The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 — otherwise known simply as the 2018 Farm Bill — has been a historical moment for the cannabis industry as the federal government relaxed restrictions on hemp and CBD at the national level. While it might be pretty cool to walk into a grocery store and find a plethora of CBD products to choose from without stepping foot into a dispensary, just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
We’ll grant that it might seem biased seeing as we’re a dispensary, but hear us out. CBD isn’t a bad thing nor is its legalization on a larger scale. However, just because something is legalized doesn’t mean it’s regulated or quality-assured as well as it should be. Such is the current state of the federal CBD market.
CBD products are only legal if they are derived from hemp which is defined as having less than 0.3% THC content. As a reminder, it’s the THC that gets you high whereas the CBD is more for medicinal benefits. At present, there’s no federal-level regulatory body that can effectively (or consistently) check every single CBD product to make sure it’s up to these standards.
For instance, some measurements for “Total THC” will only look at THC and others will include THCA (or tetrahydrocannabinolic acid). Without including THCA, a CBD product could be well above the federally allowed limits or cause an unexpected high from users who weren’t looking for it. CBD products produced at the state level in Washington as well as Oregon take this into account, defining total THC as the combined THC and THCA content (you can find out more information on industrial hemp and CBD processing for Washington and Oregon through the embedded links).
Beyond THC content, lax regulations and oversight also mean there’s no quality assurance. Where states who already have legalized cannabis industries have a variety of laws and labeling requirements in place, the federal market remains a wild west of companies getting their feet wet in the industry who might not see the value of certain, higher quality strains, caring about the types of pesticides they use, or disclosing any other additives they might toss in the mix. Legal states such as Washington already have rigorous testing and regulatory procedures from grower to processor to retailer designed to assure the quality and safety of the cannabis products you love to enjoy.
So do we agree with the federal legalization of CBD products derived from hemp? Absolutely! But in its current state, we would suggest caution when trying out CBD from outside a state-regulated dispensary. If you’ve already done your homework and are comfortable with your purchases, great. Knowledge is half the battle, after all. But if these aren’t things you’ve considered or you worry about ingesting a product that might get you high when you’re only looking for relief, visiting your neighborhood dispensary is the safer bet.
If you have any questions for us or need help choosing the CBD product right for you, we have medical consultants on staff available to assist you in person, every Monday through Friday from 9am – 5pm.