Here are the biggest stories from this week:
The TSA has updated its policies on CBD.
While the agency made no announcement, it revised its webpage entitled “What Can I Bring?” to read that medical marijuana was allowed with “special instructions.”
Passengers are now allowed to bring hemp-derived CBD products—as well as the FDA-approved Epidiolex medication—in their carry on and checked bags.
Before the revision, the section on medical marijuana read:
“Possession of marijuana and certain cannabis infused products, including some Cannabidiol (CBD) oil, remain illegal under federal law. TSA officers are required to report any suspected violations of law, including possession of marijuana and certain cannabis infused products.
TSA’s screening procedures are focused on security and are designed to detect potential threats to aviation and passengers. Accordingly, TSA security officers do not search for marijuana or other illegal drugs, but if any illegal substance is discovered during security screening, TSA will refer the matter to a law enforcement officer.”
The section now features an added statement:
“Products/medications that contain hemp-derived CBD or are approved by the FDA are legal as long as it is produced within the regulations defined by the law under the Agriculture Improvement Act 2018.”
The federal government has begun to acquiesce to the hemp provisions in the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, or more colloquially, the 2018 Farm Bill.
The USDA has been particularly active in issuing memos about hemp policy.
The USDA has released a legal opinion memo confirming that states cannot block legal hemp shipments.
This provision is already found in the 2018 Farm Bill, but it did not stop both Idaho and Oklahoma from arresting hemp drivers as suspected drug traffickers.
The USDA memo recognizes that while states can prohibit the production of hemp in their state, the interstate commerce of hemp must be allowed.
Another aspect of the memo concerns THC from hemp.
“Congress has removed hemp from Schedule I and removed it entirely from the CSA,” USDA wrote. “In other words, hemp is no longer a controlled substance. Also, by amending Schedule I to exclude THC in hemp, Congress has likewise removed THC in hemp from the CSA.”
As a result, hemp-derived THC, assuming that it is within the 0.3% threshold, is legal.
Most of the memo confirmed policies that were already provided in the 2018 Farm Bill, but it solidifies hemp’s status as a federally legal plant.
Additionally, the USDA stated that the descheduling of hemp and its derivatives (which includes CBD and 0.3% or less of THC) is in effect, requiring no other legislation.
The USDA is currently working on its regulatory framework for hemp production, processing, and manufacturing, which is expected to be released in 2019, in time for the 2020 growing season.
Penn Vet is conducting what is believed to be the first, and largest major clinical trial on CBD’s effectiveness for joint immobility in dogs.
Past studies indicate that CBD has the potential to help with osteoarthritis, inflammation, and joint pain.
The study will use a CBD pet product from Therabis, a subsidiary of Dixie Brands, a cannabis company based in Denver, Colorado.
“We are honored to have a Therabis product selected by the world-renowned experts at Penn Vet for their first major study of the effects of natural hemp oil to reduce joint pain in dogs,” said Dr. Stephen M. Katz, co-founder of Therabis.
“Our experience in my clinic has shown that cannabidiol (CBD) is an effective treatment in reducing inflammatory response. We have a passion for improving dogs’ quality of life, and we look forward to learning all we can about therapeutic methods to achieve this.”
Dr. Kimberly Agnello will lead the double-blind study.
The press release from Dixie Brands explained that the study design would separate the dogs into three groups.
One will receive the Therabis product, another group will receive CBD alone, and a third will receive a placebo.
Researchers are hoping to have 20 dogs in each group.
Results from this study are expected within a year and will be published in a veterinary medicine journal.
A study at the Korea University College of Medicine in Seoul, South Korea has found that CBD significantly enhanced TRAIL treatment for colorectal cancer.
TRAIL (TNF-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand) is a treatment that utilizes TNF, or tumor necrosis factor, a protein that causes inflammation and is believed to help trigger cancer cell death (apoptosis).
Researchers used CBD and TRAIL in combination against colorectal cancer cells in vitro (taking place outside of a living organism, such as in a dish or test tube) and found that they showed “synergistic antitumor effects.”
According to the data in the figures provided, CBD and TRAIL together “significantly increased apoptosis” as opposed to TRAIL by itself.
“Our studies demonstrate that cannabidiol enhances TRAIL-induced apoptosis by upregulating DR5 and suggests that cannabidiol is a novel agent for increasing sensitivity to TRAIL,” wrote the researchers.
DR5, death receptor 5, is a receptor targeted by TRAIL to induce the death of colorectal cancer cells.
According to Fight Colorectal Cancer, a non-profit organization advocating for a cure to the disease, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men and women combined.
In 2019 alone, over 140,000 people are estimated to be diagnosed with colorectal cancer, making new treatments crucial.
Research has shown that CBD may be a “novel agent” for possibly treating several other forms of cancer as well.
“Cannabidiol has shown the ability to inhibit proliferation, angiogenesis, and metastasis in various cancers, including colorectal, breast, brain, prostate, and lung cancer,” the researchers wrote.
The researchers concluded that “the combination of cannabidiol and TRAIL is a significant potential therapy via induction of the DR5/ER stress pathway.”
Ben & Jerry’s, one of the most well-known ice cream makers in the United States, is ready to add CBD to its products.
The company announced on its website that it wants to get into the “latest food trend.”
“We are committed to bringing CBD-infused ice cream to your freezer as soon as it’s legalized at the federal level,” wrote the company.
Ben & Jerry’s has hinted at its support of cannabis in general with flavor names such as Bonnaroo Buzz and Half Baked.
Currently, the FDA has firmly stated that CBD is not allowed to be added to food or drink because it is considered a drug.
However, the FDA had a public hearing on May 31 about CBD to gather information and thoughts on how to regulate the cannabinoid.
The agency is also taking public comments about CBD in food until July 2, and Ben & Jerry’s submitted a comment in support of legalizing CBD for food and drink.
The company is asking its fans to do the same.
Demand for CBD has risen dramatically in recent years, and Ben & Jerry’s is listening to the public’s request.
“We’re doing this for our fans,” said Ben & Jerry’s CEO Matthew McCarthy. “We’ve listened and brought them everything from Non-Dairy indulgences to on-the-go portions with our Pint Slices. We aspire to love our fans more than they love us and we want to give them what they’re looking for in a Ben & Jerry’s way.”
If the FDA allows CBD into food, Ben & Jerry’s intends to use “sustainably-sourced” CBD from Vermont, its home state.