The three key steps in understanding “CBD Law” comes down to understanding (1) what CBD is, (2) identifying which plant, “marijuana” or “hemp,” the CBD was extracted from, and (3) which government entity regulates CBD.
1. What is CBD?
Similar to amino acids acting as the “building blocks” of protein, cannabinoids are one of the “building blocks” of the cannabis plant. CBD is one of many cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant and can be extracted from the plant via manufacturing techniques and incorporated into various products.
2. Which plant was the CBD extracted from?
This is where things get confusing. CBD can be extracted from both hemp and marijuana. Hemp and marijuana are both varieties of the cannabis plant, but are legally distinguished by the level of THC (another building block/cannabinoid) they contain. “Hemp” is defined as having less than .3% THC, whereas “marijuana” has higher concentrations of THC. Marijuana is a Schedule I drug and is therefore still illegal to possess/consume/cultivate/sell/manufacture under federal law. Numerous states have nonetheless legalized marijuana under state law.
3. Who regulates CBD products?
The Farm Bill did not legalize hemp-derived CBD products, and 15 companies just learned that the hard way by receiving warning letters from the FDA. Rather, the Farm Bill expressly reserved authority to the FDA to regulate certain manufactured hemp products (including many CBD products). Marijuana-derived CBD products, on the other hand, remain illegal under federal law. They are regulated by both state and local government in states that have legalized manufactured marijuana products.
DISCLAIMER: THIS INFORMATION IS STRICTLY EDUCATIONAL AND DOES NOT CONSTITUTE LEGAL ADVICE.