CBD products have become extremely popular in the past few years.
However, due to limited research and its very close relation to the federally illegal marijuana, it lies in a murky legal landscape.
The fact that different states in the U.S. handle cannabidiol in different ways makes it even more complicated. And that begs the question, is CBD oil legal?
In this article, we will discuss what differentiates CBD from marijuana, and its legality at both federal and state levels.
Map of CBD Oil Legality Per State in the U.S.
What Are The Legal Differences Between CBD, THC, Hemp, and Marijuana?
CBD is part of a group of chemicals called cannabinoids. They are unique to cannabis and based on the limited research that has been done on them, they appear to have diverse medicinal properties. It is in these chemicals that the difference between marijuana and CBD oil lies.
There are two varieties of the cannabis Sativa plant, namely:
- Hemp, and;
Marijuana produces a psychoactive cannabinoid called THC, or delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol in large quantities.
THC is by far the most well-known cannabinoid produced by cannabis, and it is responsible for marijuana's infamous ‘high.'
Hemp, on the other hand, produces limited amounts of THC. Federal law classifies cannabis with less than 0.3% THC as industrial hemp, and it is this variety of cannabis that produces most of the CBD products you see on the market.
Unlike THC, cannabidiol is not psychoactive, so you won't experience a psychoactive high after using it. But since some CBD products still contain some THC, it's possible to fail a drug test after taking CBD products.
The reason behind CBD oil's immense popularity is its supposed health benefits. Various studies and users found that the hemp extract might be effective in relieving symptoms associated with a range of medical conditions such as;
- Chronic pain and inflammation
- Anxiety and depression
- Cancer-related symptoms such as nausea and vomiting
- Heart disease
- Opioids, cocaine and psycho-stimulant addiction.
- Alzheimer's disease
While the few studies done to prove CBD's therapeutic abilities have been quite promising, clinical evidence is still rare. The FDA has also stated that the scientific data behind the claims is limited. The only CBD product the agency has medically-approved is Epidiolex, a drug used to manage two rare and hard to treat forms of pediatric epilepsy.
Now that we know the difference between hemp and marijuana, as well as CBD and THC, let's talk about CBD oil's legality.
Is CBD Oil Legal Federally?
To understand the legality of CBD oil, we will first have to talk about hemp, the plant that's used a source to produce federally-legal CBD products.
You see, hemp was outlawed by the U.S. government decades ago. Coupled with the fact that marijuana has also been illegal at both federal and state levels until recently, you can understand why there still isn't much research into cannabis's medical abilities.
In December 2018, Congress passed the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, commonly known as the ‘2018 Farm Bill'. The legislation made an important distinction between hemp and marijuana, effectively ending hemp prohibition. It categorically stated that a cannabis plant with less than 0.3% THC is classified as hemp, while a cannabis plant with more than 0.3% THC is classified as marijuana.
A section of the legislation states that:
the term hemp means the plant Cannabis sativa L and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, and salts of isomers with a THC concentration of not more than 0.3% on a dry weight basis.
The bill instructed states to create their own hemp programs and submit them to the USDA within a year for approval. Farmers would then be granted hemp cultivation licenses by their respective states. States that do not devise their own hemp programs will have to rely on the USDA for a federal licensing program.
On the same day the historic Farm Bill was signed into law, the FDA issued a reminder stating that it was responsible for regulating products containing cannabis or cannabis extracts under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. It also expressed concern that the market was flooded by CBD products claiming to cure all sorts of ailments without its approval. In fact, the agency has sent warning letters to numerous cannabis companies instructing them to:
- Cease marketing their products with unapproved medical claims.
- Cease marketing their products to vulnerable communities such as children and infants due to a greater risk of adverse reactions.
- Cease selling CBD products as dietary supplements.
- Cease adding cannabidiol to human and pet food.
Due to limited scientific data on the safety of CBD in food, the FDA concluded that the hemp extract couldn't be generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for use in human or animal food. According to FDA Principal Deputy Commissioner Amy Abernathy, the agency is working to further clarify its regulatory approach for products containing cannabis and cannabis-derived compounds.
At the time, she said:
We remain concerned that some people wrongly think that the myriad of CBD products on the market, many of which are illegal, have been evaluated by the FDA and determined to be safe, or that trying CBD ‘can't hurt.
Aside from one prescription drug approved to treat two pediatric epilepsy disorders, these products have not been approved by the FDA. We recognize the significant public interest in CBD, and we must work together with stakeholders and industry to fill in the knowledge gaps about the science, safety, and quality of many of these products.
Additionally, the FDA also released a Consumer Update outlining the safety concerns surrounding CBD. Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has previously stated that without any Congressional intervention, it might take the FDA several years to craft CBD rules. Still, the agency is under mounting pressure from hemp and CBD proponents to create a comprehensive regulatory framework for CBD at the federal level.
Like marijuana, hemp and by extension CBD oil, is governed by different sets of rules at the federal and state levels. Since the 2018 Farm Bill instructed states to create their own hemp rules, they are bound to differ from each other. Additionally, a lot of the regulations on CBD cultivation, distribution, manufacturing, and selling are still in development.
This article doesn't cover the regulation with regards to CBD in pet food products. CBD in pet food is subject to different laws and regulations in some states.
Let's take a look at the laws and regulations that govern CBD at a state-level.
Is CBD Oil Legal in Alabama?
CBD has been legal in Alabama since June last year after Governor Kay Ivey signed Senate Bill 225. The bill permitted pharmacies to sell CBD products with no more than 0.3% THC.
Is CBD Oil Legal in Alaska?
CBD oil is legal in Alaska as long as it is sourced from industrial hemp. The Alaska Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is responsible for regulating the production and sale of CBD.
Is CBD Oil Legal in Arizona?
Due to the 2010 Medical Marijuana Bill, it is legal for Arizona residents to buy CBD oil.
Is CBD Oil Legal in Arkansas?
Since the passing of The Arkansas Industrial Hemp Act in 2017, cannabidiol has been legal in Arkansas.
Is CBD Oil Legal in California?
The state legalized both medical and recreational cannabis use through Senate Bill 420 passed in2003, and the California Food and Agricultural Code, Division 24 of 2016.
With the exception of CBD being added to human and pet food, cannabidiol is completely legal in the state of California.
Is CBD Oil Legal in Colorado?
Thanks to Amendment 64 passed in 2012, the cultivation, possession, and sale of recreational marijuana is legal, and so is CBD in all its forms.
Is CBD Oil Legal in Connecticut?
The state legalized medical marijuana in 2012 through the House Bill 5389, and it permits medical marijuana patients to buy and possess CBD oil. Additionally, hemp-derived CBD became legal for all in the state ever since the 2014 Farm Bill was passed.
Is CBD Oil Legal in Delaware?
The 2014 House Bill 385 legalized hemp-derived CBD oil in Delaware.
Is CBD Oil Legal in Florida?
Cannabidiol is indeed legal in Florida, just as long as it adheres to the 0.3% THC upper limit. New rules took effect in January 2020 giving the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) regulatory authority over CBD products in the state.
Is CBD Oil Legal in Georgia?
House Bill 1 or Haleigh's Hope Act passed in 2015 states that any residents suffering from severe health issues like chronic pain are permitted to use CBD oil derived from marijuana, and they must have a “Low-THC CBD Oil Card.” However, since the 2018 Farm was passed, CBD derived from industrial hemp is legal for anyone in the state to buy, possess and consume even if they don’t have a patient card.
Is CBD Oil Legal in Hawaii?
CBD sourced from hemp is legal to use for any purpose. CBD sourced from marijuana is only legal for medical use and one must have a medical marijuana card to access it.
Is CBD Oil Legal in Idaho?
The state requires CBD products to have zero % THC. Any amount of THC renders it illegal.
Is CBD Oil Legal in Illinois?
Late in 2018, the state senate passed Senate Bill 2772, effectively legalizing the sale of CBD oil with less than 0.3% THC. It was passed in conjunction with Senate Bill 2298 which lifted the ban on cultivating industrial hemp.
Is CBD Oil Legal in Indiana?
The Senate Enrolled Act No. 52 that was passed in 2018 legalized the possession and use of CBD for its residents.
Is CBD Oil Legal in Iowa?
Under House File 524, Iowa residents are allowed to possess CBD cannabis oil as long as it doesn't have more than 0.3% THC.
Is CBD Oil Legal in Kansas?
Governor Coyler approved Senate Bill 282 in 2018 which legalized the possession and sale of CBD oil as long as it contains less than 0.3% THC.
Is CBD Oil Legal in Kentucky?
Kentucky allows the possession and use of CBD under the 2014 Farm Bill which states that cannabis extracts derived from industrial hemp are legal as long as they contain less than 0.3% THC.
Is CBD Oil Legal in Louisiana?
Louisiana permits the possession and use of CBD under House Bill 491. However, officials have stated that CBD with even trace amounts of THC is illegal.
Is CBD Oil Legal in Maine?
Maine allows its residents to possess and use both hemp-derived CBD and cannabis-derived CBD. However, firms aren't allowed to make any medical claims while marketing their products.
Is CBD Oil Legal in Maryland?
Under House Bill 881, Maryland residents can buy and use CBD if they observe regulations regarding fees, possession limits, patient registry, and identification cards.
Is CBD Oil Legal in Massachusetts?
Massachusetts permits both hemp and cannabis derived CBD oil. However, officials have said that ‘any food product containing CBD' and ‘any product containing CBD derived from hemp that makes medicinal claims' is prohibited.
Is CBD Oil Legal in Michigan?
CBD derived from both cannabis and hemp is permitted in Michigan. Following current FDA regulations, marketing CBD products as dietary supplements, or using them as food additives or beverage products is prohibited.
Is CBD Oil Legal in Minnesota?
CBD is legal, and residents do not require a medical marijuana card to possess or use cannabidiol.
Is CBD Oil Legal in Mississippi?
Mississippi allows residents to use CBD products that ‘contain more than 15% CBD and less than 0.5% THC' under the 2014 Farm Bill.
Is CBD Oil Legal in Missouri?
CBD can only be used for medicinal purposes. Patients must be approved to participate in the Missouri Hemp Extract Registration Program (MHERP)
Is CBD Oil Legal in Montana?
Residents can possess and use hemp derived CBD without a medical marijuana card. However, they will need a card to purchase cannabis derived CBD products.
Is CBD Oil Legal in Nebraska?
Hemp and its derivatives were exempted from the state's Uniform Controlled Substances Act. However, the police issued a statement advising businesses to avoid hemp products. This has led to uncertainty regarding CBD's legal status because the law says one thing and law enforcement says another thing.
Is CBD Oil Legal in Nevada?
The state allows the possession and use of CBD products. In accordance with FDA regulations, it prohibits using CBD as a food additive.
Is CBD Oil Legal New Hampshire?
New Hampshire residents are permitted to possess and use CBD. However, it is not permitted in food in accordance with FDA guidelines.
Is CBD Oil Legal in New Jersey?
Although the state's hemp program is waiting for USDA approval, residents can access and use hemp-derived CBD products while only qualifying patients with a medical marijuana card can use marijuana-derived CBD products.
Is CBD Oil Legal in New Mexico?
New Mexico allows its residents to purchase CBD oil whether or not they have a medical marijuana card.
Is CBD Oil Legal in New York?
CBD oil is legal in the state of New York as long as you use it as a dietary supplement. New York City, however, banned the addition of CBD into food and drinks last year.
Is CBD Oil Legal in North Carolina?
Hemp-sourced CBD is legal to possess and consume in the state.
Is CBD Oil Legal in North Dakota?
While House Bill 1349 brought North Dakota’s hemp law in line with federal law (thereby making CBD oil legal), residents aren’t allowed to buy CBD products until such products get the approval of the FDA. Only patients with a qualifying medical condition who have completed the process of applying for a medical marijuana card can legally buy and use CBD products.
Is CBD Oil Legal in Ohio?
Under Senate Bill 57, Ohio residents can possess and use CBD oil.
Is CBD Oil Legal in Oklahoma?
The purchase and possession of CBD oil in Oklahoma is allowed under Senate Bill 238.
Is CBD Oil Legal in Oregon?
Oregon allows both hemp derived and cannabis derived CBD within its borders.
Is CBD Oil Legal in Pennsylvania?
The state allows residents to purchase, possess and use CBD products as long as they contain less than 0.3% THC. To gain access to cannabis derived CBD, they need a medical marijuana card.
Is CBD Oil Legal on Rhode Island?
Hemp-derived CBD is legal under the 2014 Farm Bill. However, residents require a medical marijuana card to purchase and use cannabis-derived CBD.
Is CBD Oil Legal in South Carolina?
Most types of CBD products are legal, with the exception of smokable hemp flower.
Is CBD Oil Legal in South Dakota?
Hemp and its derivatives, including CBD Oil, became legal in South Dakota after Gov. Kristi Noem signed House Bill 1008 into law at the end of March 2020.
Is CBD Oil Legal in Tennessee?
Hemp-derived CBD oil is legal in Tennessee for use by residents whether or not they have a medical marijuana card.
Is CBD Oil Legal in Texas?
With the legalization of hemp cultivation and processing in Texas in 2019, CBD oil is now legal as long as its THC concentration doesn’t exceed the federally permitted 0.3% threshold.
Is CBD Oil Legal in Utah?
CBD-derived from hemp is now legal for everyone in Utah while the Utah Medical Cannabis Act of 2018 allows patients with certain qualifying conditions to purchase and use CBD from marijuana as long as they have a medical marijuana card from the Utah Department of Health (UDOH).
Is CBD Oil Legal in Vermont?
Vermont allows residents to buy and use CBD as long as it is sourced from hemp and contains less than 0.3% THC.
Is CBD Oil Legal in Virginia?
CBD oil is legal to consume in Virginia. However, Virginia prohibits the addition of CBD to foods.
Is CBD Oil Legal in Washington State?
Due to its liberal laws on marijuana, Washington State allows the sale of both CBD cannabis oil (extracted from marijuana) and CBD hemp oil (extracted from hemp). In December 2017, the House of Representatives introduced House Bill 2234. The legislation allows marijuana processors and producers to use CBD even if its source (marijuana or hemp) isn't licensed by the State Liquor or Cannabis Board.
Is CBD Oil Legal in West Virginia?
Residents can buy and use CBD products as long as they don't exceed 0.3% THC.
Is CBD Oil Legal in Wisconsin?
Wisconsin only allows patients licensed by the state to purchase and use CBD. However, this conflicts with the legality of industrial hemp in the state, and it is easy to find CBD products all over the state.
Is CBD Oil Legal in Wyoming?
CBD oil is legal as long as it adheres to THC limits. Residents with Wyoming's Hemp Extract Registration Card can buy both hemp and cannabis derived CBD.
Note that the cannabis legal landscape is constantly shifting as amendments are made to existing bills and new ones are passed. Therefore, make sure you consult your state's laws on cannabis and CBD before you buy CBD oil.
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