Given the recent headlines about marijuana’s legalization, some might seize the opportunity to run out and stock up on marijuana products. But it’s a bit more complicated than that. Restrictions and regulations regarding marijuana are set at the state level, which means the substance may be legal in some places but not others. Currently, cannabis is permitted for medical use in half of the US. Seventeen states consider CBD to be legal. Since the fines and repercussions for possessing marijuana illegally can be significant, it’s in your best interest to know the laws for possession and distribution where you live and around the country.
Cannabis vs Cannabidoil
The first step in understanding the laws behind marijuana requires knowing the difference between “cannabis” and “cannabidoil.” Cannabis is a term that’s synonymous with “marijuana.” Cannabis contains two main compounds, which are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidoil (CBD). Of the two, THC is the most active ingredient, and it’s responsible for producing the mind-altering affects that marijuana is commonly associated with. Cannabidoil is a much milder compound found in marijuana, and it does not produce the same psychoactive effects. However, it has been shown to create physical changes in the body, which makes it a popular medication for relieving pain, stress, and other physical ailments. Since CBD oil does not have a mind-altering affect, it is sometimes legal to use in states where cannabis and THC are not allowed. If this isn’t confusing enough, CBD is classified as a hemp product in some places. Hemp is the fibrous part of the marijuana plant. Like CBD, it does not have psychoactive effects. At present, hemp is the most widely acceptable part of the marijuana plant in the eyes of the law. It has been approved for use in clothing, body care products, consumer goods, and even food.
Marijuana And The Law
Fast forward to today, and you probably have some idea already of why the terms “hemp,” “CBD,” THC,” and “marijuana” cause so much confusion. Now that you know generally what these words mean, it’s time to add another complication to the mix. Since the compounds CBD and THC come from the same plant, there can be some crossover between them. And for CBD, this affects its legality. Depending on the strain of marijuana plant, there can be different amounts of THC in CBD. According to Forbes, some states might consider CBD legal if it has less than a certain percentage of THC. Under federal law, the legal classification of “hemp” is a product that contains less than 0.3% of THC. Hemp, as noted before, is a legal product. However, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) does not consider marijuana or its derivatives legal, including CBD. The DEA’s rationale is that marijuana is a controlled and regulated substance. It’s classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance under federal law. This means that the marijuana plant and its various parts are all illegal. The icing on the cake is that the 2014 Farm Bill makes it legal for farmers to produce hemp on an industrial scale, but only for use in a state-approved pilot program or for academic research.
Since the law on the usage of marijuana and its byproducts is murky, you’d be wise to check the laws in your state before attempting to buy a marijuana-based, non-hemp product of any kind. Here is a website with current information (as of August 2018) about state laws regarding CBD across the United States: https://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=006473.