WTF Is CBD Legal? Yes, sort of. No, not really.

There’s a lot of talk about CBD.  Its in everything from beauty products to hangover cures (my personal favorite use).  The laws are changing rapidly, and businesses are finding more products for it as its popularity rises.  Here’s a breakdown of CBD, what it is, its legal status and some FAQ. 

What is CBD?  Cannabidiol is one of some 113 identified cannabinoids in Cannabis plants, accounting for up to 40% of the plant's extract. As of 2018, preliminary clinical research on cannabidiol included studies of anxiety, cognition, movement disorders, and pain.

Read more here.


What’s the difference between Hemp & Marijuana? Hemp plants are typically much higher in CBD than an average marijuana plant. With the THC bred out of it, the CBD concentrations increased over time. This makes hemp a valuable resource for CBD extraction.

Read more here.


What’s the difference between Full Spectrum CBD & Isolate CBD?  When CBD is referred to as full spectrum or whole plant CBD, it means that the CBD contains all other cannabinoids found in the marijuana plant including CBN (Cannabinol), CBG (Cannabigerol), and THCV (Tetrahydrocannabivarin), to name a few. Along with these cannabinoids, Full Spectrum CBD also contains trace amounts of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), but in very low concentrations (up to .3%), resulting in very minimal psychoactive stimulation.

CBD Isolate is simply purified CBD that has been extracted from the plant and isolated from the other cannabinoids. 


Is CBD Legal? Essentially, it depends on the use.  The 2018 Farm Bill modified the Controlled Substances Act (the ‘CSA’) to exempt hemp from the definition of marijuana. Hemp now clearly excluded from this definition and thus not a scheduled drug.  But, it is still unlawful, under the FDCA, to introduce food containing added CBD or THC into interstate commerce, or to market CBD or THC products as, or in, dietary supplements, regardless of whether the substances are hemp-derived.

Many forms of cannabis are strictly federally prohibited. As such, “marijuana” and “tetrahydrocannabinols” (THC) are listed on Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”). The CSA exempts certain parts of the cannabis plant from the definition of marijuana, including hemp-derived CBD products.


What are FDAs next regulatory steps on CBD and hemp?  The FDA is considering "potential regulatory pathways" for the interstate commerce of hemp and cannabis compounds in foods and beverages following renewal of the Farm Bill, according to a recent statement from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb. The $867-billion bill, signed by President Donald Trump on Dec. 20, legalized the commercial production of hemp.

Although the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp, it's not a free pass for CBD to be added to foods and beverages. That's because the FDA's regulatory position under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act is that CBD can't be legally sold in conventional foods or dietary supplements.

The FDA is particularly concerned about drug claims made for products not approved by the agency that may contain CBD or other cannabis-derived compounds. Any such products marketed as providing therapeutic benefits must be approved beforehand for their intended use, he added, just like any other drug.

Meanwhile, food and beverage makers aren't waiting on the sidelines when it comes to introducing these products. Besides being used to infuse beverages such as watercoffee, cocktails and iced tea, CBD is being added to a wide variety of other foods, including ice cream, salads, milk and even children's cereal and pet treats.


How popular is CBD? The market for CBD and hemp-derived products is on fire. According to the Capital Press, a New Frontier Data report found that U.S. CBD sales jumped almost 40% in 2017, hitting $367 million. And the total retail value of all U.S. hemp products last year  was estimated at $820 million, according to the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center.

These sales gains will likely continue to rise. By 2022, hemp-derived CBD is projected to be a $22-billion market, according to a report from the Brightfield Group, which helps to explain why the FDA is anxious to make its regulatory oversight clear as soon as possible. 


Additional Sources of Information:


The Atlantic:

Cannabis Business Law: