Government Patents On and Legal Barriers Around CBD:
Let’s Save Hemp!!
What’s going on?
Federally legal? Earth’s medicine for all? Government recognition of hemp is not going to happen without a fight. The last couple of weeks have brought bad news for hemp farmers and the hemp industry alike—not only did California fail to pass the Farm Bill, but the DEA is also threatening the entire hemp industry!
Retail Sales of CBD are ILLEGAL in California?
Short Answer: Yes.
The farm bill was the piece of legislation which legalized hemp, but it is not the firm affirmative that many think it is. In fact, California has not even adopted it yet. Why? The Farm Bill did not make it legal to add hemp to food, beverages, cosmetics, or dietary supplements—this would fall under the FDA and the Agricultural Department’s jurisdiction. Neither the FDA nor the Agricultural Department has passed any regulations regarding hemp-derived CBD; California is waiting on this before adopting the National Farm Bill. Meanwhile, 20 other states have in fact passed legislation authorizing the sale of hemp-derived CBD retail products.
This means that local CBD store near you in Weho? Yeah, they are technically illegal. Botanicam applied to have a physical location *in an unnamed California City*, but because we were honest and claimed we were opening a CBD company (instead of a nutrition/plant food/health business), we were denied. Meanwhile, there is a CBD store catty corner to *unnamed city’s* City Hall. Currently, adding CBD to a tincture? Powdering hemp into capsule form? Even formulating an herbal lotion? Nope—not legal!
How is the DEA involved?
This is actually a whole different story! On top of the bad news that California, again, stalled on adopting the farm bill, the DEA has decided to come down on hemp farmers! Why are they doing this in the midst of an Opioid crisis? You can form your own opinion here.
The DEA released, after much anticipation, it’s Interim Final Rule (IFR) which causes problems for hemp extracting methods. You see, when the cannabinoids (such as CBD, CBG, or THC) are extracted out of the hemp plant during the extraction process, due to chemical reactions, the THC temporarily surpasses the legal 0.3% concentration limit. To be clear—this is a part of the process when extracting cannabinoids—there are many different methods of extraction, but all cause a temporary elevation of cannabinoid levels. Again, this is only temporary and will not lead to the final hemp product containing a THC concentration over the legal limit, but it is unavoidable in the extraction processes. Yet, the DEA claims that this is illegal and leaves the farmer vulnerable to being arrested, having their productions shut down, and having their goods confiscated.
This policy would make manufacturing CBD and creating CBD products impossible unless one has a research license from the DEA, which would be impossible for these companies to acquire as well.
Photo by Khoa Tran on Unsplash
The government’s patent on hemp!
Hemp’s healing powers are undeniable—all a person has to do is look up the case of Charlotte Figi to understand the necessity of hemp for the people. There is nothing that can replace it. That might be why the government has a patent on all forms of non-psychoactive cannabinoids, specifically including CBD.
Oh… you didn’t know the government had a patent on CBD? Yeah, they have had it since 2003, when hemp was still considered a Schedule 1 federally illegal drug. The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has claimed a patent (patent no. 6,630,507), “the potential use of non-psychoactive cannabinoids to protect the brain from damage or degeneration caused by certain diseases, such as cirrhosis.” This also includes cannabinoids for the treatment of oxidative stress and neurodegeneration, such as in Parkinson’s, Alzheimers, or HIV related dementia. This patent not only covers cannabinoids, but it covers all cannabinoids that can be used as antioxidants and neuroprotectants. It includes the pharmaceutical development of synthetic cannabinoids as well.
Oh, yes, there is a synthetic pharmaceutical replacement for CBD that can be used in places where CBD is still illegal (or illegal for specific populations, such as children). To understand what pharmaceutical CBD is, one must first understand that CBD is a cannabinoid produced by plants, or a “phytocannabinoid” and that the cannabinoids produced by the body are “endocannabinoids.” “Synthetic cannabinoids” are the pharmaceutical alternatives that activate cannabinoid receptors. These synthetic cannabinoids work differently. Both phyto- and endocannabinoids are controlled by the body’s own intuition. The body has more cannabinoid receptors than any other type of receptors and the body’s intuition knows where to put the cannabinoids. Synthetic cannabinoids, on the other hand, turn the cannabinoids receptors on, but, without the body’s guidance—sometimes it’s not the right receptor, and, because it’s synthetic, sometimes the receptors don’t turn off. Without the intelligence of the body in control, cannabinoids just do not work the same way.
One simply person simply has to use CBD to trust CBD. There is a reason hemp’s recent legislation has been such an onerous task and that ending stigmatization is arduous, despite the research proving the powers of CBD. Why the struggle? You are, again, welcome to use your own imagination.
On top of all of this, Covid-relief for small businesses excluded CBD stores. If you’re thinking, but wasn’t marijuana considered an essential business? Yes, but we are talking about hemp-derived CBD, which is a different plant and was not considered “essential”. Overall, the government does not seem to be on hemp’s side.
There’s still hope!
These DEA rules are not final and California can still pass additive legalization. Hemp is a true necessity for the people and nobody should be denied due to political propaganda from the 1930s, 40s and 50s.
Fight for the hemp in your state here:
Write your U.S. Senators about the IFC (bill discussed in this blog) here:
Hemp for the PEOPLE!
Photo by David Gabrić on Unsplash
An Article By Evie Louise
Evie Louise is a recent psychology graduate from New York University. She is a certified in International Cannabinoid Clinical Therapy. Evie sees all forms of the cannabis sativa plant as the future of psychiatry, and hopes to use it in her therapy practice as a full spectrum approach to mental health and wellness.