California just banned CBD in food products. What does it mean for patients?

In an unprecedented and shocking decision, California — yes, the same state that just finalized regulations for a legal cannabis industry — has moved to ban CBD oils from being sold as part of any food product. Oddly enough, this memo was released on July 9th, yet there has been no major news coverage until now, halfway through July.

California bans CBD oil

According to the memo, the public health department’s Food and Drug Branch (FDB) “has received numerous inquiries from food processors and retailers who are interested in using industrial hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) oil or CBD products in food since the legalization of medicinal and adult-use marijuana (cannabis) in California.”

The memo continues from there, making clear that the public health department’s Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch (MCSB) “regulates medicinal and adult-use manufactured cannabis products,” while “food products derived from industrial hemp are not covered by MCSB regulations. Instead, these products fall under the jurisdiction of CDPH-FDB.”

cbd banned from food in california

CBD infused coffee products from a store in Los Angeles.

While California has no issue going against Federal Law by legalizing recreational cannabis, which the state has deemed safe for consumption by humans, the state apparently doesn’t want to risk it with CBD:

“Although California currently allows the manufacturing and sales of cannabis products (including edibles), the use of industrial hemp as the source of CBD to be added to food products is prohibited. Until the FDA rules that industrial hemp-derived CBD oil and CBD products can be used as a food or California makes a determination that they are safe to use for human and animal consumption, CBD products are not an approved food, food ingredient, food additive, or dietary supplement.”

Distinguishing factors

While hemp and cannabis are the same plant, there has grown a distinction between the two due to how they are categorized. Hemp must contain .3% THC or less. Any more and it is considered psychoactive cannabis. This all has to do with specific breeds of cannabis that have been bred over generations to have as little THC as possible.

Even then, the FDA still considers CBD from either hemp or cannabis to be a schedule 1 controlled substance. This is despite the fact that the FDA just approved a CBD drug produced by a pharmaceutical company for seizures, even though they consider CBD a federally illegal, schedule 1 controlled substance. The smell of hypocrisy is flagrant.

Hypocrisy Abound

At The Real Dirt, we know all the legal jargon, acronyms and hypocrisy can be too much. Here are the basics of the new CBD oil ban in California so you know exactly what’s going on.

The California Department of Public Health’s Food and Drug Branch (CDPH) recently released a statement entitled FAQ – Industrial Hemp and Cannabidiol CBD in Food Products, which declares that in California, hemp-derived CBD cannot be used in any food products.
The prohibited ingredients in food products include:
1) any CBD products derived from cannabis;
2) any CBD products including CBD oil derived from industrial hemp;
3) hemp oil that is not derived from industrial hemp seeds; and
4) industrial hemp seed oil enhanced with CBD or other cannabinoids.
This new CDPH guidance does not impact the ability of cannabis businesses to produce and sell cannabis-derived CBD products, including cannabis edibles, in licensed dispensaries under the regulated cannabis system. 
What do you think of this new memo? Do you think it will hold up, or will the people of California push back hard?