Pubdate: Wed, 05 Nov 2014
Source: East Bay Express (CA)
Copyright: 2014 East Bay Express
Author: David Downs


Weeding Out Hemp Oil Hustlers.

Why so-called "legal, high-CBD, hemp oil" is likely just snake oil.

What is this I keep hearing about "legal," "high-CBD" "hemp oil"? 
Some folks online are actually asking me to help sell it.

Entrepreneurial in the East Bay

Buyer beware, EEB. It's likely postmodern snake oil, and hustlers of 
the stuff abound. The topic of hemp oil could fill both a medical and 
a legal book, but the bottom line is you wouldn't take a 1930s tonic 
for cancer, so don't make an exception for alleged high-CBD hemp oil 
sold online. Demand credible third-party proof of safety and efficacy.

Here's why: When people say, "CBD," they are referring to 
cannabidiol, the second most active molecule in marijuana. 
Cannabidiol has a variety of therapeutic effects: it's an 
anti-inflammatory; an anti-spasmodic; a neuroprotectant; and has 
anti-tumor properties. Cannabidiol also dampens the euphoric effects 
of pot's main active ingredient, THC. That's why black market 
breeders nearly bred CBD out of pot before the rise of medical 
cannabis in California, beginning in 1996.

But thanks to Proposition 215, which California voters approved that 
year, CBD has come back in a big way, with a number of breeders now 
selecting plants for high-CBD production in the Bay Area and 
throughout California, along with Colorado, Washington, and Europe.

Once found in trace amounts, such as 0.1 percent of the dry weight of 
the plant, CBD levels now reach upward of 12 percent in flower buds. 
Those buds get refined into high-CBD edibles, topicals, and extracts, 
such as CBD oil, and can be found in the Bay Area's best dispensaries.

CBD also has become a global celebrity thanks to press coverage by 
CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta and others in the media. We've reported on 
kids with untreatable epilepsy who have benefitted greatly from CBD. 
It doesn't work for every child; but no drug does, Dr. Gupta told me. 
The positive outcomes related to CBD made him switch sides in the 
medical cannabis debate and he now endorses legalizing pot.

CBD is still illegal under federal law - even though it won't get you 
high and it dampens the euphoria of THC. The government classifies 
CBD alongside THC as a Schedule One substance that has no medical 
value and a high potential for abuse. So you can't get high-CBD 
products at Walgreens.

Prohibition, unfortunately, breeds hucksters. Last month, Project 
CBD, a Northern California-based research group that pioneered the 
return of CBD medical cannabis, issued a damning report on scam 
artists and CBD hemp oil. Entitled "Hemp Oil Hustlers: A Project CBD 
Special Report on Medical Marijuana Inc., HempMeds & Kannaway," the 
report by Aaron Miguel Cantu states that former 
smugglers-turned-finance execs have been peddling toxic extracts of 
industrial hemp to desperate families. Several hemp oil companies are 
currently promising to mail people plastic tubs of "legal," 
"CBD-rich" hemp oil and make them wealthy by recruiting others to sell it.

But industrial hemp is not grown for medical use (China is the 
world's largest producer of it). Industrial hemp can contain trace 
amounts of CBD, but how the hemp is grown, harvested, and extracted 
currently makes it a suspect source of CBD, Project CBD stated. One 
of industrial hemp's uses is as a remediation for toxic soil - a fact 
that could make it dangerous to consume. "[H]emp is a bioaccumulator 
- - it sucks up contaminants from the soil. Fungi-derived mycotoxins 
that resist decomposition are another concern," Cantu stated in his report.

Project CBD's investigation included lab tests that found 
"significant levels of toxic solvents in samples of Real Scientific 
Hemp Oil (RSHO) Gold, which is marketed by HempMeds, a wholly owned 
subsidiary of [Medical Marijuana Inc.]. These samples were submitted 
to Project CBD by people who say that they or their children became 
ill, in some cases, violently ill, after they ingested RSHO Gold."

Medical Marijuana Inc. (MJNA) has claimed that the Project CBD report 
"is based upon false, inaccurate and misleading statements." MJNA is 
suing two Colorado labs involved in the study, reported.

MJNA was founded by two former marijuana smugglers, Bruce Perlowin 
and Don Steinberg, and is one of 59 shell companies of Blackout 
Media, founded by an imprisoned penny-stock fraudster. MJNA's 
subsidiaries are "aggressively targeting" parents of children with 
serious disabilities "to profit from CBD's growing reputation as a 
miracle compound," Project CBD stated.

One of MJNA's subsidiaries, Kannaway "may qualify as a pyramid scheme 
based on guidelines published by the Federal Trade Commission," 
Project CBD reported.

A red flag is any company that asserts that its hemp oil is "legal in 
all fifty states."

"Either they are bluffing to make it appear as though they are 
operating legally - or they are extracting the oil in a way that 
makes a dangerous product more likely," Cantu stated in his report. 
"Extracting cannabidiol from hemp stalk ups the risk of concentrated, 
bio-accumulated contaminants because so much plant matter has to be 
processed to get any CBD."

According to Project CBD co-founder Martin Lee (author of the 2013 
book Smoke Signals), consumers need to beware. "There are European 
companies producing decent-quality CBD products from industrial hemp, 
but these are mainly in the pipeline, not here yet. Importing CBD oil 
legally is still a quagmire," he told me.

Patients should demand proof of "rigorous quality control and safety 
testing" of any hemp oil product, Lee added. "But most analytical 
labs servicing the cannabis industry don't perform this level of testing."

Intrepid patients can grow their own CBD-pot strains, make simple 
extracts, and even get them tested at Bay Area labs like Steep Hill 
and CW. And shoppers can demand detailed labeling with credible, 
third-party certifications for CBD and THC content, and the specific 
source of the CBD.

The Bay Area already has high-quality CBD products. And locally 
grown, CBD-rich pot "is a better source for CBD than industrial 
hemp," Lee tells us.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom