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Is CBD Oil Legal in Georgia?

Is CBD Oil Legal in Georgia?

The legal status of CBD oil in Georgia is the same as everywhere in the U.S.—if it is hemp-derived with minimal to no THC content, it is perfectly legal to sell and use. However, if the oil is marijuana-derived, things get a bit trickier. Let’s look at the details to answer the question: Is CBD oil legal in Georgia?

Is CBD oil legal in Georgia?

CBD and THC

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is one of many remarkable compounds found in the Cannabis sativa L. plant. It is also one of two well-studied ones.

Research over the years has proven its positive indication for an impressive list of health issues, including:

  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders, including PTSD, general anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and OCD
  • Epilepsy and other seizure disorders [4]
  • Chronic pain
  • Inflammation
  • Addiction and drug withdrawal
  • Psychosis such as schizophrenia [1]
  • ADHD
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Diabetes I [2]
  • Acne [3]
  • Cancer

The list goes on… The majority of studies are preliminary, with laboratory models or animal subjects—except for epilepsy and related seizure disorders. In this instance, the science proving CBD’s efficacy in treating epilepsy in human subjects (specifically in children) is so conclusive that an external FDA advisory panel recently gave its approval for a CBD-derived drug. This is a first for the U.S. and is probably a significant landmark in the quest to fully legalize medical marijuana. [5]

RELATED: How CBD Helped Me Win Against Panic Attacks

Yet this miraculous compound is still viewed with suspicion, and people still ask gingerly if CBD oil is legal in Georgia. The reason for this lies in CBD’s equally healthful cannabinoid partner—tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.

THC is more controversial solely because of its psychoactive properties. This simply means that THC is responsible for the well-known “high” associated with marijuana use. Because it has high abuse potential, marijuana (with high THC) and its derivatives are, at the federal level, classified as Schedule I drugs as defined by the U.S. Controlled Substances Act. [6]

On the state level, the law is a bit more lenient, and this includes Georgia. The legally obtainable CBD oils in this state contain very little to no THC and are hemp-derived. This purity seems to come with a catch, though.

The legally obtainable CBD oils in this state contain very little to no THC and are hemp-derived. This purity seems to come with a catch, though.

RELATED: The Underlying Difference Between Hemp Oil and CBD Oil

Entourage Effect

Science appears to suggest that this forced family feud between CBD vs. THC comes at a price, as some studies show that neither cannabinoid is as effective on its own as when they are working together. The same goes for the numerous other phytocannabinoids and terpenoids found in marijuana and hemp. In fact, their positive interaction is so significant that it gained an epithet all of its own in the late ‘90s—the entourage effect. [8] [9]

This synergy theory is not without its critics and detractors, but research shows that especially THC’s therapeutic index is increased by the 400+ other cannabis compounds.

It can be speculated that, because of the entourage effect and THC’s undeniable health properties, states across the U.S. are increasingly looking at regulating medicinal marijuana and designing programs to mine the healing potentials of the venerable cannabis plant.

RELATED: Is CBD Hemp Oil Legal in All 50 States?

Georgia’s Medical Marijuana Program

So, is CBD oil legal in Georgia? Yes, if it is pure and hemp-derived. Moreover, in 2015, Georgia implemented a medical marijuana law called “Haleigh's Hope Act.” This act was inspired by the heartening story of Haleigh Cox, a girl with serious seizure disorders, whose life was arguably saved by cannabis oil. The act allows for possession of the oil by people with serious health conditions.

In 2015, Georgia implemented a medical marijuana law called “Haleigh's Hope Act.”

Georgia’s program is not very well supported compared to other states, with only 4,000+ registered users to date.

To be able to legally obtain this cannabis oil, you need to qualify for Georgia’s medical marijuana program. This you will do only if you have been diagnosed with one or more of the following: (quoted verbatim from Senate Bill 16):[11]

  • Cancer, when such disease is diagnosed as end-stage or the treatmentproduces related wasting illness, or recalcitrant nausea and vomiting;
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, when such disease is diagnosed as severe or end-stage;
  • Seizure disorders related to a diagnosis of epilepsy or trauma related head injuries;
  • Multiple sclerosis, when such disease is diagnosed as severe or end-stage;
  • Crohn's disease;
  • Mitochondrial disease;
  • Parkinson's disease, when such disease is diagnosed as severe or end-stage; 
  • Sickle cell disease, when such disease is diagnosed as severe or end-stage;
  • Tourette's syndrome, when such syndrome is diagnosed as severe;
  • Autism spectrum disorder, when such disorder is diagnosed for a patient who is at least 18 years of age, or severe autism when diagnosed for a patient who is less than 18 years of age;
  • Epidermolysis bullosa;
  • Alzheimer's disease, when such disease is diagnosed as severe or end stage;
  • Acquired immune deficiency syndrome, when such syndrome is diagnosed as severe or end stage; or
  • Peripheral neuropathy, when such symptoms are diagnosed as severe or end stage.

The Georgia Department of Public Health lists in- and outpatients of hospice programs as also qualifying, and in May 2017, a bill was signed to include PTSD and intractable pain in the list. Important to note, though, is that the bill doesn’t allow for cultivating marijuana and distribution of cannabis oil. [12]

RELATED: How CBD Oil Helps Deal with PTSD

Georgia patients themselves can apply for the so-called “Low THC Oil Registry Card”; also legal guardians of adults or minors.

The application needs to be signed by both the patient and the diagnosing physician. The physician also needs to apply for certification with the Georgia Department of Health.

Is CBD oil legal in Georgia? Yes, if it is hemp-derived and has less than 5% THC content.

The law itself poses a bit of a dilemma, though. In the words of the Department of Public Health of Georgia: “The law does not address how low THC oil is made, purchased or shipped. The law only creates a procedure to ensure qualified persons will be protected from prosecution for having it in their possession. The Georgia Department of Public Health does not prescribe or dispense Low THC Oil.” [13]

So, where and how you can legally buy your allotted low-THC cannabis oil is unclear at this point. Carrying the registry card will exempt you from prosecution for possessing cannabis oil. Most users buy their cannabis oil online or from out-of-state producers in places where its production is legal. It is very important, though, to buy only from reputable manufacturers who properly test and label their products.

The oil cannot contain more than 5% of THC, and it must contain at least an equal amount of CBD. The oil must also be in a medical or pharmaceutical container, with clear specifics of the THC content on the label. You are legally allowed to carry no more than 20 fluid ounces of the oil.

Is CBD oil legal in Georgia? Again—yes, if it is hemp-derived and has less than 5% THC content. The oil is used by millions worldwide who find it useful for a long list of health conditions. If you need medical cannabis oil for a serious health condition, though, your best course of action would be to apply for a  “Low THC Oil Registry Card” with your physician via Georgia’s Department of Public Health and buy your products from a reputable vendor.

Sources:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27884751
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27767974
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4151231/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24237632
  5. https://www.cnbc.com/2018/04/19/cannabis-derived-drug-clears-hurdle-on-path-to-fda-approval.html
  6. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1525505016305856
  7. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/some-of-the-parts-is-marijuana-rsquo-s-ldquo-entourage-effect-rdquo-scientifically-valid/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9721036
  9. https://bpspubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1476-5381.2011.01238.x
  10. https://www.dui.info/hemp-oil-and-medical-marijuana-laws-in-georgia
  11. http://www.legis.ga.gov/Legislation/20172018/170462.pdf
  12. http://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/386689-georgia-governor-signs-ptsd-medical-marijuana-bill-into-law
  13. https://dph.georgia.gov/low-thc-oil-faq-general-public

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