Cannabis Myth and Cannabis Reality

Lark Swofford RPh, FIfHI, FAARM, is a pharmacist at Abrams Royal Pharmacy. She knows that there is plenty of scientific and social debate about the medical uses of cannabis, but since the 1700s, there has also been great discussion about how to name these plants that grow throughout the world. Both marijuana and hemp come from the plant genus Cannabis, and there are several species among this family, most notably, C. sativa (commonly known as hemp) and C. indica (commonly known as marijuana). To make matters more confusing, there are several sub-species of cannabis that have varying phytochemical properties and produce a variety of effects in the human system. Our needs will dictate if we need the high (psychoactive) THC content of the marijuana species or the high 9medicinal) cannabidiol (CBD) content of hemp.

Industrial hemp, hemp concentrates and CBD isolates contain less than one percent THC. The hemp in grocery stores we add to smoothies and salads comes from the seeds of industrialized hemp, and are a wonderful protein source, and the oil obtained from the seeds are high in phytonutrients.

The legality of cannabis seems to be in a constant state of flux, so this can be a confusing topic, as well. Some states allow medical marijuana with stipulations, some allow full recreational use and some still have a ban on the whole cannabis family.

Texas does not presently allow the cultivation of industrialized hemp, much less marijuana, but does allow for CBD-rich products obtained from industrialized hemp to be sold across state lines. From a healthcare standpoint, this is definitely a step in the right direction, but with a glut of related products on the market, consumers must become educated about quality.

Cannabis is a remarkable plant that is known for its ability to pull toxins and heavy metals from the soil in a process known as phytoremediation. In fact, industrialized hemp is so good at this process that it has been used in the heavily contaminated area around the Chernobyl nuclear reactor. This fact begs several questions that need answering because Just like the quality and concentration differences in generic supplements vs professional grade supplements, there can be great differences in quality between the suppliers of hemp and CBD products.

Swofford says, “When I made the decision to carry hemp oil products in the pharmacy, I vetted out lots of companies—more than I care to count—and the conditions they had to meet ran along these lines:”

  • Is the company a multi-level pyramid?
  • Can the company provide certificates of analysis on their final product to prove it is purity?
  • Is the hemp grown organically?
  • Are the plants non-GMO (genetically modified)?
  • Is the company involved in research on their own product?
  • Does the company supply research-based education on its products?
  • How long has the company been in business?
  • Who owns the company’s farms?

Importantly, do the company’s products supply a full phytocannabinoid complex while maintaining a  of less than 0.3 percent THC? Most importantly of all, are[the company’s products in compliance with Texas laws? Companies got bonus points for name recognition, involvement in charitable causes and for being family-owned.

“We’re living in an amazing time, in which science is finally catching up with what Mother Nature already knows, and what the science is revealing is that there are many areas of interest on how the various forms of cannabis show medical promise for conditions that as of yet, have not been completely met with pharmaceutical intervention,” says Swofford.

Abrams Royal Pharmacy is located at 8220 Abrams Rd., in Dallas, and 4904 W. Park Blvd., Ste. 177, in Plano. For more information, call 214-349-8000.

On December 12th, the 2018 farm bill passed the Senate 87 to 13, on Tuesday. It will fund food stamps, crop subsidies and legalize industrial hemp, the source of the popular ingredient cannabidiol, or CBD.  


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