Is CBD Oil In Pennsylvania Legal – 2019 Complete Guide

CBD Oil in PA

Pennsylvania CBD Laws 2019

Is CBD oil legal in Pennsylvania? You bet it is! But before you go rushing off to Walmart, CVS, or 7 Eleven to get yourself some, there are a few things that you need to know (for example, that you can’t get CBD oil at Walmart, CVS, or 7 Eleven — yet). [UPDATE: On March 21, 2019, CVS announced plans to sell CBD in 800 stores in states where it is legal.]

Whether or not you can legally purchase CBD oil in Pennsylvania depends on a variety of factors such as your age, the medical condition(s) that you’re hoping to treat, and the type of product that you wish to purchase. In this article, we’ll discuss the various types of CBD-rich oils and other products that are available and the Pennsylvania laws that are applicable to each. You’ll also find at the end of the article links to sources where you can purchase these products.

Before we delve into the legalities of CBD oil in Pennsylvania, let’s be sure we’re all on the same page in terms of exactly what CBD oil is and where it comes from.

  • What is CBD Oil And Where Does It Come From?

  • Health Benefits of CBD Oil

  • How To Buy CBD-Rich Cannabis Oil Legally in Pennsylvania

  • PA Marijuana Laws

  • Is Hemp CBD Oil Legal in Pennsylvania?

  • Where To Legally Purchase CBD Oil In PA.

What is CBD Oil And Where Does It Come From?

Cannabidiol, aka CBD, is produced in the resinous flowers of the cannabis plant. It is one of scores of compounds in a family known as cannabinoids. There are two types of cannabinoids. Endocannabinoids are those produced naturally by our own bodies, and phytocannabinoids are those produced in plants such as cannabis. As it turns out, phytocannabinoids have the ability to mimic endocannabinoids and act upon the bodies vast system of endocannabinoid receptors. Furthermore, cannabis produces molecules called terpenes which have powerful effects on the human body. The combined effects of cannabinoids and terpenes is known as the entourage effect, and it’s what makes cannabis so valuable as a medicine.

The most notable cannabinoid in cannabis is Delta9 tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. This is the compound found in marijuana that causes a high.

CBD is the second most common cannabinoid compound found in marijuana. Some strains of marijuana are very high in THC and low in CBD, while others have a balance of THC and CBD. There are also strains which are higher in CBD than THC bred to appeal to those who wish to avoid the psychoactive effects of marijuana to some degree.

However, there are also strains of cannabis which contain levels of THC near zero. These strains fall under the category of hemp rather than marijuana. Pennsylvania state laws clearly delineate between marijuana and hemp and a completely different set of rules applies to each. In order to qualify as hemp, a strain of cannabis must produce less than 0.3% THC by dry weight. At that low of a concentration of THC, the product will not cause a high, nor will it cause a user to fail a drug test.

Note that CBD oil is not to be confused with hemp seed oil which is produced by pressing the seeds of the hemp plant. In fact, the two products are made from completely different strains of hemp and cultivated in a completely different manner. In order produce high quality CBD oil growers use a strain of hemp called PCR hemp. PCR stands for phytocannabinoid-rich. PCR hemp is essentially marijuana which has had the THC bred out of it. It looks like marijuana, smells like marijuana, and is grown and harvested in much the say way as marijuana. And as with marijuana, only female hemp plants are grown in order to avoid the production of seeds.

The cannabinoid-rich oils which are extracted from marijuana flowers are more commonly referred to as cannabis oil, whereas the essential oils that are extracted from hemp flowers are known as CBD oil. In order to extract the oils from the plant, the flowers are dried, crushed, and soaked in a solvent such as ethanol or a fluid form of carbon dioxide called supercritical CO2. The solvent is then evaporated leaving behind raw cannabis extract. Both cannabis oil and CBD oil are made by refining the plant’s raw extracts to remove unwanted compounds such as waxes and chlorophyll. The remaining oil contains the same ratios of cannabinoids and terpenes found in the original plant and is commonly referred to as full-spectrum CBD oil.

While hemp-derived CBD oil may be legally sold outside of medical marijuana dispensaries, Cannabis oil may only be legally purchased at dispensaries and only by patients with a valid medical marijuana card. (More on Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program below.)

Both of these products — cannabis oil, and CBD oil — can be further refined to produce pure cannabinoids such as THC or CBD isolate. These isolates are odorless and flavorless and can be added to products such as CBD tinctures, CBD-infused edibles, vape oil, and cosmetic products. However, because Federal Food and Drug Administration rules currently prohibit adding CBD isolate to food products, shops selling CBD-infused edibles are operating in a gray area between Federal and local cannabis laws. This gray area is often referred to as the policy gap, and now, after more than 80 years of Federal prohibition, lawmakers in Washington appear to be closer than ever to closing this gap forever the way we did with alcohol back in the 1930s.

What Are The Health Benefits of CBD Oil?

Over the past few decades, evidence has been mounting that suggest CBD oil may have a wide variety of therapeutic effects. Unlike compounds that work on a single principle, CBD works with a vast and complex bodily system known as the endocannabinoid system and is therefore indicated in a variety of bodily functions from immunoregulation to modulating hormone production and uptake and much, much more.

Furthermore, CBD has been proven to provide powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. It has also be shown to provide antibiotic, antiviral, and antifungal effects.  

The most common reasons given for using CBD oil include improving mood, relieving depression and reducing anxiety, relieving pain, reducing nausea, improving appetite, improving sleep, and mitigating seizures and involuntary muscle movements that comes with conditions such as epilepsy, MS, and Parkinson’s disease. And there are many other reasons people use CBD oil. Some researchers believe that CBD may even play a role in preventing the development and spread of cancers and possibly even treating established tumors.

Scientific studies strongly suggest that CBD oil provides the following benefits:

CBD oil is currently being used by many people as an alternative medicine to help relieve a variety of conditions such as these:

CBD Oil in PA

How To Buy CBD-Rich Cannabis Oil Legally in Pennsylvania

As stated earlier, participation in Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program is required in order to legally purchase CBD-rich oils made from marijuana. This takes a PA Medical ID Card.

Marijuana use became legal for medicinal purposes in Pennsylvania in the spring of 2016, but it took until 2018 for the state to get the program rolling and open up public dispensaries. In order to take advantage of the program, patients must have one or more of a list of the following qualifying medical conditions:

Qualifying Medical Conditions For Medical Marijuana Card In Pennsylvania

In order to take part in the medical marijuana in Pennsylvania, a patient must first register for the program by creating a profile in the Medical Marijuana Registry.

Once registered a patient must be examined by an certified physician who will determine whether or not the patient qualifies for the program. After examining a patient, if approved, a physician will enter the certification into the Medical Marijuana Registry system. The patient must then complete their online application before a medical marijuana ID card is issued by mail. A Pennsylvania medical marijuana ID card costs $50 per year. And an annual visit to your certified physician generally costs somewhere in the neighborhood of $200, give or take.

Approved patients are allowed to possess a 30-day supply of marijuana or cannabis oils, cannabinoid infused edibles, pills, vape oils, and ointments. Interestingly, although patients are allowed to purchase dried marijuana, smoking the product is prohibited in the state of Pennsylvania. As a result patients who purchase dried flower must consume it using a dry herb vaporizer, or via cooking methods. The same goes for oils. Essentially, if you are caught smoking marijuana or cannabis oil you’ll be charged with illegal possession under the state’s marijuana laws.

Pennsylvania Marijuana Statutes

Before Pennsylvania instituted its medical marijuana program, back in 2014, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana (up to 30 grams). Then in April 2016 the city of Pittsburgh decriminalized the drug. Since then, other municipalities in the state have followed suit including Allentown, Erie, Harrisburg, Lancaster, and York. In most cases, the possession of under 30 grams is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or a $500 fine.

It’s quite possible that Pennsylvania’s marijuana laws and those pertaining to CBD oil may change in 2019. Recently state representative Jake Wheatley introduced legislation to permit the recreational use of cannabis products for all adults. Should the measure pass, adults 21 and older would be able to purchase cannabis oil from any state-licensed retailer without needing a medical marijuana card.

A word of warning for those who wish to use cannabis oils containing THC: Driving under the influence of cannabis is a felony throughout Pennsylvania and can result in up to 6-months in prison and as much as a $5,000 fine. Furthermore, the use of products containing THC puts the user at risk of failing a drug test.

Is Hemp CBD Oil Legal in Pennsylvania?

As mentioned earlier, marijuana and hemp fall under separate laws and are authorized by different Acts and Departments. While marijuana and its derivatives can only be purchased at a medical dispensary, hemp-derived CBD oil, on the other hand, can legally be purchased by anyone.

Pennsylvania’s industrial hemp legislation came about as a result of the passage of the 2014 Farm Bill. Governor Wolf signed the Industrial Hemp Research Act in 2016. And the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture started issuing permits for the cultivation of industrial hemp through the state’s Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program in 2017. Since then, the PDA has issued 35 cultivation and research permits. These licenses allow for cultivation and marketing CBD oil on the condition that they comply with all laws and regulations including Federal laws.

Because the Federal Food and Drug Administration prohibits the use of CBD as a food additive, producers of hemp-derived CBD products are not technically allowed to produce products such as vape oils and edibles which contain purified CBD. Nonetheless, these products are still available in local shops throughout the state. It’s simply not worth the state’s resources to enforce the rule.

Furthermore, at the end of 2018, a new Farm Bill was signed by the president that completely removed hemp and CBD from the Federal government’s list of controlled substances and put the regulation of hemp squarely in the hands of each individual state. It’s highly likely that the state of Pennsylvania will continue to expand its hemp cultivation and research programs as a result of the new Federal measures.

The FDA responded to the new hemp legislation by stating that it would be working on paths toward allowing the use of CBD in foods and for it to be marketed as a dietary supplement. At the rate that cannabis laws are evolving, this may even be the case by now.

If the FDA does approve CBD as a health supplement, it may become a common over-the-counter preparation found on the shelves of every drug store, supermarket, and convenience store in the country — including Walmart, CVS, and 7 Eleven.

Where To Legally Purchase CBD Oil In Pennsylvania

To summarize, there are three ways to legally purchase CBD oil in the state of Pennsylvania.

The first is via the state’s medical marijuana program. Qualified patients with a value medical marijuana card may purchase cannabis oils containing both THC and CBD at licensed dispensaries throughout the state.

CBD oil made from hemp, on the other hand can be found at vape shops, health food boutiques, and other retailers throughout the state. It can also be purchased online and delivered to your doorstep.

Although there is technically no minimum age to purchase CBD oil, keep in mind that some local shops and most websites, as a policy, do not sell CBD oil and other CBD products such as CBD vape liquid to anyone under the age of 18.

Where To Buy Hemp Rich CBD Oil Online

If you can’t find a local store that carries hemp CBD oil, don’t fret. There are quite a few retailers  where you can order high-quality hemp-derived CBD products and have them shipped directly to your home in Pennsylvania. These can be found on the CBDbay.

CBD Oil in PA

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