The Difference between Cannabis Oil, CBD Oil and Marijuana Oil
Cannabis oil, CBD oil, and marijuana oil are all somewhat synonymous but with key differences. We have a helpful infographic for you to get a better understanding of hemp oil vs. cannabis oil. Meanwhile, what’s important is to make the distinction between “marijuana” and “hemp” when asking the question, “Is cannabis oil legal?”
You’ll often hear that they are completely different plants – like plant “cousins.” But this is not exactly accurate. They are the same species – they are more like different breeds. Domestic dogs and ancient wolves are more like “cousins,” but when it comes to hemp and marijuana, we’re talking more like the differences between a golden retriever and a yellow lab.
Hemp plants are grown in different conditions, and the plants themselves are often tall and stalky, grown aptly in fields where similar conditions for corn are met. Marijuana plants are a lot shorter and stubbier, and each plant needs more room to grow than hemp plants. Marijuana is often produced under conditions that allow for THC to be highly present among its plant constituents. Meanwhile, hemp has little to no THC but instead has various other phytocannabinoids and terpenes and small amounts of CBD.
Hemp oil that is made from the hemp usually has high concentrations of CBD. But, of course, with any oil, you can have varying concentrations of cannabinoids depending on the strains used. It is perfectly possible to make high-CBD oil from whole plant cannabis extracts. Therefore, whatever the oil is called, it’s important to take a look at concentrations because you might be surprised. It depends on what cannabinoid they were going for when breeding the strain and then extracting cannabinoids for wellness benefits. CBD oil can be from hemp oil, hemp seed oil, or cannabis oil. CBD oil just means that the oil is high in CBD. So, is cannabis oil legal? Yes and no, depending on where you live.
So, Is Cannabis Oil Legal?
In the United States
According to some of the most current information found on “Governing.com,” as of May 25th, 2016, 25 states and the District of Columbia currently have laws legalizing marijuana in some form. The information was also available in map form. Medical marijuana laws are present in the following states:
- New Mexico
- New York
- Rhode Island
- New Jersey
- New Hampshire
This means that medical marijuana, often including in cannabis oil form, is usually legal given that the patient has a medical card demonstrating his or her approved need for the cannabis. But the National Conference of State Legislature gives a more detailed chart of state medical marijuana laws, if you’re looking for further specifics. The only states that have legalized both medical marijuana and recreational use of the plant are
Every other state not listed has effectively zero laws legalizing marijuana, which pretty much goes for cannabis oil and hemp oil as well. Things get a little sticky, and some laws almost seem to contradict one another. For one thing, just because medical marijuana is legal in a state, it does not mean it’s legal for just any old medical condition. Federal law still prohibits regular doctors from prescribing medical marijuana. But they are allowed to “recommend” medical marijuana. I know – talk about dodgy word-play. And not every legalized state has its own dispensaries. Basically, you’re allowed to grow it, but otherwise, it might be hard to actually get your hands on medical marijuana.
Another complication comes with CBD oils. CBD oil is technically legal in all 50 states, since it’s the THC content of plants that the United States government seems to be worried about, but even that remains a tad muddy. According to projectCBD.org in an article about CBD misconceptions, “Federal law prohibits U.S. farmers from growing hemp as a commercial crop, but the sale of imported, low-THC, industrial hemp products is permitted in the United States as long as these products are derived from the seed or stalk of the plant, not from the leaves and flowers.”
According to a bioassay published in “The Composition of Hemp Seed Oil and Its Potential as an Important Source of Nutrition,” CBD is present in hemp oil/hemp seed oil. Overall, this means that getting CBD oil is still tricky business, but at least CBD products are already easily accepted into the U.S. in import form.
Dispensaries and Their Success
Hawaii is currently planning the opening of its first dispensaries in the year 2016. As of late April, the state has picked 8 recipients for medical marijuana dispensary licenses and controversially turned down a Woody Harrelson marijuana dispensary application. Each license allows the license holder to run up to two production centers and two dispensaries. Some intend to start selling as soon as July 15th, but another license-holder reportedly said they would begin selling at the end of the year.
Colorado, on the other hand, with dispensaries up and running, is seeing huge sales and booming tax revenue. A study was conducted by University of Denver economics professor Jack Strauss examining the economic effect of two local dispensaries. The study claims that, between the two dispensaries, Evergreen Apothecary and Colorado Harvest Company, these businesses pay roughly 10 times the amount of taxes an average restaurant or retail store in the city pays. The study also approximates sales for both the stores at $11.2 million and postulates that these businesses will pay nearly $1.5 million in state and local taxes.
Despite this uphill battle, public opinion and education on medical marijuana, cannabis oil, and cannabidiol is increasing in America. According to USA today, “While only 12% of Americans supported legalizing pot in 1969, 58% of Americans supported an end to marijuana prohibition in 2013.”
In the United Kingdom
So, is cannabis oil legal in the U.K.? The U.K has had a complex process with trying to get cannabis oil legal as well. Cannabis as a whole was illegal for a long while. And only during a brief period between 2004 and 2009 did it enjoy being classified as a Class C illicit drug, which meant that you could face a maximum of two years in prison as opposed to harsher punishments with Class B or Class A substances. Class C is the lowest class that a substance can be placed in. And, in 2009, cannabis made its way back into class B once again, which meant that growing or possession could get you a fine plus a maximum of five years in prison. All of this information was found in an article published by Leafly.
With that said, it was a big deal when a London and Kent-based company became the first U.K. distributor of “Charlotte’s Web” cannabis oil since it was made legal last year, in 2015. This is the very first step the U.K. has made in any sort of cannabis legalization. According to the Metro News, “UK CBD are the first British company to sell ‘Charlotte’s Web’ cannabis oil since it was made legal on 31 July (2015). Charlotte’s Web products are derived from low THC – the major psychoactive component in marijuana – high CBD – which is not psychoactive – cannabis strains. In other words they do not induce the ‘high’ associated with recreational marijuana. These varieties of cannabis are commonly referred to as hemp.”
It was also found through other sources that the U.K. government mostly only seems to care that people can’t get their hands on the substances that can get you high. All that’s important to them is that the THC content of a plant is not above 0.2%, period. Therefore, CBD oil is legal in the U.K., and, consequently, any cannabis oil that doesn’t have a THC content above 0.2%. With all this said, cannabis legalization in the U.K. is in its infancy.
Cannabis oil legality is looking bright and optimistic in Canada. Currently, they have a federal medical marijuana program, and, at the end of last year, the first cannabis oil products became legal and available, according to Huffington Post. It was a big step since, previously, the only medical marijuana available was combustible. In other words, you had to smoke it, and other options weren’t available. Peace Naturals is offering cannabis oil in two strains: “Cerene,” which is diluted with coconut oil, and “Omega,” which is cut with chia oil. The company says it dilutes cannabis oil because there is a Health Canada limit on how much THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) there can be in the oil.” A prescription is needed for the oils. The other licensed producer of cannabis oil in Canada is the Toronto-based company, Mettrum.
We can surmise from this data that, while the United States has some of the most complicated legislature around legal cannabis oil and legal medical marijuana, it is somewhat the furthest along with its own dispensaries in some states and some states allowing complete legalization (recreational use is allowed). The U.K. is just beginning to have available cannabis oil, although the U.K. has had a rather strict ban on marijuana altogether up until recently. And Canada, already having a medical marijuana system in place, also is just beginning to offer cannabis oil to those who need it. We hope this information clears up questions and misconceptions.
If you want to know more, we have a resource page on the cannabidiol legal status that can tell you about CBD supplements and what you need to know.
Let us know about your region and your own experiences in the comments below. Thank you for reading.