Legality Of CBD?
You probably have heard about this new wonder drug called CBD (cannabidiol) that everyone is talking about it. It is helping people with all kinds of health issues from anxiety, pain management and depression to name a few. Since CBD is derived from the illegal (still illegal in many states) cannabis plant, is it legal? The answer is, most likely a yes, depending on where you live.
There are many complications and “gray” areas around the legality of this drug and the question is - is it illegal for me to buy CBD?
Before we begin, let’s talk about what CBD actually is?
CBD is the short form forcannabinoids (pronounced kuh·na·buh·noydz) and is defined byHempika as the following:
“Cannabinoids are chemical compounds, that activate cannabinoid receptors, spread throughout the body of all vertebrates. Cannabinoid receptor activation interacts with neurotransmitters, which has a beneficial effect on our endocannabinoid system.”
In simpler words, the cannabis plant contains two major components, CBD and THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol). CBD is the non-psychoactive component that occurs naturally in the body, but can also be found in the cannabis plant. THC is the psychoactive component that gives us the ‘high’ and the munchies when consumed. By adding more of the extract (CBD) from the cannabis plant to our bodies has been proven to provide many health benefits, naturally, and without any major, if none at all, side effects.
The following information will help to give some form of clarity of the legality of CBD from Federal and State levels. The following information is taken from a very popular cannabis website called Leafly.com and as well from the official FDA website.
Federally in the USA, the law recognizes two forms of the plant ‘cannabis sativa’ and they are put into two separate categories, Hemp and Marijuana. CBD is derived from the hemp plant and is the least processed form of the plant and usually contains trace amounts of THC (not nearly enough to have the effects of getting high or enough to fail a drug test). Hemp also contains most of the plant’s CBD properties. Marijuana, on the other hand, is produced to contain high amounts of THC (up to 30%) and its main focus is used more for the recreational high (although studies are now showing it also has many health benefits). The level of CBD in the marijuana plant is often very low, less than 0.5% (although there are newer blends that contain high amounts of both THC and CBD).
By saying this and sticking with the Federal Laws, in 2018, the USA past its Agricultural Improvement Act (also known as the Farm Bill) that legalized CBD that is derived from hemp, as long as it contains less than 0.3% THC (by dry weight). Yet, if the CBD is derived from a marijuana plant, it is considered illegal and is classified under a Substance I drug. To keep it on the legal side of things, these farmers must abide by strict guidelines and be legally licensed.
So how do you know that the CBD you are buying is legal? In theory, you do not, but by sticking with reputable licensed distributors then technically, your product should be federally legal if processed within the above-mentioned guidelines.
Now, let us look at the legality of CBD from a State level. This is where things get complicated.
Leafly states the following:
“Federal legality doesn’t always automatically state legality. Each state handles hemp and CBD differently.”
This is where it gets interesting. For example, in Idaho, Iowa and South Dakota CBD is still entirely illegal. Then there are some states that make it legal without restrictions and there are states that make it legal but cannot be sold in combination with food (also known as edibles). The Leafly website has an excellent chart that explains the specific laws recognized by each state.
This is wherein the complications persist.
“You may have noticed that cannabidiol (CBD) seems to be available almost everywhere, and marketed as a variety of products including drugs, food, dietary supplements, cosmetics, and animal health products. Other than one prescription drug product to treat two rare, severe forms of epilepsy, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved any other CBD products, and there is very limited available information about CBD, including about its effects on the body.”
As well, the FDA’s stance also adds to the overall confusion, but the FDA is in the process of changing their stance on this topic.
The Leafly article goes on to explain the FDA’s upcoming adjustments and plans for CBD. These new regulations should be in place in early 2020.
“After holding a highly publicized hearing earlier this year, FDA officials have gone away to craft the regulations. A first draft is expected in early 2020.”
The FDA looks to be finally coming around after the undeniable positive effects of CBD. Keep in mind, just because the FDA has not approved an ingredient or substance, it does not make it illegal, rather, they have not yet had enough evidence or trials to 100% back up the substance or ingredient.
The Bottom Line
We can all agree that CBD is still in a bit of a “Wild, Wild West” stage. Many possible consumers are still in the “gray” as to whether or not CBD is legal in the USA and the respected state that they may call home. After reading through this article, it should bring a much clearer perspective of where CBD sits from a legal standpoint and the direction that it is going in. Either way, the positive effects of this product cannot be denied, and consumers just need to be patient to make sure the government can roll out this potential groundbreaking medication in a controlled way. Until then, you are more than welcome to enjoy CBD’s (if legal in your state) in edibles, vaping form, oils and even CBD oral care (CBD toothpaste).