There’s So Much Confusion About Cannabis, Grandmas Are Being Arrested! Let’s Clear The Smoke (Pun Intended)


By: Joy Stephenson-Laws, J.D., Founder


Let’s talk about cannabis!

Reportedly, Americans are more interested in CBD (cannabidiol, a chemical found in cannabis plants) than any other health topic. And there is so much confusion surrounding cannabis that people are getting arrested for perfectly legal activity.

Take, for example, the story of a 69-year-old great-grandmother named Hester Jordan Burkhalter. Hester was arrested this past April at Disney World after a guard found CBD oil in her purse during a security check.

"I have really bad arthritis in my legs, in my arms and in my shoulder," Burkhalter said to an Orlando news outlet, according to this report. She also said her doctor in North Carolina recommended the CBD oil to help manage her arthritis.

I use (CBD oil) for the pain because it helps."

Oddly enough, another grandmother, 71-year-old Lena Bartula, was also recently arrested for having CBD oil in her possession. Bartula was arrested at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport after officers found CBD oil in her travel bag, according to one report. She was on her way to visit her granddaughter in Oregon.

She was taken to the airport jail where she allegedly slept on the floor with her head next to the toilet.

So, what the heck is going on here?

These CBD products were confused for products containing the better known cannabis molecule delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) - the one that gets you high when you smoke or ingest marijuana.

To be clear, CBD does not have enough THC to get you high, however, there can be small trace amounts of THC in CBD that may result in a positive test for THC.

CBD products are everywhere right now. You can find it in lotions, oils, tinctures, sprays, candy, dog treats and more. Many scientists and medical professionals believe that the cannabinoid CBD helps fight inflammation and manage a wide variety of health issues such as chronic pain, sleep disorders, anxiety and even seizure disorders.

But to really begin to understand and navigate what I would say is America’s trendiest health topic, it is first crucial to understand the difference between marijuana and hemp.

Marijuana vs. Hemp

Hemp and marijuana belong to the same species of plant, Cannabis Sativa. They have similar a look and smell, but hemp and marijuana are different varieties of cannabis and certainly have completely different effects and uses. Marjuana is perhaps the better known cannabis but hemp is also another type of cannabis. .

To put it simply, “Hemp is the non-drug usage of that plant, while marijuana is the drug use," said Jeff Chen, director of UCLA's Cannabis Research Initiative, in this report.

Hemp is cultivated for CBD, the non psychoactive compound of the cannabis plant, while marijuana is cultivated for THC, the psychoactive compound. Hemp can have no more than 0.3 percent THC content on a dry weight basis. Marijuana is usually grown to produce a THC content of more than 5 percent - enough to produce a high.

“Marijuana is grown to encourage it to grow lots of THC laden flowers. That’s because THC is concentrated mostly in the trichomes — little resin filled glands — on the flowers of the plant. Flowers of the female marijuana plant that have not been fertilized by a male plant’s pollen will produce more of the resin that contains THC,” according to one source.

“Hemp, on the other hand, is cultivated as close as you can get to how cannabis grows naturally. Hemp is grown all over the world for food, oil, and fiber. The whole hemp plant can be used commercially, not just the flowers.”

For a very long time, hemp has been cultivated for its strong fibers. Reportedly, hemp originated in Central Asia and cultivation for the fiber was recorded in China as early as 2800 BC.

“The fibers from the stalk [of hemp] can be used to make rope, clothes, and other textiles — and can even be used as an organic construction material. The seeds are also edible,” according to one source.

Eighty percent of the world’s textiles and fabrics were once said to be made from hemp. Paper can be made from hemp as well as environmentally-friendly plastic substitutes such as hemp straws.

But because hemp and marijuana look the same and have that same “marijuana smell,” there are even more egregious stories like the ones of the two grandmothers discussed earlier.

For example, an Oregon truck driver was arrested and reportedly held in jail for four days for transporting a cargo of hemp. And we are not just talking about a little hemp. More like almost 7,000 pounds of hemp, according to this CNN report.

Marijuana is not legal in all 50 states, hemp is. Think about it. Haven’t you seen hemp milk in the aisles of your local grocery store? I’m sure that you haven’t see marijuana milk. But keep in mind that if you have a CBD product that contains more than 0.3 percent THC content, then you could find yourself in trouble with the law, depending on what part of the U.S. you are in. You may also find yourself getting high (if it is something you smoke or ingest) when that may not have been your intention.

If you come across such a product, this may not be pure hemp CBD.

All this highlights the extreme importance of getting CBD products and supplements from reputable sources which have been tested by a recognized laboratory. As consumers, it is really important that we perform our own due diligence. 

Finally, if you are taking medications and are interested in incorporating hemp and CBD products into your proactive healthcare routine, it is critical to first discuss this choice with a reputable healthcare professional such as a medical doctor. For example, CBD may interfere with other medications such as blood thinners. And, of course, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you will want to consult your doctor.

Enjoy your healthy life!

The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.


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