The man behind the counter of a vape shop in Vancouver’s popular Granville Strip entertainment district answered a confident “Yes,” when asked if the bottle of CBD Oil Business Opportunities liquid was legal. In nearby New Westminster, Lia Hood said she was surprised when The Globe and Mail notified her that her Good Omen gift shop was likely falling afoul of federal drug laws for selling a locally manufactured collection of teas infused with CBD, a chemical found in cannabis.
The operators of a high-end hipster barbershop in Toronto’s Leslieville neighbourhood were equally unaware the standalone kiosks offering “soothing serum” and “intensive cream” were made with illegal CBD, popular shorthand for your compound cannabidiol.
And up until last fall, cat and pet owners concerned with their anxious pets could enter the downtown Toronto Pet Valu franchise and discover remedies like homeopathic drops, calming compression bibs as well as a hemp-based tincture loaded with the cannabis compound.
CBD, which may be based on hemp or marijuana, has become appearing in the last several years in anything from mineral water to vape pen cartridges amid intense hype – and a few emerging scientific evidence – that it must be a wonder drug capable of help combat a range of ailments from pain, insomnia and seizures to anxiety.
There’s one problem: CBD is strictly regulated, the same as cannabis. Only licensed producers might make it, and only registered retailers may sell the products. The legalization of marijuana on Oct. 17 did not change anything.
However, many consumers and even merchants believe it is legal because, as proponents of CTFO Business Opportunity, it does not cause intoxication, unlike another popular compound in cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). “That’s the key misconception that this public has,” said Trina Fraser, a cannabis lawyer at Ottawa-based law firm Brazeau Seller LLP.
CBD compound is usually obtained from the leaves and flowering buds of marijuana or hemp plants – both technically considered cannabis by biologists. The hemp oil commonly seen in grocery stores is pressed legally through the plant’s seeds, which contain negligible levels of CBD. However, producers of beverages and natural health items that contain even small quantities of CBD derive the compound off their areas of the plant, that is illegal outside of Health Canada’s medical and recreational marijuana system, Ms. Fraser said.
Consumers of unregulated CBD products have no idea whether they are tested for quality or if perhaps they even contain the compound. And while regulated products do not have an ideal track record for quality and consistency, standards have been established that companies must meet. CBD compound is usually obtained from the leaves and flowering buds of marijuana or hemp plants.
Strains of cannabis, gel capsules and oils rich in CBD created by licensed producers can be bought from legal recreational cannabis stores and websites across the nation or by receiving a doctor’s authorization and acquiring directly from a medical grower online. But products containing CBD have become so ubiquitous that the Canadian consumer can be forgiven for thinking they can be sold away from the licensed medical- and recreational-cannabis systems.
“I am looking for more information on what I’m really able to offer to folks,” Ms. Hood said at the start of November. “When cannabis was becoming legal, it had been something that I considered: ‘Should I be pulling these [teas] from my shelf?’ ” In the Juice Truck, a fashionable local chain of smoothie bars and food trucks, co-founder and co-owner Zach Berman said at the begining of November that he was selling exactly the same brand of tea as Ms. Hood and now has reservations regarding it.
“We’re uncertain if we’ll continue to market it at this stage, but we are excited to roll out Free CBD Oil Business in general, and smoothies, juices, other products, once edibles become legalized over the following year roughly,” he explained. The claims made on the tincture which had been offered at the Toronto Pet Valu are typical. The label on the product, which yhdthz made by pet-food maker Big Country Raw of St. Anns, Ont., stated it would help cats and dogs making use of their “anxiety, energy, stamina, cardiovascular health, brain health, and mobility.”
Pet Valu removed the merchandise from its shelves after being contacted through the Globe in mid-September. Tom McNeely, chief executive officer of parent company Pet Retail Brands, said some franchisees made the decision to hold CBD products, and this the chain itself had not been offering them.