In The Empire State, where marijuana remains illegal without a medical card, CBD is a relatively new three-letter word being tossed around among young adults as well as in the medical community. At a time when pains and stress run rampant, all New Yorkers whose doctors gave the red light when asked for green now have renewed hope that CBD could resolve the collective suffering.
Since everyone seems to avoid a run-in with the law as much as a trip to the doctor’s office, and CBD being an extract from the infamous Cannabis plant, consumers are cautious to try this new health supplement. The question on their minds inquires “is CBD Legal?”
Unfortunately, the law is very ambiguous regarding the compound which is so closely related to the psychedelic drug derived from Cannabis. With some well-navigated research, however, the answer reveals itself to be a conditional “yes.”
The Cannabis Plant
Cannabis is a genus of plants, encompassing different species. Native to Asia, these plants nowadays are cultivated throughout the world. When its flowers and leaves are dried, we commonly refer to it as marijuana. In many parts around the world, it has become illegal to grow and/or use due to its high levels of the psychoactive compound THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol). This same compound makes marijuana so popular as it produces the “high” many individuals seek.
Yet not every Cannabis sativa plant is high in THC. When grown for industrial purposes, the plant is intentionally cultivated to contain low levels of THC. This variety of the plant cannot cause a stoned effect in the brain due to an insufficient amount of the psychotropic element. Such “industrial hemp” is generally considered independent of marijuana and is legally grown in many parts of Europe and the U.S. Coincidentally, industrial hemp also contains a high amount of CBD. Many CBD products are made from this legally grown, non-psychoactive crop.
Cannabis as Medicine
All over the world, consumers and researchers have recognized the medicinal powers of the Cannabis plant. It has been heralded as a one-stop shop to allay nausea as well as diminish rheumatism and all types of physical aches and pains. Modern western medicine has confirmed these beliefs with numerous studies, clinical trials and countless lucrative infirmaries proving that Cannabis provides patients with relief from a myriad of medical conditions.
Cannabis and Cannabinoids
Apparently, there is something within that renowned plant which is capable of many miracles. Cannabis, in fact, contains hundreds of compounds, including more than 85 cannabinoids. One of those compounds, THC, is responsible for all the hoopla and celebrity surrounding the plant. It is also the cause of the infamous “high” experienced by its users. There is a second constituent trailing right behind in popularity. CBD is the other predominant cannabinoid found within Cannabis; actually, in the industrially grown variety of the hemp plant, CBD is the potent winner, easily beating the 0.3% lightweight contender, THC.
CBD: The One-Stop Shop
It turns out that, all along, CBD has been a main contributor in giving marijuana its good name. Study after study credits CBD as Cannabis’ medical wonder. Research has shown that the compound binds to critical receptors within the human body, restoring balance and changing the course of disease.
Aside from improving medical conditions, CBD also provides relief from more minor conditions caused by everyday stressors. According to consumer reviews, the supplement is purchased in an effort to allay minor bodily aches and inflammation, calm restless legs, reduce anxiety, and restore an overall sense of well-being.
CBD; Law and Order
In general, nobody wishes to do away with a medical condition by acquiring a legal problem; so it is important to follow the law when choosing pharmaceuticals. Due to CBD’s rather recent appearance in the health supplement aisle, it can be difficult to determine where CBD stands within the law.
The consensus differentiates between Cannabis with potent amounts of THC and “industrial hemp” which contains at most trace amounts of the psychotropic compound. Many nations around the globe accept “industrial hemp” as non-psychoactive and legal.
Internationally, legislation such as the U.S. Agricultural Act of 2014 has designated many areas worldwide for legal cultivation of industrial hemp. This variety of the plant is also ideal for extraction of CBD, which is its principal cannabinoid.
Many authority figures are trying to control the manufacture and consumption of the beneficial compound, possibly for self-serving reasons. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), for example, has tried to regulate the production of industrial hemp and to categorize CBD as a Schedule 1 Drug.
In 2004, in the case of Hemp Indus. Ass’n v. DEA, 357 F.3d 1012, the Ninth Circuit Court ordered that the DEA is permanently barred from regulating hemp’s sterilized seeds, mature stalk, fiber, and oil as a Schedule 1 Drug because these parts of the plant are not included in the law’s definition of marijuana (21 U.S.C. § 802(16)).
And the Final Answer Is…
Yes, CBD is legal in New York and throughout the U.S. as long as it is properly sourced from the correct parts of industrial hemp grown in legally designated areas.
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