CBD in Pennsylvania: What You Need to Know
Written by Jason Brett
Edited by Cathy Rozyczko on
November 12, 2021
Anyone investigating the therapeutic potential of CBD has likely encountered more than a few sources claiming CBD products are legal everywhere. Not true.
While the US Federal Government did lift restrictions on hemp cultivation in the 2018 Farm Bill, legalization was left to the discretion of individual states. That means CBD legality for consumption in all its forms is not guaranteed.
While searching for verification of CBD legality in Pennsylvania, you've likely discovered a similar amount of conflicting information. Some sources have confirmed that CBD use is legal in Pennsylvania commonwealth; others claim a prescription is required to purchase CBD legally.
The inconsistency is astounding. If you're a resident of the Keystone State, here's what you need to know about purchasing CBD in Pennsylvania.
History: Legalization of Cannabis Products in Pennsylvania
To be fair, the confusion surrounding the legality of CBD in Pennsylvania is understandable. Until just a short time ago, cannabis plants and cannabis products were illegal state-wide.
Hemp cultivation was banned entirely in Pennsylvania, and anyone using illegal cannabis was at risk of being charged with a crime. If convicted, a person could have ended up paying thousands of dollars in fines, spending several years in prison, or both. Medicinal use of hemp was not a legitimate defense against charges of possession.
Changes to cannabis laws in Pennsylvania began in 2016, when Governor Tom Wolf signed legislation approving medical cannabis use. Two years later, the first dispensaries opened to supply medical cannabis to registered users living with severe health conditions.
Industrial hemp cultivation in Pennsylvania fared similarly. Legislation allowing hemp cultivation and the sale of hemp-derived products like CBD also passed in 2016.
Finally, after decades of prohibition, the United States Federal Government removed industrial hemp from the list of Schedule 1 Substances in 2018 and left product regulation to the discretion of the FDA.
2 Potential Sources of CBD in Pennsylvania
Why is this important information? Because industrial hemp and marijuana are both valid sources of CBD oil (cannabidiol). That's why some sources in Pennsylvania may insist you need a medical marijuana ID card, while others claim CBD is available to everyone.
The content providers are discussing two distinctly different products. To determine which type of CBD might best suit your needs, you may find it helpful to compare the following similarities and differences:
- CBD Sourced from Medical Cannabis
In Pennsylvania, CBD products sourced from medical cannabis are typically an option for patients over the age of 18 diagnosed with a terminal illness or living with certain medical conditions, including epilepsy, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, and Crohn's disease. CBD products sourced from medical cannabis tend to contain varying amounts of cannabidiol and high levels of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). THC is the cannabinoid that causes the psychoactive effects cannabis is known for. In Pennsylvania, CBD products that contain high levels of THC are sold through a medical marijuana dispensary. Vaping marijuana for medicinal purposes is allowed; smoking is prohibited.
- CBD Sourced from Industrial Hemp
Industrial hemp extracts typically contain high levels of CBD and only trace amounts of THC. To be classified as industrial hemp, the plant extracts must contain 0.3 percent THC or less, an amount too low to cause intoxication, even if you were to consume vast quantities of full spectrum industrial hemp oil. That's why hemp-derived CBD is available to anyone in Pennsylvania interested in the therapeutic potential of cannabis, but not interested in the psychoactive effects. CBD users that prefer avoiding even trace amounts of THC also have options. CBD products made with broad spectrum extracts or pure CBD isolate are THC-free.
Finding High-Quality Hemp-Derived CBD in Pennsylvania
To accommodate the growing interest in CBD products and the hemp industry, retailers in Pennsylvania are eagerly adding hemp-derived cannabinoid products to their inventory as local farmers convert their fields. Health-conscious consumers interested in adding CBD to their daily routine have numerous shopping options.
You'll likely find an assortment of products in the aisles of your local convenience store, on product shelves in area vape shops, and through a significant number of online merchants. You'll also find many fitness centers, yoga studios, and salons branding CBD products of their own…
While availability of CBD supplements in Pennsylvania isn't typically a problem, it's important to know that product quality can vary between manufacturers. Low-quality CBD products are unlikely to deliver favorable results. That's why it's essential to purchase your CBD from a reputable source, a company that values transparency. To ensure you're buying CBD products worthy of your trust, you should have enough information about the products you select to answer the following questions:
- How Have Crops Been Cultivated?
The best quality CBD starts with non-GMO industrial hemp seeds grown without insecticides, herbicides, or fungicides. Natural farming methods are essential because industrial hemp has a remarkable ability to absorb heavy metals, pesticides, and other potential contaminants from the soil as it grows. Any chemicals absorbed by the plants can contaminate the extracted oils. That's why hemp farmers typically test their soil for signs of accidental contamination before seeds are sown.
- How Was the CBD Oil Extracted?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is just one of more than 100 potentially beneficial cannabinoids found in the stalks, stems, and flowers of industrial hemp plants. Before those cannabinoids can be utilized, the cannabinoid-rich hemp oil must be separated from the plant matter. Since most CBD products are consumable, it's essential to select products that rely on oils obtained through food-safe extraction methods. That's why the most reputable CBD companies rely on CO2 or ethanol extraction. Other extraction methods– such as using solvents like butane or propane– can leave potentially harmful chemical residue in the finished products.
- How Does the Manufacturer Verify Purity and Potency?
Reputable CBD product manufacturers rely on unbiased testing to confirm the purity and potency of their products. Third-party test results can be used to verify cannabinoid content, ensure THC content falls within legal limits, and screen products for evidence of pesticides, heavy metals, extraction residue, and microbial contamination. Since any CBD manufacturer could claim their products are third-party tested, it's essential to place your trust in companies that allow consumer access to the Certificate of Analysis for each CBD product offered.
- Am I getting a High-Quality CBD Product at a Reasonable Price?
Many less experienced CBD users make the mistake of determining value by package size, the same way you might price anything else sold by weight or volume. They end up paying far too much for products that contain very little CBD. That's why it's important to remember that CBD is priced by the milligram, not by the ounce. A 500mg CBD tincture in a 30mL bottle contains the same amount of CBD as a 500mg tincture in a 60mL bottle. The difference is in the amount of carrier oil in the larger bottle. The more carrier oil, the more volume of CBD tinctures you will need per dose. To ensure you're getting a fair price, divide the total package price by the number of milligrams of CBD to calculate the cost per milligram.
Verdict: CBD is legal in Pennsylvania!
Many people investigating the health and wellness potential of CBD encounter a considerable amount of conflicting information. Quite often, sources conflict on the topic of product legality.
Some sources insist CBD is legal in all states, while others claim CBD can only be used in states where medical cannabis is legal. Neither statement is correct. The topic requires clarification.
Once you know there are two potential sources of CBD, it's much easier to decode the laws in your state. Although hemp-derived CBD is legal in most states, there are exceptions. Some states only allow THC-free options; a few don't allow CBD at all.
In Pennsylvania, marijuana-sourced CBD (cannabis oil) is available to anyone over 18 with the consent of their physician and a medical marijuana ID card.
Anyone else interested in the many potential health and wellness benefits of cannabis has the option of legally using hemp CBD in Pennsylvania.
Like other dietary supplements, if you have a medical condition or take medication, please discuss your intent with your healthcare provider before purchasing CBD online.
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