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The CBD Issue:
Congress legalizes hemp. Confusion abounds.
A lot can happen in three weeks. The day after we published the December 19th issue of The Marijuana Report and closed shop for the holidays, President Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill. A provision in the bill legalized hemp by removing it from the Controlled Substances Act.
Hemp is marijuana that contains no more than 0.3 percent (three-tenths of one percent) THC. The Act makes hemp an agricultural commodity like corn or soybeans. This means hemp is entitled to taxpayer-funded crop insurance like other crops, can be distributed across state borders, and can engage in the US banking system unlike marijuana, which can do none of those things because it is illegal under federal law.
But don’t start growing hemp in your windowsill just yet. Growers must be licensed under a system of federal and state duel regulation. States can set up their own licensing systems. But growers in states that don’t must obtain a license from the federal government.
Even with a legitimate license, growers who produce a crop with THC levels higher than 0.3 percent risk having their total crop destroyed under the law.
CBD extracted from marijuana is not protected under this act. CBD extracted from hemp may make no medical claims whatsoever without conducting clinical trials and obtaining FDA approval.
Read Pot Network story here
Read the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 here. (See Title X. Horticulture, Section 10113, Hemp Production.)

Statement from
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD
To clarify what the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 does and does not do, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, issued a statement the day President Trump signed the Farm Bill into law. He notes that:
  • Congress specifically preserved FDA’s authority to regulate products containing marijuana, any of its components, and hemp.
  • FDA will continue to treat products containing marijuana, its components, and hemp the same way it treats any other FDA regulated products,
  • FDA will continue to scrutinize any marijuana-based or hemp-based products that pose risks to the public and will take enforcement actions against such products,
  • FDA continues to be concerned about the sale of “unapproved [THC and CBD] products with unsubstantiated therapeutic claims” as this “is not only a violation of the law, but also can put patients at risk because these products have not been proven to be safe or effective,” and
  • It is unlawful “to introduce food containing added CBD or THC into interstate commerce, or to market CBD or THC products as, or in, dietary supplements, regardless of whether the substances are hemp-derived.” 
FDA has set up a webpage with answers to frequently asked questions about marijuana, which will now be updated following the passage of the Agriculture Improvement Act.
Read Commissioner Gottlieb’s statement here. Access FDA Q&A webpage here.

Is CBD helpful, or just hype?
In a New York Times op-ed, psychiatrist Richard A. Friedman writes that CBD is being promoted as a miracle cure for almost any condition.
“Enthusiasts rave about its supposed anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory, antidepressant and, well, anti-everything-you-don’t-like effects,” he notes.
He says the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine convened a panel of experts in 2017 to review the health effects of marijuana and its components. Examining more than 10,000 studies, the panel found insufficient evidence to support CBD’s effectiveness for any condition except anxiety for which there is limited evidence.
“The explosive popularity of CBD is way ahead of any evidence to support its efficacy – or reliable reassurances that it has no serious adverse effects,” he concludes. “Future studies may prove otherwise, but at present CBD looks more like an expensive placebo than a panacea.”
Read New York Times story here.

Dangerous chemicals are found
in popular CBD products
After being alerted by a user who experienced unexpected side-effects from a CBD product manufactured by Diamond CBD Products, Virginia Commonwealth University researchers bought several different varieties from Diamond’s website and tested their contents.
They found a compound called 5F-ADB in several. 5F-ADB is an illegal chemical found in synthetic marijuana products such as K2 and Spice that “can trigger paranoia and panic attacks, increase heart rate and blood pressure, and cause convulsions, organ damage and even death.” The Diamond CBD Vape Additive also contained dextromethorphan (DXM), an ingredient in cough medicine that teenagers sometimes abuse.
“When taken in high doses, DXM can cause an abnormal heartbeat and sedation, as well as hallucinations and a sense of euphoria,” says Ryan Vandrey, PhD, associate professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, who studies the purity of CBD and other marijuana products. Dr, Vandrey was not involved in this study.
Study co-author, Michelle Peace, PhD, associate professor of forensic sciences at Virginia Commonwealth, says numerous CBD products are being sold to consumers, “often with claims about their potential health effects,” putting public health and public safety at risk. More than 600 CBD products are sold in US health food stores and online.
Professor Vandrey agrees, saying “Contaminants in CBD products is a real issue, and largely stems from the lack of regulation.”
Read Consumer Reports story here.

(Executive Editor’s note: Dr. Vandrey serves on National Families in Action’s Science Advisory Board.) 

The Marijuana Report is a weekly e-newsletter published by National Families in Action in partnership with SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana).

Visit National Families in Action's website, The Marijuana Report.Org, to learn more about the marijuana story unfolding across the nation.

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The Marijuana Report Staff
Executive Editor
Sue Rusche
Nicole Carter
IT Consultant
Lee Clontz
Social Media Coordinator
Margarita Eberline
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Birmingham, Alabama 
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