The new year has brought a lot of changes to the world of medical and recreational cannabis. First, California saw huge changes— allowing for recreational marijuana. Now, Virginia has legalized THC-A, or CBD, oil to qualified medical patients. It passed 40-0, making it one of the more unanimous bills to pass for medical legalization in any capacity. Virginia is making moves towards medical reform. But recently, we’ve told you that CBD is already legal nationwide. And technically, in some forms, it is. But we’re going to make sense of all that for you, and help you better understand how Virginia has made a step in the right direction.

Virginia Legalizes CBD Oil with New Bill

So, if CBD is already legal, what’s the big deal?

Okay, well the big deal is this: the form of CBD that any of us can buy at the local head shop is hemp-based. This makes it legal because hemp is a legal import for the United States. But, the form of CBD that is now legal to certain patients in Virginia, is cannabis based. This oil, which you can call CBD or THC-A oil— is a bit different than hemp based CBD oil. Hemp based CBD oil produces no THC whatsoever, which is part of the federal appeal and what keeps it from being ‘marijuana’.

Which patients gain access?

Before this law went into effect, prescribed CBD oil was only available to those suffering from severe epilepsy. But, with these new changes coming into effect, it’s all in what the doctor orders. With written certification from your doctor, CBD oil can be provided for any diagnosed condition or disease.

“By expanding the ability to recommend CBD/THC-A oil, we are giving doctors the freedom to make a recommendation based on the most up to date research and data, just as they do for any other medication they prescribe.”  — Delegate Ben Cline

What changes will we see?

Virginia has seen a large bit of the struggle with America’s opioid crisis. The epidemic runs rampant, and each state is trying to figure out their own means of combatting it. The Executive director of Virginia’s branch of NORML had this to say about prospective changes: “ Medical cannabis laws have demonstrated a significant impact on the opiate crisis. States with such laws see on average a 25% reduction in opioid fatalities.”

As of now, there are just a few steps in the process before it makes it’s way to the Governors desk. Usually, this would be the biggest nail-biter. But, Governor Ralph Northam— a doctor himself, has already gone on record in support of this bill. Therefore, the steps in between are mostly formality by now.