It’s Legal. Will It Help?


CBD for SCIWhile the country still battles state-by-state on whether to legalize marijuana, a recent change in federal law has opened the floodgates on sales of products featuring cannabidiol, one of the non-psychoactive components of marijuana, or cannabis. With legalization came immense popularity, and now it seems CBD is for sale everywhere and in everything. From CBD bath bombs to edible gummies and oils, it is for sale in gas stations, natural food stores and kiosks in the mall. So what is CBD? Is it safe? And can it help people with spinal cord injury?

What Exactly is CBD?

The ways that CBD differs from marijuana can be hard to understand. Starting with a lesson in plant biology is helpful to define the differences and similarities between the two. Cannabis is the genus of the flowering plants that breaks down into three species: cannabis sativa, cannabis indica and cannabis ruderalis. The word hemp is used to describe a strain of one of these plants that has less than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol or THC — the ingredient in the cannabis plant that causes a psychoactive reaction or high. “Marijuana” is commonly used to label the plants that contain more THC, though the industry is taking a stand against the term “marijuana” to rebrand these products as part of the wellness industry.

CBD can be sourced from plants containing small or large amounts of THC. Cannabidiol is just one of many phytocannabinoids (naturally-occurring cannabinoids) found in cannabis. Others are CBC (cannabichromene),