Is CBD legal?
We’re constantly hearing about the potential benefits of CBD, but there still seems to be a big question. Is CBD legal?
Well, as this is written, the legal status of products that contain CBD (cannabiniol) may seem to be a grey area. But, from the Federal level, it’s not a grey area, hemp and the compounds derived from industrial hemp are legal.
Hemp vs Marijuana
“Marijuana” is any cannabis plant with more than 0.3 percent of the mind-altering drug THC. “Hemp,” by contrast, cannot legally contain more than 0.3 percent THC.
Some strains of hemp may have as much as 12-15 percent CBD by weight making it the primary source for all natural, organic CBD.
Federal Laws Regarding CBD and Hemp
In 2018 hemp (cannabis with less than .03% THC) was made legal by the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 Farm Bill that was passed by Congress and the end of 2018.
So, since January of 2019, hemp has been legal on a federal level. This legislation rectifies the mistaken inclusion of hemp in laws passed to criminalize marijuana and make it a Schedule 1 drug, the same classification has heroin.
The 2018 Federal regulations removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act and included wording to expand hemp’s commercial cultivation Hemp is now regulated under the FDA instead of the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Potential Benefits of CBD (cannabiniol)
Throughout history, cannabis has been used to treat a wide variety of ailments. Based on anecdotal and historical evidence and the emergence of cannabis as a recreational drug in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s, research began to try to determine the true medicinal nature of cannabis. This research identified hundreds of cannabinoid compounds and initially focused on THC.
Cannabinoid research in the 80’s lead to the identification of the endocannabinoid system and the role it plays in balancing the internal systems of the human body. The C1 and C2 receptors of the endocannabinoid system were found to be specifically activated by CBD.
Research has shown that the endocannabinoid system helps develop and manage our body’s ‘autoprotection’ response across our internal systems from pain to inflammation to seizures and even to our mental state.
In the past two decades CBD and endocannabinoid system research has accelerated and there are now hundreds of studies that are being conducted or have been completed to understand and document the effects of CBD on the human body.
Much of this research has produced positive indications that validates the anecdotal evidence of benefits from CBD.
FDA Recognizes CBD Benefits
As a result of one of these studies, the CBD-based drug for severe epilepsy, Epediolex has been approved by the FDA. This may be the first of many CBD-based medications resulting from the very wide range of CBD clinical trials currently in progress.
The fact that hemp has been considered an illegal, Schedule 1 drug for over 5 decades and is now legal at the Federal level and its benefits for multiple medical conditions confirmed through research has created a perceived ‘grey’ area when it comes to the question of legality.
Is CBD Legal In My State?
Bottom line, hemp is now legal in all 50 states when it comes to federal law enforcement. But, there are still laws on the books of many individual states that restrict the production and use of hemp and its derivatives such as CBD. These state laws create the legal ‘grey’ areas and are slowly being removed, rescinded or amended to align with Federal laws. But again, many of these state laws are still on the books and may be enforceable.
As of Oct. 2020, there are only three states where cannabis products of any sort, in any form continues to be completely illegal. Those states are Idaho, Nebraska and South Dakota.
If you live in these three states, you should be able to purchase CBD products online. If you don’t live in these states, you should be able to acquire legal CBD oil from a local retailer or online.
Please keep in mind, these state laws are under review and consideration for removal or change. The FDA is working to establish guidelines and regulations in order to allow the manufacture and use of CBD based on the results of confirmed clinical trials and research.
In the meantime, many CBD brands and products are currently available with many more coming on the market for consumers to use just as they would any other dietary supplement.
As mentioned, state-by-state CBD regulations are currently a patchwork of different local laws and regulations. These should only affect you if you plan on obtaining a license to manufacture or sell CBD products in a specific state. Otherwise, an individual should not have any legal concern when purchasing CBD products for personal use.
Can CBD cause me to fail a drug test?
I will add one caveat to the previous statement. CBD products that are labeled ‘Full Spectrum’ may contain up to 0.3% of THC. If you are subjected to drug tests for THC, you may fail the test if you have been using Full Spectrum CBD. You can avoid this risk if you only purchase and consume pure, tested and guaranteed CBD Isolate, which should not include any trace amounts of THC. Remember, only purchase pure, tested and guaranteed CBD Isolate products if you want to ensure you are not ingesting any amount of THC.