Specially treated caramels, gummy bears and popcorn aren’t just snacks to many people, they are “medicine.”
These treats treated with Cannabinoid oil from marijuana plants, or CBD oil, are currently being studied to see if it helps treat conditions like anxiety, pain and inflammatory diseases.
"I use CBD for systemic swelling. I use CBD for pain and I use CBD for seizure mitigation. And the side-effect for me is just well-being,” said Juliette Wallen, a CBD snack eater.
CBD has been available in oil form for a while, but it’s now popping up in snack foods sold in stores and online. Yet the DEA considers it a controlled substance and says it is not legal in food.
"It is a byproduct that comes from the marijuana plant and because of that, it is still looked at from DEA as a Schedule 1 substance,” said Melvin Patterson, a DEA spokesperson.
The FDA recently sent out warning letters to some companies marketing CBD infused products claiming benefits for cancer, Alzheimer’s and other diseases. The FDA says those claims are unsubstantiated at this point.
"We do know that it's involved in some clinical trials. If those clinical trials prove that CBD is a viable treatment for something and the FDA signs off on that, then it will be considered what everybody refers to as legal," Patterson said.
However, some manufacturers think there are loopholes in the current law.
"If they have less than point zero three percent CBD or THC in that product, then that's one of the loopholes that they're able to sell it. But those products aren't supposed to be edible products," Patterson said.
Wallen said she will continue to count on her special treats as long as she can find them for sale.
"When I use CBD I feel good,” she said.
The FDA and DEA explained that beyond letters, several factors play into how the law may be enforced when it comes to snacks with CBD. They told us those factors include, among other things, agency resources and the threat to public health.
Another interesting fact to note: There are also CBD snacks sold for dogs.