Author: Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research
Cannabidiol or CBD is a naturally occurring component of cannabis. It is extracted from the cannabis plant and often made into an oil for use. CBD is not psychoactive, and does not produce the ‘high’ of THC (tetrahyrocannabinol), the primary psychoactive component of cannabis. CBD is legal in Canada and has been used in the treatment of various medical conditions.
What is the legal status (and evidence) of CBD oil?
Because of the way cannabis and its products are metabolized, scientists believe there is a potential for interaction with other drugs, although nothing significant has yet been recorded. CBD has been found to be generally safe. Reports from patients indicate that negative drug interactions are not common. As with any other treatment, it is important to monitor your use of CBD and seek assistance if you experience any problems or have questions or concerns about its use.
The Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research, formerly CARBC, is a member of the BC Partners for Mental Health and Addictions Information. The institute is dedicated to the study of substance use in support of community-wide efforts aimed at providing all people with access to healthier lives, whether using substances or not. For more, visit www.cisur.ca.
Research suggests that CBD may provide relief for chronic pain. Sativex is a proprietary medication that combines THC and CBD and may be prescribed for the relief of pain associated with multiple sclerosis. There is also some evidence suggesting that CBD may be a promising support for people with opioid use disorders. The researchers noted that CBD reduced some symptoms associated with substance use disorders including anxiety, mood-related symptoms, pain, and insomnia.
Last year, Canada made history when it became the 2 nd country in the world to legalize recreational cannabis by passing the Cannabis Act on June 19. The bill, officially dubbed C-45, went into effect on October 17, 2018. Although the exact provisions vary depending on province and territory, in general, the act allows Canadian citizens 18 or older to possess up to 30 grams of dried or undried flower and grow up to four plants per household.
The legalization of cannabis in Canada had been on the horizon for years as public sentiment towards marijuana increasingly migrated towards acceptance. Although the nation has had a medical marijuana program in place since 2001, it wasn’t until the liberal party took over the majority of government in 2015 that cannabis reform was put on the fast track.
Is CBD Oil Legal in Canada?
These regulations, although undeniably necessary for a controlled substance, are not without inconvenience to many producers. The Cannabis Act leaves many stipulations up to the individual provinces of Canada, so regulations differ across localities. This has led to a surge in retail outlets in certain provinces (i.e. Alberta) while other areas, such as Ontario and Quebec, struggle to provide enough retail stores to meet demand.
This limitation of retail outlets is particularly troubling to cultivation and production facilities, who continue to expand their operations but are finding that there aren’t enough stores to sell their inventory. Canopy Growth and Aurora Cannabis, two of Canada’s biggest cannabis companies, reported unexpectedly large losses in the latest quarter, citing this very reason.
This has led to some confusion and ambiguity regarding the legality of CBD in Canada. While medical CBD has been available Canadian citizens since 2001, patients were previously required to obtain approval from Health Canada (akin to the FDA in America) and a prescription to be able to purchase CBD products legally. When C-45 hit the one-year mark, it effectively permitted the marketing and sale of both recreational CBD and THC edibles and extracts, but many of these products are not expected to be widely available in the country until mid-December.