The Farm Bill of 2018 legalized the cultivation of Cannabis sativa L. plants that contain less than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act.
Even though cannabis acceptance has exploded since then, there are questions on its legality and the need for cannabidiol (CBD) prescription.
The confusion comes from the fact that the Food and Drug Administration remains the regulating body for all cannabis-based products under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
This means that cannabis products, though federally legal, are still restricted by some state laws. In fact, there are some states where marijuana prescriptions are actually necessary.
The terms “cannabis,” “marijuana” and even “hemp” are often used interchangeably. But since the word “cannabis” refers to an entire genus of flowering plants, it is important to distinguish common terminology used today.
Cannabis is the genus of the family Cannabaceae, which includes the 3 species Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis. Most marijuana strains are Cannabis sativa and contain a high concentration of THC, the psychoactive compound that is responsible for its persecution in the previous decades.
Hemp is also a sativa and can come from the same family and species as marijuana. However, the two have very different chemistry and characteristics. Hemp contains low levels of THC and high levels of CBD, the non-intoxicating compound that is all the rage these days.
THC content is the threshold that growers keep in mind when breeding new varieties of cannabis plants. It may appear arbitrary to single out THC since cannabis contains hundreds of other cannabinoids, but THC concentrations are now the standard for legal cannabis and hemp CBD.
Distinguishing marijuana from hemp, though they may come from the same species, is the determining factor of a cannabis plant’s legality.
Is CBD Legal in my State?
The Farm Bill has made CBD products readily available in online and physical stores. And though industrial hemp-derived CBD oil with a THC content of 0.3% or less is now federally legal and does not require a CBD prescription to buy, the situation on the ground varies per state and state laws are in constant flux.
Some states allow patients to use CBD oil with more than 0.3% THC if they have a medical marijuana card or exception.
For example, in Georgia, the Low THC Oil Registry permits qualified patients to purchase CBD oil with a THC content of up to 5%. In contrast, Idaho does not allow any THC content in CBD oil.
If you find this confusing, you are not alone. Would you need a CBD prescription to get your CBD or can you simply purchase a bottle in a local drugstore? This all boils down to where you live and due diligence is necessary to determine the kind of CBD you can legally buy and where.
FDA Approved CBD products
For now, there is just one CBD prescription drug that is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This product is called Epidiolex and it is a licensed treatment for drug-resistant forms of epilepsy like Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.
Currently, it is the only CBD product that has been rigorously tested for drug interactions and side effects.
The FDA however allows CBD as an ingredient in cosmetic products though these must still undergo scrutiny. As far as legality goes, this is all dependent on the CBD product’s labeling and marketing. Unfortunately, this is the part where CBD brands usually falter with the law.
The severely limited legality of CBD presents other problems aside from access. For instance, until the FDA approves CBD oil as a medicine, it will continue to remain unregulated and leaves manufacturers at liberty to continue producing low-quality oils which may offer no health benefits or even have adverse effects.
Do You Need a Prescription for CBD oil?
CBD and cannabis-based products have become widely available but residents of certain states still have restricted access to it. States with a CBD oil registry, for instance, will only grant exceptions to qualified patients who suffer from one of the listed qualifying conditions and get approval from their doctor.
However, a greater majority of Americans can now easily buy Blosum’s best CBD products through online stores and retail shops without a CBD prescription. This is generally good news but the unregulated market calls for vigilance to avoid falling for false advertising and paying for low-quality products.
This situation will likely remain unchanged in the near future unless the FDA revises its stance on cannabis products.
It is easy to fall for flashy packaging and low prices, but it would be in the best interest of your health and wallet to buy established brands with positive customer reviews to back them up.
Take note that “hemp seed oil” is not the same as CBD. CBD is extracted from the stalks, leaves, and flowers of cannabis while hemp seed oil only comes from Cannabis sativa seeds and thus contains no CBD.
Whether you are buying CBD online from Lazarus Naturals , in a general retail store, or in a dispensary, be sure to choose a brand that you can trust. CBD is not FDA approved and is not intended to treat, cure, or relieve any medical symptoms, conditions, and illnesses. It should not be used as a medicine and should be taken as a supplement only.