CBD for Children: Will This Bring Child Protective Services to My Door?

CBD has so many beneficial uses for people; the dozens upon dozens of scientific studies and first-hand accounts speak for themselves. This is why some parents want to administer CBD to their children, especially if their young ones are experiencing some form of ailment. What exactly does the law say regarding CBD for children? Will a social worker come knocking on your door if word gets out that you’re treating a child’s illness with CBD?

This post will discuss the legality of cannabidiol products for minors and the adults that buy and possess them. For information on the medical applicability, see our post on CBD for kids.

Is CBD for Children Legal?

When it comes to cannabis, there is hardly ever a uniform answer. As is often the case, the answer falls in a gray area, which means we can’t provide a straight-up “yes” or “no.” We have already mentioned this in previous posts, but it bears repeating: Refer to state laws to determine if CBD oil is safe to purchase and use.

See the National Conference of State Legislatures for a state-by-state breakdown of marijuana laws. The page was compiled on November 2018, so it’s one of the most up to date as of the time of this post. The laws governing state marijuana laws also apply to children.

CBD Use by Children Has Landed Parents in Legal Limbo

Unfortunately, there are real-life horror stories of child protective services showing up unexpectedly after parents give their child a CBD product. We present these stories not to scare you, but to show you why it’s important to follow the marijuana laws in the state of your residence. There have been cases of parents believing they were within legal bounds only to discover the hard way they are violating state law.

Please keep in mind that the two stories we present below are not typical and represent some of the more extreme cases. The vast majority of parents who responsibly administer CBD to their children have never faced such situations.

The Selva Family

Aliana Selva is a 6-year-old California native with severe epilepsy. Her parents Jo and Maria administered her the anticonvulsant drug Keppra on the advice of a doctor. The drug, unfortunately, altered her mood, causing her to go from shy and sweet to aggressive and irritable. The parents eventually switched to CBD as they were desperate for a more side-effect-free alternative. Jo relayed the news to a school administrator when she was called after Aliana had a convulsion in class. Several days later, The Selvas received a phone call from Child Protective Services (CPS).

Long story short, Aliana was taken away by police. The parents were charged with “severe medical neglect.” Eventually, Aliana was returned to her parents after the case was dismissed by Juvenile Dependency Court.

The Zartler Family

The parents of 18-year-old Kara Zartler were brought to court after revelations they used cannabis to treat their daughter’s autism. This case is especially interesting because Kara is legally an adult. However, due to her medical issues, her parents are still considered her legal guardians.

The Zartler family is from Texas, which allows low-THC cannabis for medical use. Autism, however, isn’t one of the approved conditions under the state’s medical marijuana program. Fortunately, for the family, the court ruled that the Zartlers cannabis treatment for their daughter is in itself insufficient for disqualifying guardianship. They were permitted to continue use of cannabis for treating Kara.

Advice for Parents

Before administering CBD to a child, we recommend checking out the child custody section from Americans for Safe Access (ASA). It contains detailed information about how to minimize the possibility of a Child Protective Service agent knocking on your door.

To summarize, ASA outlines these steps for parents:

  • Keep no more cannabis in the home than is necessary for medical use.
  • Keep all cannabis products out of plain sight. Store them all in labeled bottles or jars.
  • If you are a grower who keeps cannabis plants around the property, install fencing to restrict your child from access.
  • Keep out of reach and sight any equipment or tools for cannabis-making, such as butane and burners.
  • Unless directly asked by a CPS agent or family court judge, there is no reason for you to disclose to these entities that you are giving your child CBD. In fact, there’s no reason to disclose the information to anyone. The only exception is to doctors — and that’s only if you’re on a medication that may be inhibited by cannabis use.

All of the above also applies if you or another adult is the user and not your child. There are also instances of CPS getting involved because the parents themselves were users. This brings us to our next section.

Advice for Cannabis Users with Children

So far, we discussed the potential legal ramifications for parents who give their children CBD. However, what if it’s the parents who are using cannabis? Unfortunately, due to the stigma of marijuana, parents have lost custody simply because one or both parents were users. This is especially the case in states that have yet to adopt some form of marijuana program. This is also becoming increasingly common in divorce court where one parent will cite the other’s cannabis use as reason for getting primary custody of the children.

You should be in the clear if you are using the cannabis in accordance with state law. In other words, the courts shouldn’t hold it against you. Nevertheless, we suggest following the same safety tips above. In addition:

  • Refrain from using cannabis in the presence of your children, even if medicating as prescribed by a doctor. This goes for CBD and hemp medicine as well.
  • If both parents are users, create a schedule so only one parent at a time is medicated.
  • If you cook with marijuana, label the food and keep them away from your children.

What to Do if CPS Shows Up at Your Door?

In the unlikely event a CPS agent contacts you for a welfare check, we advise cooperating fully. At the same time, know your rights. You may need to speak with an attorney knowledgeable in your state’s marijuana laws. If the agent removes your child from your home, you have two days to file a petition. You will be expected to give a statement, and the CPS worker will give his/her own statement explaining the reasoning for deciding to remove your child. The judge will decide whether your child can remain with you until the next court date.

Keep All Documentation

Here’s another CPS story involving the David family. The father Jason was giving his son Jayden CBD for treating Dravet Syndrome, a form of epilepsy. He shared his son’s progress with local reporters, one of whom notified authorities, prompting a visit from CPS. Jayden, however, was never taken from his home after Jason was able to show all proof of documentation regarding his son’s illness and treatment. What’s ironic is prior to taking CBD, young Jayden was hospitalized 45 times and on over 20 pharmaceutical drugs. Yet, none of this ever prompted a CPS visit.

Anyways, the takeaway lesson here is to maintain all paper records of your child’s medical diagnosis and all invoices and prescriptions for CBD. This applies regardless of state of residency.

Marijuana Possession Alone Not Grounds for Child Removal

We must also point out that cannabis use alone often isn’t enough for a CPS agent to remove a child from a home. This is especially true for states that permit recreational marijuana use. Some parents fear that a CPS worker’s own individual bias may come into play during a welfare check. Many of them, after all, may not have a knowledgeable understanding of cannabis and only recognize the plant’s federal classification as a controlled substance.

There are, however, judicial processes that limit CPS’ authority.

Armand Montiel, a representative for the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, made this statement to put parents’ mind at ease:

“If all you have is the subjectivity of the social worker, the child will not remain outside the home. We’re very careful.”

Of course, some defense attorneys and parents who had personal run-ins with CPS may disagree with this assessment. This is all the more reason to educate yourself on state law. California, for example, has Proposition 64, which permits adult recreational use. This provides a legal buffer and should protect parents as long as there is no other questionable activity taking place in the household.

Final Word

The reason we mention all of this isn’t to be all doom and gloom. After all, we are cannabis advocates. Remember, instances involving Child Protective Services over cannabis use and CBD for children are the exception and never the norm. 99 percent of parents who possess CBD products will never be confronted with such situations. However, we do want to put the information out there so you can minimize risks of a welfare check occurring at all. Should one do occur, you’ll know how to increase odds of a favorable outcome.

Medical Cannabis: Everything You Need to Know About Its Use and Legality

Medical cannabis may not necessarily be identical to cannabis for recreational use. Are you exploring the efficacy of marijuana for medicinal purposes? We’ll explain the scientifically verified benefits for treating various ailments. The potential applications range from alleviating muscle pain to reducing epileptic seizures. We’ll also explain the laws regarding medical cannabis use; grey areas do abound regarding federal and state laws. Rest assured, though, you will not be left scratching your head after we lay out everything in detail.

What Is Medical Cannabis?

The name is pretty self-explanatory: this is any form of marijuana extract doctors recommend for treating a number of maladies. There is, however, no uniform definition of what constitutes medical cannabis. Each state has its respective definition. Even within a state, the definition may change depending on the purpose of use.

Essentially, users obtain medical cannabis through a doctor recommendation, which we explain in further detail below. The FDA, though, currently does not officially recognize marijuana as a medicine. This is very unfortunate and even more puzzling considering that numerous scientific studies exist.

What About Recreational Cannabis?

As far as recreational cannabis goes, this just refers to cannabis use without medical justification. Recreational users may use a product like CBD hemp oil as a relaxant. Even if it’s not legal, some users may smoke cannabis with above legal-limit THC levels (over 0.3%) for its psychoactive effects. Recreational use, though, should not become a code word for “getting high.” This perpetuates misconceptions about cannabis and its ever-growing number of users.

What Can You Use Medical Cannabis For?

Medical cannabis has been proven effective for treating a number of ailments. Here are a few instances along with the scientific literature to back it up:

  • Cannabis helps treat various types of pain1. It’s especially effective for alleviating neuropathic pain. More doctors now support medical marijuana as a pain reliever in instances where first and second-line treatment fails.
  • Cannabis may help reduce muscle spasms in patients diagnosed with multiple sclerosis2.
  • Some clinics administer cannabis to stimulate appetite in patients who have difficulty eating. This includes patients with AIDS or undergoing chemotherapy3.
  • The cannabis strain Charlotte’s Web may help reduce seizures or their severity in epileptic children4.
  • Cannabis may slow the symptoms associated with traumatic brain injury (TBI)5. Common TBI symptoms include migraines, slurred speech, impaired vision, and gastrointestinal issues. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell indicated that the league is exploring cannabis as a viable treatment for concussed players.
  • Numerous research supports the use of cannabis for treating memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s6.

Cannabis as an Alternative to Opioids

The opioid crisis has cost the federal government roughly $702 billion, according to a report by the American Action Forum. Furthermore, an estimated 919,400 Americans are also out of the workforce due to opioid addiction. The National Institute on Drug Abuse also lists the number of deaths from opioid overdose at 35,000 in 2015.

President Donald Trump has included a $2.8 billion funding as part of a $1.3 trillion spending bill to combat the opioid epidemic. The funding, however, does not appear to include cannabis research. This is unfortunate because increasing medical literature suggests that cannabis may help people wane off the addiction.

A study at the University of New Mexico revealed that subjects with an existing opioid addiction were able to curtail use when given a cannabis extract. Patients use opioids in the first place to treat pain. Medical cannabis, as mentioned earlier, is a proven pain reliever.

Is Medical Marijuana Legal?

Federal law defines cannabis and any form of its extract as a controlled substance. However, the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment of 2014 permits states to pass their own cannabis laws without fear of federal intrusion.

Can you legally obtain medical cannabis for treating ailment X or Y? That depends on your state law. You can ask any other similar question regarding medical cannabis’ legality, and you will arrive at the same answer.

As of the date of this post, medical marijuana is legal in 29 states in the United States. By breakdown, 20 states have legalized medical marijuana, while nine states have legalized both medical and recreational cannabis. Even in these 29 states, limits do apply regarding possession and use.

In California, for example, you can legally possess up to 8-ounces of usable cannabis extract. If you’re a grower, you can possess up to six mature plants or 12 immature plants. In Massachusetts, users can possess up to a 60-day supply (or 10-ounces) for medical use only.

Visit ProCon.org for a list of all 29 states and their specific laws regarding medical use and possession limits.

Do You Need a Prescription for Medical Cannabis?

Here’s the lowdown regarding medical cannabis prescription: they don’t exist in any state. You can’t get them from a doctor or elsewhere. You may have heard the term “marijuana prescription” or a similar term thrown around. This is due to cannabis’ association with medicine. However, there is simply no such thing. Doctors that write up a marijuana prescription are breaching federal law and risk losing their medical license.

There is, however, a marijuana recommendation. In the aforementioned 29 states, doctors can issue recommendations. This is a statement from a physician expressing a professional opinion that medical cannabis may be beneficial for the patient.

That definition may sound near identical to a prescription. However, the difference is not in the name only. Whereas a traditional prescription outlines a specific dosage and limit, a recommendation does not. A supplier or dispensary can supply you with medical cannabis in any amount within state possession limits.

Essentially, a recommendation is a way for doctors to bypass the prescription ban. If any literature on marijuana mentions a doctor’s prescription, they’re just likely using the words “prescription” and “recommendation” interchangeably. In some states, a recommendation may come in the form of a medical card that patients may apply for. Depending on the state, patients under 18-years of age may also qualify for a medical card.

Cannabis recommendations from a doctor were declared legal in 2002. In the Supreme Court case Conant Vs. Walters, doctors in California argued that marijuana recommendations were protected under the First Amendment. Fortunately, the Supreme Court sided with the doctors, hence the legality.

Objective Studies Don’t Lie

The majority of Americans are for marijuana legalization. If not for recreational use, then definitely for medical purposes. The studies back up what many advocates have known all along.

We are not suggesting in any way that medical cannabis is a cure-all for every ailment under the sun. We believe the best path to healthy living involves exercise, dieting, and natural supplementation. Products like Floracil50 promote gut health, which in turn influences hormonal, brain, and neuronal health. Likewise, a supplement like Cortigon may provide reprieve from day-to-day stress. What we’re suggesting is that medical cannabis should be a part of a bigger path to vibrant health and longevity.

Medical References

Hill K, Palastro M, Johnson B, Ditre J. Cannabis and Pain: A Clinical Review. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2017;2(1):96-104. [PMC]
Malfitano A, Proto M, Bifulco M. Cannabinoids in the management of spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2008;4(5):847-853. [PMC]
Kirkham T. Cannabinoids and appetite: food craving and food pleasure. Int Rev Psychiatry. 2009;21(2):163-171. [PubMed]
Maa E, Figi P. The case for medical marijuana in epilepsy. Epilepsia. 2014;55(6):783-786. [PubMed]
Schurman L, Lichtman A. Endocannabinoids: A Promising Impact for Traumatic Brain Injury. Front Pharmacol. 2017;8:69. [PMC]
Cao C, Li Y, Liu H, et al. The potential therapeutic effects of THC on Alzheimer’s disease. J Alzheimers Dis. 2014;42(3):973-984. [PubMed]

Is CBD Legal? Can CBD Possession Land You in Legal Trouble?

Is that small 2-ounce bottle of cannabis oil in your purse or jeans pocket legal? Are you breaking the law by having it in your possession? Simply put, is CBD legal? Unfortunately, the answer isn’t black and white, and the answer lies in the proverbial grey area. The answer primarily depends on your state of residency (applicable in the United States). We’ll do our best to explain the legality of CBD for medical and recreational users.

The Legal Status of CBD

The legal standing of CBD is utterly confusing. Quite honestly, we think it’s astoundingly ridiculous that such a beneficial and natural compound is compared to narcotics like heroin. CBD has been shown in a study 1, for example, to improve blood circulation in the brain. Yet, to the “educated” politicians, CBD is bad because it supposedly gets you high, even though it really doesn’t.

Nevertheless, all we can do is educate and inform.

Ask a dozen people if CBD is legal, and you’ll get a dozen answers. The short answer is “yes,” though we can’t just leave it at that because it’s a tad more complex.

CBD extract is legal for medical and recreational use in the U.S. as long as the product contains below 0.3% Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This is the psychoactive compound in cannabis that gives you that sensation of being high. THC is the main reason cannabis is illegal in the first place. While CBD and THC share some beneficial properties, the former does NOT cause the off-the-wall high feeling.

In essence, CBD should not be confused with THC. Both are forms of cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. There are, by the way, an estimated 85 cannabinoids in the marijuana plant. THC and CBD are simply the more well-known and documented of the bunch.

CBD from Hemp

Due to the THC factor, most CBD extracts are derived from hemp, a cannabis species under the cannabis sativa L. genus. Hemp contains very little traces of THC, hence why the bulk of CBD extracts come from this source. More specifically, it’s derived from the stalks and fibers of the plant, whereas THC is primarily found in the plant’s leaves, resin, and flowering tops.

The Laws Become a Bit Muddled

We just established that CBD extract is legal as long as it contains below 0.3% THC. While that is the widely accepted definition under federal law, the legal definition does get a bit murky. In December 2016, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) issued a rule regarding CBD. The new rule is found in the Federal Registrar under item 21 CFR Part 1308. The rule states that all CBD extracts are classified as Schedule I substances. All Schedule I substances are illegal under federal law. This includes CBD extracts derived from hemp.

What’s the DEA’s explanation for this? According to DEA Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg:

“For practical purposes, all extracts that contain CBD will also contain at least small amounts of other cannabinoids. However, if it were possible to produce from the cannabis plant an extract that contained only CBD and no other cannabinoids, such as extract would fall within the new drug code.”

This means even if a pure CBD product contains 0% THC and 0% other cannabinoids, it would still be federally illegal. Do you have a hemp-derived CBD oil in your car? The DEA can technically put you in cuffs for the violation.

In fact, the DEA has abused its authority by doing exactly just that. In Indiana, police raided a store for carrying CBD oil, despite the oil being tested and confirmed to have 0.0% THC.

Many state-level attorneys have lambasted the DEA. Robert Hoban, a Colorado-based cannabis lawyer has challenged the DEA’s stance as unlawful. He points out that the DEA can only reinforce the laws in the books, not create them or interpret them according to their own terms. Hoban goes further, stating that what the DEA is doing is also putting thousands of jobs in the industry at risk.

So, Is It Legal or Not?

Are you confused? We are a bit confused, too. Federal governing entities are all over the place on this and it’s frustrating for users and suppliers alike. Is it legal? Yes? No? While it’s technically illegal under the DEA’s definition, there are safeguards in place that protect growers and users. These protections are state-specific, so you would have to refer to your state laws regarding CBD use and possession.

Individual state protections from federal intrusion is protected under the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, signed into law in 2014. The bill prohibits federal authorities (i.e. DEA) from interfering with state-level cannabis laws. The law was upheld by the 9th Circuit Court when the amendment was challenged by federal prosecutors.

States Determine Legality of CBD

Currently, 28 states have legalized the use of medical cannabis. Another 16 states also permit the possession of “non-intoxicating” CBD products by patients and their caregivers.

It should be noted, though, that the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment must be renewed every year. If it expires, then state protections vanish, and the DEA has free reign to bust anyone for possession.

So, is it legal in your state? If so, what is the extent regarding use, possession, and distribution? This post would expand another 200 pages if we were to discuss the laws for all 50 states. Visit Americans for Safe Access to see the specific cannabis laws by state.

Buy CBD Extract from a Reputable Source

Regardless of state mandates, we always urge users to err on the side of caution. This is why we strongly recommend only buying from an established and reputable site. At The Universal Plant, we only recommend products that meet the original definition of legal CBD. This means hemp-derived with THC concentrations below 0.3%. CBD extracts at CBD Pure have met these requirements, hence why they have our backing.

To know whether CBD is legal or not, refer to your state’s laws. Both federal and state laws also update frequently, so keep that in mind in case you’re reading this post a year or two from its publication.

Medical References

Crippa J, Zuardi A, Garrido G, et al. Effects of cannabidiol (CBD) on regional cerebral blood flow. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2004;29(2):417-426. [PubMed]