Ever since the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) panel approved Epidiolex, a cannabidiol-based medication for children who experience seizures, people are confused about the legal status of this cannabis substance.
To summarize, cannabidiol, aka CBD, is one of the hundreds of compounds found in the cannabis plant. The substance has a range of medicinal and therapeutic effects that have been shown to be beneficial for different medical conditions, including insomnia, physical pain, depression, anxiety, and even for children with epilepsy.
CBD is a key compound for many people who use cannabis as a medicine, especially because it lacks the psychoactive effects that other cannabis compounds hold such as THC.
Since CBD is a targeted medicine for the treatment of epilepsy and given to children to treat their seizures, the lack of psychoactive effects makes CBD a perfect medicine for treating medical problems in children.
Epidiolex is an oral solution that is supposed to treat seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome in children of two years and older.
For the first time in the US history, a marijuana-derived medication won federal approval in the US.
So, is CBD legal in the USA?
Yes and no. There is a legal distinction between cannabis and hemp. Cannabis, for instance, is typically bread for high THC content, which provides the psychoactive effects. On the other hand, hemp is bred and grown for the industrial use of fiber as well as seed, and all hemp must legally contain below 0.3% THC. With hemp there is no way to induce psychoactivity by consuming any reasonable amount of it.
All that being said, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals recently upheld a DEA rule that defines any Cannabis extract as a Schedule I controlled substance if it contains one or more cannabinoids. A definition that CBD seems to fit.
“Contrary to some early reports, this ruling does NOT classify hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) as a controlled substance, nor does it signify that the popular hemp product is federally illegal…In short, the DEA’s ‘marijuana extract rule’ does not apply to hemp or derivative products such as hemp-derived CBD. Period…Anybody out there that says the law is definite one way or another is lying.”
Jonathan Miller, The Hemp Industry’s Lawyer
Can I purchase CBD online?
Anyone in the US can purchase CBD derived from hemp online right now. There are lots of CBD products available such as oil, lotion, coffee, shampoo, candy and of course, vape juice.
How do I know if the CBD I’m buying is legitimate?
If you don’t live in a state in which cannabis is legal, you may have some difficulties in finding legit CBD products. Whenever you’re buying online, make sure to do some due diligence and read some reviews, because there are no testing regulations to see if the product is effective or not.
Is it legal to ship CBD products across state lines?
Yes, there are companies that comply with the 2014 Farm Bill and they can ship their products anywhere in the US. This bill differentiates cannabis from industrial hemp and allows the cultivation of hemp within the United States.
There are currently 30 US states that allow a patient to buy CBD products with a doctor’s recommendation:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- West Virginia
Fifteen states have limited-access laws which permit cannabis only as CBD oil, with restrictions on the levels of THC that varies per jurisdiction:
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
There are four states where all marijuana and marijuana-derived products are illegal.If you live in one of these states, you must buy CBD extract that is hemp-derived:
- South Dakota
As of now, we can all interpret the law as we want and try to act inside legality, or whatever that is with CBD.