Will President Biden legalize marijuana, and what will that mean for CBD?

What’s the current status of CBD?

Despite the continuing struggle over federally legal marijuana, the status of CBD has been relatively steady for some time. Today, high-quality CBD products for humans and pets are available to purchase and use across the vast majority of the country, with the only caveats being in a few states like Idaho and Alaska, where there are limitations on the types of CBD people can legally buy.

The 2018 Farm Bill

The main reason behind why CBD is available in places where other cannabis products aren’t is due to 2018’s amendments to the federal farm bill. Those amendments officially separated hemp plants—non-intoxicating strains of cannabis—from marijuana, which is cannabis containing high amounts of the psychoactive cannabinoid THC.

With a different classification in place, hemp-made CBD products containing less than 0.3 percent THC are legal to buy and consume (almost) everywhere. This covers the majority of human-grade CBD oils and product, and all pet CBD products. Because no legitimate pet CBD is made from THC-containing cannabis, there should be no issue in finding quality CBD for your dog or cat.

How will the CBD market change if/when marijuana is legalized?

Even though the farm bill marked CBD as a separate, legally consumable cannabis product, barriers are still in place for CBD producers. Banks, insurers, and other financial institutions that operate on a federal level have largely refused to work with the CBD industry, due to difficulties caused by the state/federal legal mismatch.

Even though the federal and state perspectives on CBD are far more aligned than on marijuana in general, this wariness has extended to human and pet CBD producers, meaning that many brands struggle to access critical startup resources, such as loans and distribution deals.

With a full federal go-ahead for cannabis products of all types, CBD brands should be able to fully integrate with other industries, leading to a full mainstreaming of CBD products. Expect a boost in investment and greater access to (and choice of) CBD in physical and online stores.

Physicians, Vets, and the FDA

Perhaps the biggest change to CBD products that would occur under a cannabis-friendly Biden administration, however, is the official involvement of the FDA is monitoring and regulating the cannabis industry. Right now, the FDA has only licensed one CBD product for therapeutic use (a treatment for certain types of severe epilepsy in humans), with all other products using independent methods such as third-party testing and ‘seed-to-shelf’ transparency to establish product quality.

While these kinds of indirect or unofficial regulations may satisfy current customers, a federally regulated CBD market would allow professional associations to jump on the CBD bandwagon. Specifically, that means an increase in the use of CBD in physician and veterinarian practices. Today, only a tiny minority of vets are able to recommend CBD products to pet owners and, though they can freely discuss CBD when directly asked, they won’t bring up the subject without prompting. If progress on federal legalization is made, expect that dynamic to completely change, with thousands more pets being introduced to the benefits of CBD.

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