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With how popular CBD is starting to become worldwide, it was expected that California would be one of the more accepting US states. Even European laws allow CBD use and some, like Hemp to Wellness (h2w), are even classifying it as a dietary supplement.
Medical marijuana and recreational marijuana use are still legal in California, but as of July 6th, 2018, The California Department of Public Health Food and Drug Branch have released a revised FAQ sheet that bans CBD from being used in any food or pet food products.
This came as a surprise because it looks like California is trying to ban hemp products from being used when they are already everywhere.
What does this mean for people who already use hemp and just how will hemp be regulated?
What Counts as Food in the Ban?
The first thing to know is just what the California Department of Public Health, Food and Drug Branch definition of food is.
According to the new FAQ sheet, California defines food as “any article used or intended for use for food, drink, confection, condiment, or chewing gum by man or other animals.”
This, however, does not include cannabis edibles or meat, dairy, poultry, or eggs, which are regulated by the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
Even with this, the ban still eliminates many food products that could potentially contain hemp-derived CBD.
Which Hemp-derived CBD Products Will Not Be Allowed?
The main reason the California Department of Public Health has created a ban on hemp CBD products is due to health claims that have not been thoroughly tested and proved.
The main reason behind the ban is that CBD derived from industrial hemp is still considered a controlled substance and not a food product or dietary supplement. The updated FAQ has listed what will be allowed and what will not be allowed when it comes to CBD Hemp products.
Allowed (Without any health claims)
- Seeds obtained from industrial hemp
- Industrial hemp seed oil or hemp seed oil derived from industrial hemp
Not allowed in food
- Any CBD products obtained from cannabis
- Any CBD products including CBD oil obtained from industrial hemp
- Hemp oil not obtained from industrial hemp seeds
- Industrial hemp seed oil enhanced with CBD or other cannabinoids
What’s the Difference between the Industrial Hemp and Hemp-Derived CBD?
The updated FAQ mentions industrial hemp, which is the main focal point of the ban. If you are not an active cannabis user, you will most likely have no idea that there even were different ways of harvesting hemp seed oil.
Industrial hemp was only legalized to be grown and cultivated by state departments of agriculture and institutions of higher education for research under a state program or other agricultural and academic research purposes.
Industrial hemp seed oil is obtained from seeds limited to several types of the Cannabis Sativa L. plant, which may contain some traces of CBD and other types of cannabinoids.
This food grade industrial hemp seed oil is approved to be sold in various sources.
But CBD and CBD oil obtained from industrial hemp are not approved for use in human and animal food.
This is because no regulatory agency provides an oversight for the production of CBD oil from industrial hemp. In other words, because there is no set regulation, CBD oil obtained from industrial hemp is an unapproved food additive.
But the CDPH does have authority to regulate over food and dietary products containing CBD oil, so they can further emphasize how CBD hemp oil is not an approved dietary supplement.
What about Cannabis Edibles?
When marijuana was first made legal in California, its rule on edibles was that the serving size must not have more than ten milligrams of THC and the complete package no more than 100 milligrams of THC.
So, what does this new ban mean for those who use edibles?
The California Department of Public Health states that edibles are sold under the Medicinal and Adult Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA) and regulated by the CPDH’s Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch.
That would mean edibles fall under their own section that’s different than those affected by the industrial hemp seed ban. However, edibles are still going to be affected.
The Bureau of Cannabis Control will not allow MAUCRSA licensed retailers to sell stand-alone hemp-based CBD products. This becomes a problem for users who are currently using edibles since the BCC allows for non-cannabis products to be sold at licensed retail storefronts.
How Does California Plan on Removing CBD Hemp Products from Stores?
As of right now, there is no plan on removing CBD hemp products that are already being sold in stores.
This is thanks to the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act passed by Congress in 1994 which states: “the FDA can take action to remove products from the market, but the agency must first establish that such products are adulterated (e.g., that the product is unsafe) or misbranded (e.g., that the labeling is false or misleading).”
Since not enough tests have been done to prove or disprove the health claims of CBD hemp products, the CDPH has no right to remove the products from store shelves.
Taking into consideration how many stores sell CBD hemp products, it would take a massive cleaning sweep to remove the products across the state.
Cannabis has been used for many health issues and conditions, such as anxiety, inflammation, and pain.
Cannabis users claim that CBD products are a must have and that they are happy that growing and manufacturing cannabis products are legal in California. But with these new FAQ, it seems like California is trying to take back the approved law to return to how things used to be.
It is still unknown what prompted this sudden change of mind and what kind of actions the CDPH will take, but for now, CBD hemp oil cannot be added to food by manufacturers.