the science. For cannabis to be trusted and appropriately used as medicine, we need impartial facts–well-collected and well-stated.

To your health

Doc Edwards