Cannabis: Considerations Before Use

Cannabis: Considerations Before Use

Legality is unclear

  • Any product derived from cannabis is a Schedule III controlled substance. Its cultivation, sale, use, and possession are prohibited by federal law.
  • Many states have passed legislation permitting the cultivation, sale, use, and/or possession of cannabis products. Some are more favorable than others.
  • The shipping of cannabis products across state lines is still prohibited by federal law. Shipping products from one “legal” state to another “legal” state is still against the law.
  • The legal status of cannabis-derived products is changing. Making claims about the legality of any cannabis product is inappropriate and reckless.

Lack of regulation

No cannabis-derived product is regulated. There is no way to know the level of either THC or CBD in any available product. Companies claiming to produce CBD-only products have had their inventory confiscated. When tested, these products are sometimes shown to have trace amounts of THC.

Lack of clinical studies

There haven’t been enough peer-reviewed, double-blind, placebo-controlled, dose-controlled clinical trials to substantiate the use of CBD or THC-containing products to accurately state their benefit for cluster headache or any other headache disorder.

CBD Claims

There are a growing number of companies selling CBD products who are making unsubstantiated claims such as:

  • No THC
  • Legal in all 50 states
  • Health claims based on anecdotal evidence only

There is no proof that hemp-derived CBD products are equivalent to marijuana-derived CBD products.

Health risks of vaping:

  • it could cause lipoid pneumonia,
  • there is no regulation or proof of what is in the oil,
  • oil is not water-based so it’s not steam being inhaled, and
  • formaldehyde (a carcinogen) is released if the plastic cartridge inside the pen overheats.

Other Important Information

New Study Finds CBD Products Still Dogged by Labeling Errors

  • 31% accurately labeled
  • 43% contained more CBD than labeled
  • 26% contained less
  • Vape liquids had the lowest accuracy rate at 12.5%
  • Some products contained small levels of THC that didn’t appear on the label
  • Legality is a “confusing gray area”
  • DEA published ruling; schedule I
  • States have mounted raids on stores selling CBD

Is CBD Oil Legal? Depends on Where You Are and Who You Ask

  • CBD is legal in 45 states
  • Five states completely outlaw it: Idaho, South Dakota, Nebraska, Indiana, West Virginia
  • Even in legal states, there may not be any licensed dispensaries or producers
  • Some states have made it legal to possess, but not to sell
  • CBD can’t be pressed or extracted from hempseed.
  • CBD can be extracted from flower, leaves and stalk.
  • Only Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska require CBD products to pass state-mandated lab test to assure label accuracy.

New DEA Rule Says CBD Oil is Really, Truly, No-Joke Illegal

Companies Sue DEA Over Recent CBD Rule

  • Challenges ruling based on argument that DEA can’t create laws, only enforce them

Is Smoking Cannabis Bad for You?

  • Smoke arising from the combustion of any plant material contains toxins and carcinogens
  • Smoking cannabis associated with cardiovascular and pulmonary damage
  • The pattern is different than the risks of tobacco smoke
  • Secondhand exposure to cannabis smoke is probably harder on cardiovascular function than secondhand tobacco smoke. It impairs the blood vessels’ ability to dilate. The effects last longer for cannabis smoke
  • The trouble is the smoke, not THC or CBD. It happens even when all cannabinoids are removed.
  • Cannabis smokers tend to inhale more deeply and hold smoke for longer duration
  • THC and CBD have anti-cancer, antioxidant properties
  • Mixed evidence on cancer risks for long-term heavy smokers

Challenges of getting good study results:

  • Cannabis smokers tend to also smoke tobacco
  • Illegal status of cannabis makes good studies difficult

Anti-inflammatory, immunosuppressive effects of cannabis

  • Beneficial for people suffering from inflammatory diseases
  • Smoke inhalation causes physical airway damage
  • Immunosuppressive effects make cannabis smokers more susceptible to respiratory infections


  • Smoking cannabis isn’t as harmful to lung health as tobacco smoke
  • Cannabis smoking is associated with lung function abnormalities different from tobacco
  • Regular cannabis smoking can cause physical airway damage and is associated with bronchitis
  • Secondhand cannabis smoke exposure impairs cardiovascular function
  • No evidence that smoking cannabis leads to emphysema
  • No evidence of link between cannabis and lung cancer for occasional or moderate users
  • More research is needed!
  • Other methods of consumption do not carry many of these risks

You May Want to Avoid These Ingredients in Cannabis Oil Vape Cartridges

  • Burning cannabis oils produces same free radicals formed when burning cannabis or tobacco
  • Vaping = heating without combustion
  • Fine-mist vapor; no smoke
  • Frequently mixed with thinning agents
  • Some thinning agents produce harmful carbonyl compound when heated.
  • Carbonyls cause cancer. Formaldehyde is a carbonyl.

Popular thinning agents:

  • Propylene glycol
  • Vegetable glycerin
  • Polyethylene glycol –  produces much higher acetaldehyde and formaldehyde
  • Medium chain triglycerides

Pen devices

  • Develop in countries without regulatory controls
  • Not well-labeled
  • Different heating sources and temperature

Reputable producers take steps to decrease risks

  • Using terpenes as thinning agents
  • Using distillation to produce thinner oil without thinning agents

Do your homework.

Know the facts.

Use responsibly and legally.

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