The arrival of cannabis in Colorado since legalization in 2012 has helped foster a more open, honest dialogue surrounding the potential of THC and CBD. While there is still much to unearth regarding marijuana, legalization in Colorado has enabled the substance to overcome many of its most damaging misconceptions.

Therefore, to truly understand cannabis, it is important to start at the heart of the plant. There is a lot of science behind cannabis that unfortunately makes the subject convoluted, especially when experts start using jargon like “hemp” and “Cannabidiol”. In reality, most newcomers to cannabis can receive a crash course on marijuana basics without diving deep into the science. A good starting point is to understand the primary differences between THC and CBD. Doing so will allow the consumer, to determine which compound is more appropriate for their situation.

“[THC and CBD] are two totally different molecules in their effect, but they are very similar in their molecular build,” Wacey Clarke, founder of Colorado Hemp Solutions (CHS) explains. Clarke, who was born into a successful farming and ranching family, expanded his own endeavors in 2016 by launching CHS with the purpose of cultivating industrial hemp for cannabinoid extraction.

Clarke, like many in the industry, has found Cannabinoids (CBD) worthwhile to pursue as an alternative to THC, since the compound is non-psychoactive (and therefore does not produce the same “head high”). THC and CBD are two of the more than a hundred “phytocannabinoids” found in the unique, robust plant. While independent and well-respected national studies remain elusive largely because of federal restrictions on cannabis, there is mounting research that endorses CBD as a safe, non-addictive substance, according to ProjectCBD.org.

Those that specialize in Cannabinoids traditionally support the emerging evidence that supports CBD use for brain health along with anti-cancer properties that are currently being investigated across the globe. Furthermore, CBD has potential to supplement or replace conventional forms of pain management, such as reliance on pharmaceuticals. Additionally, there are encouraging links between CBD and treating inflammation, anxiety, depression as well as many other conditions.

“The list goes on and on regarding what these minor-cannabinoids and terpenes are going to be able to do and do now,” Clarke adds.

Colorado Hemp Solutions offers its own lineup of CBD products including topicals, gummies, and softgels. Clarke recommends for those that are curious yet new to CBD to consider a droplet where the consumer is in control of the dosage and can easily dispense under the tongue.

Technically, marijuana and hemp are two different terms that describe the same plant. Legally, however, there is a crucial separation between the two in regards to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content. The term “hemp” is used to define any cannabis plant that contains less than three percent THC content by dry weight. Consequently, there is more than one purpose for cultivating cannabis.

It is a common dilemma that Ashley, Operations Manager at Colorado Alternative Health Care in Palisade, notices when new patients walk through the door seeking therapeutic value. “Everybody is different,” Ashley observes when it comes to introducing the body to a supplement like CBD.

“One of the biggest things that people misconstrue [about cannabis] is that you have to be high to feel pain relief. That is not the case,” she explains. “The head change is distracting to a certain extent so you are not focused on your pain or anxiety. It doesn’t necessarily address it. So, figuring out that happy medium between being high and distracted, and actually getting pain relief is a huge, huge gap.”

Colorado Alternative Health Care works personally with patients to monitor lifestyle choices and how they influence overall well-being. From there, the medicinal dispensary seeks to target a “dose level” for each consumer. There are several options so if one remedy is not effective another one is often the solution. Regardless, consistency is vital: “[CBD] is not like Ibuprofen or any other pharmaceutical where we say, ‘Take four, every four hours,’” Ashley outlines. “Taking it like a roller coaster equals the same results; up and down, all-around.”

“The beauty of cannabis is that you are the boss. You get to decide what works because none of us are doctors or nurses. We are here to guide you and give you the information to figure out what works.”