CBD is one of the fastest-growing industries today. In 2020 global sales were valued at $2.8 billion USD and are expected to rise by approximately 21.2% between 2021-2028. (1) In the United States, projected sales could reach $1.8 billion by 2022. (2) While these figures are indeed impressive, the possibility for it to grow even further is definitely there, given the ambiguity about the legal status of CBD across the US. Within the industry, safety is improving, with many health claims about CBD supported by science. However, legislation has been slow to catch up.
Before we look at the legal status of CBD, let’s look again at what CBD is and some of the health benefits derived from its use.
What is CBD?
CBD (cannabidiol) is a chemical (known as a cannabinoid) found naturally in cannabis plants. Unlike THC (another cannabinoid found in marijuana and trace amounts in hemp), CBD is a non-psychoactive compound with many claimed therapeutic benefits, such as relief for anxiety, depression, PTSD, and sleep deprivation.
CBD works by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system, a nerve signaling structure that regulates the central nervous system and helps maintain homeostasis, a type of internal equilibrium. (3)
Potential And Known Therapeutic Benefits Of CBD
There are several known or potential health benefits from CBD use, and while some are not yet recognized legally, science has replicated and proven the results that the industry claims. These include:
- Treatment of seizures associated with epilepsy: In 2018, the FDA approved a plant-based formulation of CBD (Epidiolex) to treat two rare and severe forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, and Dravet syndrome, in patients two years of age and older. (4)
- Pain relief: Throughout the world, marijuana and hemp have been used for centuries to treat pain. (5) New studies have revealed that endocannabinoids produced by the body bind to cannabinoid receptors in the nervous system. Using CBD may help reduce chronic pain by reducing inflammation. (6)
- Reducing anxiety and depression: Research has shown that CBD may be a safe and natural treatment for mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression. In one trial, 57 men received either oral CBD or a placebo 90 minutes before undergoing a simulated public speaking test. The researchers found that a 300-mg dose of CBD was effective at reducing anxiety during the speaking test. (7)
- Heart health: Some studies show CBD use may help to lower or stabilize blood pressure. Stroke, heart attack, and metabolic syndrome are risks linked to high blood pressure. (8)
Although not an exhaustive list, there may be many other benefits from CBD use, including: (9)
- Acne reduction
- Treating substance abuse
- Diabetes prevention
- Treating malignant tumors
With research at an early stage, CBD gaining full legal status will vastly improve the way studies are conducted, meaning human trials can become more frequent.
USA and CBD. On The Edge Of Legality
Is CBD legal? There is still some ambiguity about whether or not CBD is legal in all 50 States. In 2018 the Farm Bill (the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018) made CBD federally legal to produce, purchase, and use under predestined criteria. That means CBD must be extracted from hemp and contain no more than 0.3% THC. CBD that comes from marijuana and exceeds the 0.3% THC limit is still illegal at the federal level, except for instances where scientists study CBD from marijuana for potential health benefits. (10)
Federal And State Law
While federal law supersedes state law, ambiguity arrives when state law expands on federal law by making its own regulations. For example - CBD made from industrial hemp (0.3% THC or less) and CBD made from marijuana are legal in Colorado. Recreational marijuana is legal, and the state has a medical marijuana program. In neighboring Utah, CBD containing 0.3% THC or less is legal. However, unlike Colorado, possession or sale of marijuana in Utah is illegal and may result in heavy penalties. In Washington, DC, CBD products are certified as hashish (not part of the legislation). If a person has, on their person, CBD, they may be detained or arrested for possession of hashish. (11)
Hemp Versus Marijuana
Hemp and marijuana are both derived from the cannabis plant. What makes them different is the THC content of each plant. Hemp typically has less than 0.3% THC, while marijuana exceeds that amount.
Federal law is specific regarding CBD products as one of them is legal (hemp) while the other (marijuana) is not. The amount of THC is the legal difference between the two.
How And Where To Buy CBD?
As uniformity between states is unlikely in the short term, it is advisable to know the law where you currently live. If traveling to another state (or country), it is also advisable to be aware of the legal implications of having CBD products. Here’s a small checklist of what to look for in regards to staying within the law.
- Shop local: If your state permits, you can purchase CBD products in a local store, dispensary, spa, or other retail outlets.
- Online: CBD products can be bought online from any location in the USA. If CBD is currently illegal in your state, It can still be legally purchased online from a retailer where it is legal.
- Do your research: Always purchase CBD from a reputable source such as Nesa’s Hemp. There are many counterfeit products on the market, so be careful.
- Check the label: Many states require products to legally obtain third-party testing for their product. Legitimate companies will do this automatically and print or make available a QR code to prove authenticity.
Federal law states CBD derived from hemp is legal. However, vagueness in state law may disagree, and as such, CBD may not be legal in all 50 states. To be sure you are staying on the right side of the law, both as a manufacturer and consumer, it is always best to regularly review legislation where you live.
As mentioned in the above article, online purchasing is legal even if your state has some restrictions. Shopping online at Nesa’s will provide you with the very best product that is authentic, natural, and within full enactment of constitutional law.