Is High CBD Hemp Flower Legal?

Is the CBD Flower available at Herb King legal in all 50 states?

In short, yes. CBD Hemp Flower with a Delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of 0.3% or less is completely legal to possess in the United States. According to the new federal law, hemp is legal as long as it contains no more than 0.3% Delta-9 THC. Anything more than that and it’s illegal under the federal ban on marijuana.

Hemp comes from the same cannabis plant that produces marijuana. However, marijuana has both cannabidiol (CBD)—a medical compound that has health benefits but won’t induce a high—and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical in the plant that is psychoactive and can give off a high. Hemp, on the other hand, is produced with nearly 100% CBD.

For millennia, people have used hemp fibers from the stalks and stems of the plant to make rope, textiles, paper, and many other products and have also used its seeds (and the oil from the seeds) as a food source. In the US however, heavy regulation and taxation of hemp dating back to the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 and subsequently through the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 all but rendered hemp farming in the US a legal impossibility for most of the past century.

In recent years however, with increasing state legalization of cannabis and a burgeoning multibillion-dollar cannabis industry, US farmers have increasingly lobbied to remove federal restrictions against growing hemp. The Agricultural Act of 2014 (aka the 2014 Farm Bill) signed by President Obama set the stage for this to happen by loosened restrictions on hemp, allowing universities and state agriculture departments to grow it for research purposes. Now the 2018 Farm Bill opens those gates more broadly, allowing licensed farmers to grow hemp and transport it across state lines based on agreements and regulations to be established between states and the federal government.

Along with THC, cannabidiol (CBD) is one of more than a hundred “phytocannabinoids” contained in the Cannabis plant. Relative to the amount of THC in marijuana grown for recreational use, the amount of CBD is trivial, with the proportion of THC to CBD increasingly widening over the past several decades.1 The breeding of cannabis strains with more THC and less CBD has occurred in response to recreational consumer demand. More THC means more of a “high,” whereas CBD — which can oppose some of the effects of THC — doesn’t have any euphoric effects and may interfere with the high produced by THC. So, for the most part, CBD-laden marijuana has not been what recreational users are looking for.

While CBD research has been limited due to federal restrictions, preliminary evidence does suggest that it might help with psychiatric conditions like anxiety disorders (note that while many people claim that CBD is not “psychoactive,” it’s potential as an anxiolytic medication suggests otherwise) and recent randomized, controlled clinical trials suggest a possible role in the treatment of psychotic disorders.2,3 In 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Epidiolex, a form of CBD manufactured by GW Pharmaceuticals, for the treatment of rare forms of pediatric epilepsy.

The original federal distinction between hemp and marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 was intended to separate useful industrial applications of hemp from the potentially hazardous smoking or other consumption of marijuana and its constituents for recreational purposes. In the fine print of the Controlled Substances Act however, exemption of hemp from the definition of marijuana did not include the resin extracted from the mature stalks of plants which might be expected to contain concentrated cannabinoids. While the 2018 Farm Bill passed by a Republican majority US Senate and House of Representatives in order to provide relief to farmers so that they can now grow hemp for industrial applications and apply for grants and insurance to do so, it may not have been intended to provide a new pathway to extract and purify CBD from hemp plants with the intent of large-scale human consumption as a food additive, dietary supplement, or medication.

CBD products sold online run the gamut, from tinctures and creams, to gummies and pills, to coffees and teas. Most experts believe the Farm Bill makes it clear that consumers anywhere can legally buy these products if they’re made from low- or zero-THC hemp.

FDA would still have authority over hemp products used as food, says Todd Harrison, an attorney and chairman of the Venable LLP law firm’s FDA group in Washington, D.C.

”I think there is very little risk for consumers,” says Harrison, especially if it is a CBD product made from hemp. “If you are buying CBD from marijuana, there might be a risk.” But, he says, “I don’t think the states are going to take action against the consumer.”

Jonathan Miller, JD, general counsel for the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, an industry group, says, “I’ve never heard of anyone being arrested for buying CBD online.” He has heard about store owners selling CBD products being cited.

To understand the differences between hemp and marijuana it’s critical to know what each distinctly different plant is capable of doing. The Ministry of Hemp offers the most comprehensive and easily-digestible explanation of hemp versus marijuana.

To understand the differences between hemp and marijuana it’s critical to know what each distinctly different plant is capable of doing. The Ministry of Hemp offers the most comprehensive and easily-digestible explanation of hemp versus marijuana.

The 2018 Farm Bill officially reclassifies hemp for commercial uses after decades of statutes and legal enforcement conflating hemp and marijuana, the Farm Bill distinguishes between the two by removing hemp from the Controlled Substances Act. (While the two are closely related, hemp lacks the high concentration of THC that is responsible for the high from smoking marijuana.) This would effectively move regulation and enforcement of the crop from the purview of the Drug Enforcement Agency to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Works Cited:

  1. http://fortune.com/2018/12/21/hemp-federal-farm-bill/
  2. https://ministryofhemp.com/hemp/legal/
  3. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/psych-unseen/201901/now-hemp-is-legal-is-cannabidiol-cbd-legal-too
  4. https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/news/20190108/marijuana-hemp-cbd-whats-legal-and-where

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