Is Hemp Oil or CBD Oil An Alternative To Medicinal Cannabis?


By Rodney C. Brunson, DO, FASAM

We may be adding CBD oil to the current two species – sativa and indica – of medicinal cannabis (marijuana); that is if the DEA or FDA have their way about it. It’s not bad to classify CBD as a drug, but it would be helpful if a decision is made so I can make a clearer treatment plan for patients. What’s this all about?

We are seeing hemp products everywhere – hemp flour, hemp lotion, hemp seeds, hemp rope (for us baby boomers), hemp paper, hemp cloth, hemp cooking oil in the supermarket, and even hemp products on Amazon and your doctor’s office (its recommended by yours truly). Remember those pirate movies with the square-rigged sails on a ship? The sails and rope were hemp. Thomas Jefferson wanted all U.S. farms to be required to grow hemp for our agricultural markets. George Washington started growing hemp as a crop because his plantations crops were not profitable enough for him. The Declaration of Independence, paper money and the Betsy Ross flag all had hemp in them. Then came the banning of U.S.-made hemp products. Now hemp is making a comeback.

All the excitement over it makes it seem like hemp is some new product everyone is interested in it. Trust me, you will become very familiar with it (from the media) real soon. Let me bring you up to speed.

What is hemp? If your mind reflexively thought, “It’s the weed the hippies smoked to get high!” that’s wrong. Hemp is not weed or cannabis. Cannabis is classified as a drug, according to the DEA and FDA. Hemp “is” in the cannabis family, true. But it is not currently classified as a drug because THC is almost entirely missing from it.

Most are only familiar with three cannabis species: sativa, indica and hemp. In my previous articles I wrote about indica and sativa, but not hemp. Indica and sativa are legal drugs, and are controlled substances and scheduled as highly dangerous with no use at all (or schedule 1, where an antibiotic, a drug, is schedule 5).

Hemp is not recognized as a drug, so it is not scheduled… yet. What about hemp is causing all the fuss? CBD and THC are common among all the cannabis plants. As you read in my previous articles, THC is the psychoactive substance that goes to the brain and gives a relaxed feeling – or, if too much is consumed, a drugged feeling. CBD doesn’t go to the brain and cause a high. Hemp has CBD and a very small amount of THC, <0.3%, while sativa and indica have >0.3%. 0.3% is the cut off for making cannabis a legal drug.

One can legally buy hemp without a doctor’s prescription. But it’s not the whole hemp plant you are buying. It is the expressed CBD oil that is used for medicinal purposes.

Don’t be misled into purchasing a similar product – hemp extract. This is not CBD oil. If it doesn’t say “CBD oil,” don’t get it because it is meant for cooking, etc.

In summary, we now know that there are three main cannabis plants: sativa, indica and hemp. Sativa and indica have >0.3% THC, making them a medical drug that cannot be purchased freely. Only hemp with its low THC content is readily available for anyone to purchase.

CBD is not psychoactive like THC. CBD is known for its medicinal uses like mild pain, anxiety, motivation, balanced energy level, rashes, seizures, neurological conditions and other ailments. I recommend it for those who don’t want the psychoactive properties of medicinal cannabis.

To make an appointment or for more information, call (609) 484-7000 or visit Dr. Brunson’s offices are located at 201 Tilton Rd., Suite 12, Northfield and 1 Enterprise Dr., Suite B, Cape May Court House.