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CBD Legality in the Interim

June 13, 2019

The question of CBD legality has made a big splash in the headlines. But that doesn't mean it's easy to find the answers. 

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The fact is, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) itself is missing many answers. At a public hearing on May 31, 2019, FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless outlined what's not yet known. At this point, the FDA hasn't determined whether there is a safe amount of CBD that can be consumed in a day. It has no conclusive information regarding the length of time it should be used. The agency doesn't know if there are risks of using it during pregnancy, whether it's safe for children, or how it may interact with prescription medicines or other products.

CBD Rubs and Balms

As more clinical studies are completed and more is learned, the rules and laws surrounding the CBD marketplace will come into focus. But the products are popular right now. Since we introduced The CBD collection in our Bath Shop last spring, demand continues to increase. Many of our customers report positive benefits, including pain relief and anxiety reduction. So we want to provide you with the answers we do know as they stand at this time.

Let's start with the basic question:

What Is the Status of CBD Legality?

We'll break the answer into three parts to give you a clearer understanding. 

What is legal

Hemp Plants. In December 2018, as part of the 2018 Farm Bill, industrial hemp plants were removed from the list of controlled substances. They're now categorized as an agricultural product. This means growing hemp plants is legal under certain restrictions.

Hemp is a member of the cannabis family. Unlike its cousin marijuana (which remains a controlled substance), hemp plants contain only trace amounts of THC—the compound that gives users a high feeling. Hemp has an abundance of CBD (cannabidiol)—a non-psychotropic compound associated with certain beneficial effects such as anxiety reduction and pain relief.

The change in status of the plants, however, does not change the FDA's authority to regulate products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds. From the agency's perspective, CBD remains a drug, even when extracted from legalized hemp plants. Thus, the confusion over CBD legality.

Legal Hemp & CBD-related products:CBD Foot Rub

Cosmetic products containing CBD derived from hemp that contains less than 0.3% THC and is grown by a licensed grower. Such products include rubs, sprays, lotions, etc. that are intended for topical application. The FDA retains the right to take action if it receives information that a cosmetic product is unsafe for consumers.

Hulled hemp seed, hemp seed protein powder, and hemp seed oil in human food. The seeds to do not naturally contain CBD or THC.

Epidiolex (with a subscription). To date, Epidiolex is the only drug containing CBD that has received FDA approval. It's indicated to treat seizures associated with two specific forms of epilepsy.

What isn't legal

CBD marketed as a treatment for any disease or condition (other than the approved seizure drug Epidiolex).

CBD sold as a dietary supplement. CBD is considered an active ingredient in the approved drug Epidiolex. Therefore, it is excluded from the dietary supplement definition.

Interstate (from one state to another) sale of any food to which CBD has been added.   

What's in the gray area 

Intrastate (within a state) sale of ingestible CBD, whether in a food or otherwise made to be ingested. CBD in edible form is the FDA's primary area of concern. The agency is working to develop a clear rule of law for CBD in this form. Until it does, these products remain in a murky state of CBD legality.

Tolerance for the sale of CBD edibles varies from state to state. Earlier this year, Maine, New York, and Ohio cracked down on the sale of foods containing CBD. But they, along with California and Texas, now question the moves and seem to lean toward taking a more tolerant stance while the FDA studies the issue.

So far, Illinois has been lenient in allowing the sale of CBD edibles. Though Chicago is tracking sellers of CBD products to be prepared for new regulations. The Illinois state government's recent decision to legalize marijuana for recreational use will not result in loosening regulation of all cannabis-related compounds. CBD will remain under the purview of the FDA since it is an active ingredient in an FDA-approved drug (Epidiolex). 

CBD Spray


Thus far, the legality of CBD products intended for external use is not in question, so long as they are not marketed as a cure or treatment for a serious disease. The legal gray area primarily surrounds CBD products intended for internal consumption. Given the current state of CBD legality and while we wait for the FDA to further research the compound, The Little Traveler maintains that customers should take the following precautions with all CBD products:

Consult your physician before using CBD products, especially if you're on other medications. Do not use if pregnant or nursing. Children should not use CBD products. 

Please keep in mind that CBD products sold at The Little Traveler have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Individual results will vary. These products should be used only as directed on the label. Due to varying laws and enforcement regarding cannabis products, it's inadvisable to carry CBD products during air travel, particularly if traveling internationally.

Learn more about CBD and CBD products available at The Little Traveler.


Primary Sources:

US FDA grapples with dosing, drug interaction questions in new CBD terrain

FDA Regulation of Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Products: Questions and Answers

Is CBD Legal? The Legal Status of CBD in 2019

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