It wasn’t long ago where people were put behind bars for planting cannabis. In the wake of studies concerning the safety of CBD and its benefits, we’ve seen a massive change in public attitude towards this once-taboo topic.
While CBD has grown in popularity, manufacturers, distributors, and consumers are still confused about its legal standings. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the legal issues around CBD.
Walking on a thin line
In 2018, the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 was passed by Congress and was later signed into law by the Trump administration. On the federal level, hemp was legalized, and it is legal to transport hemp between states, provided that the hemp meets strict guidelines.
However, marijuana still remains a controlled substance. These two aren’t separate species coming from the same family of Cannabis. They are, in fact, of the same species, with the potential of being either one.
Confused? Here’s the classification for both:
- Hemp: Cannabis with less than 0.3% THC
- Marijuana: Cannabis with more than 0.3% THC
While most articles you read will claim that CBD isn’t psychoactive, this is not all true. In the context of getting you high, yes, CBD won’t do that to the user. But, CBD is still psychoactive from a neuroscience perspective. As quoted by Joseph Cheer,“CBD just affects you differently than THC”.
The way CBD oil affects mood and sleep positively is a result of CBD’s interaction with the endocannabinoid (ECS) system. By being able to alter one’s state of mind, it does meet the definition of a psychoactive compound.
The problem is that to the naked eye, you wouldn’t tell which plant is legal and which is not. This makes it a huge challenge for enforcement agencies to monitor hemp plantations. In fact, it’s been documented that raids were wrongfully conducted on law-abiding farms.
You would need to be careful where your CBD product is sourced from. Manufacturers are notorious for mislabelling their ingredients, and if you happen to get your hands on a product with more than 0.3% THC, you could be in trouble.
State laws add to the mix
While CBD is legal on the federal level, some states have imposed additional restrictions that affect the supply chain of CBD, from cultivation to possession. For example, Alaska’s Department of Natural Resources will require retailers to register themselves with the department to sell hemp products. While this restriction does not exist in California. On the other side of the spectrum, South Dakota still considers hemp and CBD illegal.
FDA’s confusing stance
The Farm Bill has granted the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authority to regulate products on the market that contain cannabis and/or cannabis-derived compounds including CBD.
By right, since the FDA still classifies CBD as a drug, it cannot be used in dietary supplements. Ironically, this is also the reason why shady companies get away with producing low-quality products that don’t add any value, or worse, harm the user.
FDA has been sending warning letters to companies that make health claims over their products, but as far as our knowledge stretches no stern action has been taken.
However, the FDA has been receiving a lot of pressure from Congress to allow CBD to be sold in food and dietary supplements. We could be seeing more regulatory framework from the FDA on how CBD can be marketed and sold soon enough, and manufacturers will have to abide by the laws FDA sets in stone which include labeling and safety regulations.
FDA estimates that this could take 3 to 5 years. When compared to the rate of growth in the industry, this certainly is too long.