With medical cannabis blazing a trail across America, and laws changing left right and center in favor of the drug, we feel it is only a matter of time before all forms of marijuana (and their extracts) become legal across the world.
However, it goes without saying that some U.S. states are more ‘generous’ than others in terms of their cannabis laws, and unfortunately, North Carolina sits on the “stricter” side of the fence in this regard – they no doubt have some of the tightest and zero-tolerance marijuana laws in the country.
In 2014, however, due in large part to the real-life story of a (now) 9-year old girl named Haley Ward, the state passed House Bill 1220 (otherwise known as the Epilepsy Alternative Treatment Act), which allows for some children with forms of intractable (untreatable) epilepsy to use a hemp extract called CBD to help control their condition and reduce symptoms.
In this article, we go over everything you need to know about CBD in North Carolina; how to get it if you (or your child) is a qualifying patient, what some of the legal restrictions are, and what you can do if you do not qualify for CBD use, but still want to acquire and use a legal form of the cannabis oil extract.
What Is Cannabidiol (CBD)?
Before we jump right into the legislation and legal framework surrounding CBD in North Carolina, let’s briefly go over what exactly CBD is in terms of how it’s affiliated with the cannabis plant.
In recent years, medical cannabis doctors and researchers all over the country have been focusing more of their efforts on studying cannabidiol (the scientific name for CBD), as it seems to display most of the terapeutic/medicinal capacities of marijuana, without providing any of the high.
Basically, there are two primary molecular components of cannabis in terms of the plant’s medicinal use to human beings: THC and CBD. THC of course is the compound that provides the mind-altering, stereotypical “marijuana high,” and is the sole reason why the herb has been outlawed for the past 80+ years.
CBD, on the other hand, while maintaining most of the primary therapeutic effects of the cannabis plant, has been shown to have zero psychoactive (mind-altering) properties. In fact, in a global 2017 report issued by the World Health Organization, the compound was declared to be “safe, well tolerated, and not associated with any significant adverse public health effects.”
Dozens of studies have come out within the last decade or so, showcasing the potential medicinal effects of CBD, some of which include its use as:
- an anti-inflammatory
- An anti-depressant
- An antioxidant
- An antipsychotic
- An anxiolytic (anxiety-reliever)
- And an anti-carcinogenic
As a result of these breakthrough findings, CBD has been legalized in many U.S. states for the (physician recommended) treatment of dozens of conditions, wherein other treatment methods have fallen short and/or have caused too adverse of side effects to warrant continued use. Some of these medical conditions include:
- Chronic Pain
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Crohn’s Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
Living in North Carolina? Explore How CBD Works
There have been hundreds of studies done on marijuana and its cannabinoids to find out how it works with our bodies, and if it is safe to consume. And while some states are still unconvinced, the science speaks for itself, as there have been no recorded deaths as a result of the drug.
From this research, we now know that when consumed, CBD interacts with an internal molecular system in our bodies called the endocannabinoid system, or ECS. The ECS is in charge of our body’s homeostasis, which basically means that it regulates most of our bodily functions to keep things healthy, balanced, and working in synch. From our body temperature to the way we feel pain, it plays a part in almost everything.
When CBD enters our body, it works with receptors in the ECS to encourage an increase in the production of naturally-occurring cannabinoids that play such a crucial part in our health. It is for this reason that CBD can work for so many different conditions.
CBD In North Carolina: What You Need to Know
The legal language surrounding CBD and its various forms is still pretty cloudy (to put it mildly), as there are various “forms” of the compound depending on whether it comes from industrial hemp (which is legal), or actual medical marijuana (which is illegal on a federal level).
While CBD derived from hemp is currently legal in all 50 states (according to the Agricultural Act of 2014), there are some particular laws in place for each state that determine how you go about obtaining CBD. In many states, quality CBD is extremely easy to get hold of, and even recommended by a large number of physicians and professional health practitioners. As such, it is a real shame that other states (such as North Carolina) remain so strict with their laws.
Basically, in order to legally use CBD in North Carolina, your child (or otherwise a child you look after) has to be diagnosed with an intractable form of epilepsy “for which other treatment options have not been effective.” As a caregiver you will need to fill out this form, and mail it in along with supporting documents to:
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services
3008 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-3008
A Brief History of CBD in North Carolina
As we mentioned earlier, back in 2014 the state of North Carolina took its very first step in cannabis-based legislation by passing House Bill 1220, otherwise known as the Epilepsy Alternative Treatment Act.
The law was passed to allow medically-diagnosed children with some forms of epilepsy to use hemp-derived CBD oil, as long as it had a THC content below 0.3% and CBD levels of at least 10% (*these numbers were amended in 2015: new legislation states that CBD oil must have THC levels under 0.9%, and CBD levels of at least 5%).
Also, amendments to the initial legislation now make CBD oil more accessible for qualifying children, as they no longer have to participate in a pilot study program (as per the Epilepsy Alternative Treatment Act).
2018: Current Legislation on CBD Oil in North Carolina
As it stands, there has been very little movement for CBD in North Carolina since these 2015 amendments, and the current law leaves a lot to be desired for many residents of the state – particularly adults who wish to use legal CBD oil to treat a variety of medical ailments.
In fact, possession of even 0.5 oz of cannabis or less can still earn you a misdemeanor criminal penalty charge in the state, although potential jail time for this amount (or less) has been lifted. (You can, however, still go to prison for possession of more than 0.5 oz).
So as a North Carolina resident, what are your options in terms of acquiring legal CBD oil? Let’s take a quick look.
How to Get CBD Oil if You Are a Resident of North Carolina
To be clear, we are NOT stating that it is legal to buy, possess, or use CBD oil without medical certification in the state of North Carolina. As per the current state legislation, CBD is only legal if being used by a child with a documented form of intractable epilepsy.
That being said, the state laws do not coincide with the aforementioned federal laws on CBD; particularly those mentioned in the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Farm Bill), which state that cannabis extracts from industrial hemp are legal as long as they contain less than 0.3% THC.
With this in mind, there are a number of high quality USA-based CBD manufacturers that operate in accordance with the legislation stated under the Agricultural Act, and who claim to legally ship to all 50 U.S. states (and in fact frequently ship to North Carolina).
Again, however, as a resident of North Carolina we are not stating that it is legal for you to buy CBD oil online from one of these sellers, regardless of the “legal language” of the Farm Bill or the claims that are made on the company’s website. All we can say is (as mentioned earlier) many of these companies frequently ship to North Carolina without issue, and many residents of the state are currently using online-purchased CBD oil without problem.
If you do decide to purchase CBD oil online and have it shipped to your home in North Carolina, be advised that you are doing so at your own discretion, and we are not responsible for any potential penalties or infractions. If you have any additional questions, feel free to comment below or contact us via our Facebook page.
Also, in terms of which CBD oils to purchase if you do decide to go the online route, be advised that due to the current unregulated nature of the cannabis industry, there are A LOT of sub-par, low-quality, and even potentially dangerous products out there that have been extracted with harsh chemicals. While we don’t typically like to play favorites, we have completed a few thorough reviews over the years from various CBD oil manufacturers, so one of our recent guides may be a good place to start if you’re considering trying to find an oil that will work for you and your condition.
Final Thoughts on CBD oil in North Carolina
As you can see, North Carolina is not yet fully on board with medical marijuana, unfortunately for many residents of the state who wish to experience the powerful healing effects of cannabis, and CBD in particular). While buying CBD oil in North Carolina may not be as easy or straightforward as it is in other states, be aware that you do have options, however cloudy the legislation or legal language may be.
We hope that in the near future, North Carolina catches up with the times and starts allowing its citizens to utilize the massive health benefits and healing properties that this 100% natural hemp compound contains.