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The Golden State has a complicated relationship with cannabis. Recreational use is legal and the medicinal market is flourishing despite federal law which still regards it as an illegal drug.

So, what does this have to do with CBD oil?

CBD stands for cannabidiol, a cannabinoid that’s produced by cannabis plants and doesn’t get you high. It’s been hailed as a miracle treatment and California voted in 2016 to legalize medical CBD oils when prescribed by a doctor. That law prompted dozens of new companies to enter the market, increasing competition so much that it led to price drops from around $100 per ounce to as low as $25.

The rapidly growing market has also attracted con artists looking to make a quick buck and companies that are falsely marketing products as CBD oils. In late 2017, California regulators cracked down on a company selling cannabidivarin (CBDV) products as though they were CBD oil.

What’s the difference?

Ironically, CBDV is one of the few cannabinoids in cannabis that does get you high. It’s not legal in any state but it is being researched for possible use for pain relief, anxiety, and more. Most experts say it produces a more severe ‘high’ when compared with THC, the cannabinoid best known for giving marijuana users that ‘stoned’ feeling.

Because it’s a different chemical, CBDV does not interact with the body in the same way as CBD, experts say. That’s why companies are offering it as a substitute for CBD oil. But that’s illegal – the state of California says CBD can only be sold as a medical product by licensed businesses and cannot be marketed as a dietary supplement (or sold at all outside the medical market). Companies are not allowed to even call their products ‘CBD oil.’

What about other cannabinoids?

The term ‘CBD oil’ gets thrown around a lot without much explanation about what is actually in it and that can be extremely confusing for consumers.

The non-profit group Project CBD monitors the CBD market and last year released a report that shows that there are dozens of companies selling products with names like “CBD oil” or “pure CBD oil” but with zero CBD in them. Many of the companies that Project CBD identified are selling products with quantities of THC – the psychoactive chemical in cannabis – so high that they would be considered illegal if sold as marijuana.

The report also found products labeled as having other cannabinoids like CBN (cannabinol), CBG (cannabigerol), and others for which there is little to no evidence of medical benefit.

What products are allowed in California?

The California Department of Public Health has a list of approved CBD products that can be sold legally in the state. Products are only allowed for use for specific medical conditions, like severe epilepsy and cancer.

Products can’t contain any THC and can only be sold in child-resistant containers. Products can’t be derivatives of marijuana, meaning there is no THC added (like cannabis oil), and a CBD product must contain at least 95 percent pure CBD.

It’s important to note that the California Department of Public Health doesn’t certify products. That means there is no guarantee that what you are buying is CBD oil, or even what it says on the label. The state says it won’t test products for the presence of pesticides and heavy metals – two common contaminants often found in hemp oil.

So what’s the takeaway?

If you are looking for CBD oil, the first thing to do is make sure you understand exactly what that is. Is it hemp oil? Is it extracted from a specific part of the hemp plant? Does it have THC in it or come from a marijuana plant? You need all of those facts before making a purchase.

Also, experts recommend buying CBD products from reputable companies and dispensaries that have been in business for at least three years and have lab results showing the purity of their products. For example, Project CBD has an extensive list of companies that pass its standards, which involves third-party lab testing.

Another good resource is the California Cannabis Hemp Industry Association, which has members only but maintains a historical log of companies and products. The group also produces a list of CBD oil brands that are verified by third-party testing.

Stay up to date with cannabis legislation at the Legislature by visiting this page on the California State Legislature website.

Is CBD Safe for Me to Use in California?

CBD is a relatively new compound in the hemp industry. Medical research is just beginning to understand its benefits and effects. Here’s a roundup of what’s currently known about CBD and its potential health benefits:

What is CBD?

CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of many cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. It has significant medical benefits without the psychoactive side effects of THC (read more about that below). CBD supplements are typically derived from hemp grown in Colorado, where the substance has been legally grown since 2014.

What are the benefits of CBD?

Studies have found that CBD can treat a wide range of medical conditions, including arthritis, chronic pain, and epilepsy. But there is limited research on CBD and large-scale treatments. Consult with a doctor before using any CBD product as part of a treatment plan.

How will I know if something is truly made from hemp or CBD?

There are several terms used to determine if a CBD product is derived from hemp or marijuana. Hemp products contain very little THC, which is what makes them legal to sell in all 50 states. Marijuana products contain much higher levels of THC, so they aren’t legal in all states, especially for recreational users. CBD oil, hemp oil, and CBD hemp oil are all legal in California, but they can be derived from marijuana or hemp.

What is the difference between THC and CBD?

THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the chemical found in both cannabis and hemp plants that produces the “high” effect. But unlike marijuana, hemp contains only trace amounts of THC – typically below 0.3 percent – so it won’t produce any perceived high effects. This is one of the reasons why CBD products are legal to sell online in all 50 states despite being made from hemp.

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive component of the cannabis flower that produces whatever health benefits are associated with the compound. While CBD may be derived from hemp, it does not make marijuana or hemp illegal in California.

Those looking for a way to use cannabis for medicinal purposes can look into buying CBD products that contain very little THC and are made from industrial-grade hemp grown in California. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved these products as “approved dietary supplements” and they can be bought legally on Amazon.com, eBay, and other online marketplaces across the country.

How do I take CBD?

CBD oil is typically consumed through an oil dropper that is either placed under the tongue or mixed in with your food and taken orally. Others prefer to use a vaporizer to inhale CBD. The CBD oils are usually made with a plant-derived carrier oil such as coconut, hemp seed, olive, or MCT (medium-chain triglyceride) oil. For those who don’t like the taste of hemp seed or MCT, supplements are available in capsules and there are now many flavored CBD oils on the market.

What are the Laws Regarding CBD Use in California?

Cannabis – Amendment 64, which allowed for recreational use of marijuana, went into effect on January 1, 2018. With this new law came the creation of the California Cannabis Hemp Pilot Program Act, also known as Senate Bill 94.

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is now required to license and regulate CBD products for medical purposes in the state. The Cannabis Hemp Pilot Program Act also allows for licensed manufacturers to produce hemp-derived CBD products in other states that have regulated hemp and/or marijuana used for medicinal purposes. So if you are a manufacturer outside of California looking for a non-compliant business partner, you can look outside of California’s borders now more than ever before.

California has not yet approved any CBD products as “approved pharmaceutical products,” but the CDPH did approve the first CBD-based pharmaceutical drug called Epidiolex. This is a treatment option for patients with severe forms of epilepsy and is available by prescription only. To date, California is the only state to have done so.

What are the rules governing hemp and CBD products in California?

Under Senate Bill 94, manufacturers are allowed to produce hemp-derived CBD products. Here’s a look at some other rules and regulations:

These products must maintain a minimum THC level of 0.3 percent by weight.

There is a limit on the CBD level that can be added to the product, with no more than 5 milligrams per serving.

The hemp plant grown for hemp-derived CBD products must be grown under strict conditions. It cannot contain more than 0.3 percent THC by weight, and all of the fiber found in it must also be removed before being sold. The hemp seed used in these products must also comply with FDA rules regarding food additives and testing for contaminants. The CBD can only have been extracted from hemp that has been allowed to grow without any human intervention for three years before extraction at a licensed facility that has already been inspected and approved by CDPH.

Manufacturers are expected to adhere to these rules as well as follow regulations from the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) and the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

In addition to these rules, CBD products do not require any FDA-approved lab tests. Any CBD product that is made in California must be tested by a third-party lab for purity. The recommended third-party lab is CW Analytical which is located in San Diego. Even if you don’t manufacture your own CBD product in California, you can buy a product that has been tested here and knows that it was produced without an excess of harmful chemicals such as pesticides or solvents.

Where do I buy CBD in California?

The best place to buy a hemp-derived CBD product in California is from Hemp Genix – the most trusted hemp-derived CBD oil brand in the US. Our quality hemp oil products are available online and delivered to your door within days all across the US. We also have an online store that sells our most popular products – including CBD gummies, tinctures, capsules, topicals, and more!

If you’re wondering how to buy CBD oil in California safely and legally without breaking any laws, Hemp Genix has you covered with our online store. We’re committed to providing high-quality products that are 100 percent legal to sell and ship nationwide. All of our products are derived from hemp, not marijuana.

If you have any questions about CBD in California, feel free to reach out to us here. We’re always happy to help! And don’t forget to follow us on social media for the latest updates and great deals on CBD.


About the Author

Andrew White

Professional cannabis grower and the director of botany for a large dispensary in Los Angeles, California, U.S.

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