Is CBD Oil Legal in Virginia?
Around the globe, strict legislation against medicinal marijuana seems to be easing up. Just recently, Britain announced that it is set to relax its rules on the possession and use of cannabis for medical purposes. Till now, their strict laws were pretty ironic, considering they're the world's biggest exporters of hemp and cannabis! Fortunately, Virginia is in step with the times and international trends. Since March 2018, CBD oil in Virginia can be possessed legally by anyone needing it for medical purposes—with a number of provisions. 
Earlier this year, House Bill 1251 was expanded a lot in terms of indications for CBD (cannabidiol) and THC-A (TetraHydroCannabinolic-Acid). This means that you now have legal protection to possess and use these marijuana derivatives for any medical condition your physician sees fit to prescribe it for, not just for epilepsy. That is a huge gain for Virginians!
However, as usual, the process is more complicated than it sounds—so read on to learn how to legally get three of the healthful cannabis compounds, THC, THC-A, and/or CBD oil in Virginia. Whole-plant oil is not permitted in Virginia, but whole-flower extractions are permissible. 
Is CBD Oil Legal in Virginia and How Can I Get It?
In order to qualify for affirmative defense (protection by state law) for possession of these cannabis derivatives, you need to comply with the following:
- A positive diagnosis of a medical condition or disease that your physician thinks will respond well to one or a combination of the three cannabis compounds.
- A valid written certification by a Board of Pharmacy-registered physician or osteopath in Virginia stating the above. Physicians will only be allowed a certain number of certifications per year.
- Registration with the Virginia Board of Pharmacy as a patient, for which the fee is currently $50. The registry is already open.
- Obtain the oils from a state-registered "pharmaceutical processor" in Virginia. These processors will be able to grow cannabis, make the oils, and dispense to patients directly. According to the state Department of Health, these processors will be operational in 2019. Apparently, the Department will announce registered dispensers later this year, but the law is unclear on possession of products obtained out of state.
- If you're a parent or legal guardian of a minor or dependent in need of CBD, THC, or THC-A, you are also eligible for an affirmative defense. You are also required to register with the state Board of Pharmacy. 
What is THC-A and CBD Oil in Virginia?
THC and CBD are the two most-researched phytocannabinoids currently in use. They are both extracted from the Cannabis Sativa L. plant and have diverse health properties.
Both have psychoactive properties, meaning they can cause a change in your brain via interaction with your endocannabinoid system. Their influence is not limited to the brain, however, and research so far has shown a strong indication for the treatment of:
- chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting
- seizure disorders
- multiple sclerosis (MS)-related spasticity
- chronic pain
Users take it for many other conditions, but these are the only conditions with clinical evidence of medical marijuana's efficacy. 
THC is the cannabis compound best known for its psychotropic effect, or its ability to make you feel high or intoxicated. It is found in raw, unprocessed cannabis as THC-A, but when heat is applied (such as when you smoke marijuana), its molecular structure changes to become THC. This is a process called "decarboxylation." When consumed, THC-A doesn't cause a high. 
Scientific research of this cannabinoid is still in a nascent stage, but there seems to be evidence of neuroprotective action, cancer cell inhibition or apoptosis, and anti-inflammatory effects. 
CBD is the better-known compound, and it has numerous benefits, also without causing euphoria. While more clinical study is needed, so far it is considered very safe, even in very high dosages. 
THC-A and CBD oil in Virginia must contain at least 5mg/mL CBD, or at least 5mg/mL THC-A. THC oil may not contain more than 5% of the cannabinoid.
Pharmaceutical processors will only be allowed to dispense three months' supply to each patient.
But is CBD Oil Legal in Virginia If Marijuana Is Still Illegal in the U.S.A.?
Federally, yes, marijuana and its derivatives are all still classified as a Schedule I drug. This means that according to federal law, cannabis is considered to have a high potential for abuse, is of no medical use, and can be harmful.
That said—the U.S Department of Justice's Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recently issued a new drug code that excluded CBD from their definition of marijuana if it is extracted from the stems of cannabis plants. Federally, THC and THC-A are still classified as illegal drugs.
It’s more than a bit puzzling, considering the rapidly growing body of evidence demonstrating both compounds' medicinal properties—and the fact that the FDA has recently approved a CBD-based epilepsy drug with small amounts of THC. 
State laws apply, but it only offers an affirmative defense if you qualify. That means that you can still be federally prosecuted for possession.
However, that should not stop you from making use of the state-regulated allowance for usage. Virginia NORML, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit affiliated with the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, gives the following advice regarding possession:
- Don't consume your medicine in public.
- Don't take it out of your home unless absolutely necessary.
- Keep your signed certificate with the oil at all times.
- If you must travel with your medicine, place it in a locked container in your trunk.
- Don't drive impaired. Ever.
- Don't post on social media about your medicine. 
Hopefully, the question "Is CBD Oil Legal in Virginia?" has been answered adequately. Watch this space for further developments, though, as states across the U.S. are all still refining their regulatory processes and procedures regarding medical marijuana. This means that most state laws are likely to be tweaked and changed as time goes on.