News from CRIS: In the News - Cannabidiol (CBD) Regulations

January 31, 2023

Cannabidiol (CBD) is the new rage, with oils, tonics, and tinctures popping up for sale online, in coffee shops, and at other, sometimes strange locations. It’s pitched as a miracle cure for everything from cancer to anxiety to chronic pain, and the CBD market continues to grow rapidly in the United States, in part, due to the passing of the 2018 United States farm bill, which legalized hemp plants in all forms.
However, that doesn’t mean it’s legal to consume in all states and in all forms. The laws are currently complicated and continuing to evolve. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) recent announcement on CBD regulations puts a new onus on legislators. Let’s look at CBD science and regulation to understand the FDA’s decision better.

What is cannabidiol (CBD)?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of more than 113 different chemicals present in cannabis plants that have chemical structures similar to Δ⁹- tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD in a purified form does not contain enough Δ⁹—tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to cause psychotropic effects (e.g., get high). Without THC, people using pure CBD products do not experience a “high” when consumed.

What are the sources of CBD?

Manufacturers derive CBD from either hemp or marijuana plants. However, manufacturers making and selling legal CBD products in the United States derive their CBD from Sativa hemp plants using many different processes.

What is the difference between hemp and marijuana?

Hemp and marijuana plants are both members of the cannabis family; however, they are primarily distinguished by the amount of THC they contain.
Hemp contains less than 0.3% THC meaning it does not cause humans to feel high. Unless bred otherwise, marijuana plants contain THC at levels that cause users to feel high.
People consume the vast majority of marijuana plants because they produce THC and CBD, which can occur at varying levels depending on the plant. 

In the United States, only CBD derived from hemp is federally legal and available for sale in some states. Other hybrid CBD/THC products are available in states with medicinal and/or recreational marijuana laws.

Is there truth to the health claims?

CBD health claims are an area where research opportunities abound (visit to view active CBD clinical trials). Current research is limited, but it suggests that CBD and some CBD/THC hybrid compounds may alleviate inflammation, spasticity, pain, anxiety, depression, and symptoms of epilepsy, as well as provide neuroprotection.
Research is still in its early stages concerning the ever-expanding list of benefits, but for the most part, unsubstantiated health claims.


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