News / Edmonton

Edmonton vape shops pull products with cannabis-derived substance

Non-psychoactive CBD, often used for pain and anxiety, sparks legal confusion.

Jennifer Gauthier / Metro Vancouver File

Some Edmonton vape shops are pulling products containing a substance derived from cannabis, amid confusion over its legality.

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is illegal for anyone to purchase without a prescription, under the federal Controlled Substances and Drugs Act. The substance is not psychoactive – it’s tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and not CBD that gets users high – which may be where the confusion comes in.

Until late December, Digital Imports carried CBDfx, a vape additive derived from hemp plants that contains concentrated CBD, with the understanding that it was legal.

However, after contacting the California-based manufacturer, store manager Ben Joy Dola decided to pull it from the shelves for the time being.

“They suggested to pull it off of our shelves for safety,” he said.

“There’s a law that will come out any time soon … so we’ll just have to wait. We’ll hopefully bring it back if it’s legal.”

Dola said the product was popular among customers suffering from pain and anxiety. CBD is also used as a treatment for patients with certain forms of epilepsy.

He said he has used it to ease back pain, and his wife has used it for insomnia.

“It is a popular product,” Dola said.

“It’s an alternative medication. Even if you take a lot of it, you’re not getting stoned or high.”

The federal government has promised to legalize marijuana for recreational use in spring, which has added to the uncertainty for some.

Other shops Metro contacted, including Drip Glass and Vape and Liberty Vape, said they do not carry products with CBD but declined further comment.

The federal government introduced legislation in November to regulate vaping products and restrict sales to youth, as well as restricting certain flavours that appeal to youth.

Meanwhile, medical marijuana advocates are pushing for greater acceptance of CBD in the workplace, and some workers say they have been fired for using medical cannabis with a prescription.

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