Ever since the investigation in Sushant Singh Rajput case began, it opened a floodgate to several issues. One of the issues that became the talking point is CBD oil. It all started with chats surfacing online claiming some Bollywood A-list actresses were using CBD oil. And, since then questions are being raised on the usage and the legal status of the oil in India. With the availability of the oil on the internet and Bollywood celebrities coming under NCB’s radar, there’s a lot of confusion about the oil and it’s legal status. Recently, actress Meera Chopra tweeted questioning the legal status of the oil. While late actor Irrfan Khan’s wife, Sutapa Sikdar, appealed for the legalisation of CBD oil in India.
Here’s a complete guide on CBD oil, its uses, side effects and if procuring the oil will land you in legal trouble.
What is CBD oil?
CBD oil or cannabidiol oil is derived from cannabis, chemicals that are present in marijuana plants. Even though the oil comes from marijuana plants it is not toxic or harmful. This is due to the presence of less amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in the oil that creates a high effect. “CBD oil is cannabinoid or cannabidiol oil, that causes mood elation and it is derived from the cannabis plant. It works by acting on certain receptors in the brain which are known as cannabinoid receptors and this is what helps in mood elation,” says Dr Avinash Desousa, Consultant Psychiatrist.
Uses and side effects
Talking about the usage Dr Rinky Kapoor, Cosmetic Dermatologist and Dermato-Surgeon, The Esthetic Clinics says, “Oral CBD is found useful in treating incurable diseases like chronic pain, epilepsy, etc. However, exact doses are not known yet. The quality of the product needs to be ascertained before use, if not made properly, it may contain THC which is the addictive component of marijuana. It may interact with opioid medicines.”
CBD oil is also believed to be beneficial in acne management and reducing the overall inflammation in the body. It is important to consult your dermatologist before considering the oil for acne management. “The anti-inflammatory properties in the oil helps reduce sebum production in the skin and thus reduce acne. It also has anti-oxidant properties, so it can also be used as an anti-ageing agent. The soothing properties of the oil helps in the treatment of eczema, psoriasis, etc.,” says Dr Rinky Kapoor.
The oil is believed to have certain medical properties. Some of the medical uses of oil include reducing stress, relieving pain, and treating acne. If not used under doctor’s guidance, the oil may cause side effects. “You may feel an illusion of mood initially and then it dulls your mood. It further increases your chances of developing anxiety, anger, aggression and even mental illnesses. The tendency to develop psychosis and schizophrenia increases if you use CBD oil,” says Dr Avinash Desousa.
Its legal status in India
The availability of oil on the internet has raised numerous questions on its legal status in India. CBD oil is considered legal if the concentration of THC is less than 0.3 per cent. “Under the NDPS Act (Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985), for medicinal purposes, you can use the oil but you need to have a doctor’s prescription. But the problem is when you order it online the concentration of THC is not mentioned. If it is more than 0.3 per cent it is considered illegal,” explains Abha Singh, Lawyer and Former Bureaucrat.
Talking about the current scenario and the ongoing controversy wherein Bollywood celebrities are coming under NCB’s radar, Abha Singh says, “I feel NCB must not pick up people on the basis of chats as the act is far more serious. And also, for small-time users, there is bail provision. The NDPS Act very clearly says that it is sympathetic towards addicts. The act looks with compassion to drug addicts because they think it is a drug addiction which needs to be removed. Section 64A of the NDPS act clearly says immunity from prosecution to addicts volunteering for treatment. So, it means those who have small quantities of psychotropic substances and those who are volunteering to go for medical treatment they may be given bail and they will not be liable for prosecution under section 27 or any other section for offences involving small quantities of drugs or psychotropic substances. The NCB should remember that 64A of the NDPS act talks about the humane approach for small-time users.”
To make it simpler, she also gives an example of actor Fardeen Khan’s case wherein he was granted bail as he volunteered going for medical treatment in Mumbai for deaddiction for three weeks.
When it comes to availability of CBD oil online, a loophole is that the sellers do not mention the content description, making it difficult to understand if the THC content is under the permissible limit. If asked whether new provisions are required when it comes to CBD oil, Abha Singh says, “I would like to say that NCB before has never come out to small-time users so now I think new directives must be sent out to remove all the confusion. Because CBD oil can be purchased online so then even for sellers there must be some new guidelines. The FDA should come out with fresh guidelines to avoid confusion.”
Even if CBD oil is considered legal if the THC content is below 0.3 per cent, it is always advised to consult a doctor before using the oil in any form.