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Move Aside, CBD: New Data Finds THC Is the Real Medicine in Medical Marijuana

CBD is marketed as a cure for what ails you but actual medical marijuana patients say it's THC that relieves pain.

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This story appears in the May 2019 issue of Green Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Over the past 20 years, a simple narrative has emerged about cannabis: CBD is the medicine in medical marijuana, now available in 34 states, and THC is the intoxicant in adult-use marijuana that’s legal in 10 states. Two different compounds; two different markets.

Jose S | Getty Images

That narrative, along with the groundswell of belief in the curative properties of CBD (cannabidiol) as it’s being added to every sort of food, beverage, cream, potion, and lotion, drove more than $600 million in sales in 2018. And according to an analysis by the Brightfield Group, the CBD market is projected to grow to $22 billion by 2022 -- a number fueled by the recent federal legalization of hemp, from which cannabinoid can be derived. Reinforcing the cannabis duality, under the new law all things CBD must essentially be free of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol); hemp cannot exceed 0.3 percent of the psychoactive compound. 

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