In 2018, the updated Farm Bill ensured that the cultivation of Cannabis sativa L. plants containing less than 0.3% THC became federally legal. Following this, hemp was removed from the Controlled Substances Act, and the market exploded in an unprecedented fashion.
Unlike THC, it does not produce a high and is considered to be safe and well-tolerated. And thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, it has become readily available both online and in physical stores.
What Is CBD Oil? Is It Actually Legal?
However, while CBD companies and consumers are celebrating the new law, there is just one small catch. The Farm Bill also preserved the rights of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate all cannabis-based products under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. So, while many companies state that their CBD is legal in all 50 states, this is not necessarily the case.
In this article, we explore the confusing laws surrounding cannabis-based medicine and whether you need a prescription for CBD oil. Read on to find out more.
It is not necessary to obtain a prescription or a recommendation from a doctor for hemp-derived CBD that contains less than 0.3% THC. However, in some states, patients can use CBD oil that contains more than 0.3% THC if they have a medical marijuana card or exception.
“There is a risk that patient conditions that are associated with CBD use (e.g. anxiety, psychosis, chronic non-cancer pain, and epilepsy) will go unchecked and cause further harm to the patient,” the AMA told Hack.
“That data, given the industry is so young, isn’t easy to come by.”
“I think one of the other motivations of the TGA is to make it easier for people to access these products where they might otherwise be using illicit channels,” she told Hack.
Medical Association “surprised” by down-scheduling
“Medical practitioners have only been prescribing CBD products for a few years, the evidence is still emerging, more education around its use is required,” the AMA said.
Firstly, these products won’t get you high. This is only low-dose CBD oil we’re talking about and products won’t be allowed to have more than 1 per cent THC (which is the psychoactive part of the plant).
According to Cassandra Hunt from Fresh Leaf Analytics, the TGA could also be trying to move CBD users away from the black market.
The decision from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) changes low-dose CBD oil from a schedule four drug, which doctors have to prescribe, to a schedule three drug, which chemists can hand out over-the-counter without a prescription.
“History suggests that the first movers among product companies will be the winners, with the first movers in the medicinal cannabis industry in Australia still dominating the industry today,” said Cassandra Hunt, managing Director of FreshLeaf.
He said it would take “at least two million dollars and the appropriate data before (a product) can be registered for use for distribution by a pharmacist.”
Compared with other medicines, the response of each individual to CBD varies enormously among individuals, Mr Sclavos said. That meant that pharmacists will have a “bigger say” in adjusting the dose.
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Contrary to stereotypes, the vast number of CBD users were middle-aged women who took the medicine for pain relief, such as inflammatory arthritis, he said.
A worker on the first farm licenced in NSW to produce medicinal cannabis prunes a plant. Credit: Janie Barrett
He had seen first-hand the “incredible improvement in the quality of life” that medical cannabis could deliver to a range of patients including epileptics.
FreshLeaf Analytics, specialists in the Australian medicinal cannabis industry, said the first company to get its product on chemists’ shelves will have a significant advantage in a market estimated to exceed $200 million a year.