CBD in Canada: Your most common questions answered
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Ever since cannabis (which includes CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids) was federally legalized for recreational use in Canada on October 17, 2018, the legal landscape surrounding CBD products became a bit less clear as the Cannabis Act was mostly focused on defining the laws around marijuana and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). CBD (cannabidiol) can not only be derived from marijuana but also hemp, which are both considered cannabis plants. CBD is legal in Canada but there are distinctions around which forms of it are legal and why.
We founded resolveCBD with a mission to educate consumers about CBD as we believe it can hold significant benefits for many. As a Canadian company, how legislation affects Canadians and how they should navigate the industry are key components of our pursuit. This article focuses on misconceptions Canadians have around CBD.
Is CBD legal in Canada?
CBD is one of several plant compounds (known as cannabinoids) that can be extracted from either hemp or marijuana – both of which are legal with appropriate licensing. The Cannabis Act distinguishes between traditional cannabis (commonly referred to as marijuana) and industrial hemp. While hemp is a member of the cannabis family, it does not fall under the definition of “Cannabis” as per the Act and is therefore subject to a different set of regulations. Under these regulations, known as the Industrial Hemp Regulations, the mature stalks, grains, and seeds of industrial hemp plants from licensed industrial hemp farmers may legally be sold in Canada. There are currently no specific regulations or guidance around the manufacture and sale of CBD products derived from this specific hemp source. This is a crucial distinction to note, as hemp has been known to contain high amounts of CBD, however, it contains very little THC, less than 0.3% in dried hemp – making it non-psychoactive (i.e. no “high”) unlike products containing higher levels of THC.
resolveCBD only uses hemp derived CBD in its products. CBD can of course also be extracted from marijuana but since most marijuana strains contain significant amounts of THC as well (much more than the 0.3% THC contained in hemp), these types of marijuana derived CBD products can contain enough THC to cause impairment and/or show up in bloodwork. To combat this, some CBD products derived from marijuana contain a form of extract known as CBD isolate. For these reasons, we believe marijuana derived CBD products may not be the best form of CBD consumption for most applications, given the THC risk and lower efficacy of CBD isolate. That said, CBD isolate does have its uses among other forms such as broad spectrum and full spectrum CBD, which we have written about the differences here.
Is it confusing that two sets of regulations under one overarching piece of legislation for recreational drugs (the Cannabis Act) attempt to govern the legality, manufacture, use and sale of hemp derived CBD – a non-psychoactive natural health product? Yes, most certainly. In our view, while the current legal framework is not simple it at least allows for CBD from both hemp and marijuana to be legal. Health Canada is expected to amend the Cannabis Act to have a more comprehensive view of hemp derived CBD by spring 2023, and industry sentiment is that Canada will follow suit and regulate hemp CBD as a natural health supplement (rather than a recreational drug), as the US and parts of Europe have already done. We hope this is the case as we strongly believe hemp derived CBD has its place as a health supplement and Canadians should be given access as such.
Is non marijuana derived CBD safe? What about CBD sold outside of licensed cannabis dispensaries?
This is a valid concern as one of the benefits of the precise legislation around marijuana has been safety for the consumer which cannot be denied. On the hemp CBD side of the equation, it certainly isn’t quite as black and white. For hemp based CBD the burden of responsibility certainly falls on the consumer. We strongly believe that CBD should be tested for purity often and made in facilities that abide by certain standards of quality and hygiene. Everyone who touches the end products at resolveCBD has their Food Handler license and we ensure that all the equipment is properly cleaned and sterilized.
We use third-party labs to test every batch of the CBD extracts used in our final products (extracts include isolate, broad spectrum, and full spectrum derived from locally sourced industrial hemp). We also complete a cannabinoid profile test on a quarterly basis for each concentration and flavour of all of our final products to ensure our production processes remain consistent and contain the expected amounts of cannabinoids. The test results are known as a Certification of Analysis (COA) and can be found on our website: https://resolvecbd.co/cbd-certificate-of-analysis/
Each batch of the hemp derived CBD extracts used in our final products are also tested by third-party labs for their cannabinoid potency and to ensure no heavy metals or pesticides are present.
Are Medical claims about CBD prohibited?
Again, the truth is somewhere in between. Licensed marijuana dispensaries & licensed producers in Canada are indeed strictly forbidden from making any claims about any medical effects their products might have. Since all of our products are made from hemp derived CBD we aren’t subject to quite the same regulations. CBD is still very new when it comes to scientific research and medical applications so caution is the best approach. The most important thing is that you consult with a licensed professional regarding medical treatment or possible interactions with prescribed drugs if you are considering taking CBD of any form. They are in the best position to set your expectations about what CBD can and can’t do for you. CBD has documented interactions with certain prescription drugs which stresses the importance of working with your medical professional.
We are very enthusiastic about the industry and the exciting new research emerging about CBD every day. This is why we publish multiple educational articles on our blog every month. We also like to present possible benefits our products may hold for our customers, based on research, anecdotal evidence and direct customer feedback. The information presented by resolveCBD is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or ailment, nor is it intended to be a substitute or alternative for professional medical advice. This is information you can bring to your medical professional for the decision you make together.
Is Canadian hemp CBD cheap or a bad value?
We definitely feel that this is false when it comes to our products. Hemp CBD in our opinion has great benefits over marijuana derived CBD since you can use a whole-plant hemp extract to make high quality full and broad spectrum products. This is because you don’t have to isolate the CBD in hemp to make a non-psychoactive product, given industrial hemp in Canada is regulated to contain less than 0.3% THC as we mentioned previously. The potential advantage of taking a product that contains other cannabinoids is known as the entourage effect and we’ve written about it in more detail here. Moreover, we believe Canadians deserve to be able to choose between marijuana and hemp derived products and for the most part, that choice simply isn’t present in many licensed dispensaries at present. The bulk of CBD products available in licensed dispensaries either contain enough THC to be psychoactive and/or use CBD isolate extracted from marijuana.
As for value, we believe that our hemp products are competitively priced and that our regular testing ensures transparency relative to their concentration, contents and potency. Is it possible to buy a bad quality, untested hemp product under the current legal landscape? Yes, absolutely. We don’t believe that this is what resolveCBD offers and we encourage you to exercise due diligence and educate yourself about where you choose to buy your CBD. You should always look to purchase safe and tested products.
Is hemp CBD unsafe for my pet?
Because there are no Health Canada-approved CBD medications for pets, veterinarians cannot legally prescribe CBD oil to their furry patients in any form (marijuana or hemp derived). This hasn’t stopped veterinarians from recommending CBD or people from giving their pet CBD formulated for humans. Our pet CBD products are made to the same level of care, safety, and testing as our human products but with flavours and formulations they might prefer. Much like the decision to take CBD for yourself, you need to consult with your veterinarian before giving your pet CBD. Only they can properly inform you about the safety and possible benefits it might provide for your pet. The information we provide relative to pet products is not intended to be a substitute or alternative for professional veterinary advice.
We hope this information helps you or the furry one in your life. We truly believe powerful health and wellness can be achieved through natural, plant-based solutions such as hemp CBD, and this is why we strive to help Canadians make the most informed decision when it comes to bringing CBD into their lives. We are always available to answer any questions or point you in the right direction via our contact form, our live chat on the lower right corner of our website, or simply by emailing us at [email protected].
Written by Nico Blier
DISCLAIMER: Information and products presented by resolveCBD are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or ailment, nor is it intended to be a substitute or alternative for professional medical advice. Always consult with a licensed professional regarding medical treatment or possible interactions with prescribed drugs. Products are intended to be used as directed, by individuals who are 19 years of age or older.