Cannabidiol, or CBD, is fast outshining tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, in becoming the focal point of scientific attention. CBD, unlike THC, is one of the many non-psychoactive cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. It doesn’t make you stoned and CBD has a horde of medicinal qualities. Research proves CBD safe and unmistakably effective at treating a range of health conditions.
Despite the fact that CBD does not impair mental function, it remains an illegal substance under federal marijuana laws. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, cannabis and all its cannabinoids are Schedule I drugs under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. It’s considered a substance with no medical value and a high potential for abuse. It shares company with LSD and heroin.
Science shows CBD safe. In fact, it proves cannabis plants essential medicine. Regardless of the evidence, until the federal government either decriminalizes marijuana or reclassifies it, CBD remains illegal. In 2018, an Indiana man faced jail time and a $1,000 for carrying CBD oil, which the state’s legislature legalized a month prior. Because of this, the court dismissed his case summarily.
Not everyone is so lucky, however. CBD is only legal in those states that have legalized cannabis, whether for medicinal or recreational purposes, or both. At the national level and in states that have yet to join the fray, you can still face criminal charges and punitively indebting fines for being in possession of marijuana or any of its extracts.
Media is abuzz about CBD. New studies, new discoveries, new therapeutic uses, and new medical properties are near-daily news. Pot advocates have been hailing this cannabinoid for its ability to fight anxiety, depression, seizures, muscular spasms, chronic pain, and a myriad of other issues. CBD is the latest “it” drug, what the Washington Post calls a “rapidly rising star for its capacity to deliver mental and physical benefits.” From insomnia to epileptic seizures, CBD is fast becoming the go-to solution for health.
However, contrary to the underlying and subtle implication in much of these articles, CBD is not “legal in all 50 states.” If it were, why would people still be facing criminal charges just for having it in their possession? Why would law enforcement officers still be raiding shops that sell it? Why would any state legislature decide on its own to legalize CBD products? None of this would happen if it were legal.
Many publications claim that, provided the CBD oil contains less than 0.3 percent THC, federal law classifies it as hemp, making it legal to both have and distribute. The 2014 Farm Bill is oft-cited evidence of the legality of hemp-derived CBD. However, the bill itself only very narrowly legalizes a set of growing activities for hemp. It remains hugely restrictive to just about everybody, even scientific researchers.
It is possible to grow hemp legally, but only if you are growing it under a state pilot program or if you are cultivating it for scientific study. You can also grow legally under state law, specifically “in which such institution of higher education or state department of agriculture is located and such research occurs.” Certainly, some cultivators are operating under the Farm Bill and supplying a few CBD companies.
However, considering how well stocked CBD products are, few come from research hemp. Furthermore, state marijuana laws differ greatly, especially on hemp and CBD. Colorado has a comprehensive industrial hemp program. It is also home to the first ever U.S.-bred certified hemp seed. Strangely, in Massachusetts, where you can grow pot at home, you still need a state license to grow hemp.
One of the biggest breakthroughs that has come to CBD is the Farm Bill 2018. This essentially opened up CBD for nation wide legality. It’s still a gray area because cannabis itself is a schedule 1 but the Farm Bill for 2018 opened up hemp farming. This makes it legal as long as it contains 0.3% THC or less.
Republican Senator Mitch McConnell was the one who announced the introduction of the Farm Bill 2018 which legalized industrial hemp nationally, at the federal level. Until that progress, the DEA insists that CBD is undoubtedly still illegal. A spokesperson for the agency warned that those violating federal drug law are at “risk of arrest and prosecution.” However, he did note that the agency was not after CBD offenders.
In talking to an Indiana newspaper, Rusty Payne, DEA spokesperson, said, “It would not be an appropriate use of federal resources to go after a mother because her child has epileptic seizures and has found something that can help and has helped. Are they breaking the law? Yes, they are. Are we going to break her door down? Absolutely not. And I do not think she will be charged by any U.S. Attorney.” Public opinion is powerful. Experts predict that federal marijuana laws will change soon.
CBD oil has been causing a lot of fuss in certain states lately, but nowhere else does it do this better than in Indiana. We are going to use Indiana as our analogy for the few other states because for one, Indiana is one of the most notorious and strictest states when it comes to anything cannabis related (even cannabis oil for pets). You’re about to see this is the sole reason states are trying and failing to ban CBD. The biggest reason we are using Indiana as an example is because even they can’t succeed in banning a harmless medicine. Oh, and it makes for one hell of a story.
In 2017, Indian lawmakers passed a house bill that allowed people to use cannabidiol, so what’s the problem? Well, a lot actually.
Shortly after passing the law, police raids started cracking down on hundreds of thousands of hemp-based products even though they contained less than .03 THC. So what the hell is going on here?
Well, it all has to do with THC or tetrahydrocannabinol. THC is a cannabinoid along with CBD, and there are a lot more like them – 100+. All cannabinoids in marijuana provide their own medical properties, as well they reinforce the medical properties of their buddies.
THC is the only psychoactive cannabinoid – meaning this is the cannabinoid that gets you high, stoned, faded, etc. Take THC out of marijuana, and you’re left with a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant called industrial hemp, which is legal under the new U.S. Farm bill.
So how could these raids legally happen – well, they most likely didn’t. The police in Indiana are being vague about it, but shortly after the raids starting occurring they abruptly stopped. When asked “Why?”, it was difficult to lock down an answer. The most common excuse was that the police didn’t understand that there wasn’t any THC in CBD oil products derived from hemp. When they learned they stop – though this carried little weight to shops who were already raided and lost thousands of dollars.
However, an email obtained by the Indianapolis Star appears to paint a different picture. In the email, one police commander thought that the new law allowed them to confiscate CBD products if they weren’t being used to treat epilepsy.
Why would he think this? Well besides defining CBD as legal once again in Indiana, the 2017 bill creates a registry for individuals that are suffering from treatment-resistant epilepsy. It calls for a registry of treatment-resistant epilepsy because this is such an important component of CBD’s medical properties.
The problem with all this is that first, hemp is legal federally under the U.S. Farm bill. Second, in 2014 Indiana passed their own bill legalizing hemp for commercial use in the state. CBD has been legal in Indiana stores for years before these raids happened.
Thankfully, for users of CBD oil and those that want to try it, the Indiana CBD fiasco should not be treated as a sign of things to come.
For Indiana and a few other states such as Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Alabama, it only makes sense that they would try to conflate marijuana, cannabis, hemp and CBD oil.
Hemp is a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant that has less than 0.03% THC making it non-psychoactive. Marijuana is the dried and cured flowers taken from a separate variety of Cannabis sativa that contains notable levels of THC and is psychoactive.
Cannabis and words with “canna” in the name does not mean you get stoned. We desperately need to stop thinking that cannabis equals to getting high.
Every organism with a vertebrate produces their own cannabinoids called endocannabinoids. They have cannabinoid receptors in their body that are only activated by cannabinoids in both ones our own brain produces and the ones found in plants. This endocannabinoid system plays a vital part in promoting homeostasis.
Homeostasis is the process that an organism uses to maintain and stabilize all internal system such as the immune system, nervous system, and all organs. Without cannabinoids we couldn’t function properly. Our sleep patterns would be messed up, our metabolism would constantly be in a state of flux, inflammation would run wild, etc. To ban CBD oil because it has “canna” in the name would mean we need to ban one of the most important physiological systems every mammal has. It sounds ridiculous, but that’s one of the big reason not even Indiana can ban CBD oil.
Indiana Shows Why CBD Oil is Safe and Legal to Use
Even policymakers and officials in Indiana and the DEA can’t stop CBD oil. In late 2017, a spokesperson for the DEA said they would not arrest anyone and neither should the police, even if the CBD oil is derived from marijuana.
This spokesperson, even went as far to say that he would do the same – use CBD oil – if he was a parent and his child needed CBD, and as such he doesn’t blame parents for seeking help. And he’s talking about CBD oil from marijuana, which is a Schedule 1 drug.
Police raids have stopped despite Indiana’s Attorney General claims that CBD oil should be taken out of shops and nothing more has happened and most likely nothing will happen except for the sale of CBD oil in shops everywhere.
CBD oil’s future in 2018 and on
It’s safe to say the fight is over in 2018, CBD oil remained legal despite opponents best attempts in the past couple of years, and now CBD oil is more popular than ever and with a better understanding about how we can benefit from it.
The DEA, in particular, is done fighting CBD oil and have recently commented that they have a bigger fish to fry, like the whole opioid epidemic that is taking thousands of lives every year. An opioid epidemic that CBD oil may just help fight.
CBD oil has entered into the mainstream and looks to be the medicine that defines health at home – you can even now find cannabis oil for pets, which many pet owners are loving and finding it to be a huge help with medical bills, and promoting a long life. It looks like CBD oil is here to stay.
It would be a mistake to assume CBD legal in all 50 states. There is also the issue of HIA vs. DEA; a lawsuit filed by a hemp trade association that challenges the agency’s Schedule I classification of CBD. Earlier this year, federal judges at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals listened to the case. It is clear that corporate attorneys have differing understandings of federal law than the DEA and other agencies do.
Regardless of what you hear or read in publications today, just remember that despite its wide availability in some states, CBD oil is not legal in all of them. The law is in flux in many states and very murky, especially since it contradicts federal laws and is therefore open to many interpretations. Make sure CBD is legal in your state before you buy it and do not carry it across a state or national lines.