Medical vs. Recreational Cannabis

Key Takeaways

  • The distinction between the two markets causes more harm than good for the cannabis industry and community
  • Monetary incentive poses a threat to the quality, price, and customer service within the recreational market 
  • Recreational cannabis use goes beyond “getting high”

While safe, legal access to cannabis for Americans is becoming more prevalent. It’s unfortunate that its implementation has been divided into two very distinct categories: medical and recreational cannabis. These designations are used to legally define the reason for use of cannabis. Unfortunately, the words have more than just their bureaucratic meaning to most of the cannabis industry. To better explain this distinction, we will yield to the grandfather of legal cannabis, Steve DeAngelo:

“Since the passage of legalization in Colorado and Washington, the term ‘recreational use’ has become the catchall phrase to describe all consumption of cannabis that is not ‘medical.’ Lacking any commonly accepted definition, ‘recreational use’ has in effect become a code word to describe ‘just getting high’—or intoxication. This is unfortunate, because the phrase just obscures more than it illuminates, and it perpetuates misconceptions about cannabis that have kept it illegal for decades.”

This understanding of recreational cannabis use is problematic because it assumes that people can only use cannabis for one of two reasons – as a medicine for chronic illness or as an intoxicant. When in fact, cannabis provides a myriad of unique benefits that are mistakenly characterized as “getting high.” Steve goes on to explain:

“These [benefits] include [the] ability to extend patience and promote self-examination; to awaken a sense of wonder and playfulness, and openness to spiritual experience; to enhance the flavor of meal, the sound of music, or the sensitivity of a lover’s touch; to open the mind and inspire creativity; to bring poetry to language and spontaneity to a performer; to catalyze laughter, facilitate friendship, and bridge human differences.”

Generally, medical and recreational use specifications do not describe the above benefits—and these truly are the reasons most people use cannabis. Defining cannabis use as purely “recreational” furthers the negative stigma surrounding its consumption and undermines the tangible benefits provided by the plant. However, beyond the semantics of the two options, there are a few things you should know about the differences between medical and recreational.

Can I Buy CBD Online? Is It Legal to Mail CBD to My House?

The possession and consumption of CBD is legal but it depends on where it comes from. This is where the difference between hemp and cannabis comes in–the distinction is nothing more than a legal one.

CANNABIS NEWS: THIS WEEK IN CANNABIS APRIL 2020 WEEK 2

In ‘This Week in Cannabis’ we want to help you uncover leading cannabis news, industry insights, scientific discoveries and more. Our hope is to help educate the greater public on the many uphill battles we still need to achieve prior to legalization. There are still a lot of laws, regulations and problems that cannabis companies and consumers are faced with.

This Week in Cannabis: April 5th-April 11th 2020

All of us are finding ourselves placed within a new normal these days—and the cannabis industry is no exception. Though it’s tough to say what the future will hold, this week in cannabis has seen many businesses doing their best to weather the storm…

CBD vs Cytokine Storms

You probably already know that CBD and other cannabinoids work via their impact on the endocannabinoid system. But did you know that the system CBD works with also controls aspects of immune function? 

It’s true! And the implications are bright. Project CBD speculates about “fragmentary evidence” pointing to “possible use of CBD in viral infections.” And while CBD has never been tested against the type of cytokine storm that COVID-19 causes, it’s already shown immunosuppressive qualities in other cases

As a statement from the International Association of Cannabinoid Medicines pointed out, CBD isn’t proven to help with COVID-19, by any stretch of the imagination…but it’s also unlikely to hurt. 

How Will Dispensaries Deal With Social Distancing?

First, some good news: Medical cannabis dispensaries have been classified as an essential business in many areas. Now, the bad: Said dispensaries are struggling with the challenging task of keeping employees safe. A company called New England Treatment Access has been among the most criticized after two of their employees tested positive for the coronavirus.

“We’ve been telling management for weeks that they have to do something about it,” one dispensary cultivator told The Boston Globe. “We’re all piled on top of each other here. They’re more worried about money than the health of their employees and patients.”

Other workers at NETA agree. “We see enough people that we could be a vector for this [virus] to spread exponentially,” explains Barbara Carrapichano, a patient advisor. Clearly now is the time to put patients—not profits—first.

Cannabis Sales Slowing Down

After peaking a few weeks ago, cannabis sales across the U.S. have started to decline. That’s the case for states like Colorado, at least, where tourism and cannabis traditionally go hand in hand. “The entire tourism industry shut down,” Lightshade’s Lisa Gee explained to MJ Biz Daily. “The ski areas officially closed three weeks ago. This would have been spring break, so you’re removing an entire sector [of canna-sales].”

Coloradans may also be spending less on cannabis by necessity. “A lot of our customers probably got laid off or they’re worried about their paychecks—or they’re just not spending money right now when their rent is due or their mortgages are due,” Gee said.

Military Grade Hemp

Hemp is good for more than just CBD. So much more that the U.S. military is researching using hemp fiber (instead of conventional polymers) in military vehicles! “The military wants to use [hemp] for seat belts, seat covers or uniforms because officials believe hemp fiber material can be safer and more durable,” according to Hemp Industry Daily’s notes on a U.S. Department of Defense meeting in early February. 

If things go according to plan, who knows? The plant might just make a resurgence to its WWII-era “Hemp for Victory” days. 

The CBD Delivery of the Future

A CBD store in Austin, Texas, is making every effort to get CBD into the hands of its customers. 

And by every effort…we mean using drones to make deliveries. John Elmore, the owner of Green Cross CBD, has rigged at least one drone with a contraption allowing it to carry up to two pounds of CBD products. 

Here’s his reasoning: “People that use [CBD] for medicine, they’re already going to have an immunocompromised system, so we make sure that all of those necessary precautions are taken, whether it be for them or just anyone. Because you never know who’s coming in contact with whom, so that’s why we’re just extra careful about how we deliver and just the whole process…”

To Sum Things Up…

The coronavirus pandemic is wreaking havoc all over the world, in all industries, including cannabis. Early studies show CBD may help prevent the cytokine storm that is accompanying COVID-19 symptoms for some people, dispensaries are doing their best to keep employees safe while still serving customers, even one CBD store in Texas is starting to deliver orders by drone! And the military is catching on to the benefits of hemp. CBD sales may be slowing down, but things are still looking up for the cannabis industry as a whole.

CANNABIS NEWS: THIS WEEK IN CANNABIS APRIL 2020 WEEK 1

In ‘This Week in Cannabis’ we want to help you uncover leading cannabis news, industry insights, scientific discoveries and more. Our hope is to help educate the greater public on the many uphill battles we still need to achieve prior to legalization. There are still a lot of laws, regulations and problems that cannabis companies and consumers are faced with.

This Week in Cannabis: March 29th-April 4th 2020

This week has been a painful awakening for some. Investors across the US realized that America’s economy might not be as impervious to disease as they’d hoped. Schools learned that actually getting together to learn isn’t essential. And we’ve all had to figure out how to stay productive and sane, even when barred from our favorite festivities. It’s been a wild ride.

But there are good things to learn from the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak as well. Despite some ups and downs, the cannabis industry has actually faired pretty well! Some analysts say it’s nearly recession-proof. It turns out that people really do need their cannabis for physical and mental health…here are the details from this week.

Cannabis Co.’s Now Producing Premium…Hand Sanitizer?

Some cannabis companies made quite the pivot this week. California-based CannaCraft is one of them — part of their manufacturing facility has been retrofitted to make hand sanitizer. 

“When we started hearing reports of a shortage in hand sanitizer, we knew that we could be of assistance without negatively impacting our employees or our operations,” CEO Jim Hourigan said. The company plans on making 40 gallons (enough for 5,000 1 oz. tubes!) of sanitizer and donating it to non-profits, customers, and employees. 

Other cannabis companies, like Canada’s Organigram, aren’t actually making hand sanitizer but have been refreshingly generous with the raw materials (i.e, ethanol) they have on hand. We’re all in this together, after all. 

Most States View Cannabis as Essential

It’s amazing how far cannabis legalization has come in the past few years. Just think: Most of us can remember a time when cannabis was totally illegal.  Fast forward to today and all of a sudden the cannabis industry is being deemed essential by many states in lockdown. 

The entire West Coast, for example, has allowed home deliveries of cannabis to continue unabated. States like Hawaii have made provisions for cannabis cultivation to continue. Even traditionally conservative states are allowing medical cannabis programs to march on. 

As Forbes  rightly points out, it’s a new era. The article states, “cannabis providers in many states are held up as vital members of the community […] providing a valuable service on par with picking up prescription drugs at a pharmacy or filling up your car at a gas station.” 

Talk about a huge leap forward! So here’s to destressing with a home-delivered joint or two. Who knows, it might just make this crisis a little more bearable.  

Recreational Cannabis Delayed in Maine

In Maine, it’s legal to use cannabis recreationally. But there’s a catch: There are no recreational dispensaries in which to buy it! Just like the good old days, you have to know someone…or know someone who knows someone…or get an expensive medical card. 

That’s left Maine residents in quite a quandary, and the state’s only hope at resolving it keeps on getting delayed. The opening of Maine’s first recreational dispensaries was already pushed back to June, but now the Maine Office of Marijuana Policy is saying even that’s too early. 

“Several communities preparing for local authorization and to opt-in for adult use – most notably those that serve as hosts to our prospective marijuana testing facilities – may have to postpone those actions due to the effects of COVID-19 on their communities,” the OMP stated. 

Hemp Farmers Pushing Forward

For the most part, hemp farmers had been playing it safe and waiting to order seeds for this year’s growing season. But now, thanks in large part to shelter-in-place restrictions, the rush to order seeds and seedlings is on

“We have had more farmers calling and looking to nail down a plan and ensure that they have plants,” reported Cultivaris Hemp, a leading California supplier of young plants. Hemp “nurseries” on the East Coast are echoing that statement. “From our perspective, stock production is in full swing,” Hemp Mine co-owner Travis Higginbotham told Hemp Industry Daily

We can only hope that America’s demand for hemp (and hemp derivatives like CBD!) keeps pace with its farmers’ motivation. In light of how important CBD can be to health, wellness, and immunity, maybe it will. Feel free to check out this enlightening article for more specific info about that…and stay healthy, everyone!

To Sum Up This Week in Cannabis News:

The COVID-19 pandemic is wreaking havoc on many industries, but cannabis continues to thrive. Some cannabis companies are helping to produce hand sanitizer, and while most states with recreational dispensaries deem the green ‘essential’ during this global crisis, Maine continues to drag its heals on opening its first legal establishments. Farmers are feeling the pressure of this pandemic as well, stocking up on seeds and seedlings as fast as they can. While a lot still remains uncertain, cannabis will seemingly always be there for you when you need it!

Legal Cannabis in New York: 4 Things You Need to Know

Interested in partaking in some legal cannabis in New York? 

If so…you might have to wait a few months. That’s because the legal status of cannabis in New York has become surprisingly complex and political. 

But we’re here to help! In this article, we’ll be walking you through four important elements of New York’s sometimes confusing cannabis laws.

1. New York & cannabis have a pretty tenuous history

Flashback to 1970’s New York, and cannabis was really illegal — those caught with any significant quantity faced a lifetime in jail! 

Things have improved since then, though there’s still a ways to go. New York City (NYC) police have been criticized as recently as 2016 for liberal cannabis-related arrests. 

On the plus side, medical cannabis has been legal in New York ever since a 2014 debate described as “lengthy” and “emotional” led Governor Andrew Cuomo to sign things into law. Just like so many other states, New York’s progress towards legal cannabis has been pushed along by parents (and advocates!) of epileptic children whose quality of life depends on the plant.

NuggMD makes it simple to get your medical marijuana card in New York.

2. Cannabis is decriminalized…

A bill allowing full-fledged legal cannabis in New York failed to win approval last year, which has left the state in a sort of decriminalized gray zone. Many detractors of that bill claimed it favored large companies at the expense of small ones — corporatocracy at its finest.

Instead, explains cannabis industry insider Kaelan Castetter to New York Upstate, New York should encourage equality among everyone involved in legal cannabis “so we create 1,000 millionaires, not one billionaire.”

But that hasn’t happened yet either. For now, most cannabis violations are punishable only by fine; they’re no longer considered true criminal activity. 

3. …But CBD edibles are illegal. 

While hemp extracts themselves are legal per 2018’s federal farm bill, New York’s Department of Agriculture & Markets has taken the unusual step of siding with the FDA and prohibiting CBD-infused foods. 

Easier said than done. CBD-infused foods and drinks continue to be sold in New York, mostly because most sellers haven’t been contacted by any authorities yet! 

Still, the state Department’s verdict is clear. “No food or beverage product may be made or sold in New York State if it contains CBD as a food, a food additive or an ingredient,” a letter from deputy commissioner Jennifer Trodden states. 

Strange, right? NY-based businesses and their customers are hoping for more clarification in the near future. 

4. Fully legal cannabis could be on the horizon. 

New York governor Andrew Cuomo has a full travel itinerary planned in the months ahead. Why? Call it field research—Cuomo wants to make sure his state’s recreational cannabis legislation starts off on the right foot by visiting several already-legal states first. 

“I think there is a lot to learn here,” he told NY Daily News. “Let’s do it better than anyone else has done by actually learning. It’s not a phone call, it’s very complicated and there’s a lot of different dimensions to it.”

According to official reports, Cuomo has said he won’t be sampling the local cannabis of any areas he visits. Decide for yourself if that statement is accurate—either way, we like his approach.  

 

It’s been a story of two steps forward, one step back for New York’s cannabis scene. One can only hope all the uncertainty gives way to a forward-thinking, intuitive recreational cannabis bill! We’ll keep you posted.  

Legal Cannabis in Nevada: 5 Things You Need to Know

Are you wondering about legal cannabis in Nevada?

Here’s some good news: The state is pretty much experiencing a golden age in cannabis law reform. Both recreational and medical cannabis are legal in Nevada — and dispensaries in both realms are booming.  

But that’s not all. Here are five important things you need to know about the legality of cannabis in Nevada.

1. Nevada is medical marijuana friendly

Medical cannabis has been legal in Nevada since 2001. Qualifying conditions include:

  • AIDS
  • Cachexia
  • Cancer
  • Glaucoma
  • PTSD
  • Muscle spasms/seizures
  • Severe nausea or pain
  • Other conditions

Also in 2001, state lawmakers took a step to de-felonize the plant. Full-blown decriminalization would still be a few years off…but it’s definitely here now. 

2. What happens in Vegas doesn’t stay there anymore…

Don’t panic — we’re talking about recreational cannabis here, not more serious vices.  Let us explain. 

Recreational marijuana has been legal in Nevada since 2017, but the journey from new law to real-life happened kind of inconsistently. Certain areas of the state ended up welcoming recreational cannabis before others. 

One of the earliest adopters? The city of Las Vegas. Fast forward to today and Vegas has dozens of dispensaries, many of them concentrated around the Strip and open until 3 AM. You can even get cannabis delivered to you — as long as you’re carrying some cash and not staying at a hotel. 

3. The state has tons of dispensaries

Over 60 of them, in fact, and they’re popular enough to have generated over 100 million in tax dollars just last year. According to Fox 13 News, “cannabis sales were also up from $529 million in fiscal year 2018 to approximately $639 million in fiscal year 2019, an increase of $110 million.”

Best of all, anyone over the age of 21 can legally buy cannabis at Nevada dispensaries. Just bring your driver’s license or ID! Also keep in mind that you technically can’t buy more than two-and-a-half ounces of bud within a two week period. Apparently someone’s keeping track.

4. Get a medical card if you want the super strong stuff 

Despite the fact that legal recreational cannabis is available to everyone, there are still some perks to being a card-carrying medical cannabis patient. Medical dispensaries typically offer bulk deals and don’t charge the 10-percent sales tax that recreational dispensaries do. 

An even, well, stronger perk? In Nevada, a medical cannabis card grants one access to unusually strong products — like 300, 500, or even 1,000-milligram edibles.  

One more positive aspect: Cardholders who live 25 or more miles from the nearest dispensary can even grow their own medicine.

5. Some employers can’t test for cannabis

Yes, really. The law responsible went into effect January 1st, 2020…and it made Nevada the very first state to prohibit pre-employment drug tests for cannabis. 

“That really opens up their job pool and allows for that much more normalization in this state, and you’re going to see many other states, too, following through with very similar legislation,” cannabis consultant Jason Sturtsman told Channel 3 News.

This law is still being fully worked out; for example, employers can still test their current employees, and those in certain fields (firefighters, EMTs, etc) aren’t exempt. But it still marks a step in the right direction. If cannabis is legal, then obviously even those with important careers should be free to partake. 

*For more info on the ins and outs of drug testing, just click here

 

Overall, Nevada is doing cannabis right. They’ve come a long way since 2017’s initial recreational legalization. And we’re hopeful that the state’s laws will continue to progress well into the future.

Legal Cannabis in California: 5 Things You Need to Know

Here’s the good news: There is legal cannabis in California

And true to the state’s character, California’s cannabis laws are pretty progressive.  But you might still have questions…and there are still some nuances you should definitely keep in mind.

In this article we’ll be taking a much closer look at legal cannabis in California. Here are five important elements of California’s cannabis laws.

1. California and cannabis go way back

California was one of the first states to adopt a medical cannabis program, which it did in 1996! Patients were recommended medical cannabis by licensed physicians per a law called proposition 215 / California Compassionate Use Act.  

And even back then, the requirements for medical cannabis were pretty easy to meet! According to NORML, anyone with “cancer, anorexia, AIDS, chronic pain, spasticity, glaucoma, arthritis, migraine, or any other illness for which marijuana provides relief” could get access to medical marijuana.

2. Recreational cannabis is legal, too! 

Recreational weed doesn’t go back quite as far, but it’s still been fully legal since 2017. Any Californian adult over 21 can possess up to an ounce of cannabis flower or eight grams of cannabis concentrate [California Legislature].

In fact, adults can even legally sell their (fairly limited) cannabis stash. They also have the option of growing up to six cannabis plants for personal use. Cheers to free enterprise! 

3. Dispensaries are the way to go 

Only licensed dispensaries can sell retail-ready cannabis products…and thankfully there are lots of them to choose from! Dispensaries are also prohibited from using volatile solvents (think butane) in the production processes unless they have special licensing. 

California cannabis products must also be precisely tested and labeled. As is often the case, legalizing a substance tends to make it safer. 

4. Can you smoke in public?

With all this freedom, you might be wondering if a public toke or two is allowed. It’s not — at least not yet. Technically, even things like vaporizing and consuming edibles in public are illegal! Thankfully, some local governments make an exception.  

On the bright side, penalties for these types of infractions (which also include possessing cannabis on school or daycare properties, and having an ‘open container’ of cannabis in your car) are pretty light. 

5. Black market cannabis is still holding on

Despite all of California’s legal progress, black market cannabis still accounts for up to 80 percent of the state’s market. Why? Largely because overzealous regulations and high tax rates have made retail cannabis very expensive. And customers who are used to paying $100 an ounce (before law changes) have proven unwilling to pay $250 an ounce now. 

On the bright side, change may be coming. California lawmakers are taking a proactive approach in hopes of getting their state’s cannabis scene unstuck. We’ll keep you posted if and when things improve!

 

So, there you have it. Cannabis of all sorts is legal in California — just don’t do any DIY butane extractions or flaunt your love for flower in public.  We hope this short guide helped you learn more about what to expect from California’s legal cannabis scene.

CANNABIS NEWS: THIS WEEK IN CANNABIS MARCH 2020 WEEK 4

In ‘This Week in Cannabis’ we want to help you uncover leading cannabis news, industry insights, scientific discoveries and more. Our hope is to help educate the greater public on the many uphill battles we still need to achieve prior to legalization. There are still a lot of laws, regulations and problems that cannabis companies and consumers are faced with.

This Week in Cannabis: March 22nd-31st 2020

The cannabis world continues to find itself in a state of flux this week. But could COVID-19 actually be speeding certain aspects of the industry’s development? It kind of seems like it. Here are the details. 

CBD’s Still Safe — Don’t Worry

CBD is impressively safe. It doesn’t have severe side effects, even at high doses, and it’s virtually impossible to overdose on because cannabinoid receptors aren’t found in the brain stem. 

So when a report came out that CBD gave one woman something called Stevens-Johnson syndrome, we knew there was something more to it. Turns out this woman was on a cocktail of three pharmaceuticals — famotidine, lisinopril-hydrochlorothiazide, and meloxicam — that were unexpectedly amplified by her liposomal CBD use. Unfortunately, she ended up passing away, and some media outlets went wild. 

Interesting how CBD is blamed for something that only the pharmaceuticals accompanying it had the power to cause, right? Perhaps the real takeaway is that collaboration between those taking CBD and their doctors is important. 

But anyways. If you want to be extra safe, consider sourcing your CBD oil from a vetted brand like the ones found here!

Trying to Quit Smoking? There’s no Better Time

Cannabis smoke hasn’t been correlated to poor health the same way tobacco smoke has — quite the opposite. Cannabis contains terpenes and other phytocompounds that may actually act as bronchodilators!

But in light of how COVID-19’s worst effects are lung-based, some extra caution might be warranted. Speaking to Leafly, epidemiologist D. Steffanie Strathdee explains more. “Right now, we are facing a pandemic where SARS-CoV-2 attacks lung cells, preferentially in the lower respiratory tract. In my view, better to be safe than sorry, so I’d advise anyone who uses marijuana to switch to edibles, especially if they have underlying health conditions…”

“It would be wise for all of us to try to keep our lungs as healthy as possible,” added Dr. Crotty Alexander. Thankfully there are many ways to take cannabis that doesn’t involve smoking.  

“Cannabis Is an Essential Medicine,” says San Francisco Department of Public Health

Parts of California may be on lockdown right now…but when it comes to enjoying the finer things in life, residents still have plenty of freedom. In San Fransisco, cannabis sales continue after having been classified as an “essential business.” 

“Cannabis is an essential medicine for many San Francisco residents. Dispensaries can continue to operate as essential businesses during this time, while practicing social distancing and other public health recommendations,” tweeted the San Francisco Department of Public Health on March 17th. 

While we’ve already talked about a potential link between CBD and the immune system, we’re glad public health officials don’t disagree.

Cannabis Delivery Services Taking Off

All sorts of delivery services are booming right now — and cannabis delivery is no exception. California-based online marketplace Eaze said their delivery sales jumped up 37 percent with the announcement of the State’s “shelter in place” action.  

“[…] We are going to have to bring the store to them,” says dispensary owner Kyle Kazan. “It’s not much different than Amazon.” And many customers continue to buy in bulk.

One Women’s Mission: CBD-Infused Tampons

Just when you think the CBD space couldn’t get any more creative, something like this happens

But entrepreneur Valentina Milanova does have a point: “We wouldn’t use a car from the 1940s, a phone from the 1950s, nor rely on a health recommendation from the 1960s,” Milanova explained to Forbes. So why use a tampon that lacks the more recent breakthrough we call CBD? Women report great results so far. And for a more complete list of female-friendly products, just check out this guide.

To Sum Up This Week in Cannabis News:

A lot is still very uncertain concerning the COVID-19 global pandemic but cannabis remains a shining light of positivity. While smoking cannabis right now isn’t recommended, there are still plenty of ways to consume and enjoy the plant, plus, home-delivery systems are surging! Stay home, stay healthy, stay high.

Are Vapes Safe? The Issue With Fake News And Regulations

With the recent news of vape safety, it is very easy to point the finger at a source of potential danger. But sometimes, things ultimately fall on us to do a little homework of our own to ensure we’re well-informed before passing any judgment.

As the folks over at Medical News Today put it, “The long-term consequences of vaping generally remain unknown. This is because vaping devices are relatively new to the market, and researchers have not had sufficient time to study the long-term effects thoroughly.” In this article, we briefly observe the condemnation and misrepresentation of vaporizers.

The Big Question: Are Vapes Safe?

Now more than ever there is extensive research being performed on vaping. But control groups take a significant amount of time before yielding results can be deemed as definitive. Therefore, the data that is being provided about the dangers of vaping is more than likely going to be largely viewed as inconclusive. The reason being is that there is potential for members of the control groups to get affected in a negative way that seems to be directly caused by vaping. But with varying factors, it is still too difficult to concretely identify these effects as a result of vaping.

Certainly, more than anything, the common mindset that comes along with vaping health concerns is relating it to the side effect of smoking cigarettes. The dangers of cigarettes come not from the nicotine itself or the tobacco, but from the numerous chemicals (somewhere around 600) within each cigarette. When a cigarette is smoked these chemicals are combusted and inhaled, some of which include acetone, arsenic which is commonly used as rat poison, and many others. This plethora of harmful chemicals affects the lungs and the body over time in a horrific, deadly way, leaving the unsurprising fact that years of inhaling these chemicals in cigarettes can end up causing cancer. 

What people don’t necessarily realize is that most vape products do not include all of these additional chemicals that are usually found within cigarettes. Due to the fact that vapes are noncombustible products, it would seem that vaping is (far) less dangerous than smoking. Fo many switching to vape products have helped them completely wean off of cigarettes. But what about vaping on its own? If a person was never a smoker in their life and chose to pick up vaping, will there be health concerns to them?

Real vs Fake News: Finding Legitimate Sources of Information

Anti-vapers and a whole host of media outlets want to make definitive claims about the dangers of vaping and supposed related lung injuries when many of them do not actually possess the proper information to do so. Research is still being performed to determine if the products within different vaping devices pose a health threat in the long-term. Therefore, any source of information that claims otherwise is just downright false or made to be better can be classified as fake news. However, we do want to point out that there are a few dangers outside of the products themselves that exist, such as:

  • Poorly made products can be extremely dangerous. Most of these devices are battery-powered, and a faulty product with shoddy construction can lead to injury through burns caused by an explosion. At Key to Cannabis, we are sure to do our due diligence into the vape brands and products we select. 
  • Piggybacking off of the above point, cheap hardware may produce some pretty harmful chemicals, such as lead in the vape liquid, which is incredibly unsafe for human consumption and should be avoided at all costs.
  • If a product is cut with any substances other than what has been advertised, it can be toxic or fatal — examples include Vitamin E, medium-chain triglycerides (MCT), and PEG 400. 

Legitimate sources such as science and medical journals are unbiased, well-informed, and do not use fear-mongering tactics to share well researched facts. Instead, they are devoted to providing as much helpful, accurate, factual information as humanly possible in a clear-cut, palatable way so folks are able to form their own opinion.

Despite all the research conducted by ostensibly objective scientists, they have yet been able to refute the growing amount of evidence that vaping poses significantly less danger to our health compared to smoking cigarettes. We are hoping that with all the recent health claims and misinformation in the news that more research will be conducted. 

Has Vaping Caused Any Injuries?

To date, it’s said that there are 59 vaping-related deaths and 2,602 injuries across 28 states. On the surface, the verbiage paints the picture that vaping of any kind is the main culprit behind these deaths. But the reality is completely different. We have to put on our thinking caps and ask, were these devices for nicotine or THC, which matters. We have to look at the quality of the product, as well, to determine what these consumers were using. 

When we delve deeper into this story, we actually discover that these deaths were, in fact, caused by a less-than-reputable product bought on the black market for vaping devices used for THC — not vaping itself. Many chemicals were tested for in these cases, vitamin E acetate being one. This is a common beauty ingredient, completely harmless when used in skin creams, oils, and lotions. But apparently, when inhaled into the lungs, can be quite harmful — and evidence suggests vitamin E was the main contributing factor to what caused these deaths.

A Final Say, Are Vapes Safe To Smoke?

The speculation involved with such a subject can easily breed misinformation and fake news. These days, it’s easy to point the finger and create a claim that something is dangerous or deadly or jump on the bandwagon. But without the proper research, education and time, there is just no way that we can definitively make such a claim.

Marijuana Business: Licenses and Permissions

Are you thinking of starting a marijuana business? A few years ago this may have seemed like something you wouldn’t easily have the option to do. Times have changed and now as the stigma starts to lower the barrier to entry into the world of cannabis has become a lot easier. The legalization of cannabis across the United States and other countries means that you can become a mogul in the world of cannabis. However, to become applicable, you must follow all of the local laws and guidelines.

Cannabis is still regulated to a very high level, and this is a good thing. There have to be guidelines set in place in order to keep the use of cannabis safe for people (and the supply of marijuana at top notch).

Basic Legal Requirements for Marijuana Business

To start, there are a few basics to be aware of. Due to regulations, you need to make sure you are complying with the standards within the state you are residing or looking to start a business. Wherever your business operates will play a large part, as will the area of business you are working in. For instance, growing marijuana might have different restrictions than selling it state by state.

A business license is one of the very first steps, along with a permit and  registration documents.

You will need:

  • A general business license. This will legally allow you to trade as a business in the area specified.
  • Your tax ID number. This means you can be tracked by the tax authorities and it prevents issues like money laundering.
  • Permits. Issued to allow you to operate in certain business sectors. Different permits may be needed for different cannabis businesses. For instance, if you prepare edibles, you may need a license for food prep.
  • Business formation documents. These formalize the business, partners involved and who has the responsibility and liabilities within the business.
  • “Doing business as” filing. This is a document that allows you to trade as a name different to your own, and to effectively brand your marijuana business for cannabis marketing purposes

Marijuana Business License Requirements 

Unfortunately, we can’t give you one specific set of requirements that covers the entire country of the United States. Different states and countries have their own set of requirements and you will need to check according to your locality. For instance, some states have only allowed a few companies to have business licenses for cannabis.

When applying for a marijuana business license in your local area, a lot will depend on your personal background and residency, too. If you have been convicted of crimes in the past it is very unlikely that you would be issued with a cannabis business license.

While we wish we could advise on the specifics of licensing, the best way to get this information is to speak to your local state government or consult with local law practitioners to help you to establish what is required. A solicitor will also be needed to keep you safe from a legal standpoint.

Which department is responsible for marijuana business licensing?

This is another question to which there is not one simple answer. The responsible department can vary depending on where you are based, too.

In many states you might need to file all of your paperwork with your Secretary of State office. There may be local agencies who are responsible for cannabis licensing though, so it is worth checking.

In Nevada, for instance, the responsibility of regulating all of the recreational and  medical marijuana falls on the Department of Taxation.

Californian businesses have the option to go through agencies such as the Bureau of Cannabis Control, CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing and Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch. These are all responsible for different areas of the cannabis industry, so work out whether you are involved in cultivation, retail or production before contacting one.

Pay close attention to local regulations

This really is the best piece of advice anyone can give you. States are all responsible for their own cannabis laws, and they all have different pieces of legislation and guidelines. The locality in which you plan to operate will dictate exactly what licenses and permissions are required. There is a lot of red tape in a lot of the USA, so don’t take any chances with what you are doing. Make sure you are legally covered before trading.

Maybe you’re more interested in working within cannabis? Check out these 15 unique jobs in the cannabis industry. 

Will My Employer Require A Drug Test For CBD Versus THC?

Sometimes the good news surrounding cannabis sounds too good to be true. It’s helpful for this, it’s great for that even celebrities and CEO’s alike stand behind the plant’s medicinal value. Cannabis is becoming legal in more places and the widely known cannabinoid CBD is effectively legal nationwide. 

But then there’s the catch: drug testing. 

Even in areas where recreational cannabis is fully legal, employees might feel restricted by the chance of testing positive for cannabis and promptly losing their jobs. And that’s just not right. 

After all, the reason companies drug test their employees in the first place is to determine workplace impairment. There are other reasons, of course, which include legal protection and federal mandates. But we feel it’s pretty unjust for workers to be penalized for taking a natural plant substance that might actually boost creativity and workflow-friendly motivation. 

Thankfully, something can be done. Let’s take a look at current drug testing trends before taking a look at a product that might just be the perfect workaround of these circumstances.

Will My Employer Drug Test for THC?

Short answer: Probably so. 

Full answer: Maybe not. While drug testing for THC is a standard practice in many companies, especially those based in prohibition-era states, the tide is turning. Many forward-thinking companies — especially those in the cannabis space, fittingly enough — don’t drug test at all. Some cannabis company CEO’s are even perfectly cool with the idea of partaking while on the clock.

It’s best to keep in mind that even companies located where cannabis is fully legal can ask employees to drug test and even enforce the results. Here’s a particularly sad example: the Colorado Supreme Court ruled against a quadriplegic Dish Network employee who was fired because he used medical cannabis. The reason? Cannabis is still illegal under federal law. 

Will My Employer Drug Test for CBD?

Short answer: Probably not.

Full answer: While employers aren’t testing for CBD or its primary metabolite, CBD-COOH, there are other possibilities. Certain career fields strongly discourage CBD use. 

Take the US military, for example. CBD is “completely forbidden for use by any service member in any of the services at this point of time,” Patricia Deuster, director of the Human Performance Laboratory, told Military.com

Military members who test positive for THC, even if it’s from faulty testing standards of mislabeled products, may face an “other-than-honorable” discharge. Members of the coast guard are not even allowed to venture into a dispensary.

And anyone who uses CBD may face another rather insidious issue: false positives. Even employees who take hemp-derived CBD products (including CBD isolate) may test positive for THC on initial “point of care” tests because of the antibodies used can confuse CBD for THC. 

If this happens to you, don’t panic. Just insist on confirmation testing, which uses spectrometry to (correctly) distinguish CBD from THC. This is a seriously underlooked problem within the world of CBD and one that most sources still seem to be oblivious to. All the more reason to test yourself at home first! 

A Simple Solution to Drug Test for CBD vs. THC 

Here’s our advice: when in doubt, cleanse your temple and test yourself first!

salivaconfirm testclear mouth swab drug test review

Products like TestClear’s Detox Program and At-Home Drug Test Kits make that easy. Need to detox your system? Just follow TestClear’s detailed detoxification instructions — they’re tailored to how much THC is in your system. Intense exercise, a high-fat diet, and metabolism boosters (like coffee) may also slightly speed the detox process up. 

And when it comes time to ensure your detox was effective, check yourself at home first with TestClear’s At-Home Drug Test Kit. Here’s our review of the experience: 

“…these tests were actually a bit more affordable than the most comparable option at our local drugstore and offered equivalent performance and testing thresholds.  In terms of reliability and validity, this at-home THC drug test is outstanding.”

The cost may be affordable but the peace of mind that comes from testing yourself at home and not going into a workplace drug test blind? Priceless. 

Ultimately, the drug testing dilemma is a personal decision for everyone involved. “Every employer is going to have to consider how they want to deal with this in their workplace,” cannabis attorney Bryna Dahlin tells The Chicago Tribune

It’s also highly personal for everyone who chooses to partake in cannabis! We believe you shouldn’t have to give it up to get your job of choice — and products like those from TestClear are making that possible.  

** Ready to take the next step? Here is  our comprehensive guide to passing a drug test within 24 hours.

What it’s Like to Run a Business in the Legal Cannabis Space

As the world becomes more informed about the benefits of medical and recreational marijuana, we are seeing an increase in the number of legal cannabis businesses. Whilst the business opportunities are immense, it can also be challenging, however, for those who are leading the way in such a new market.

It is, of course, exciting to be spearheading such a newly legalized industry, but with that comes a number of unforeseen challenges. So, what is it really like to run a business in the legal cannabis space, what challenges are there, and how can they be overcome?

Rules and Laws

It is important that you are aware of the specific rules and laws in your state with regards to what you are and are not allowed to do. Depending on your type of business, you need to understand licensing requirements, marijuana dispensary marketing, and marijuana types and quantities, for example, to ensure that you are within the law.

Funding and Finances

One major difficulty that cannabis businesses have is in the funding and finances of their company. Often banks and other financial institutions are not willing to invest in the marijuana industry, leaving businesses with some major difficulties obtaining capital.

You can try to get investment yourself from private investors, as Dr Andrew Kerklaan (Dr. Kerklaan Therapeutics) who supplies medicinal marijuana products suggests – “The days of bootstrapping a start-up in the cannabis industry are quickly coming to an end, if not already over. My advice is to raise smart money with investors who can bring experience and expertise from other industries to the table. Raise enough capital to quickly be able to compete.”

Banking

Although it’s legal to run a cannabis business in certain states, the industry is still unregulated in a number of ways. This means that banks and other financial institutions are reluctant to work with marijuana businesses – which is a big problem when it comes to taking and processing payments. Therefore, many cannabis businesses are forced to accept cash payments only, which can negatively impact sales, rule out online selling and put shop security at risk.

It is possible to find financial institutions who can help you to process payments, deposit cash, and implement payroll, but they are few and far between. It’s easiest to find these cannabis friends banks and credit unions by talking to other local businesses in the same industry. Cannabis business are forced to get increasingly creative when finding ways of accepting other forms of payment besides cash, like debit cards, cashless ATM transactions, and echecks. Because of the run-around this causes business owners, industry leaders are putting increased amounts of pressure on the government to change rules and make it easier for banks to offer their services to legal marijuana dispensaries, or marijuana businesses in general.

The Future

Many owners of legal cannabis businesses describe their experience as having all of the trials and tribulations of running a `normal` business, but with serious extra weight added to their feet. The contradictory nature of marijuana’s legal status at the federal and state levels has resulted in business infrastructure that is poorly equipped to handle the additional issues faced with the legalization of medicinal and recreational marijuana. However, things are changing slowly, and these challenges are becoming increasingly easier to conquer.

CBD Buyer’s Guide – How and Where to Buy Legal, Organic CBD Oil

There are literally hundreds of CBD retailers – but only a few sell CBD products with any medical efficacy. There are some very important questions to ask before deciding where to buy:

Where was the starting material (hemp) grown? Is it organic?

Correct Answer: In the United States – all products should derived from organic hemp grown in the United States. Hemp grown in the European Union (EU) is acceptable (although less preferable than US-grown) ONLY if it is grown using organic methods and the company can prove the lack of pesticides, mold, and heavy metals through current test results (see below).

Watch Out For: Hemp grown in China. Even in countries with agricultural regulations, the list of approved pesticides is far from safe. Thus you are really relying on the specific company’s ethical standards when it comes to hemp cultivation. The reason this is such a big deal with hemp when compared to other plants, is that hemp is a dynamic accumulator plant. Dynamic accumulator is a term used to describe plants that gather minerals – both good and bad – from the surrounding soil and store them in its tissues. So if you’re growing a hemp plant with petroleum-based pesticides in soil that contains heavy metals…you’re inevitably going to have a hemp plant containing both toxic pesticides and heavy metals. This is why many people have poor experiences when first trying CBD – you buy your vegetables organically, why not your hemp? The presence of these toxins is not regulated by any agency and they will end up in your CBD oil if you don’t purchase from the correct company. We like Joy Organics because they ensure that all of their CBD productsare produced from organically and sustainably grown hemp without the use of pesticides.

Is the company vertically integrated?

Correct Answer: Yes, this is the only way to ensure top to bottom quality, consistency, and safety. All hemp should be organically grown on-site and final the extracted products should be produced in-house with sustainable practices. This is important because it gives the company full control over all the inputs in their tinctures, salves, and other products.

Watch Out For: Companies that won’t or can’t tell you where their plant material is sourced. If they wholesale the material from a farm, can they ensure the product is free of pesticides and mold via a laboratory test?

Does the company provide test results?

Correct Answer: Each batch of flower AND finished product should be tested by a state certified testing facility for potency, legality and safety. These test results should also be made available to any patient that requests them. These tests should certify 3 things: the amount of CBD contained in the product, the amount of THC in the product (the starting hemp plant material must test below 0.3%), and the lack of mold or toxic pesticides.

Watch Out For: Companies that do not have test results or refuse to give them to customers. Also be wary of companies who only test one batch of finished product and then assume that all future batches will be the same – big mistake. Hemp is a product of nature and thus, no two batches will ever be identical – even in the most regulated environment. The company must provide you test results for the actual product you intend to purchase as well as the plant material used to make it – otherwise you are jeopardizing your safety and the medical efficacy of the product.

How is the CBD extracted?

Correct Answer: Organic ethanol wash – this is one of the oldest and most natural way to derive a full spectrum extract from the cannabis plant. Critical CO2 extractions are also acceptable and produce a full spectrum CBD extract. A full spectrum extract strips all the beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes from the plant – in this case, without the need to use any toxic hydrocarbons. Ethanol washes and CO2 extractions produce a CBD extract that is 100% safe and solvent-free. Full spectrum extracts utilize the whole plant which results in an extract with greater medical efficacy than isolating and administering CBD, for instance, on its own.

Watch Out For: Companies who won’t disclose their extraction method or utilize hydrocarbons like butane and propane. These substances are toxic in high amounts and even with proper purging, most hydrocarbon extracts contain residual solvent. Other extraction methods do not result in a full spectrum extract – meaning they were not able to extract all of the beneficial compounds from the hemp plant (i.e. you don’t get the full range of benefits).

What carrier substance is used in the CBD oil to deliver the CBD extract?

Correct Answer: Ingestible CBD oil should be comprised of coconut MCT oil and full spectrum hemp extract (the part that contains the actual CBD). It’s important that the carrier oil contains Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT), like coconut oil, because it is easier for the body to digest. Remember that cannabinoids are best delivered to the body in either fat or alcohol as a carrier.

Watch Out For: Companies who use cheap oil carriers that don’t contain MCTs. Also look out for products that don’t clearly and accurately state the ingredients used. It’s important you as a consumer can identify all inputs – especially if the product is being used for medical or therapeutic purposes.

CBD Vape Oil:  What Exactly Is In the Product?

Correct Answer:  Any CBD vape oil you purchase should consist of a very short list of ingredients:  a carrier oil (such as MCT oil, hemp oil, grapeseed oil, or coconut oil) and CBD or hemp extract (depending on how the company labels its CBD concentrate), with a possible ingredient or two added for flavoring, whether it be a proprietary terpene blend or a natural or artificial flavoring. Another possible  addition is vegetable glycerin, a common thinning agent that has not been shown to be harmful when vaporized. That’s it. Anything else should raise an eyebrow.

Watch Out For: Anything containing propylene glycol or polyethylene glycol. These compounds have been associated with the formation of toxic chemicals like formaldehyde, benzene, and acetaldehyde that can cause cancer and other disease in humans.  Steer clear of any product intended to be inhaled that contains these ingredients.

This is something we’re very particular about, and for good reason: propylene glycol and polyethylene glycol are two common thinning agents used by many manufacturers to ease the flow of the finished product.  While both of these ingredients are generally recognized as safe for topical application and oral consumption, multiple studies  have shown that they become toxic when heated to the temperatures required for vaporization, and especially in high-temperature vaporizers designed to create big clouds of vapor (you know, the popular kind!).  For this reason, we avoid all vape products containing propylene glycol, CBD or otherwise.

Red Flags:

  • No phone number
  • No indication of where plant material is sourced
  • Can’t speak to a real person – even via email
  • No test results
  • Not organic
  • No clear indication of dosage (or of which cannabinoid)

A Quick Note About CBD & Drug Testing

If drug testing is a part of the conditions of your employment, you might be concerned about the potential of CBD to cause you to test positive for THC. This isn’t an unfounded concern — however, there isn’t exactly a cut-and-dry way to answer it.

Much of the data we have about CBD is anecdotal, and its potential impact on drug testing is no exception.  There are very few peer-reviewed studies on the subject, but there appears to be a small risk of a false positive for some users. Avoiding full-spectrum products containing traces of THC can reduce your risk of a false positive, but that may not eliminate the risk entirely.

If you are concerned about passing a drug test, you should consider this potential risk when deciding whether CBD is right for you. To learn more about the science of CBD and drug testing, check out our article for a more thorough discussion of how to minimize your risk of a false positive.

Who Do We Trust?

We have visited Joy Organics’ greenhouse facility in Colorado and seen their organic, sustainable cultivation methods first hand. We’ve viewed their test results and experienced great personal success with their products. If you’re interested in truly high quality, organic plant-based medicine, we only recommend Joy Organics.

Can You Smoke in the Car? 5 Tips for Driving with Weed

Hotboxing your car while blasting Bob Marley’s Legend and cruising down I-70 may sound like a good idea—until you’re getting handcuffed by an ornery officer and explaining to him why there’s an oven-fire’s worth of smoke billowing from your open window.

Smoking and driving is never a good idea—but what about just keeping weed or a 420 travel kit in your car while you’re driving? Whether you’re in a state with legal weed like Colorado or you’re passing through an inhospitable land like Utah or Texas, there are a few ways to minimize risk while driving with weed in your car. Here are a few of our favorite tips to stay out of trouble while you’re on the road.

 

5 Tips for Driving with Weed:

  1. Don’t smoke in the car

    Our first piece of advice sounds obvious, and it might be a total buzzkill, but we recommend you don’t smoke in the car. Smoking—and even vaping—in your car before you drive is a dead giveaway. And even if you’re not high anymore, the lingering scent of smoke gives any police officer with a pair of nostrils probable cause to search your vehicle.

  2. Don’t smoke and then drive the car

    You might snort at this advice and say, “I’m a great high driver.” While we believe that driving high is not nearly as dangerous as driving drunk, it’s important to acknowledge that when you’re stoned, your reaction times are slower, your peripheral vision is decreased, and your ability to multi-task is impeded. You’re not going to necessarily drive off a cliff, but you aren’t exactly ready for a Formula 1 race, either. Recognizing the potential for impairment goes a long way.

  3. Keep that stash under an ounce

    If you have a duffle bag full of chronic with you in the car, chances are you’re going to have some explaining to do to the law. Even in states where weed is legal, the average Joe can’t just haul around pounds of kush. Possession jumps to distribution, community service turns into hard jail time. Unless it absolutely can’t be avoided, keeping your stash to under an ounce is a great rule of thumb.

  4. Keep the chronic in the trunk

    Keep that herb in the trunk! Why? This tip could be the difference between a DUI and a simple possession charge — if you can’t reach it from the driver’s seat, you probably weren’t smoking while driving. Keep the stash in the trunk, know your rights, and play it cool.

  5. Use a Stash Case

    Keep your car clean of roaches, pipes, papers. Our recommendation? Snag a smell proof stash bag or case. This sleek smoking kit keeps all of your essentials in one place. The outdoor-grade zipper keeps your stash smell-proof and the rugged exterior protects your smoking accessories from bumps in the road. It is, without a doubt, the best way to manage your smoking supplies—no matter where you’re traveling.

CBD By State: Where is it Legal for Medical and Recreational Patients and Where is it Illegal

CBD has grown in popularity over recent years; used by everyone from chronic pain sufferers to athletes to people experiencing depression and anxiety, its potential applications are vast and diverse. Despite its ever-increasing rate of consumption, marijuana-derived CBD (an important distinction we’ll discuss in a moment) remains illegal in four states.

That’s because each US state has its own laws regarding the conditions under which marijuana-derived CBD is legal and how it is to be obtained, further muddying the waters. There is good news, though: thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp is legally distinguished from its intoxicating cousin marijuana, and is defined as an agricultural commodity, not an illicit substance.  Therefore, hemp-derived CBD is legal at the federal level in all 50 states, as well as in Washington D.C.

Legality of CBD: A Possible Caveat

That said, a few counties in states like Texas and North Carolina have filed criminal charges against patients for possessing CBD products — these cases are still being prosecuted and have not yet resulted in convictions. To date, the cases have not involved CBD in the homes of private individuals; CBD products were confiscated from patients while traveling. While it’s unlikely that any convictions would hold up to the appeals process, that’s not realistic for most of us (who has the time and resources for a drawn-out court case?) and doesn’t appear to be deterring prosecutors from filing the charges anyway.

All this to say, it’s important to be aware of your local jurisdiction’s stance on CBD, especially in states (like Texas and North Carolina) that refuse to issue guidance in the face of such ordinances. This article is written with the common interpretation of the law in mind, and is applicable for most readers. However, like many new laws, the 2018 Farm Bill’s provision for hemp and CBD legality is experiencing some pushback in a few places. If you live in one of those places, take appropriate precautions, especially when traveling with CBD.

Legal CBD: A Breakdown of Federal Policy

Even at the federal level, the legal status of CBD hasn’t always been clear, and not even all government agencies seem to be in full agreement. A statement from the DEA in December 2016 declared that all cannabis extracts (CBD included), regardless of their origin (hemp or marijuana), are illegal under federal law and their possession is therefore potentially subject to prosecution.

This was the DEA’s attempt at saying; you can legally grow hemp under the 2014 version of the Farm Bill, but you can’t extract CBD oil from it. This declaration is being challenged in court by CBD manufacturers and patients alike, but pending a court decision or a change in federal law, it continues to be a legal grey area.

To be clear, this strict interpretation of the law hasn’t been enforced so far (and even if it were, many states have legal protections in place to shield people from immediate federal prosecution for possession of CBD). It is our position that technically, hemp-derived CBD remains legal in all 50 states—until we see enforcement that demonstrates otherwise. This is further evidenced by the fact that even stores like Whole Foods have begun stocking hemp-derived CBD products. Although we’d suggest purchasing from a more reputable company instead.

Since every state has its own laws regarding the legality of marijuana-derived CBD products, the question, “Is it legal?” can be tricky to answer. Here, we’ll discuss how different CBD products are classified under the law, then lay out their legality state by state.

Hemp vs. Marijuana-Derived CBD: The Legal Differences Between Cannabinoids

Cannabis contains an assortment of cannabinoids, a class of chemicals that act on the endocannabinoid receptors of the brain. THC, the flashiest and most well-known of the cannabinoids, is responsible for the high you get from cannabis consumption and is the reason the plant has been so heavily legislated against.

Here’s where it starts to get a bit technical: the term “cannabis” can refer to both marijuana, the high-THC variety of the plant that is illegal in many states and at the federal level, or hemp, the variety of the plant that contains less than .3% THC levels (according to federal regulations). Hemp was made legal for cultivation at the federal level under the 2018 Farm Bill, which legally separates hemp from marijuana and defines it like any other agricultural commodity.

While CBD, CBN, CBG, and other non-psychoactive (meaning they won’t get you high no matter how much you smoke) cannabinoids can be extracted from marijuana, they are most commonly extracted from hemp in an effort to skirt legal prohibitions on marijuana extracts. If these extracts are derived from hemp, they are technically legal in all fifty states and the District of Columbia.

That said, the FDA still considers CBD a drug, and has therefore been putting pressure on companies who sell it and other cannabis extracts. Additionally, most states that have legal CBD programs in place don’t have any kind of infrastructure for patients to purchase it legally. This effectively means that, while patients can legally possess and use CBD, they may not have any legal access to it in their state. This can make procuring CBD through a dispensary difficult even in areas where its use is legal. Some sellers rely on the ambiguity of local and federal laws to continue to operate in the communities they serve. Others make their products available online, since shipping Farm Bill-compliant CBD is (technically) legal nationwide.

So, to recap: hemp-derived CBD is, under the 2018 Farm Bill, legal for use everywhere in the US without a medical use license or prescription, which is how online CBD companies operate. However, marijuana-derived CBD is a trickier subject—because of its higher THC content, it remains illegal in many states. Next, we’ll give you the rundown of what types of marijuana-derived CBD legislation each state has enacted, and what that means for you as a consumer.

Marijuana-Derived CBD: States Where Fully Legal for Both Medical and Recreational Use

The District of Columbia and a total of eight US states—Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington—allow recreational marijuana use. This means that in these states, you can purchase and use marijuana-derived CBD products without a medical prescription.

In November, Michigan affirmed a measure that legalizes marijuana use for both medical and recreational purposes, making it the first state in the Midwest to legalize the herb. This means that CBD is now legal for consumption without a medical prescription in Michigan. However, it will be some time before the market develops enough to make recreational cannabis (and marijuana-derived CBD) widely available to the general public.

Marijuana-Derived CBD: States Where Legal for Medical Use Only

At present, the use of marijuana and marijuana-derived CBD is legal for medical use, often to treat hard-to-treat or drug-resistant conditions like epilepsy and multiple sclerosis, in 46 states, including the eight mentioned above.

In 37 of these states (excluding the nine where all cannabis is legal for recreational use), you must have a medical prescription to obtain marijuana-derived CBD products from licensed dispensaries. The amount of THC permitted in these products varies from state to state, with some requiring levels of .3% or lower and others going as high as 8% (see the table below for more details on your state’s specific restrictions).

To get more specific, the following 21 states allow for the medical use of all marijuana products, including CBD: Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and West Virginia.

The remaining 17 states (confusingly enough, including Delaware from the previous 21)—Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming—have enacted legislation that allows only for legal medical use of CBD oil, not other cannabis extracts.

The THC content permitted for CBD products varies from state to state under this type of legislation (see below for more details on your state’s requirements), so it’s important to make sure that any CBD you obtain in those states is compliant with their limits. When in doubt, opt for Farm Bill-compliant CBD extracts to stay as far within the law as possible.

Marijuana-Derived CBD: States Where Illegal for All Purposes, Both Medical and Recreational

There are currently four American states that outlaw any marijuana product of any kind, including CBD.  Despite CBD’s legal status, these states—Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota—are still home to businesses able to sell CBD products, due to either a lack of enforcement or the difficulty of interpreting the overlap of federal and state laws.

One Idaho business, for example, has skirted the legal issue by making the claim that all of their CBD is derived from mature cannabis stalks, a part of the plant which is not considered marijuana under that state’s law. Situations like this demonstrate the confusing and often contradictory nature of the legality of CBD. If you live in one of these states, we suggest purchasing hemp-derived CBD as it complies with the 2018 Farm Bill and can be ordered online.

CBD & Drug Testing

Drug testing is a minefield for many cannabis consumers (even those in legal states), and it’s reasonable to wonder if, as a cannabinoid, CBD might show up on a drug test. The short answer is, it’s complicated.

Like so much of the science behind cannabis and hemp, there’s a lot we don’t yet understand about the way taking CBD could potentially impact drug testing. Avoiding full-spectrum products containing trace amounts of THC can help limit your risk of a false positive, but a small handful of studies suggests that even isolate products may not be fully without risk, especially at high doses.

There’s no conclusive consensus that there’s zero risk of a false positive when taking CBD, so it’s important to be mindful of that risk when deciding whether CBD is right for you. If routine drug testing is a condition of your employment, we encourage you to read our article about CBD and drug testing to make an informed decision.

Is CBD Legal In Your State?

Take a look at the table below to see the circumstances under which marijuana-derived CBD is legal in your state.

 

State Hemp-derived CBD legal Marijuana-derived CBD legal without a prescription Marijuana-derived CBD legal by prescription Medical CBD legal under certain conditions
Alabama Yes No Yes Only permitted for cases of epilepsy (Carly’s Law 2014)
Alaska Yes Yes Yes
Arizona Yes No Yes
Arkansas Yes No Yes
California Yes Yes Yes Get Your California MMJ Card here
Colorado Yes Yes Yes Get Your Colorado MMJ Card here
Connecticut Yes No Yes
Delaware Yes No Yes Only permitted for drug-resistant epilepsy and muscle contractions in children (Rylie’s Law 2015)
Florida Yes No Yes No more than 8% THC; only permitted for certain conditions, such as seizures (2014)
Georgia Yes No Yes No more than 5% THC; only permitted for certain conditions, such as PTSD and chronic pain (Haleigh’s Hope Act 2015)
Hawaii Yes No Yes
Idaho Yes No No
Illinois Yes No Yes
Indiana Yes No Yes No more than .3% THC; only for drug-resistant epilepsy (2017) Notably one of the only states to officially legalize hemp-derived CBD (2018)
Iowa Yes No Yes No more than 3% THC; only for certain chronic conditions such as MS (2017)
Kansas Yes No No
Kentucky Yes No Yes
Louisiana Yes No Yes Only permitted for certain chronic conditions such as MS (2017)
Maine Yes Yes Yes
Maryland Yes No Yes
Massachusetts Yes Yes Yes
Michigan Yes Yes (as of November 2018) Yes
Minnesota Yes No Yes
Mississippi Yes No Yes No more than .5% THC; only for children with severe seizures (Harper Grace’s Law 2014)
Missouri Yes No Yes No more than .3% THC; only permitted for drug-resistant epilepsy (2014)
Montana Yes No Yes
Nebraska Yes No No
Nevada Yes Yes Yes Get Your Nevada MMJ Card here
New Hampshire Yes No Yes
New Jersey Yes No Yes
New Mexico Yes No Yes
New York Yes No Yes Get Your New York MMJ Card here
North Carolina Yes No Yes No more than .3% THC; only permitted for drug-resistant epilepsy (2014)
North Dakota Yes No Yes
Ohio Yes No Yes
Oklahoma Yes No Yes No more than .3% THC; only permitted for drug-resistant epilepsy (2015)
Oregon Yes Yes Yes
Pennsylvania Yes No Yes
Rhode Island Yes No Yes
South Carolina Yes No Yes No more than .9% THC; only permitted for drug-resistant epilepsy (Julian’s Law 2014)
South Dakota Yes No No
Tennessee Yes No Yes No more than .9% THC; only permitted for drug-resistant epilepsy (2015)
Texas Yes No Yes No more than .5% THC; only for drug-resistant epilepsy (2015)
Utah Yes No Yes No more than .3% THC; only permitted for drug-resistant epilepsy (Charlee’s Law 2014)
Vermont Yes No Yes
Virginia Yes No Yes No more than 5% THC; for “any diagnosed condition or disease determined by the practitioner to benefit from such use”
Washington Yes Yes Yes
West Virginia Yes No Yes
Wisconsin Yes No Yes Only permitted for certain conditions (2017)
Wyoming Yes No Yes No more than .3% THC; only permitted for drug-resistant epilepsy (2015)
District of Columbia Yes Yes Yes

 

Is CBD Legal? What You Need to Know About Cannabis Vs Hemp Oil

Yes, the possession and consumption of CBD is legal but it depends on where it comes from. This is where the difference between hemp and cannabis comes in – the distinction is nothing more than a legal one. Cannabis itself is a genus of flowering plant – in other words the scientific name for the plant. Traditional cannabis – pot, weed, marijuana, whatever you want to call it – is typically bred for high THC content which provides the psychoactive effects. Alternatively, hemp is bred and grown for the industrial use of fiber and seed, which is why hemp must legally contain below 0.3% THC – so that it stays below the threshold of inducing psychoactivity.

The Answer: CBD is legal as long as it is derived from hemp which is non-psychoactive and by definition, contains less than 0.3% THC.

If the CBD is derived from traditional cannabis (that tests above 0.3% THC), then it is not federally legal – even if your state has approved CBD programs in place. Does this mean you’ll get in trouble? No, especially not if you’re complying with the CBD legislation in your state – 44 of 50 states have legal CBD programs in place.

If the CBD is derived from industrial hemp (that tests below 0.3% THC), then it is federally legal for you to possess and consume the product. This is why it’s so important to know where the starting material is sourced when purchasing CBD products. This distinction is also why hemp-derived CBD is legal to ship to all 50 states – even stores like Whole Foods have begun stocking the stuff.

Why All the Confusion?

In short, there have been contradictory rulings, legislation, and statements made from various government organizations. In 2014, President Obama signed the Farm Bill of 2013 into law. Section 7606 of the act defines industrial hemp as distinct from marijuana and authorizes the cultivation of hemp for industrial and research purposes. This made it pretty clear that the cultivation of industrial hemp in the United States was and is legal. Although, the bill never addressed CBD specifically.  This bill was later reaffirmed by the 2018 Farm Bill, which was signed into law by President Trump and defined industrial hemp as an agricultural commodity distinct from marijuana with the full legal status of such a commodity.

Two years after the original law, in 2016, the DEA published a rule stating that all cannabis extracts, including CBD, are considered Schedule I substances. The rule stirred confusion regarding its application to CBD derived from hemp. Businesses and consumers demanded answers and it was challenged in court almost immediately. The businesses argued that the rule skirted established federal process – only Congress has the authority to create a statute.

Ultimately DEA spokesperson Russ Baer was forced to clarify: “If the products are derived from the non-psychoactive part of the marijuana plant, then you’re talking a non-controlled substance.”

Like many of the issues surrounding the cannabis industry, there is conflict regarding CBD legality at both the state and federal levels. But one thing is clear, the DEA’s 2016 rule was meant to target commercial business selling these products, not the end-consumers. Essentially as long as there are legitimate businesses selling tested CBD products that ensure safety and legality, you as the consumer have nothing to worry about.

A Quick Note About CBD & Drug Testing

If drug testing is a part of the conditions of your employment, you might be concerned about the potential of CBD to cause you to test positive for THC. This isn’t an unfounded concern — however, there isn’t exactly a cut-and-dry way to answer it.

Much of the data we have about CBD is anecdotal, and its potential impact on drug testing is no exception.  There are very few peer-reviewed studies on the subject, but there appears to be a small risk of a false positive for some users. Avoiding full-spectrum products containing traces of THC can reduce your risk of a false positive, but that may not eliminate the risk entirely.

If you are concerned about passing a drug test, you should consider this potential risk when deciding whether CBD is right for you. To learn more about the science of CBD and drug testing, check out our article for a more thorough discussion of how to minimize your risk of a false positive.