It is prevalent to hear about CBD in the world we are living in today. This can be on T.V. or social media, such as ads popping up on your Instagram feed. If this is not the case, you have probably heard your friends talking about it. This all-natural compound is a solution for many health issues, including insomnia, aches, stress, and others. The plant-based product arrives in different forms that make it pretty easy to consume and purchase. With all its information and widespread availability, is CBD legal? If yes, are CBD products legal in the state where you reside? These are some of the questions that most people ask themselves.
We are not surprised that you are confused about CBD. The reason for that is that this is a cannabinoid that is generally extracted from cannabis plants. Marijuana, too, is a member of the cannabis family, which is a controlled substance federally. This is exactly what brings the confusion about CBD’s legality. However, there is one thing that you need to know: CBD is just one of the many cannabinoids found in cannabis plants, and THC is another. As we advance in this post, you shall understand the relationship between these two cannabinoids. For now, let us get into the finer details about CBD.
What Does CBD Stand for?
CBD stands for Cannabidiol. It is one of the many cannabinoids in cannabis plants and the second most prevalent. Even though CBD is one of the essential components in medical marijuana, it is sourced directly from the hemp plant relative to marijuana plants. Knowing that CBD is a marijuana component, you might want to know the legality of this compound and whether it causes a “high.” A specific World Health Organization report states that CBD has no effects that indicate any abuse or dependence in humans. It further states that, till now, there have been no health issues reported from using pure CBD.
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Is CBD Legal?
A Brief History of CBD Legalization in the United States
Cannabis plants encompass several varieties, even though the most common is marijuana and hemp plants. Other than each of them having a different structure, hemp plants are grown for their high CBD and low THC content. On the other hand, marijuana plants are cultivated for the opposite balance. Even with this vast difference, both plants have been lumped together for years. To be precise, before the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp has remained illegal across the U.S. since the 1930s. How exactly did the legal status of CBD get so complicated? Below is a brief history of the legalization of CBD in the U.S.
Before 20th Century: Hemp was on the list of the oldest-cultivated crops in America for so long. This was done by indigenous farmers, which European colonists later did. Hemp fibers were used for paper, rope, and cloth.
Early 20th Century: Due to the increased Mexican immigration to America, locals were introduced to marijuana. It was used for medicinal and calming benefits. However, THC in marijuana led to psychoactive effects. Following public health concerns, every cannabis product, including hemp, became suspects.
1937: There was a Marihuana Tax Act that was passed banning the cultivation of hemp and marijuana in the U.S. This was the case even though both had varying uses and effects.
1970: The 1937 Marihuana Tax Act became replaced by the 1970 Controlled Substances Act. This classified cannabis as a controlled substance. It was said to have an unacceptable medical purpose and high abuse potential.
The 1990s to 2010s: Supporters of Cannabis pushed to reclassify marijuana and hemp with medicinal purposes grounds. In 1996, California became the first state to legalize the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.
2014: The 2014 Farm Bill built a framework for the Hemp Programs. This allowed farmers to cultivate industrial hemp without a permit from the Drug Enforcement Administration. Later, this paves the way for the large-scale production of different CBD products.
2018: The 2018 Farm Bill created more room for hemp cultivation other than the pilot programs. It also lifted transport restrictions, sales, and even hemp product possession all over the 50 states. However, these products had to meet the federal guidelines. This, therefore, answers the question of- how long has CBD been legal.
Is CBD Legal in All 50 States?
You might be wondering- is CBD Oil legal in all 50 states? The simple answer to that is no. Most stakeholders in the industry claim that you only need to make sure that CBD products do not have more than 0.3% THC. They argue that, under federal law, this will be classified as hemp and will be legal to possess and distribute too. The 2018 Farm Bill is always used as evidence that CBD was derived from industrial hemp and is therefore legal.
The point to note here is that the Farm Bill will not change individual state CBD legal status by itself. Instead, it leaves the responsibility of legalizing hemp to these individual states. This is what is often overlooked but arguably very important compared to feral legality. Contrary to popular belief, CBD is not legal in all 50 states. The reason for that is that every state has a Controlled Substance Act (CSA) that mirrors the federal CSA. Unless hemp is removed from individual states’ CSA, it is considered marijuana in the state.
Commercial distribution and manufacturing laws will differ widely from one state to the other. Apart from that, enforcement actions have happened even in ‘green states’ due to the misunderstanding of CBD laws. Anytime interstate hemp shipping happens, there is likely to be a seizure risk regardless of the destination and origin. Even though Individual State Laws keep changing, it is always good to familiarize yourself with them. This will especially be the case whenever you are planning to travel with CBD products.
The Role of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
The FDA has the responsibility to protect public health. It does so by guaranteeing the safety, efficacy, and security of both human and veterinary drugs. It also oversees biological products and medical devices to guarantee food supplies, cosmetics, and products that generally emit radiation. In the CBD industry, the FDA protects consumers from companies that are selling CBD products illegally. Such manufacturers will make claims of preventing, diagnosing, treating, and curing serious diseases with CBD. These ailments include cancer, diabetes, psychiatric disorders, and Alzheimer’s disease. In short, the Food and Drug Administration is responsible for regulating the CBD industry. The only CBD product approved by the FDA is Epidiolex, a drug used for a sporadic form of epilepsy.
Legal Differences Between Hemp and Marijuana
Hemp and marijuana come from the same Cannabis sativa species, but they both have differences. According to the U.S. government, cannabis hemp strains are defined as any cannabis plant that produces less than 0.3% THC. This is inadequate to get its users high. On the other hand, marijuana plants are cannabis plants that have more than 0.3% THC. These are plants that are used recreationally to get you high. In these strains, you will learn that THC content can go as high as 32%.
Legally, there is a clear difference between these two plants. Hemp is considered federally legal in all 50 states (this can change under state laws). It is also the primary source of CBD used in health supplements. On the other hand, marijuana is highly regulated. So far, only 11 states have made marijuana legal for public use. The other U.S. states require the user to possess a license before using marijuana.
CBD versus THC
The most challenging part of making legal and pure CBD emanates from the inability to tell the difference between hemp and marijuana plants. It is worth noting that both CBD and THC belong to the same chemical family known as cannabinoids. Cannabis has more than 100 different cannabinoids meaning that there are others and not only CBD and THC. Most cannabinoids from cannabinoids are made from flowers, commonly referred to as ‘buds.’ The main difference between CBD and THC is their chemical structures.
All cannabinoids begin as some sugar which will hitchhike around the enzymes of the plant. This will make it change its identity slowly by slowly with every ride. In some instances, the wandering sugar will reach crossroads. Here, it can become a THC- a synthase or CBD- a synthase. Generally, one route leads to becoming THC while the other one leads to becoming CBD. In hemp, however, the THC synthase is dormant genetically, according to experts. Therefore, this makes some hemp plants make so much CBD now that there is no internal competition for making THC.
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Does CBD Show on a Drug test?
People are likely to fail a drug test from a theoretical approach when consuming CBD products with THC. You need to know that CBD-rich products usually derive the cannabinoid from hemp or cannabis. Both have full-spectrum cannabinoids where THC is also included. Even though manufacturers will always claim that their products are THC-free, this might not always hold. In some instances, their products aren’t tested by third-party labs. Otherwise, the labeling might be inappropriate, which misrepresents the actual THC dose. People also receive false-positive results for THC or cannabis on the urine drug screens.
Practically, CBD will never show on a drug test for the simple reason that drugs test never screens for CBD. As you are already aware, CBD will never cause intoxicating effects. Furthermore, it is not on the list of controlled substances. The only thing CBD users need to be careful about is making sure that their CBD products have no THC. Other drugs might interfere with the urine drug screening test and give a false-positive result. If you do not want to test positive for THC on the drug tests, make sure to purchase CBD products from reliable sources. These will provide a Certificate of Analysis to confirm that your products have no THC.
What Can CBD Do?
To understand what CBD can do, we need to understand the endocannabinoid system (ECS) first. This is simply a biological system in your body that was discovered in the 1990s. Everything about it is not correctly known, including its working and interactions. Experts today know that this system impacts several main processes, including sleep, mood, appetite, and memory. This system has three components which are the receptors, endocannabinoids, and enzymes. These parts function whether or not you are using CBD. Let us have a brief overview of each component:
- Receptors– These exist all over the body and are the substances that the endocannabinoids bind with.
- Enzymes– These appear in different forms even though two enzyme types break down the endocannabinoids.
- Endocannabinoids– These will complement the body to keep the internal functions running as required.
Understanding what CBD can do will involve scrutinizing the relation between endocannabinoids and receptors. There are two receptor types known as CB1 and CB2 receptors. The CB1 receptors are generally found in the central nervous system. They have the role of governing coordination, appetite, pain mood, memory and other functions. CB2 receptors are found in the peripheral nervous system and will influence inflammation and pain.
After the enzymes have broken down the cannabinoids, endocannabinoids will bind with receptors. Researchers have it that C.B. will not directly attach to the receptor but influence it in some way instead. After these receptors have been activated, you enjoy the many health benefits associated with the compound.
Owing to the non-psychoactive nature of CBD, it becomes ideal for therapeutic uses. Besides treating different forms of epilepsy, CBD will also be effective for stress, anxiety, depression, and physical ailments. The good thing is that no shortage of research can back up these claims. CBD also plays a role in pain relief. After CBD has influenced the TRPV1, it will block the pain signals from getting to the rest of your body. This interference will lead to solace from swelling, aches, and any discomfort.
The Dos and Don’ts of Buying CBD
If you are purchasing CBD for the first time, you might wonder what you should look for and what you need to avoid. This will be in the process of evaluating different CBD products to make sure that you choose what serves you right. What are the features that indicate high-quality products, and what indicates a poor-quality product? To help you, we listed the dos and don’ts whenever you will be buying CBD products.
- Ask to see the products’ independent lab testing.
Unlike so many beliefs, the FDA doesn’t regulate any CBD product apart from Epidiolex, which treats a rare form of epilepsy. Without regulation, therefore, it means that manufacturers are promoting and labeling their brands. In this case, how do you know that a CBD product does not exceed the required THC amount of 0.3%? It is straightforward; ask to see their independent 3rd party lab results. It simply means that transparency is essential in the CBD industry. If the brand cannot account for that, do not waste your money.
- Do not buy CBD products just anywhere.
The CBD market has exploded over the past few years. Even though it might seem convenient heading to the gas station, grocery, or corner markets to buy CBD, you are likely wasting your time and money. As we have mentioned earlier, product mislabeling is standard in the CBD market. This means that you can buy products with less CBD than they claim to have and more THC than the federal limit. Buying from a reputable brand is the only way to ensure that you are getting quality products. Such brands will offer their 3rd party lab reports to prove the quality of their products.
- Buy CBD sourced from organically grown hemp.
It is also essential to get concerned about the source of CBD used to make CBD products of your choice. As we have discussed in his post, CBD can be extracted from both marijuana and hemp plants. However, marijuana has little C.B. content meaning that it has more THC. Hemp is, therefore, the preferred plant to source CBD, but the buck does not stop here. You must ascertain that CBD was sourced from organically grown hemp by licensed farmers. This will ensure that CBD has no other impurities like pesticides and other chemicals that might affect the quality of the final product. Ask for the certificate of analysis to prove this.
- Do not buy the highest CBD concentrate.
If you are a beginner with CBD products, you might get easily duped that a more potent dosage will lead to better results. According to experts, this is not always the case. Even though there is no recommended dosage for CBD products due to their unregulated nature, this will not always hold. The best advice, in this regard, is to begin low and increase dosage till you get to your ideal spot.
- Understand the legality status of CBD
Is CBD hemp oil legal where you reside? This is a must-know factor whenever you are planning to buy CBD products. Otherwise, you will always find yourself on the wrong side of the law, even though CBD is legal at the federal level. You need to understand that this is subject to change according to different state laws. Therefore, it is essential to know the CBD’s legal status, especially when planning to travel. According to the laws governing CBD, different states will change very hefty charges, if not imprisonment, for the illegal possession of CBD-related products. Familiarizing yourself with that will, therefore, not be an option.
- Talk to your doctor first.
It is always a good idea to consult your healthcare provider before buying and trying CBD products. They will be in a position to advise you on what to do and probably recommend a dosage for your CBD products. This will be very important, especially if you are under medication. The reason for that is that you do not know how CBD can interact with other drugs.
The Bottom Line
Everyone can get their hands on CBD, but it always boils down to Is CBD legal? An important distinction as far as CBD’s legality is concerned will depend on whether CBD is drawn from hemp or marijuana. Is CBD federally legal? According to the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp-derived CBD is not illegal. However, it remains illegal for the sellers to market their products as dietary supplements or promote them as treating different ailments. On the other hand, marijuana is considered federally illegal and in so many states as well.
Even so, what does the federal law say about CBD-infused beverages and foods? To put it simply, Is it legal to use CBD products? As a way of answering this, the intended use of a CBD product, its labeling, and marketing are the primary concerns of CBD’s legality. In this regard, questions arise as to how much THC in CBD is legal. Federally, for any CBD product to remain legal, it must not contain more than 0.3% THC. This is believed to be a meager amount of psychoactive compound that will not lead to any mind-altering effects. Anything that has more THC content will therefore be regarded as illegal marijuana.