Cannabidiol, more commonly known as CBD, has gained a lot of popularity and in large part, it's due to the shifting regulatory landscape. Legal restrictions continue to lift making this little phytocannabinoid much more accessible. But is it legal? The answer may not be as simple as you think, but we’re gonna do our best to break it down for you.
Let’s start with a little plant history...
The cannabis plant, from which CBD is derived, has had a long history fraught with highs (literally) and lows. Humans have been using the plant for thousands of years for medicinal, spiritual, and just plain recreational uses. In 1970, the US government decided to classify marijuana (i.e., cannabis) as a Schedule I controlled substance. This essentially meant the government believed there was "no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse" related to the plant.
However more recently, public opinion has shifted leading to a number of policy changes. Many states have started to take on legislation themselves, legalizing consumer use of marijuana for medicinal and recreational applications. As of this writing, only four states have yet to legalize marijuana in some form.
The most notable shift occurred when in 2018 the Farm Bill (or Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018) made a historic move to define hemp as separate from marijuana. It also removed hemp and its derivatives as a Schedule I controlled substance.
Hemp vs Marijuana
The Farm Bill helped distinguish how hemp differs from marijuana. While both are cannabis plants, hemp is defined as a species of the plant having no more than 0.3% THC, the compound which has the intoxicating, or high, effect.
With hemp defined and falling out of the DEA’s Schedule I classification, the consumer market has been flooded with applications of hemp derivatives. Most notably, of course, is the CBD molecule.
So, is it legal?
As a consumer, it’s important for you to know where your product comes from. Even though the label says “CBD” or “hemp,” it doesn’t necessarily mean the product’s ingredients fall within the legal definition and thus okay to purchase in your jurisdiction.
When searching for a CBD product that’s right for you. Look for something called a ‘certificate of analysis’, which should contain a third-party test verifying the products cannabinoid concentrations (e.g., CBD and THC). You can view an example of ours by clicking here.
Finally, there are certain states which haven’t yet aligned their local definition of hemp with that of the federal definition. As a result, there are a small minority of states where hemp-derived CBD may still be prohibited for purchase from other states.
What about the FDA?
As many might be aware, the Food and Drug Administration has already approved one drug which contains CBD for patients with a rare form of epilepsy. They are also mindful of the growing consumer demand for CBD related products.
The FDA recently announced their plans for providing guidance on CBD related products. As part of its efforts to further the science of CBD, Viridian Pharmaceuticals, the company behind Notion, is also evaluating the applications of this molecule with their molecular delivery formulations.
For now, it’s important that consumers properly evaluate the CBD products they’re considering. If you have any questions, please reach out! We’d love to hear from you and help where we can.