Getting the Dope

Tincture_Front_30ml_White-324x324CBD has long been known as one of the many chemical constituents found in cannabis, but, until recently, it was overshadowed by its more popular cousin, THC, the stuff in marijuana that gets you high. CBD doesn’t get you high in the same way, but it produces a pleasant sensation.
~ Brian Barth

Seeing old friends was a great experience. I had known him since elementary school and the meeting with both of our second wives was a real treat. We all clicked immediately and it was one of the most interesting things that our high school graduation fiftieth anniversary caused — reconnecting with friends and finding they were never strangers.

We discussed Colorado’s early emergence in approving marijuana use medically and recreationally, and their own state’s resistance to making it legal. Somewhere in there our chatter turned to our various maladies, well-earned over the years, and they both had very positive things to say about marijuana’s medical uses, particularly CBD lotions.

That struck a chord, as another friend — an MD — founded and practices out of a clinic dedicated to the treatment of Fibromyalgia, a complex disease poorly understood until recently. Fibromyalgia is a medical condition characterized by widespread muscle pain and fatigue that affects millions in the U.S. Medical research has identified fibromyalgia’s dysfunction in sleep and widespread nerve pain. The professionals in our friend’s clinic in Portland, OR, The Frida Center for Fibromyalgia, have seen the effectiveness of CBD product use and have developed their own products for their patients’ and others’ use.

Apparently, the legalization of marijuana for medical use in thirty-three states and Washington, DC and recreational use in ten states and Washington, DC, has caused the market for cannabis products to soar. Brian Barth has reported, “Potential medical benefits aside, this marijuana-minus-the-stoniness aspect of CBD seems to account for its recent popularity … CBD has made cannabis cool again and spawned a strange industry where dready hemp bros meet the Gwyneth Paltrow Goop set … Farmers are all for this new brand of reefer madness.”

He explains the difference between using marijuana for a high and for its medical use, “There are two broad types of cannabis: strains bred for astronomical THC content and those bred historically for making rope, paper and other industrial products. The former is what we refer to as marijuana; the latter, hemp. Both types are increasingly legal to grow, and both contain CBD. However, because marijuana is even more valuable than CBD, no one grows high-THC strains to make bath bombs — hence, the market for hemp.”

Recent congressional action has legalized the growing of hemp nationally, but marijuana growth is still illegal at a federal level. And according to Barth, growing hemp is much easier than growing marijuana, and more profitable with lower risk. “Hemp can be grown on practically any modestly fertile patch of earth and doesn’t require the million-dollar greenhouses loaded with sensors and high-intensity lights that are found on most modern pot farms.”

One aspect of marijuana operations became an issue in Colorado when I worked for the state agency that regulated solid waste. Apparently, the intense uses of artificial lighting by marijuana greenhouses was creating a huge amount of dead light bulbs and tubes, some of which are incidental as residential waste, but considered hazardous as commercial or industrial waste, particularly in large volumes. The regulations for disposing of hazardous waste are far more involved than for normal solid waste, resulting in significantly increased costs.

However, hemp farming and CBD production may offer an opportunity for many small farmers. A rural Colorado county is building a hemp processing facility in the old high school and relying on the surrounding farms to grow the hemp seed. Nationally the market is expected to grow even though, as Barth reports, industrial-scale farming for hemp is already encroaching on the market. He reveals, “a little secret that the wide-eyed CBD boosters don’t like to talk about: Everyone knows that the jaw-dropping profit margins won’t last. After all, no gold rush goes on forever.”

So, it seems that while the market high we’re getting from dope can’t last, maybe the “pleasant sensation” associated with CBD will continue to help people with fibromyalgia and other maladies.

Additional information
Brian Barth, The Rise and Rise of the Artisanal Hemp Farm. From Seed-to-CBD, February 25, 2019, Modern Farmer
Jason Blevins, Colorado Divide: Is hemp the answer for a rural county hoping to rely less on mining?, October 27, 2017 (Updated October 31, 2017), The Denver Post
Sean Dolan, More Southwest Colorado Farmers See a Future in Growing Hemp, March 23, 2019, The Durango Herald
Frida Center for Fibromyalgia, ,

One thought on “Getting the Dope

  1. Yes, let’s hope that cbd’s provide some relief to lot’s of folks suffering from chronic disease and pain. And maybe the growers can develop a method that uses fewer light bulbs… Nice article, Steve.


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