A hop yard. Photo: OSU Special Collections & Archives

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the leading ingredients of cannabis and has many medical benefits but doesn’t get you stoned. The medical benefits include the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, autism, brain damage, brain tumours, epilepsy, migraines, obsessive compulsive disorder and period pain. Dogs benefit, too.

Now there is a way to get CBD with no need to take cannabis. This would be useful in a country where CBD is illegal – for instance, the United States, where the Drug Enforcement Administration keeps it as an illegal Schedule I drug because it originates from cannabis, even now that it doesn’t.

Where to get it

CBD is also found in hops, properly known as humulus. Humulus is similar to cannabis in terms of appearance, smell and taste; in fact, about 27 million years ago, they were the same plant. Hops is a grain used to make beer and other alcoholic drinkies since the 9th century. It is largely what gives beer its bitter taste. It has been used for centuries to treat acute bacterial dysentery, boils, bruises, cystitis, delirium, diarrhoea, dyspepsia, fever, fits, gallbladder stones, inflammation, jaundice, leprosy, menstrual problems, pulmonary tuberculosis, toothache and tumours. It has a sedative effect and so should be avoided by people suffering from anxiety, insomnia or severe depression. It raises the sex drive of women but lowers that of men.

How this was discovered

This particular strain of hops was discovered in the Silk Road region of India within the last decade and is not used to make beer. Once this strain was found, having been cross-pollinated with wild cannabis plants, the San Francisco-based fitness and nutrition company Peak Health Foundation, founded by Dr Bomi Joseph, selectively bred plants to form a new variety called Kriya brand humulus. It is about 18 percent CBD and the company patented it. It contains no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), what gets you stoned when you take cannabis.

Hey, it’s revolutionary

Getting CBD from hops without the need to take cannabis is revolutionary, with Jonathan Page, a professor of the botany department of the University of British Columbia, calling it “really puzzling” because “As far as scientific literature goes, there has been no reported case of CBD being isolated from the hop plant.” He was so puzzled, he remarked, “show us the evidence,” with “evidence” being something more than just a corporate press release. Page should be listened to as he runs Anandia Labs, a research centre licensed by Health Canada that acts as a testing hub for cannabis producers and recently discovered the genes that give cannabis its flavour.

How to buy it

Medical Marijuana, which was the first publicly traded cannabis company in the United States and partnered with Peak Health, now makes humulus-derived CBD oil under the name Real Scientific Humulus Oil, which costs $165.99 for a four-ounce bottle. There’s no need to take cannabis, although it would still be a fantabulous idea.

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