“There’s evidence, particularly in illnesses of the brain, that it does work,” she says. So depression, anxiety, ADHD, tourettes, PTSD, different aspects of psychosis — for those type of things the evidence consistently shows that there’s benefits. CBD is not as great with pain, she says, because you kind of need THC to get any pain benefits.
“The hype is almost certainly wrong. The idea that it’s just a placebo is almost certainly wrong, as well. So the truth is somewhere in between. What we have to do as scientists is work out what that truth actually is.”
So, what’s legally available in Australia?
CBD has recently changed from Schedule 4 (prescription only) to Schedule 3, which means you should be able to get low dose CBD (max.150 mg daily dose) over the counter at your local pharmacy.
“CBD got caught up in the whole medical cannabis legalisation thing that happened from late 2016,” Dr Iain explains. As part of that, there was a “torturous process” set up for Australians to access CBD, whereby you had to go through a doctor, hope said doctor is educated about CBD and is in favour of its use, then persuade them that CBD is right for you, then they would need to write a complicated application and send that off to Canberra to the TGA who would then decide either way.
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It will carve out an exemption for traditional hemp plants, defined as having a maximum of 0.3% of THC, he says. “Those are no longer defined as controlled substances.”
Even though, thanks to the Farm Bill, hemp lost its status as a Schedule I drug – one that has no proven medical purpose and potential for abuse – marijuana did not. That means even though many states have legalized its use, the federal government still considers marijuana and CBD products derived from marijuana in almost any form to be illegal. But so far, federal law enforcement officials have not used their power to swoop in and shut down marijuana operations in states that have legalized it.
And, according to Armentano, all cannabis products, including marijuana and medical CBD, are illegal in Idaho, South Dakota, and Nebraska.
What About CBD Products?
And November’s midterm elections, along with action by Congress late in 2018 to legalize hemp in the Farm Bill, brought even more changes to the landscape. Hemp is a variety of the cannabis plant with a negligible amount of the high-producing THC found in marijuiana.
The provision in the new Farm Bill, he says, clarifies “the legality of hemp-derived CBD.”
“It is going to bring some level of clarity to this market,” NORML’s Armentano says.
Industrial hemp has potential for food, medicine, and even car parts. And it’s been called a potential boon for Kentucky farmers looking for an alternative to their tobacco crops.
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