Florida has recently shifted its attitude towards medical marijuana, whereby patients with a medical marijuana card can now obtain high-level THC with a qualifying medical condition. Therefore, it makes sense that people are showing more interest in the benefits of CBD oil.
Here, you will find all you need to know about how to obtain CBD oil legally in Florida, with or without a medical marijuana card. Additionally, we’ll discuss what some of the potential uses and health benefits of using CBD oil are.
What’s All the Buzz Around CBD Oil in Florida?
Back in 2014, Florida passed legislation allowing for the use of CBD oil for a select few conditions (muscle spasms, epilepsy/seizures, and terminal illness), establishing what is now known as the Office of Medical Marijuana.
The program gained little traction in its initial stages, and it’s only been somewhat recently (early 2017) that qualified patients could begin legally purchasing CBD and other cannabis products from state-licensed dispensaries.
Currently, in order to buy CBD oil in Florida from a licensed dispensary, a patient must have a valid physician-recommended medical marijuana card (MMJ card).
However, few people know that Florida residents can also buy legal CBD without an MMJ card. Several companies operating under federal hemp legislation are now manufacturing high-quality CBD oils that are legal to buy, sell, and ship to most U.S. states.
And to be clear, we are NOT talking about cheap, low-quality hempseed “CBD oils” that you see for sale in malls, health food stores, and smoke/vape shops across the state.
There is indeed still a lot of confusion about the various types of CBD oil in Florida (i.e. cannabis CBD oil, hemp CBD oil, and hempseed oil). It is the aim of this article to make everything as clear and concise as possible.
First, though, let’s go over what CBD oil actually is for those who are unaware of the differences between CBD and “normal” marijuana.
What Is CBD?
Buzz around CBD oil has been steadily increasing for the past few years now, as more research is done into the active cannabis compound. Potential benefits are continuously surfacing in news outlets and academic journals. Thus it’s no surprise that CBD oil has become one of the most sought-after components of the cannabis plant.
The CBD compound itself, known scientifically as cannabidiol, is actually one of over 100 known cannabinoids found in the marijuana plant. It is a non-psychoactive compound, meaning it does not produce mind-altering effects or get the user “high.”
This is making CBD a more popular choice than THC among average U.S. citizens and for obvious reasons. While THC possesses many known health benefits, it’s not a practical treatment for most due to its mind-altering effects.
CBD oil, on the other hand, seems to provide many of the same medicinal benefits as whole-plant marijuana, without the unwanted high.
While THC possesses many known health benefits, it’s not a practical treatment for most due to its mind-altering effects.
Some of these perceived health benefits have shown positive therapeutic results on brain tumors, insomnia, Crohn’s disease, chronic pain relief, and diabetes, just to name a few. As we mentioned, however, legal residents of Florida that are looking to obtain CBD from state-licensed dispensaries will be required to have a “qualifying” health condition in order to obtain a medical marijuana card.
If you are living in Florida and suffer from any one of the following conditions, you may want to consider speaking with a physician and applying for a medical marijuana card in order to have access to high-quality, cannabis-derived CBD oil:
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Crohn’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Medical conditions of the “same kind or class as or comparable to those above”
- Terminal illness (diagnosed by a physician other than the one issuing the MMJ certification)
- Chronic nonmalignant pain (caused by one of the above qualifying medical conditions)
CBD Oil for the Treatment of Health Conditions
As we’ve mentioned, several studies and academic journals have published research on CBD oil showing it to have potential health benefits for a variety of medical conditions. Here are just a handful of conditions that are understood to be influenced positively by CBD (see end of article for a full list of references):
With a staggering 30% of epilepsy sufferers reporting that conventional treatments have little to no positive effects on their condition, it seems reasonable that medical marijuana, particularly CBD oil, would be looked at as potential treatment.
CBD oil works with the body’s endocannabinoid system, or ECS, by increasing the production of natural cannabinoids. These cannabinoids have been shown to target a number of symptoms consistent with serious diseases.
Cannabinoids in the human ECS appear to influence a number of symptoms consistent with disease.
A study done on 214 people who suffered from epilepsy, for example, revealed that CBD decreased the number of seizures on average by 54%. This piece of research provides solid evidence that CBD may be an effective and natural treatment for epilepsy. And indeed, it is just one of many such studies.
Moreover, while the side effects of pharmaceutical seizure/epilepsy medications are well-known, CBD appears to be a natural and non-addictive alternative with minimal side effects. Even the side-effects that have been reported, such as dry mouth, are negligible compared to the dangerous withdrawal symptoms common with pharmaceutical drugs.
Generalized anxiety disorder affects roughly 6.8 million adults in America, yet it’s estimated that less than half of these sufferers receive treatment. Reasons for this are unknown but are likely due to the stigma that comes with mental health issues, as well as the fact that most prescribed medication is highly addictive and can alter mood dramatically.
CBD has recently been associated with the relief of some forms of anxiety and depression, with new studies continuously popping up that show the myriad of ways in which CBD may benefit victims of mental health disorders.
For example, a 2010 study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology analyzed 10 people who suffered from chronic, generalized social anxiety. The study aimed to see in what ways CBD affected these people, and the results showed that a change in blood flow led to all 10 people obtaining reduced levels of anxiety.
Also, it’s important to realize that the term ‘anxiety’ covers a wide range of mental health issues – from generalized anxiety disorder to panic disorders, OCD, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
While Parkinson’s disease is on the list of conditions that Florida deems acceptable to treat with medical marijuana, it is one of the lesser-discussed diseases in relation to CBD and its benefits.
Parkinson’s affects approximately 10,000,000 people across the globe, and roughly 1,000,000 of these are here in the US. It may be no surprise to learn, then, that Parkinson’s disease is actually the second most prevalent neurological disorder, with the first being Alzheimer’s.
Although there is still a long way to go in regard to clinical studies and the amount of influence that CBD can have on this particular disease, there have been some promising publications that suggest the possibility of CBD oil having a positive impact.
The host of debilitating symptoms that are common with Parkinson’s include:
- Tremors in the hands, arms, legs, and jaw
- Impeded movement
- Slowness in mobility
- Muscle stiffness
- Poor coordination
If these symptoms aren’t sufficiently controlled with medication, they can go on to become even more serious. Common side effects as a result of poor treatment include depression, insomnia, and anxiety.
Another distinguishing factor of CBD is that it’s been shown to increase levels of dopamine in the brain, which research has shown causes the progression of Parkinson’s to slow down.
CBD may help increase levels of dopamine in the brain, which research suggests can slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson’s most serious side effects come about when the brain’s dopamine levels are depleted by 60-80%. So, the use of CBD could have massive potential in treating patients before it reaches this level.
Additionally, CBD’s anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties can be beneficial for managing the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. A study done on 21 Parkinson’s patients, which was published to NCBI in 2014, showed that the use of CBD improved the overall quality of life in all 21 participants.
These are just a few of the conditions that CBD oil has shown to help with. In reality, though, there are so many more that have solid evidence backing up the compound’s therapeutic ability. And while we may not yet have the same hard clinical data that more popular pharmaceutical meds have, research is ongoing and it continues to present new and amazing discoveries.
How to Obtain CBD Oil in Florida
There are, strictly speaking, two methods of obtaining CBD oil in Florida. The most obvious one is to get a medical marijuana card, which is actually quite simple as long as you are a legal resident of Florida and have one of the conditions on the above-mentioned list.
If you meet the criteria for a medical marijuana card, the actual registration process is fairly simple – the details of which can be found in this article.
If you are struggling to get yourself a medical marijuana card, though, don’t despair! The other way to buy CBD oil in Florida – even if you may not meet the criteria for an MMJ card – is to try something called CBD hemp oil.
What Is Hemp, and How Is It Different from Marijuana?
CBD oil that’s derived from hemp is not as commonly discussed as that which comes purely from the marijuana plant. However, hemp not only cultivates faster than cannabis (meaning it can be produced at a much quicker rate), but it’s also legal to be sold and delivered in many areas of the U.S. – including Florida. This is because hemp products contain less than 0.3% THC, which is the psychoactive component of the drug.
In terms of the actual difference between hemp and marijuana, it’s important to understand that both plants come from the same exact plant species, which is Cannabis sativa L. The real difference lies in the fact that hemp does not get you high. Again, this is due to the fact that it contains practically zero (less than 0.3%) THC. So while one might correctly refer to both hemp and marijuana as “cannabis” plants, we still consider them separate entities.
You might be wondering, then, how CBD hemp oil that you can legally buy online differs from “CBD hemp oil” that you might have seen for sale in health food stores and vape/smoke shops across Florida.
Well, the key difference between the two is where they come from. Most low-quality CBD hemp oils that you see advertised in malls and in vape shop windows will have come from hemp seeds. While these products can be nutritious and beneficial in their own right, they do not typically have any therapeutic or medicinal value because the seeds of the plant DO NOT CONTAIN ANY CBD.
In order to extract high-quality, therapeutic quantities of CBD from legal hemp, the extraction process needs to be carried out on the flowers, leaves, stem, and stalk of mature plants.
In order to extract sufficient amounts of CBD from hemp, extraction must be carried out on the aerial parts (flowers, leaves, stem, and stalk) of the plants.
As such, if you want to buy high-grade CBD oil in Florida but DO NOT have a medical marijuana card (and thus can’t buy from a licensed dispensary), make sure you avoid these “hempseed oils.” Instead, find a reputable online CBD manufacturer that extracts (preferably via CO2 methods) from the flower, leaves, and stem of the plant.
We understand this is can be SUPER confusing to wrap your head around, so if you have any questions (or would like some recommendations on reputable CBD sellers), feel free to get in touch with us directly via our Facebook page – we’ll be happy to try and help.
In summary, if you are a resident of Florida and want to buy effective, high-quality CBD oil, you’ve basically got two options: get your medical marijuana card and buy from a licensed dispensary, or buy online from one of a handful of reputable manufacturers.
CBD Oil in Florida: Final Thoughts
Well, hopefully, this article has served its purpose and clarified at least to some extent the current laws and legalities surrounding CBD oil in Florida. With continuing progress and advanced research a guaranteed factor down the long run, it only seems inevitable that we’ll be seeing more and more occurrences of CBD use (and legalization) taking place nationwide.
Lastly, in terms of CBD oil from hemp vs. CBD oil from cannabis, research has yet to really identify if one is more effective – or more “potent” – than the other. If a medical marijuana card in Florida is out of the question for you personally, then a high-quality CBD hemp product from a reputable manufacturer might be a good, compromising solution.
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