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 Business Opportunity 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 seen in cannabis.
The operators of the high-end hipster barbershop in Toronto’s Leslieville neighbourhood were equally unaware that the standalone kiosks offering “soothing serum” and “intensive cream” were made with illegal CBD, popular shorthand for the compound cannabidiol.
Or higher until last fall, cat and dog owners worried about their anxious pets could enter the downtown Toronto Pet Valu franchise and locate remedies such as homeopathic drops, calming compression bibs along with a hemp-based tincture loaded with the cannabis compound.
CBD, which may be based on hemp or marijuana, has been appearing in the last couple of years in everything from mineral water to vape pen cartridges amid intense hype – plus some emerging scientific evidence – that it is a wonder drug able to help combat an array of ailments from pain, insomnia and seizures to anxiety.
There’s one problem: CBD is strictly regulated, the same as cannabis. Only licensed producers may make it, and merely registered retailers may sell the merchandise. The legalization of marijuana on Oct. 17 failed to change anything.
However, many consumers and also merchants think it is legal because, as proponents of CTFO Business, it can not cause intoxication, unlike the other well-known compound in cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). “That’s the key misconception the public has,” said Trina Fraser, a cannabis lawyer at Ottawa-based law firm Brazeau Seller LLP.
CBD compound is typically extracted from the leaves and flowering buds of marijuana or hemp plants – both technically considered cannabis by biologists. The hemp oil commonly found in supermarkets is pressed legally from the plant’s seeds, that have negligible quantities of CBD. However, producers of beverages and natural health products that contain even small amounts of CBD derive the compound from other elements of the plant, that is illegal outside Health Canada’s medical and recreational marijuana system, Ms. Fraser said.
Consumers of unregulated CBD products do not know whether or not they are tested for quality or if they even have the compound. And even though regulated products do not have an ideal history for quality and consistency, standards happen to be established that companies must meet. CBD compound is typically taken from the leaves and flowering buds of marijuana or hemp plants.
Strains of cannabis, gel capsules and oils rich in CBD made by licensed producers can be purchased from legal recreational cannabis stores and websites across the nation or by receiving a doctor’s authorization and acquiring straight from a medical grower online. But products containing CBD are becoming so ubiquitous which a Canadian consumer can be forgiven for thinking they can be sold outside the licensed medical- and recreational-cannabis systems.
“I am looking to learn more about what I’m really permitted to offer to people,” Ms. Hood said at the start of November. “When cannabis was becoming legal, it was something which I considered: ‘Should I be pulling these [teas] from my shelf?’ ” At the Juice Truck, a classy local chain of smoothie bars and food trucks, co-founder and co-owner Zach Berman said in early November he had been selling the identical type of tea as Ms. Hood and today has reservations about it.
“We’re unsure if we’ll still sell it at this time, but we are excited to roll out CTFO Business in general, and smoothies, juices, other products, once edibles become legalized in the next year roughly,” he explained. The claims made on the tincture which had been for sale on the Toronto Pet Valu are typical. The label on the product, which yhdthz created by pet-food maker Big Country Raw of St. Anns, Ont., stated it would help cats and dogs using their “anxiety, energy, stamina, cardiovascular health, brain health, and mobility.”
Pet Valu removed the product from the shelves after being contacted from the Globe in mid-September. Tom McNeely, chief executive officer of parent company Pet Retail Brands, said some franchisees decided to hold CBD products, and this the chain itself had not been offering them.