CBD and the Law

A gavel on a judge's bench represents the law

This country has a long and rather twisted history with the law, hemp and the cannabis plant in general.

You can either grow what people commonly call “marijuana” with the cannabis sativa plant, or you can grow hemp.  Marijuana is genetically selected to have higher levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound that produces a “high”. Hemp is genetically selected for its industrial utility, and more recently, for its high levels of cannabidiol (CBD).  Both have been used for centuries in a variety of natural and home remedies.  Each has been researched for efficacy for a number of ailments. Both have a history of legal turmoil in the U.S.

Background on the Law

During the founding and for many years after it was legally required that some US farmers grow hemp for industrial purposes.  Our nation’s early physicians and palliative caregivers used a variety of concoctions containing hemp in all its forms. The early pharmacopeia of our nation (and thousands of years of historical wisdom) has volumes of examples of cannabis use.  Specifically hemp has been used to treat a number of maladies.

That is, until 1937, and the passage of the Marijuana Tax Act, which made all forms of the cannabis plant, including industrial hemp, illegal. Physicians fought against this legislation with the full support of the AMA. Their attorney, Dr. William Woodward, made an excellent case. He cited to the centuries of historical use.  He also noted ongoing and safe use of the product in our country right up and to the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. However, the architects of the Tax Act were politically poised to ensure its success, and this new prohibition went on to dominate our own domestic US drug policy, as well as the international culture and law.

Modern Hemp Science

It wasn’t for an additional three decades that pioneering Israeli scientists, Yechiel Gaoni and Raphael Mechoulam, were able to buck the legal stigma. They were able to synthesize THC in their lab.  Around the same time, at Hebrew University in Jerisalem, another Israeli scientist, Rut Gallily, was able to isolate CBD.  In the research since, CBD has been recognized safe and effective for anti-anxiety and anti-inflammatory effects.  Because CBD does not produce a psychoactive effect of THC, it has been widely studied and has shown potential benefit for a number of therapeutic purposes.

The Law is Catching Up

Since February 6, 2004, and Federal Court Ruling Nos. 03-71366, 03-71693, every US citizen has been able to use CBD derived from industrial hemp.  The 2014 Farm Bill (Agriculture Act of 2014) made things even clearer by defining industrial hemp as cannabis containing less than 0.3% THC by dry weight and grown pursuant to a state guideline. Since this clarity emerged, there has been a good deal of growth in the CBD sector.  However, not every state permits the growth of industrial hemp nor the use of CBD hemp oil.

Check the laws in your state, or wherever you may be traveling with CBD hemp oil.

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