There's also the question of CBD's legality – something that's a lot grayer than the black-and-white picture most companies paint. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration considers CBD, like all cannabinoids, a schedule 1 drug. That means it's just as illegal as heroin and ecstasy. Meanwhile, hemp – a variety of the cannabis plant regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture – is legal , so long as its THC content is negligibly low. But because the agriculture department doesn't test for CBD – only THC – in hemp, more companies are getting away with selling products they say contain CBD, says Sara Jane Ward, an assistant professor of pharmacology at the Temple University Lewis Katz School of Medicine who's been studying CBD in rodent models for more than 10 years. Needless to say, the legality of CBD is "very confusing and very gray," she says.
Hemp CBD is completely different from cannabis CBD. Hemp also derives from the Cannabis sativa L plant, and while it also contains THC, it contains it in volumes that are less than 0.3% by dry weight. Some governments, including the US, regulate the concentration of THC and permit a specific variety of hemp (called industrial hemp) that is bred with an especially low THC content. This is the reason why, when you type into Google “CBD oil for Sale”, you get hundreds of companies trying to sell you their products – according to most all of them, CBD oil from industrial hemp is 100% legal to sell online and ship to all 50 states.
Leonard Leinow has three decades of experience growing and studying medical cannabis and brings a unique spiritual perspective to his work. In 2009, he formed Synergy Wellness, a not-for-profit medical cannabis collective in California. Synergy Wellness has over 3,500 members in its collective and is an artisan organization making hand-crafted organic and natural whole plant-based products. They are specialists in CBD (cannabidiol), the non-psychoactive portion of cannabis, and are pioneers in this aspect of the industry. Leinow is known for his proprietary blends of tinctures and medicine used for cancer and epilepsy patients.
So far, though, there’s scant clinical evidence for the claimed benefits of CBD. In June, the Food and Drug Administration approved the first CBD drug, Epidiolex, for treating seizures associated with two rare forms of epilepsy. Otherwise, the FDA doesn’t consider CBD products to be dietary supplements—manufacturers can’t claim the products will diagnose, treat, or cure any diseases. Instead, CBD product literature contains phrases like “restore vitality,” “relax and recover,” and “may keep healthy people healthy.”
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