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what is cbd oil and is it legal

All cannabinoids, including CBD, produce effects in the body by attaching to certain receptors in the brain or immune system. The human body also produces its own cannabinoids. It seems that CBD does not attach directly to receptors. Instead, it directs the body to use more of its own cannabinoids to produce the therapeutic effects associated with CBD.

The Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research, formerly CARBC, is a member of the BC Partners for Mental Health and Addictions Information. The institute is dedicated to the study of substance use in support of community-wide efforts aimed at providing all people with access to healthier lives, whether using substances or not. For more, visit www.cisur.ca.

What is the legal status (and evidence) of CBD oil?

Because of the way cannabis and its products are metabolized, scientists believe there is a potential for interaction with other drugs, although nothing significant has yet been recorded. CBD has been found to be generally safe. Reports from patients indicate that negative drug interactions are not common. As with any other treatment, it is important to monitor your use of CBD and seek assistance if you experience any problems or have questions or concerns about its use.

There is some initial evidence that CBD may help people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease keep the ability to recognize the faces of people that they know, and thus slow progression of the illness. Again, more research is needed in this area.

Cannabidiol or CBD is a naturally occurring component of cannabis. It is extracted from the cannabis plant and often made into an oil for use. CBD is not psychoactive, and does not produce the ‘high’ of THC (tetrahyrocannabinol), the primary psychoactive component of cannabis. CBD is legal in Canada and has been used in the treatment of various medical conditions.

Cannabis is filled with chemicals. Arguably the most well known of these chemicals is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Whereas THC is largely responsible for cannabis’ “high," CBD does not result in a high. Supplement manufacturers are making CBD into many forms, including oils, tinctures, pills, and lotions. Some supposed benefits of using CBD include:

America’s relationship with cannabis is complicated. According to federal law, cannabis — including CBD — is still predominantly illegal, although there are exceptions. Even with the continuing federal prohibition of cannabis, most U.S. states have enacted their own cannabis-related laws. As such, CBD oils reside in a legal grey area.

If CBD oil comes from hemp, it is federally legal. If CBD oil comes from marijuana, it is federally illegal. State laws, however, vary widely.

Hemp vs. Marijuana

It depends. In terms of federal law, the legality of CBD oil depends largely on where the CBD came from and where it is being used, so it is important to understand some cannabis fundamentals.

Although cultures around the world have used cannabis for centuries, Americans are just now beginning to understand what cannabis and the chemical compounds in it do to the human body. Cannabidiol (CBD) oil, in particular, has become wildly popular for its alleged health benefits, but is CBD oil legal?

Both industrial hemp and marijuana are members of the cannabis family, but they are treated differently under federal law. Industrial hemp, as defined by the federal government, is cannabis that contains less than 0.3% THC by weight. Marijuana is defined as any cannabis that contains more than 0.3% THC by weight.

Every U.S. state allows for the use of cannabis in some form, but each state’s laws are different. For example, Washington state law allows residents to legally consume CBD oil for recreational purposes, whereas South Dakota state law categorizes CBD as a Schedule IV controlled substance and allows citizens to use CBD only in forms that are approved by the Food and Drug Administration, e.g., Epidiolex.

Michigan State University provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation US.

Though 15 states have now legalized recreational marijuana, it remains illegal federally in the United States. Technically, those in possession of marijuana in a legal weed state can still be punished under federal law, and traveling across state borders with cannabis is prohibited.

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Great Danes and chihuahuas are distant cousins, like marijuana and hemp. Pixy, CC BY

Both hemp and marijuana belong to the same species, Cannabis sativa, and the two plants look somewhat similar. However, substantial variation can exist within a species. After all, great Danes and chihuahuas are both dogs, but they have obvious differences.

Clinical research indicates that CBD is effective at treating epilepsy. Anecdotal evidence suggests it can help with pain and even anxiety – though scientifically the jury is still out on that.