People have grown and used cannabis all over the world without the fear of legal repercussions for multiple generations. However, in recent years the plant has been put through a flip-flop of pontificating regulations and laws that will be remembered as a disaster by future generations. The biggest question of the year is, “is CBD legal?”
Cannabidiol (CBD), one of the major cannabinoids identified in cannabis, is usually extracted from the stems or stalks of the hemp species of the plant. Multiple scientific studies have helped prove the desirable effects high-quality CBD can have on the human body and not a single part of the plant ever needs to go to waste in the process of making it.
In most cases, CBD products are crafted from hemp that is grown following stringent monitoring from the federal government. Furthermore, each state often also has its own quirky laws that need to be taken into thorough consideration before hemp can even be grown.
Rigorous laboratory testing throughout production is also mandatory to help gauge the exact potency of CBD and confirm there are no harmful chemicals or unwanted cannabinoids present. Independent lab results provide crucial information and should always be included in the product description, readily available on the company website, or printed on the labeling.
These are just a few of the steps that should be followed for a product that has high levels of CBD to be sold on the retail market. Not all states permit the sale or consumption of CBD, although this is changing.
The Current Legal Status of CBD
Currently, growing industrial hemp with the sole purpose of extracting high-quality CBD is backed by the federal government. In December of last year, the 2018 farm bill was enacted. Among many of its other provisions, it removed hemp (not cannabis) from the list of prohibited substances. Hemp is now a legal agricultural commodity, and so are the products made from it. Individual states, on the other hand, maintain the option to restrict the sale and possession of CBD.
Recently, however, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has toughened their stance on this process, sending out random warning letters to several CBD companies to cease making claims about the curative properties of CBD. There is a lot of speculation about how CBD will be marketed in the future, and these warnings have been confusing for growers, retailers, and consumers alike.
Individual states have even gone as far as trying to ban CBD that has been extracted from hemp, ironically making CBD extracted from marijuana the only legal alternative. This reasoning is plausible for states where cannabis has been legalized but has created an additional layer of confusion to people only seeking out high-quality CBD.
Currently, CBD is still available to purchase and consume across the majority of the United States and in most places products still appear to be available, although some cities have banned the sale of edibles, citing that they are not FDA approved. This confounding situation is set to be addressed on May 31st when the FDA will hold a public hearing to address some of these pressing questions. All involved are hoping for a bit more clarity surrounding CBD.
Which Type of CBD Is Legal in Your State?
This is a good question. The answer will vary from state to state.
Products with CBD are still readily available, but each state has its own views on the legality of its use. In states like Nevada, CBD is entirely legal for adults and a small percent of minors with specific conditions. By contrast, some states where clinical trials have only just recently finished, individual state governments have begun curbing the use of CBD in commercial food products and heavily regulating the way the products are advertised.
Hemp-derived CBD is also prohibited in a few states, but thankfully this should not last long. Federal agencies are still deeming CBD extracted from cannabis completely legal—which can appear confusing— but at least this temporary option is still available. The new upcoming major hemp and decriminalization bills look like they will fix this problem and hopefully, this will clear up some of the perplexity.
How Much THC Is in Your CBD?
From a legal standpoint, one of the most important aspects to look for when purchasing a CBD product is the amount of THC in it.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the principal psychoactive constituent of the cannabis plant. The hemp plant contains minimal amounts of this psychoactive cannabinoid. To even be considered compliant industrial hemp, the THC content must be 0.3% or below. Any more and the plant is classified as marijuana.
This initial confusion between CBD vs THC may have further escalated the situation, but it the long run this previously mentioned act has helped political figures learn the significant differences between each cannabinoid. Federal agencies will start enforcing this 0.3% or less THC policy harder. This will, in turn, keep the public well-informed.
The stereotypes between CBD and THC will be forever gone, finally removing the stigma it has caused over the past several decades.
Scientific research has successfully proven that daily use of high-quality CBD can provide anti-inflammatory effects, and the additional analgesic qualities of CBD can help combat certain types of pain. Universities all over the world are coming up with new theories and discovering approaches for treating different conditions with CBD.
Topicals or lotions infused with CBD do not necessarily fall under the category of commercial food products as they are usually applied to the skin. These natural analgesic ointments may potentially help with joint pain and have not been under such scrutiny as some of the other CBD products.
The only outstanding legal related issue with these CBD rich topicals is that regulating bodies have stepped in to make sure the companies that craft these lotions are being honest with their customers and not making false claims.
In conclusion, it is permissible by federal law to purchase and consume CBD, and there is no need to avoid the multiple health and lifestyle changing benefits that high-quality CBD can provide. However, to remain in compliance with your regional laws, you should check your local legislation before your purchase.
Where to Find More Information on the Legalization of Cannabidiol
If you are unsure about the legal status of CBD oil or other hemp derived CBD products where you live, there are a few places you can check that will provide you with more information:
ProCon has an accurate and regularly updated list of individual states. It is especially helpful as it relates to some of the more detailed and confusing aspects of state-specific CBD law.
This site provides an interactive state map. Just click on your state to see a brief explanation of the legal status of CBD in your region. There is also an option to drill further and see how you can get involved in legalizing cannabidiol where you live.
Project CBD provides a wealth of helpful information about the compound and also a detailed explanation of the complexity of the laws surrounding cannabis.