When the 2018 Farm Bill moved CBD from under the purview of the Drug Enforcement Agency to under the purview of the Food and Drug Administration, there was no update in safety regulations. The FDA is responsible for protecting public health by regulating human drugs and biologics, animal drugs, medical devices, tobacco products, food and cosmetics. However, even though CBD can be used in all of these forms, it’s purity and quality is not regulated by the FDA. The FDA has said that “CBD products currently sold in the United States are unregulated and untested” and that some of their own testing has revealed that some CBD products contain toxic metals, pesticides and THC. So while that gas station CBD might be cheap, it also might not be safe.
The FDA has prohibited the sale of CBD in any unapproved health products, dietary supplements or food. This means that a store can sell as much CBD as it wants, as long it doesn’t make any direct health claims about its product. To avoid these regulations, oftentimes on CBD websites you will see phrases like “CBD has been shown to” or “CBD may help in” rather than “CBD will cure this disease.”
To receive access to medical marijuana, you must be diagnosed with a specific medical condition that is approved for medical marijuana use in your state. This list of medical conditions can be quite lengthy (as in Colorado and Oregon) or very short (as in Texas). This diagnosis must be made by a licensed medical marijuana physician. After finding a provider in your area, call ahead to see if your initial consultation visit is complimentary or out of pocket. You will need your ID and proof of residency for this visit.
How much does CBD cost?
Joshua McCarthy, a 45-year-old Boston resident with multiple sclerosis, admits that he sometimes struggles to afford his therapeutic cannabis and CBD. A 2017 web-based survey, hosted by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, found that 66% of individuals with multiple sclerosis use cannabis for symptom treatment. Cannabis can help patients reduce fatigue, pain, spasticity, and ultimately improve mobility.
Medical marijuana is when the Cannabis sativa plant is used for medicinal purposes. This is the whole Cannabis sativa plant which contains CBD and THC as well as other cannabinoids and terpenes. Medical marijuana does produce a “high” feeling but that is a secondary benefit. Medical marijuana is used to treat a variety of conditions including, but not limited to, Alzheimer’s, appetite loss, cancer, Crohn’s disease, HIV/AIDS, epilepsy, glaucoma, mental health conditions, multiple sclerosis, muscle spasms, pain management, nausea, pain and seizures. Medical marijuana will cause the side effects commonly associated with THC.
Marijuana is still considered illegal at the federal level. It is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance under the Federal Controlled Substances Act. Schedule I drugs are “substances with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse” as defined by the United States Drug Enforcement Agency. This does not mean that medical marijuana has no medical use, only that the federal government has not accepted the potential medical benefits of marijuana.
CBD is a cannabinoid found in the Cannabis Sativa plant species. Cannabis Sativa is the species of plant that is commonly known as pot, weed or marijuana. This cannabis plant contains many different chemicals called cannabinoids. Two of the most famous cannabinoids found in cannabis are THC and CBD. However, researchers have found more than 100 cannabinoids as well as other smaller organic compounds, known as terpenes, in the plant. “Hemp” is a category name for the different strains of Cannabis Sativa that are rich in CBD and contains less than 0.3% THC. While, in the common vernacular, hemp and CBD are generally used as interchangeable terms, the hemp plant is a strain of the Cannabis Sativa plant which contains a high volume of the cannabinoid known commonly as CBD. CBD does not cause any of the side effects associated with THC, including a “high” feeling, dizziness, headache, dry mouth, etc. Using CBD can help manage symptoms of and conditions like epilepsy, seizure disorders, pain and inflammation, PTSD, anxiety, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, opioid withdrawal and many more.
No, Medicaid, nor any other insurance, will pay for CBD (cannabidiol) oil. This holds true even if it is prescribed by a physician.
Will Medicaid pay for CBD oil? What if prescribed by a doctor?
To explain, despite the growing popularity of using CBD to treat medical conditions, it has not been approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for this purpose. That said, there is one exception that exists. In June of 2018, the FDA approved a prescription CBD medication, Epidiolex, which is used to treat two types of epilepsy. Please note that this is the only CBD product for which Medicaid will pay.
Further complicating the use of CBD oil for medicinal purposes, and Medicaid coverage, is that the DEA (United States Drug Enforcement Agency) still classifies CBD oil as a Schedule I Drug, the same class of drugs as heroin and ecstasy. As a side note, any FDA-approved CBD product with no greater than 0.1% THC (tetrahydrocannabinols) are considered to be Schedule V Drugs. This class of drugs has a low potential for abuse and contains some cough and anti-diarrhea medications.