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Cannabidiol Clarity: Seeking Consensus on CBD Legality

Cannabidiol,
or CBD, is all the buzz right now—and for good reason. Modern studies have
shown that CBD, the second major cannabinoid found in cannabis after THC, can
be used to treat anxiety, epi

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C

annabidiol,
or CBD, is all the buzz right now—and for good reason. Modern studies have
shown that CBD, the second major cannabinoid found in cannabis after THC, can
be used to treat anxiety, epilepsy, psychosis, diabetes, various neurodegenerative
and inflammatory disorders and cancer. And this only seems to scratch the
surface of the boundless list of medicinal attributes that CBD has to offer.

Unlike
THC, however, CBD can’t get you “stoned” because it doesn’t have psychoactive,
mind-altering affects. While this makes CBD a less popular choice for
recreational users, it gives the compound a significant advantage in the
medical field because it confers the same medical benefits as THC, but without
the “high” that some patients do not desire. This is the reason why CBD—which
is primarily taken in liquid oil form—has so quickly become the rock star of
the medical cannabis industry today.

This Big Question:
Is CBD Legal?

The
truth is no one can answer this question with certainty. Under the
Compassionate Use Act of 1996, the medicinal use of cannabis, and thus CBD, is
legal here in California. No matter how you slice it though, CBD is still
considered illegal at the federal level—even though it won’t get you high. This
is because cannabis remains classified as a Schedule I substance under the
federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA), where Schedule I substances are
considered to have a high potential for dependency and no accepted medical use. Given the many recent studies confirming
CBD’s medical efficacy and potential, there’s no doubt that CBD needs to be
rescheduled. In fact, growing public opinion indicates that cannabis should be
rescheduled altogether. Some manufacturers have tried to circumvent CBD’s legal
status (and the confusion surrounding it) by offering what they claim to be “safe”
CBD oil products legally derived from industrial hemp, not cannabis. Eight
states in the U.S.—including California—have legalized the growth and marketing
of industrial hemp.

Buyers Beware

According
to a recent report by Project CBD, a non-profit activist think-tank dedicated
to the promotion of CBD as a medical utility, these claims by manufacturers are
“sketchy” at best. Industrial hemp is not grown for medical use and is a
suspect source of CBD. “[T]hose who say they’re extracting CBD only from the
stalk of industrial hemp are almost certainly being disingenuous. Project CBD
reports of consumers have become seriously ill as a result of contaminated hemp
oil products, a risk that apparently runs high in industrial hemp production. Last
month, the FDA sent threatening letters to several companies that market CBD
“hemp oil” products. In the warning letters, the FDA did not squarely address
CBD’s legal status, it simply reiterated its view that the companies were
promoting the products for conditions that caused them to be unapproved new
drugs in violation of the FDCA.

The Bottom Line

Selling
and shipping CBD legally is still a quagmire. While the sale and transportation
of hemp-based CBD may arguably be legal, it remains a “gray area” of the law, and
the quality and integrity of those products are questionable. While it is
ultimately up to patients to educate themselves about their condition and find
out which type of CBD is best for them, it appears that cannabis-based CBD is
the best and safest bet. Though the medical use of cannabis-based CBD is legal
under state law, it is still technically illegal under federal law, so patients
and suppliers alike should proceed with caution as much of the legal confusion
surrounding CBD may not be cleared until cannabis is fully de-scheduled under
the CSA. Here’s to hoping that this happens sooner rather than later with the
new cannabis reform bill pending before the Senate.

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Dispensary Highlight

Top Shelf | Washington

 

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Name:
Top Shelf
Medicinal

Address:
13724 Canyon Rd.
E., Puyallup, 98373

Website:
topshelfmedicine.com

Phone: (541) 389-1043

Interviewed:
Top Shelf
Owners, Management and Staff

What’s
the story behind the name of your access point?
The whole thing behind the name
is we just wanted to have a place that lives up to its name and reputation of “Top
Shelf.” With my conditions, I have to consume clean medicine. It has to be
grown properly, flushed properly . . . the whole nine yards. If it isn’t, I can
have extreme allergic reactions to the nutrients and/or pesticides still left
in the flower. It’s just one of those things where I wanted to provide
consistent, quality, proper flowers for both myself and our patients.

Whatdoes your access point offer patients that they can’t find anywhere else?

Here at Top Shelf, we provide a down home, easy feel to the place. Our patient interactions are never
rushed, and all of our patients comment on how comfortable and relaxed they
feel at our shop. We even have male patients that come in and say “Ok, I’m
going to bring my girlfriend/spouse here now, I always go in and check out
these places first to make sure it’s safe. She’ll like this place, I’m bringing
her in.” We hope to offer educational classes/seminars for those who want to
learn more about cultivation, cooking with cannabis and more.

Howhas the cannabis industry changed since you’ve been here? Where would you like
to see it go?
I
would like to see us do more of something like Colorado where if you want to be
on the medical side you have to produce your own product. This would eliminate
a lot of the middle men out there, if you want to do this—and you need to know
what you’re doing (e.g. cultivation of cannabis). We would like to see mandatory
testing of all medicinal products on shelves, which is something we feel will
be mandatory soon anyway. We encourage all vendors to have their products
tested if they are going to be consumed by patients. We would also like to see
a fair market price on medical cannabis, and not see medical cannabis taxed out
of affordability for low income patients that need clean, safe and effective
medicine.

Whatis the most important thing you hope to accomplish in the industry?

Helping people; hoping
to make a positive impact in the lives of the patients that come to our access
point. Also trying to get patients off a lot of these pharmaceuticals that are
so toxic and damaging to our bodies with long term use. Creating natural
remedies daily, offering a safe, alternative pathway to healing for our patients.

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Dispensary Highlight

Sweet Leaf Illusions | Oregon

 

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Collective Name: Sweet Leaf Illusions

Address: 8434 SE 82nd Ave., Portland, 97266

Website: facebook.com/sweetleafillusionspdx

What’s the story behind the name of your dispensary?

We were
trying to figure out a name that no one else had. We didn’t want to do the same
thing that every other company has done. And so we came up with Sweet Leaf
Illusions, me and Ian, one of our employee budtenders here. And the next thing
we know, after we got our license, four days later, there were a whole bunch of
Sweet Leaf companies. I guess they liked the name too.

How has the cannabis industry changed since you
have been in the business? Where would you like to see it go?
I think the testing
companies should be held liable for their testing results. As it is now, if a
patient gets sick on a product that had been tested but still had contaminants,
it is the dispensary that is liable.

 

What are the biggest challenges you face in this
industry as a dispensary? . . . Biggest joys?

Trusting the testing companies results that are coming out. They are saying that the
product is clean when you know that they haven’t tested for, probably, about 15
other pesticides. I want them to be in compliance, like dispensaries have to be
with the state. And have the state going after them to see that they are doing
their job, so they keep putting it all on the dispensary owner to verify that
the products are clean. Our biggest joy is really just helping the sick people
that come in. I can’t leave the patients I’ve gotten to know.

 

What is the one thing you want patients to know
about your dispensary?
I pretty much quiz all of our vendors to verify that their product is
clean. I only take the few vendors that test and I try to ensure that they are
the cleanest products you can get.

What is the most important thing you hope to
accomplish while in the MJ/MMJ community?

The state
needs to start doing inspections of the testing companies. They should spray
flowers with poisons and send them through (like a control test), to at least
verify that they are in compliance with the state law that the state put in,
that they are supposed to test for all pesticides. They need to find out that
they are not testing for pesticides that we all know have been around for
years.

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Tokyo OG

Available at Point Loma Patients Consumer Cooperative in Point Loma.The Tokyo OG from PLPCC is a real stand out due to its darker green coloring and dark red hairs. The nose is slightly earthy, a

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Available at Point Loma Patients Consumer Cooperative in Point Loma.

The Tokyo OG from PLPCC is a real stand out due to its darker green coloring and dark red hairs. The nose is slightly earthy, and very skunky and oily. Its flavor is really earthy and pungent, not at all sweet. Just a few hits provide an instant head change. The effects are not only cerebral though. The body effect provides complete, long lasting relaxation. Tokyo OG is ideal for muscle pain, sleep and appetite stimulation.

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