CBD has been trending in literally every nook and corner of America. From convenience stores to local shops to pharmacies, and even gas stations, one can find CBD everywhere. It can come in various forms and sizes including oil extract, a part of topical salves, inside packaged goods for people and pets, and in some instances, added to your coffee at a local cafe.
CBD has become extremely special and unique with its healing capabilities as it is a non-psychoactive and anti-inflammatory compound which helps in treating a wide range of ailments. In recent years, more and more businesses have evolved in the cannabis industry and created an array of CBD infused products.
The naturally occurring, hemp-derived CBD is known to relieve stress, reduce anxiety, promote relaxation, induce better sleep, reduce pain and inflammation unlike the marijuana compound THC or tetrahydro cannabinoid which causes the user to feel ‘high’ while smoking pot or weed.
However, the federal and state regulations have caused the train of unfettered sales to be in danger of derailment.
In June, the State Department of Agricultural Resources issued a policy statement prohibiting the sale of several hemp-based products, including any food items containing CBD, any product containing CBD derived from hemp that makes therapeutic or medicinal claims, any hemp product as a dietary supplement and any animal feed containing hemp products.
In reaction to a previous declaration issued by the Food and Drug Administration, the state guidelines observed that while hemp was legalized at the federal level by the Farm Bill issued in December 2018, the FDA has still not approved any food or nutritional uses for cannabis and derived compounds, including CBD, for interstate trade. The agency is firm on its stance of putting public health and safety at first priority, it says that it wants to conduct proper research on the unproven health claims about CBD usage.
A statement by the agency read that they remain committed on exploring an efficient, appropriate and safe regulatory framework which would allow companies and product makers that meet the requirements stated by the authorities to lawfully market their CBD based products.
Meanwhile, most states are relying on guidance from the FDA for CBD sales and marketing. The sudden policy shift has left farmers and retailers across the state of Massachusetts to think about the legality of CBD products and wonder whether it is legal and safe to sell and grow CBD based derivatives and other products.
The leadership of the Northeast Organic Farming Association/Massachusetts, the Northeast Sustainable Hemp Association and the Massachusetts Hemp Coalition stated in a joint letter to the Gov. Charlie Baker stating that they urge their administration to immediately halt any enforcement of June 12, 2019, Policy Statements and to inform enforcement agencies to clear out all parts regarding the hemp plant, including hemp-derived cannabinoids, are considered food and as, such may be sold for human consumption or added to products, including those intended for human or animal consumption, and such an addition is not considered an adulteration of such products.”
The state finds itself in a complex predicament in which cannabis products are allowed at licensed sellers, however, CBD edibles are not.
Jim Borghesani, a spokesperson of the 2016 ballot initiative to legalize marijuana, said that an absurd dichotomy exists in the state currently which legalizes cannabinoid produce and sales of cannabinoid derived products, but you cannot legally produce and sell hemp consumables.
Tracie Ezzio, owner and operations head at Pepperell Family Pharmacy, Ayer Family Pharmacy and Tyngsboro Family Pharmacy along with her daughter, Larissa Hubbard, said they had introduced CBD based products into their locations only last year.
Ezzio said that adding CBD has been great to their pharmacies, both for patients who use it in conjunction with traditional medicines and for people who use CBD to detach away from conventional medications including opioids.
While pharmacists can’t recommend or suggest CBD products to patients, they are able to inform people who come looking for CBD based products about how the compound may interact with their current medication, she said.
Ezzio said that in her 42 years of career as a pharmacist, she has never witnessed anything as dramatic as CBD. She said her customers always tell her how CBD has changed their lives, from people that have physically demanding jobs to those suffering from arthritic pain, everyone is loving CBD.
While pharmacies had to remove CBD food items such as truffles and gummies from their shelves, they have been comparatively less affected by the policy change than other CBD sellers. For instance, at Tyngsboro Family Pharmacy, most consumers come for CBD infused topical creams and oil, which aren’t prohibited by the new policy, said Jocelyn O’Connor, pharmacy tech in training.