The battle over the legalities of cannabidiol (CBD) oil has been going on for years. The fight has been tough, and the casualties brutal. Some say the general public should be allowed to utilize CBD oil, and others say it should only be entrusted to big pharmacies. In the midst of it all, the question regarding the exact origin of CBD oil and its relation to marijuana seems to puzzle even the best of us. Recently the federal court ruled against CBD, making a clear statement that, to no surprise, the U.S. government seems to be in favor of big pharma.
The Federal Court Ruled Against CBD Extract
In August 2018 the hemp industry lost an important appeal that is negatively impacting the availability of CBD oil today. The federal court ruled against CBD and sided with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in their decision to categorize CBD as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act. In other words, the federal court believes CBD oil has no medicinal value, is not considered safe for general consumption, and should be under the same legal limitations as marijuana and heroin. (6)
CBD’s Legal History With the Federal Court
This isn’t the first time CBD has had a run-in with the federal court. It all started in 2016 when the DEA came out with a new definition of “marijuana extract”. Essentially, the DEA stated that an extract derived from the Cannabis plant should be considered marijuana. As marijuana was already illegal on a federal level, this automatically targeted CBD as an illegal substance. (2)
Centuria Natural Foods and the Hemp Industries Association challenged the court ruling with the clarification that CBD oil is often derived from hemp rather than marijuana, an important distinction. However, the federal court ruled against CBD and stuck to their previous decision, forcing CBD activists to continue in the fight. (1)
Is CBD A Schedule I Drug?
Because the federal court ruled against CBD extract, CBD is now classified as a Schedule I drug. The DEA defines Schedule I drugs as substances that “have no currently accepted medical use in the United States, a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision, and a high potential for abuse.” Keep in mind that both methamphetamine and cocaine are ranked as Schedule II drugs, meaning they are considered less dangerous. (3)
Is CBD Hemp Or Marijuana?
The big question that always arises when discussing CBD oil is whether or not it is derived from hemp or marijuana. While hemp and marijuana are both species within the Cannabis family, they are not the same plant. This distinction is essential due to the fact that marijuana contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a psychoactive component that gives consumers a ‘high,’ while CBD extracted from hemp does not. (4, 5)
These discrepancies become especially important when considering that the federal court ruled against CBD based on the fact that CBD extract was categorized as equal to marijuana extract. Are the two related? Certainly. But there are legitimate differences between them, which is something those in authority seem to overlook.
The Future Of CBD
Due to this federal court ruling against CBD, for the time being, CBD is only legal when protected under state law. Hopefully, as hemp industries and CBD activists continue in the battle, CBD will someday become more easily available to those in need.