Let’s talk about CBD, aka cannabidiol. You’ve seen it in oxygen bars and dispensaries, inside medicine cabinets and cortados, on Fox News and the Today show – but what exactly is CBD?
Let’s start with the basics. CBD is a cannabinoid, which is to say it’s a plant compound found most prominently in marijuana and hemp plants – similar to another cannabinoid, THC.
But unlike THC, CBD is not going to get you “stoned.” Rather, CBD has different effects on the human body, and it’s increasingly becoming more and more accepted as a legitimate anti-inflammatory agent that helps treat different types of chronic pain, and top-level researchers have also found overwhelming evidence that CBD is an effective anti-seizure tool for some patients suffering from the cruelest forms of intractable epilepsy, as reported in a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
So we now know that CBD is a legit medicine, and it can be found in both marijuana and hemp. If that sounds complicated, it is. Hemp-derived CBD is the largely unregulated CBD you’ll see at the corner store, the coffeeshop and on Amazon – and many manufacturers produce CBD products made from hemp and ship them all over the country and world. However, marijuana-derived CBD is the highly regulated CBD you’ll see in licensed cannabis dispensaries selling products to patients and adult-use customers. Because of the tight regulations governing the legal marijuana industry, including the marijuana-derived CBD space, these products cannot be sold online – or even outside of the state the marijuana plants were originally grown in.
With the historic passage of the 2018 Farm Bill in December of last year, many activists and advocates were calling out Hemp for Victory and celebrating CBD’s newly legal status.
But did the 2018 Farm Bill actually legalize CBD? It’s not quite that simple.
The 2018 Farm Bill federally legalized industrial hemp and its many derivatives, including hemp-derived cannabinoids like CBD – though it’s worth saying that it did not legalize all of the actual uses of CBD.
In short, the 2018 Farm Bill did not impact the FDA’s oversight authority as to hemp-derived products, according to the hemp experts at Hoban Law Group, and that’s where the confusion lies.
So as of today, hemp is federally legal – but as for CBD as a food ingredient or dietary supplement, we just need to wait and see how the FDA comes down on this much-anticipated and important issue.
Because hemp is more legal than it’s ever been and because hemp-derived CBD is generally unregulated, for now, the CBD products you’re buying online, at health food stores, in head shops and on Amazon are not produced under such strict oversight – and many of the bad actors are producing and selling a substandard, unreliable product that does present a legitimate danger to the customer.
So while physicians agree that CBD has an incredibly low risk profile, some of the substandard producers in this unregulated space have infused this increasingly popular plant compound with legitimate problems because of their shoddy, lazy work.
So do your research, and focus on the brands that make their lab test results readily available. And with a little work, you’ll avoid most of the alleged dangers of CBD.
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