The negative misconceptions that once gave cannabis a bad name are gradually turning positive. Medical marijuana use has escalated at a rapid rate over the last few decades, not to mention the scientific discoveries exposing the cannabis plant’s healing ability. As a billion dollar industry, the production of medical-grade cannabis is most definitely on the rise.
We’re not talking about tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the compound that gets you ‘baked’. Instead, widespread attention is being focused on a different chemical compound that constitutes approximately 40% of the cannabis plant’s active cannabinoids – Cannabidiol (CBD).
This particular cannabinoid is safe, non-psychoactive and is saving children’s lives, including sufferers of epilepsy like Charlotte Figi – one of the many young people changing the face of medical cannabis. From inhaler products that deliver a metered dose of cannabinoids, to salves, lotions and infused edibles, the CBD consumption options for patients are steadily developing.
Is CBD gaining medical approval?
Found in hemp and marijuana cannabis varieties, CBD is earning its reputation as a treatment (and in numerous cases, a cure) for a broad scope of medical conditions, ailments and life-threatening diseases, including cancer.
SF dispensaries are stocking their shelves to keep up with the growing demand for medical and recreational marijuana. Pot-friendly, SF is one of many states to be given the green light for CBD sales. Meanwhile, residents in other states are eagerly waiting for their chance to buy weed legally.
When extracted from the hemp plant, CBD is legal to purchase from a licensed medical dispensary or registered online supplier. What’s more, CBD products can be produced in myriad forms, including oils, lotions and supplements. Once consumed, CBD binds to the brain’s receptors, stimulating therapeutic effects.
However, the question that remains on many people’s minds is: “Can I buy and use CBD legally for medical purposes?”.
A complex subject that has fueled much debate, CBD legalization must be fully understood by anyone who is considering introducing medical marijuana into their life for health-enhancement.
The Legal Aspect of CBD as a Medical Treatment
Legalities are constantly changing and according to the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), the government “understands the interest in making investigational products available to patients while they are being studied for medical approval, and there are expanded access provisions in both the FDA’s statute and its regulations to make this possible.”
The DEA claims that industrial hemp can be legally grown and cultivated, but only if the THC content is 0.3% or below. This is according to Section 7606 of the Agricultural Act of 2014. CBD is the cannabis plant’s powerful medical compound therefore if oil is extracted from THC-filtered plant material, the DEA can’t really punish you for using it!
Hemp CBD Oil Vs. Marijuana CBD Extracts
There is a loophole causing major confusion among the medical marijuana industry, commonly referred to as the ‘hemp loophole’. Legal to consume and import from Northern Europe, hemp CBD supplements are not frowned upon quite like marijuana CBD extracts are.
Comprised mostly of CBD, hemp won’t get you high, due to its low-THC content. For this reason hemp CBD may offer a better medical alternative thanks to its healing capabilities, minus the mind-altering effects associated with potent THC marijuana strains.
Signed by President Obama in 2014 under the Agricultural Act of 2014. Section 7606, the Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research law concluded that industrial hemp is not the same as marijuana. This means that the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) won’t arrest users of hemp CBD, although the legality of cannabidiol (CBD) has been confirmed by the DEA.
Just like any other marijuana derivative, CBD is a schedule 1 controlled substance, according to the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). However, unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive and even moreso, when it is extracted from hemp. This means that hemp CBD is suitable for medical cannabis users of all age groups and health requirements.
So.. is CBD legal for medical use?
Based on the DEA Statement on CBD, Hemp and “Farm Bill”, CBD oil is not legal in all 50 states. Pro-medical cannabis activists strongly disagree with this decision, especially if the oil is extracted from hemp, rather than THC-rich marijuana.
An excerpt from the statement released in July of 2017 reads as follows:
“At present, this material is being illegally produced and marketed in the United States in violation of two federal laws: The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA). Because it is illicitly produced by clandestine manufacturers, its actual content is uncertain and will vary depending on the source of the material. However, it is generally believed that the material is an extract of a variety of the marijuana plant that has a very high ratio of cannabidiol (CBD) to tetrahydrocannabinols (THC). Because this extract is a derivative of marijuana, it falls within the definition of marijuana under federal law.”
Since the natural cannabinoids contained in hemp plants are exempt from DEA enforcement and have been proven to cure children, adults, elderly individuals and even animals of severe epilepsy, we can glean something from this: hemp CBD oil is legal and has actually been legal for decade. Not to worry if you prefer the idea of using marijuana-derived CBD products, however.
It is possible to legally obtain pure CBD products that have been extracted from the marijuana plant if you step inside San Francisco dispensaries. Although the debate goes on, there is nothing to say that hemp-sourced CBD is more effective at reacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system than marijuana-extracted CBD.