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CBD, cannabis and marijuana: What’s the difference? CBD derived from hemp is already available over-the-counter. Medical cannabis will be heavily regulated. Published December 22, 2021 at 7:49 Can you buy delta-8 THC products if you live in Alabama? Discover everything you need to know about delta-8’s legal status in AL.

CBD, cannabis and marijuana: What’s the difference?

CBD derived from hemp is already available over-the-counter. Medical cannabis will be heavily regulated.

Published December 22, 2021 at 7:49 am

The Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission is working on creating the rules and regulations for medical cannabis following the Legislature’s bill in the last regular session.

At its most recent meeting, the commission discussed a variety of different products that could be offered—tinctures, oils, topical creams,edibles— most options are on the table except for raw product and smoking or vaping forms.

Meanwhile, there are CBD products everywhere in Alabama, from official CBD stores to gas stations. They sell CBD in all of the above mentioned forms and even have vapes available.

So what’s the difference?

The major difference is that the CBD products on the shelf today are derived from hemp, while the medical cannabis will be derived from marijuana. The key difference between the two cannabis plants is the amount of the psychoactive ingredient THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).

Hemp has less than 0.3% THC, which is also Alabama’s legal limit for CBD products. CBD has been legal in Alabama since Congress passed the 2018 Farm Bill clearing hemp from the list of controlled substances.

THC is the element of marijuana that produces the effect of feeling “high.”

The Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission is dealing with marijuana, any cannabis plant that has more than 0.3% THC.

“That’s where you get the benefits for pain and other issues to do with the medical side of it that you don’t get with the CBD,” McMillan said.

CBD has been touted to help with a variety of ailments from anxiety to blood pressure, but only one cannabis-derived product has been approved for the treatment of seizures. There are currently no other CBD products FDA-approved, despite their legality.

“We are aware that some firms are marketing CBD products to treat diseases or for other therapeutic uses, and we have issued several warning letters to such firms,” the FDA states on its website. “Under the FD&C Act, any product intended to have a therapeutic or medical use, and any product (other than a food) that is intended to affect the structure or function of the body of humans or animals, is a drug. Drugs must generally either receive premarket approval by FDA through the New Drug Application (NDA) process or conform to a ‘monograph’ for a particular drug category, as established by FDA’s Over-the-Counter (OTC) Drug Review.”

McMillan also said he has some concerns about the lack of regulation of CBD.

“There’s no regulation of CBD,” McMillan said. “We’ve got some really good companies in Alabama making good CBD products but we don’t know what’s coming in from out of state with gummies and drops and those vape things and all that. It’s an area that needs to be regulated.”

“FDA continues to be concerned at the proliferation of products asserting to contain CBD that are marketed for therapeutic or medical uses although they have not been approved by the FDA,” the FDA site continues. “Often such products are sold online and are therefore available throughout the country. Selling unapproved products with unsubstantiated therapeutic claims is not only a violation of the law, but also can put patients at risk, as these products have not been proven to be safe or effective.

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“The agency has and will continue to monitor the marketplace and take action as needed to protect the public health against companies illegally selling cannabis and cannabis-derived products that can put consumers at risk and that are being marketed for therapeutic uses for which they are not approved. At the same time, FDA recognizes the potential therapeutic opportunities that cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds could offer and acknowledges the significant interest in these possibilities.”

With hemp production, research and possession becoming legal in 2018, there is still much research being done to study the particular effects of CBD, including side effects. However, some preliminary research has shown potential for positive effects from CBD.

Medical marijuana

Medical marijuana, or medical cannabis as it is formally being called in Alabama, will contain much higher concentrations of THC. Unlike CBD, it will be under strict regulations from the first day a patient can obtain it.

All cannabis will be prescribed by doctors specifically licensed and trained to prescribe cannabis. The patients will also have to carry a card identifying their permission to use prescription cannabis. The products will be clearly marked with a cannabis warning symbol and information about the contents.

Because no cannabis products are approved by the FDA, the products cannot be sold in pharmacies. In fact, marijuana remains a Schedule 1 drug at the federal level, prohibited even for medical purposes. But an amendment in 2014 to the law prohibits the Justice Department from interfering with state medical cannabis laws.

In Alabama, all medical cannabis products will be sold through legally licensed dispensaries.

The commission is looking at a variety of product mixes and costs to be made available.

Valid illnesses include autism, Crohn’s disease, depression, PTSD, epilepsy, HIV/AIDS, Cancer, terminal illnesses, panic disorder, Parkinson’s, sickle cell anemia, spasticity, Tourette’s, and even chronic nausea or pain. However, documentation is required to show conventional treatment or therapy has been unsuccessful.

Jacob Holmes is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected]

Is Delta-8 THC Legal in Alabama?

Delta-8 hangs on in Alabama despite state lawmakers’ attempts to ban it.

Hemp-derived delta-8 THC is legal in Alabama under state and federal law. This means you can purchase, use, possess, sell, distribute, and produce delta-8 in Alabama without fear of penalty or prosecution.

In order for delta-8 to be legal on the state and federal levels, the hemp it’s derived from must carry no more than 0.3% delta-9 THC. Why? Because delta-9 remains an illegal controlled substance under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.

Is delta-8 legal in Alabama?

  • Delta-8 is legal to purchase, use, possess, sell, distribute, and produce in Alabama under state and federal law
  • In order for delta-8 to be legal, it must be sourced from hemp carrying no more than 0.3% delta-9 THC
  • Alabama lawmakers unsuccessfully tried to prohibit delta-8 THC and place it on the state’s own controlled substances list
  • You can freely purchase delta-8 products online and in retail stores in Alabama
  • CBD and delta-10 THC derived from hemp are also legal and protected under state and federal law
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The legislation on delta-8 in Alabama

In 2018, the federal government signed the Agriculture Improvement Act (2018 Farm Bill). It removed hemp and all hemp-derived compounds (excluding delta-9 THC) from the definition of marijuana, which is a schedule I controlled substance.

The signing of the 2018 Farm Bill meant delta-8 and delta-10 THC became legal in all 50 states and Washington DC on the federal level.

Following the enactment of the 2018 Farm Bill, Alabama’s Republican Governor Kay Ivey signed SB. 225, an important piece of legislation amending its own hemp laws in line with federal law. This means hemp, hemp derivatives, and hemp products are legal on the state level, including delta-8 and delta-10 THC.

Alabama Senate vs. delta-8

At the beginning of 2021, delta-8 THC’s future in Alabama didn’t look good. The Alabama Senate passed House Bill 2, a piece of legislation originally seeking to ban tianeptine in the state of Alabama. The Senate Judiciary Committee then added a controversial amendment to the bill that would see delta-8 and delta-10 placed on the state’s own list of controlled substances.

Fortunately, the House Health Committee rejected the amendment, despite the bill’s author, Sen. Arthur Orr, requesting it to be tabled for a later date.

As it stands, delta-8, delta-10, and other THC variants are still legal in Alabama.

Is recreational and medical marijuana legal in Alabama?

Recreational marijuana is strictly prohibited in Alabama.

Medical marijuana is legal for adults and minors with specific qualifying conditions such as AIDS, cancer-related sickness, Crohn’s disease, panic disorder, and PTSD (among others). Medical marijuana patients must obtain a recommendation from a licensed physician. No medical marijuana vapes, foods, or flower are available.

Does this mean delta-8 derived from marijuana is legal in Alabama?

Technically, delta-8 THC naturally present in medical marijuana is protected under state law but with restrictions. However, despite legal medical cannabis, producers are not permitted to create their own delta-8 products from marijuana.

Buying delta-8 in Alabama

Since delta-8 is legal to purchase, sell, and distribute in Alabama, there are a number of licensed online and physical stores selling a wide range of delta-8 products. Most physical stores selling delta-8 are established independent CBD dispensaries, vape stores, head shops, and tobacco shops. Gas stations and convenience stores also sell delta-8 but we recommend avoiding them for your own health and safety.

Which online delta-8 brands ship to Alabama?

Thanks to state and federal legalization of hemp-derived delta-8, there are many vendors in and out of Alabama ready to ship delta-8 products to your address.

Before you go looking for the first online delta-8 vendor on Google, make sure it’s safe, transparent, and legit. We have a comprehensive list of credible, transparent, and safe delta-8 products that have been fully vetted and tested.

If you’re specifically looking for vapes, make sure the lab reports test for pesticides, heavy metals, and vitamin E – many carts have been found to carry unsafe amounts of heavy metals. Check out this list of the best delta-8 carts for options that are safe and clean.

What type of delta-8 is legal in Alabama?

Delta-8 THC derived from Farm Bill compliant hemp that carries no more than 0.3% THC is legal and available in Alabama. If the hemp carries more than 0.3% THC, it’s automatically classified as marijuana, which is a controlled drug on the state and federal levels and illegal to purchase anywhere within the state.

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Can you travel to Alabama with delta-8?

Yes. You can travel to Alabama with delta-8 THC in your possession. The state has not banned cross-border travel or transportation of hemp-derived delta-8 products, provided they carry no more than 0.3% THC.

Can I travel to Alabama with marijuana-derived delta-8 THC?

No. You cannot travel to Alabama with marijuana-derived delta-8 products in your possession. Recreational cannabis is illegal and medical cannabis is legal with strict limits on its availability. If you choose to travel into Alabama with marijuana or marijuana-derived delta-8, it’s a crime under state law and the punishment can be severe.

Is delta-10 THC legal in Alabama?

Yes. Just like its delta-8 sibling, delta-10 THC is legal in Alabama. For delta-10 to be legal in the state, it must be derived from hemp plants carrying no more than 0.3% THC.

Is CBD legal in Alabama?

Yes. CBD products are legal to purchase, possess, use, distribute, and produce in Alabama, provided it’s sourced from Farm Bill compliant hemp carrying the legal limit of 0.3% THC by dry weight. CBD sourced from marijuana carrying above the legal 0.3% limit is not permitted under state law unless prescribed by a licensed physician.

Upcoming legislation in Alabama that could change legality of delta-8?

There is no upcoming legislation that could change delta-8’s legality in Alabama, though state lawmakers are still opposed to delta-8 THC’s widespread availability among Alabamian residents. We expect delta-8’s legality to be called back into question at a later date — perhaps even sometime this year.

Is the federal government looking to change delta-8’s legality?

Yes. The federal government and the Drug Enforcement Agency are trying to put a stop to delta-8 and its accessibility across the US.

In mid-2020, the DEA issued an Interim Final Rule (IFR) claiming all “synthetically-derived tetrahydrocannabinols remain schedule I controlled substances”. How does this relate to delta-8? Well, aside from being a “tetrahydrocannabinol”, the way it’s produced might be misconstrued as synthetic.

Because delta-8 isn’t abundant in hemp plants, producers must chemically derive it from CBD via a structural isomerization process. This process takes CBD, changes its molecular structure with chemicals, and converts it to delta-8, all under laboratory conditions.

In the eyes of the DEA, this isomerization process might be considered “synthetically-derived”, placing delta-8 straight on the controlled substances list, thus deeming it federally illegal.

The future for delta-8 in Alabama

To be honest with you, we’re not 100% sure what’s going to happen to delta-8 THC in Alabama. Not only are state lawmakers trying to stop delta-8 products running rampant but they’re also attempting to categorize all tetrahydrocannabinols as controlled substances. Combine this with growing federal pressure to stop delta-8’s legal loopholes and the future doesn’t look all that promising.

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