An industrial hemp official is working to clear up some confusion about the plant’s oils and extracts and their uses as Kentucky researchers work toward finding uses for potential treatments with cannabidiol, or CBD. Hemp Industries Association Executive Director Eric Steenstra says the non-profit trade group has received several calls from customers who have bought hemp oil at health stores and want to know if their purchase has CBD in them. Steenstra says CBD extracts come from cannabis flowers and leaves and are up to 150,000 parts per million, or 15 percent, CBD. Meanwhile, hemp oil is less than 25 parts per million CBD and comes from pressed hemp seeds. Hemp oil can be purchased at health food stores and be used in a variety of ways although Steenstra says it does not have the potential medicinal properties that come with higher concentrations of CBD.
“It’s a nutritional oil. It’s very nutritious and it can be used in salads and in all sorts of baking ingredients and can be used in body care products,” he said. “There’s a lot of potential uses: tanning lotions. It can even be used in industrial products, lubricants and that kind of thing. But it’s a basic plant oil. It’s not a significant source of CBD.” Some believe CBD is a potential treatment for seizures.
The Kentucky General Assembly passed legislation in April allowing research hospitals partnering with public universities to conduct research on medical uses for CBD. “[Cannabidiols have] some potential medicinal benefits and it may have other health benefits. I think there’s a lack of research on this. I think this is sort of a new, new field,” Steenstra said. Governor Steve Beshear signed the legislation allowing CBD research in April. But just a month after that, researchers including Chris Shafer who leads the University of Louisville Epilepsy Monitoring Unit said they had a long way to go before they can proceed. The head of Kosair Children’s Hospital’s pediatric epilepsy monitoring unit Karen Skjie also looked for grants to start trials after the law passed. She says one obstacle is that the law doesn’t lay any groundwork for getting CBD to patients.