For years, cannabis was completely prohibited in the USA, but with the legalisation of hemp in 2018, vital first steps were taken to revolutionize an industry which can have benefits for millions. Some experts argue that lessons can be learned from the sale, growth and use of CBD over the past two years, and that the system should be overhauled to adjust the standards and improve the realized benefits and legality of hemp, as supported by Surgical Neurology International. So how would a review of the system improve the industry and reward consumers and society as a whole?
Rules and regulations
Just as it took time to get the legalisation of alcohol right following prohibition, so too it is inevitable that the laws around legal CBD use require a little bit of tweaking. The main issue is the legal THC limit for hemp – currently set at 0.3%, as measured on a dry weight basis. In order to assess THC levels, the hemp industry is required to follow restrictive testing criteria, which can sometimes result in devastating loss of product, should the levels be slightly above the minimum.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration asks that all samples be tested by DEA registered laboratories, a maximum of 15 days prior to harvest, using total THC standard testing methods. It is required that all hemp found to be over the legal limit is destroyed. Understandably, this currently makes growing and distributing hemp a risky business in some cases – many factors can be accounted for, but weather and genetics cannot, and these can have a big impact on THC levels.
CBD products and the law
It’s not just the production of hemp that is under scrutiny, but the way it arrives with the end user too. CBD gummies, for example, are often made with CBD isolate, which contains 99% pure CBD and no THC, terpenes or other cannabinoids – unlike other products which use broad or full-spectrum CBD. There are many different CBD infused products such as oils, serums and lotions available too – all of which can all be legally sold, and some states have local laws which allow foods and drinks to be CBD-infused as well.
The federal picture still remains a confusing and often restrictive one. Many officials suggest that raising the THC limit to 1% (a point at which cannabis still does not have a psychotropic effect, as reported by the Congressional Research Service), and streamlining the federal classification of CBD in edible products would go a long way towards stabilizing the industry. Avoiding $1bn in unnecessary costs and benefiting far more people is a win, whichever way you look at it.
Whether it is addressing the method of testing (dry weight basis comes with its own issues, as THC levels can vary between intermediary and complete products), assessing the CBD edibles regulation, or raising the legal levels of THC, it’s clear there are many options which could revolutionize the CBD market whilst still maintaining health and safety standards for consumers. There’s no saying at the moment where CBD will move on to next, but one thing is for sure – many, many people support the proposed changes, and remain hopeful that regulations will be redressed in the future.