Is CBD Oil Legal? Legal Status of CBD in 50 States in 2022 Cannabis has had a rocky history in the United States. Starting in the 1920s, various states banned the use of the herb, which The Farm Bill has made CBD legal in all 50 states. But what types of CBD are legal on the federal level – and what types are limited to those with legal medical and recreational cannabis markets? Let’s break it down! CBD Legal States 2022 CBD (cannabidiol) is a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD does not get a user “high;” however, its legality is still a gray
Is CBD Oil Legal? Legal Status of CBD in 50 States in 2022
Cannabis has had a rocky history in the United States. Starting in the 1920s, various states banned the use of the herb, which eventually leads to the federal government banning the plant’s use under any circumstances for several decades.
Only in the 1970s did regulators consider the medical applications of the plant and began rolling out medical programs around the country. CBD wouldn’t be recognized as a medicinal agent for quite some time, and regulators saw all forms of the cannabis plant as a drug — including hemp.
Now, as we inch our way towards a new decade, the landscape is much different.
The federal government recently passed a bill that differentiated two forms of the cannabis plant — hemp and marijuana — arguing that the hemp variety can’t produce the psychoactive high inherent to marijuana. They crossed hemp off the list of restricted substances, giving people open access to the plant for the first time in over 80 years.
But the landscape is continually changing. Each state has its own laws to work out in response to this federal change — and some are much slower than others.
In this article, we’ll discuss what makes some sources of CBD legal while others remain a Schedule I controlled substance.
Let’s get started with an overview of what CBD is.
What Is CBD and Is It Legal?
CBD is short for cannabidiol — it’s just one of over 400 other compounds in the cannabis plant and arguably the most relevant for medical use.
Cannabinoids are a unique class of compounds not exclusive to the cannabis plant. You can also find them in plants like Echinaceae or Helichrysum, but none as abundant as Cannabis.
Cannabinoids are classified by their ability to interact with a specialized system of receptors and hormones in the body aptly named the endocannabinoid system. End– meaning “inside the body”. Conversely, cannabinoids that come from plants such as cannabis are called phyto-cannabinoids.
The endocannabinoid system is a regulatory system — meaning it indirectly controls a variety of processes in the human body by either turning them up or dialing them back down. This is why compounds like CBD have such a long list of benefits and uses.
The Endocannabinoid System Regulates the Following Processes:
- Energy metabolism
- Immune function
- Pain transmission
- Temperature regulation
What Is CBD Used For?
Working through the endocannabinoid system, CBD offers a wide variety of benefits to the human body. It’s used to regulate the stress response, promote sleep, regulate metabolism, and even reduce the transmission of pain signals headed to the brain.
The reason CBD has so many uses comes down to its ability to interact with this centrally-regulating endocannabinoid system. This has a trickle-down effect on the rest of the body, assisting in the regulation of other organ systems all around the body.
Science has come a long way in recent decades to track the benefits of the cannabis plant and its chief cannabinoids — CBD and THC (the main psychoactive cannabinoid).
The most popular uses of CBD include:
- Managing chronic pain
- Reducing inflammation
- Alleviating high-stress levels
- Boosting immune function
- Protecting cognitive health
- Promoting optimal skin health
Over the years, it’s become harder to deny the benefits of cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, especially CBD. Thousands of scientific studies have been published highlighting either the benefits of CBD for a specific condition or defining its safety.
Even the World Health Organization recently stated that “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential…. To date, there is no evidence of public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”
In light of these reports, the world has started opening up to the use of CBD as a health supplement. But with some caveats related to the psychoactive compounds in the cannabis plant — namely THC.
Let’s explore this important distinction in more detail.
A Brief History of Cannabis’ Legal Battle
The marijuana plant has had a long and challenging history regarding legal status in the United States, as well as the rest of the world. To this day, it remains banned in most countries.
As times change and more people begin to understand the usefulness of this plant, laws are slowly starting to revisit the status of marijuana country by country.
Marijuana’s long and tortuous legal battle began in the mid-1930s in the United States. The United States government began campaigns against its use. They associated it with insanity, aggression, and criminal activity through propaganda films like Reefer Madness (released 1936).
Before this, marijuana was sold freely in pharmacies across the world.
The 1936 Geneva Trafficking Convention was a treaty aimed at a worldwide ban involving the cultivation, manufacture, and distribution of cannabis products. This treaty also included coca and opium. Although some countries chose to disregard this project, it’s what led to the regulation of marijuana in much of Europe, as well as Canada and Australia.
In 1970, the Controlled Substances Act was passed in the United States, which banned marijuana from all forms of use, including medical.
It wasn’t until recent years that marijuana regulation was revisited. The first changes were to support medicinal use and research. In 2014, then-President Barrack Obama passed the Agricultural Act of 2014. Section 7606 of the Act outlined the legal classification of hemp and allowed the use of industrial hemp for research purposes.
This was followed by changes that included recreational use of all Cannabis products in certain states like Colorado in early 2014. This included both CBD and THC-containing extracts.
Controversy Over the Legal Status of CBD
There’s a big problem regulator face with the cannabis plant — some of the compounds it produces are powerfully medicinal, while others make users high.
Historically, regulators around the world simply axed the benefits of the cannabis plant to keep the intoxicating parts illegal — but times have changed. People want access to the numerous health benefits of cannabinoids like CBD. After decades of lobbying and protesting, the legal status of cannabis is finally being reevaluated around the world.
In the United States, the change is slow and frustratingly complicated. Cannabis laws are different on a federal level to a state level and can differ significantly from one state to the next. Some states allow the use of CBD with medical approval only, others are completely legal for any reason — you can even buy products at corner stores, gas stations, and even vending machines. It’s not always limited to dispensaries.
While the laws on CBD’s legalities are loosening federally, in a select few states you can still be arrested and thrown in jail for having a bottle of CBD oil on you.
Because the laws continue to evolve around cannabis, it’s critically important that you pay attention to the local laws in your specific state and check for updates regularly.
Not All Cannabis Products Are Created Equal
There are two main kinds of cannabis — marijuana, and hemp. This is an important distinction to make because it’s the most important factor when determining whether a particular product is legal or illegal.
Although both types of cannabis are the exact same species (Cannabis sativa), they produce radically different cannabinoid profiles.
Let’s cover each form of cannabis in more detail.
The first type of cannabis — marijuana — is what most people think of when they hear the word “cannabis.” These plants are a form of Cannabis sativa that produces mid to high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — the main psychoactive compound in the plant. The THC is what makes users high.
Marijuana plants are considered a Schedule I drug in the United States — putting it in the same classification as heroin and fentanyl — two of the most dangerous drugs in America.
Don’t be misled; marijuana is not a deadly drug — but the laws haven’t changed on a federal level in 80 years.
There are some exceptions on a state level, but if the federal government ever wanted to convict someone for using marijuana, it could.
Hemp is another type of Cannabis sativa that produces less than 0.3% THC by dry weight. This is the sole classification for a particular cannabis plant to be considered hemp. If a particular strain produces even 0.4% THC, it’s marijuana.
Hemp isn’t held to the same legal confines as marijuana. It’s been legal for a long time in the United States, but only through rigorous license applications and approval from US regulators.
Everything changed with the release of the 2018 Farm Bill, which lifted the ban on hemp and removed it from the controlled substances act as a schedule I drug.
Now hemp can be grown just as easily as crops such as corn or wheat throughout the United States. Most states honor this change and allow farmers in the state to cultivate hemp plants — some have been resisting.
As a byproduct of this evolution, supplement companies now have access to hemp as a source of nutritional products — which now falls under the jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate as a nutritional supplement.
The FDA has yet to make any strong stance for or against the sale of hemp-derived products in the United States, and the market has become a bit of a wild West in this regard.
Most CBD products like CBD oils, CBD capsules, edible gummies, or CBD E-liquids are made using hemp-derived CBD in order to sell these products legally.
The Major Differences Between Marijuana & Hemp
|Species||Cannabis sativa L.||Cannabis sativa L.|
|Legal Definition||Cannabis sativa plants with less than 0.3% THC by dried weight||Cannabis sativa plants with more than 0.3% THC by dried weight|
|Psychoactivity||Completely non-psychoactive (doesn’t produce a high)||May have psychoactive effects (may produce a high)|
|Federal Legal Status||No drug scheduling (completely legal)||Schedule I drug (completely illegal)|
|State Legal Status||Legal in most states, with some exceptions||Legal in select states recreationally and most states with medical approval. Some states, it remains completely illegal.|
The Legality of CBD Products by State
When the federal government in the United States comes out with a change to certain laws — the states have the ability to honor this change or produce their own state legislature to challenge the laws.
There’s no better example of states exercising their right to challenge federal laws than in the realm of cannabis laws.
After the farm bill was released, some states chose to honor this change, allowing their citizens to access hemp-derived CBD products. Others resisted, enacting laws that made possession of the non-psychoactive hemp plants illegal.
Over the past few months, many of these states have since reverted. Below is an up-to-date list of American states divided into two main categories — legal and conditionally legal states.
In the past, we had a list for illegal states, which included North Dakota, Nebraska, Idaho, and Iowa — but these states have since changed their laws to allow CBD either medicinally or over the counter as a health supplement.
There are no longer any states outright banning the use of CBD.
1. Legal States
These states honor the changes in the 2018 Farm Bill completely — in these states, you’re free to purchase, possess, and use hemp-derived products including CBD oils and capsules.
You’ll find CBD at your local dispensary, supermarkets, online, and sometimes even at local gas stations. There are no restrictions to CBD use in these states.
Most American CBD companies operate out of these states, especially in places that adapted their laws ahead of the curve — like Washington, Colorado, Oregon, and California.
2. Conditionally-Legal States
These states allow citizens to buy hemp-derived products, but there are some caveats.
In some states, such as North Dakota or Minnesota, you’ll need a doctor’s approval and a licensed medical card in order to buy cannabis products, including CBD.
In other states, like Michigan or Nebraska, CBD is both legal and illegal. The legislature in these states has yet to work out the details of the recent 2018 Farm Bill changes — making it unlikely to be able to buy CBD in these states anywhere but online.
We consider these states a legal grey area, which is more common than you’d think. It can take a long time for local governments to adapt to changes on a federal level. Right now, we’re caught in the transition period for these states.
In all conditionally legal states, you can expect it to be a little harder to find hemp-derived CBD products locally.
Legal Status of Hemp-Derived Products State-By-State
What Does the Future Look Like For CBD Products In the United States?
CBD is now available in all 50 states of America — to varying degrees. Most citizens can access the supplement in-store legally but may be hard-pressed to find it in some of the stricter states requiring medical cards.
The best bet is to source CBD products online and have them sent to your home, office, or PO box instead.
Moving forward, we expect the laws to continue to change across federal and state legislature as more people demand access to this safe and effective supplement.
Already the landscape is changing, as the regulation of legal nutritional products now falls into the regulation of the FDA — which have yet to make any official statements for or against the sale and use of CBD as a nutritional supplement. People suspect an FDA crackdown coming to companies operating in the CBD space.
Stay tuned, we’ll be sure to keep you posted as the landscape continues to change.
Livvy is a registered nurse (RN) and board-certified nurse midwife (CNM) in the state of New Jersey. After giving birth to her newborn daughter, Livvy stepped down from her full-time position at the Children’s Hospital of New Jersey. This gave her the opportunity to spend more time writing articles on all topics related to pregnancy and prenatal care.
Is CBD Legal? A Federal-to-State Guide to the Legal Status of CBD Products
All of a sudden CBD seems to be everywhere, from dispensaries to local health stores to vape shops, massage spas, and specialty online stores.
And yet, there’s still a lot of confusion when it comes to the legal status of CBD. After all, the compound is derived from cannabis plants, and the federal law is, least to say, murky when it comes to that.
Long story short, CBD is legal in the US, but the status of certain products will vary depending on where the CBD comes from.
The legal CBD market is still unregulated by the FDA — although this is about to change soon — so it’s not uncommon to stumble upon a mislabeled product or one that contains hazardous additives.
For this reason, we’ve decided to break down the legality of CBD across the United States — and devote part of this article to the laws and regulations regarding CBD products around the world.
Let’s start with answering the substantial question.
Is CBD Legal?
Two factors decide whether or not CBD is legal in the United States:
- Source – CBD can be derived from hemp and marijuana. Both plants belong to the same botanical family — Cannabis sativa L. — but they don’t share the same characteristics (more on that later). Hemp-derived CBD is legal in all 50 states, while marijuana-derived CBD is legal only in the states with medical or recreational (or both) marijuana laws.
- THC content – this factor is closely related to the first one. Hemp plants are bred to contain 0.3% THC or less in order to fit within the federal limits for THC content. Anything above that is considered marijuana; as of this writing, THC is a Schedule I controlled substance according to federal law. Possession, cultivation, and sale of marijuana is a federal felony holding strict punishments for those who cross the law. The federal law stays in stark contrast to the policies of marijuana-friendly states.
In simple words, if your CBD product comes from hemp and contains no more than 0.3% THC — this should be proven by the Certificate of Analysis (CoA) from a third-party laboratory — you don’t need to worry about any legal consequences since you’ve bought a health supplement.
But when you’re looking for a marijuana-derived CBD oil, you’ll be able to buy it only in certain states. However, taking marijuana products out of a state is still a federal felony, even if you’re transporting it between two states that have legalized some form of marijuana.
Now that we’ve established the factors determining the legal status of CBD, let’s go further down the rabbit hole.
CBD Legal Status on the Federal Level
The federal government has a long history of cannabis. While people have been using the plant for recreational and medical purposes, the authorities have taken it as an excuse to discriminate against people of color and criminalize citizens for possession although they never had scientific evidence to prove the alleged social harms caused by cannabis (1).
Several decades later, the federal government has decided to loosen its stance on cannabis. As legalization draws near thanks to the mutual work of medical researchers and activists, CBD has been removed from the list of controlled substances.
Of course, there are some exceptions to that.
First, the CBD must be derived from hemp, which is a variety of cannabis with less than 0.3% of THC per dry mass.
Another form of CBD approved by the federal government is the pure, isolated form of cannabidiol.
However, when CBD comes from marijuana plants, it is still considered an illegal substance that can only be purchased in states with legal marijuana markets.
That doesn’t stop the federal government from enforcing its “anti-drug” laws, so theoretically speaking, you can still face a felony charge if the federal authorities deem it the right thing to do.
Since the majority of CBD products for sale are made from industrial hemp, they are legal in all 50 states. As long as you can prove your CBD oil has less than 0.3% of THC, you’re in the clear.
Is CBD Legal in Every US State?
The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp on the federal level, reclassifying the plant as an agricultural commodity. Hemp is now legal to grow and sell for any purpose, including health supplements containing CBD.
As with any federal law, individual states may accept the new regulations or impose their own restrictions on CBD products. Currently, CBD is legal in every state in some form. The states with limited access to the full spectrum of CBD products include Iowa, Kansas, Mississippi, and North Carolina.
We always recommend checking with the local laws of your state to make sure. This is an informative article and you shouldn’t take it as legal advice. If you have any doubts regarding the legal status of CBD where you live, consult a legal expert.
The same goes for buying any CBD product and your health. We encourage you to consult a trustworthy medical expert for professional advice on taking CBD oil.
Hemp vs Marijuana: Why Not Every Type of CBD is Legal
As mentioned earlier, hemp and marijuana are members of the same plant family, but that doesn’t mean they share the same chemical profile.
In fact, they vary significantly when it comes to the ratio between CBD and THC (2).
Hemp is bred to have 0.3% of THC or less, but on the other hand, it comes with higher levels of CBD (up to 12% in industrial hemp).
Most marijuana strains contain significant amounts of THC, between 5–35% depending on the strain. They usually come with negligible CBD levels (0.1–3%). However, some marijuana plants may boast higher concentrations of CBD due to selective breeding. Selectively bred hybrids have higher ratios of CBD to THC.
While hemp is legal on the federal level, marijuana is only legal in 15 states (recreational use). 48 states allow some form of medical-grade CBD for people with a doctor’s recommendation or medical marijuana card.
How Hemp Crops Can Sometimes Become Marijuana
The “ miracle” of reproduction makes it possible for hemp plants to become marijuana — no matter how strange it sounds.
If a female hemp plant and its male counterpart hook up, most of their offspring will be able to produce more than 0.3% of THC. As a matter of fact, some of these seedlings will only make THC (3).
Cannabis plants are almost always either female or male, unlike most flowering plants. And when the plants reproduce, their traits combine, and once dormant genes — like those responsible for THC secretion — can suddenly become active.
The ability of biological organisms to fluctuate is a variable that makes farmers and growers always concerned about their yields. Therefore, they always strive to prevent sexual reproduction.
Sadly for our male readers, the cannabis patriarchy is smashed where CBD-rich hemp grows. Farmers simply don’t want a male in their field because its presence may destroy the whole crops.
The above condition is easy to achieve when growing hemp in a greenhouse. But since cannabis is abundant in the wild, an outdoor hemp field can suddenly start breeding marijuana if the pollen is close enough.
Other Ways THC Can Sneak into Your CBD Oil Bottle
To collect cannabinoids from hemp, farmers take the harvested plants to an extractor, who collects the source material and preps it for sale. The problem with CBD extraction is that it follows the same process as THC extraction. If your manufacturer does it incorrectly, illegal doses of THC may pass into the final product.
This can be prevented with a chemical solvent. Don’t worry, as daunting as it sounds, a solvent is any substance that can dissolve another. For example, water is one of nature’s most effective solvents — but it won’t work with cannabinoids, as they only dissolve in fats and alcohols.
Liquid CO2 and ethanol are two popular solvents with distinct advantages. CO2 is highly efficient at pulling cannabinoids from plants, but it requires cold temperatures, such as -70 degrees Fahrenheit to remain liquid.
Alcohol extraction, in turn, can be performed at warmer temperatures — similar to how companies make liquor.
Then, there’s a process called fractional distillation, which allows for separating different cannabinoids based on a specific temperature. Once the cannabinoids are separated, the extractor adds the entire CBD. THC is added later in order to make sure its content doesn’t exceed 0.3%.
If an extractor makes a mistake, it might taint your CBD oil with an illegal dose of THC.
The Two Farm Bills that Made CBD Legal
In 2014, former President Barack Obama signed the Agricultural Act of 2014 also known as the Farm Bill. It made a clear distinction between hemp and marijuana. Moreover, it authorized higher education institutions or state departments of agriculture to run pilot programs and research (4).
The purpose of this act was to find out whether or not hemp cultivation will benefit American farmers and other businesses. The new law was a large success, so the United States decided to follow through.
President Donald Trump signed the Agriculture Improvement Act in 2018 and legalized hemp on the federal level, removing it from DEA regulation. Also, CBD was removed from Schedule I and moved down to Schedule V in the Controlled Substances Act (5).
Where Are We Now?
The legalization of hemp, although exciting, was long overdue and only the beginning of a complex process. CBD manufacturers are still waiting for the FDA to draw out their guidelines on how to market hemp and CBD. If CBD is allowed to be marketed and regulated as health supplements, all those vendors selling fake or dangerous products will immediately disappear from the industry.
Currently, there are no manufacturing and labeling standards in place, which creates space for companies who only want to make a quick buck on people who have never taken CBD in their life. As a result, a person seeking natural ways to improve their quality of life may end up with a contaminated product that doesn’t have any proven benefits.
The FDA announced the formation of the Botanical Safety Consortium in 2019, a group consisting of minds from the industry, academia, consumer-interest groups, non-profit organizations, and the government to spur scientific advances in determining how to better evaluate the safety and efficacy of plant-based ingredients in health supplements.
However, before we receive the long-promised guidelines, CBD users must rely on their research when buying CBD oils, capsules, edibles, or any other supplement containing cannabidiol.
How to Ensure Your CBD Product is Legal
CBD companies can say what they want due to the lack of regulations on the market, so if you’re looking for a decent way to verify these claims, make sure to look for a Certificate of Analysis (CoA) from a third-party laboratory.
Although it’s not obligatory, companies can send samples of their products to independent laboratories for content analysis. These labs will check for the potency of CBD in the sample, as well as for common contaminants, including pesticides, heavy metals, mold, and solvent residue.
Reputable CBD brands are open about their testing practices; they also make the lab reports available on their website or, at least, send them to users via email on request.
If a company doesn’t provide the CoA, they are not worth your time.
Is it Legal to Take CBD Out of State?
The federal government provides protections for the cross-state transportation of CBD products. However, these protections don’t apply to marijuana-derived CBD products. The USDA made it clear in its 2019 memorandum that the 2018 Farm Bill provisions ensure the “free flow of hemp in interstate commerce.”
In other words, the amended Farm Bill prevents states and Native American tribal jurisdictions from banning interstate hemp transportation or shipment provided that it is lawfully produced under the local law, or licensed under the USDA plan. The guidelines were introduced after the government heard reports from states such as Idaho, where authorities announced they would continue to treat CBD as an illegal substance until new federal rules are updated.
Is CBD Legal Everywhere in the World?
CBD is legal in some form in most places across the world. Some countries allow full-spectrum CBD extracts, whereas others only tolerate pure CBD.
There are, however, some places where CBD is still prohibited regardless of the source.
CBD has been banned from the majority of African countries. It is also illegal in Belgium, Russia, and Slovakia. Although China produces CBD products, they are exported to other countries; it is not legal to use, purchase, or sell CBD in the country
Summarizing the Legal Status of CBD
To sum up, CBD is federally legal in the United States as long as it comes from hemp and contains no more than 0.3%. Marijuana-derived CBD can be legally purchased in states that have legalized marijuana.
CBD became legal in 2018 under the provisions of the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 signed by President Trump. Farmers can grow and sell hemp plants for any purpose, including botanical extracts containing CBD.
However, due to the current classification of CBD, the market lacks regulations regarding production and labeling, creating opportunities for fly-by-night vendors to churn out poor-quality products and label them as premium CBD.
The best way to ensure you’re getting a legal CBD product is to read third-party lab reports. Doing so will help you weed out products with illegal amounts of THC. A certificate of analysis from the laboratory will tell you exactly how much CBD is in your product, and whether or not it has passed the purity testing.
We hope this article has helped you understand the legal intricacies surrounding the status of CBD in the United States. If you like our content, share it on your social media — because sharing is caring!
CBD Legal States 2022
CBD (cannabidiol) is a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD does not get a user “high;” however, its legality is still a gray area for some people because it is derived from the cannabis plant. CBD must be legal on both the federal level and the state level in order for it to be legal in your state. The 2018 Farm Bill legalized, on the federal level, the regulated production of hemp, or any part of the cannabis plant with a THC concentration below 0.3%. States, however, have the final say in whether or not cannabis-derived products are legal within their state lines.
Is CBD Legal in my State?
Marijuana legality varies by state, as does CBD legality. There are 17 states called that legalized both medicinal and recreational use of marijuana as long as you meet the minimum age requirement: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, nIllinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.
The following states have legalized CBD, some only for specific medical purposes: Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Some of these states only allow CBD below certain THC levels. CBD and CBD products in Idaho are legal only if they contain zero THC and are derived from the mature stalks of the plant. In Tennessee, possession of CBD products is legal if they contain less than 0.6% THC. In Alabama, the maximum THC level is 0.3%.