Progress and innovation in any industry can take a tremendous amount of time and effort. Highly regulated fields—such as science and medicine—can take even longer, as new breakthroughs meet head on with the rigors of proper research alongside many other hurdles. Progress within the cannabis industry is at an all-time high, yet ongoing scrutiny, legal issues, and other obstacles are still creating barriers to CBD research and slowing efforts to uncover the true potential of this powerful compound.
The largest current barrier to CBD research is the glut of continued legalities and general confusion surrounding the cannabis industry. CBD is one of the most researched and well known cannabinoids found within the cannabis plant. Legalization of cannabis on a state by state level has allowed steady research and ongoing developments to increase over the last decade. While this research has created an increased awareness and better understanding of the powerful effects CBD can have on an array of medical conditions, the long-held stance of cannabis prohibition by the federal government has limited research by not allowing key resources and funding to be utilized by the scientific community at large.
The 2018 Farm Bill allowed for federal legalization of hemp and hemp based products across the country, with a classification of hemp being any plant or product that contains 0.3% or less total THC content. This does represent some progress towards the future of CBD research, but has also increased confusion as to the difference between cannabis and hemp while also allowing many new CBD products and companies to make exaggerated or unfounded claims into actual effectiveness.
Another major barrier to CBD research is the intensive regulatory process researchers must undergo. Researchers looking to conduct studies on cannabis plants or products must go through a series of reviews via various federal and state regulatory agencies. While many of these regulations are important for proper clinical research and help to ensure consumer safety, much red tape still exists specific to cannabis based research. For instance, some states still require cannabis researchers to apply for a Controlled Substance License, which can be difficult and expensive to obtain.
Ongoing study, along with continued public support and interest into CBD and other cannabinoids, leads to an optimistic future for the cannabis industry overall. Barriers to proper research do still exist, and need to be re-examined and altered for researchers to be able to understand the full potential of CBD.