It depends. In terms of federal law, the legality of CBD oil depends largely on where the CBD came from and where it is being used, so it is important to understand some cannabis fundamentals.
Every U.S. state allows for the use of cannabis in some form, but each state’s laws are different. For example, Washington state law allows residents to legally consume CBD oil for recreational purposes, whereas South Dakota state law categorizes CBD as a Schedule IV controlled substance and allows citizens to use CBD only in forms that are approved by the Food and Drug Administration, e.g., Epidiolex.
When Is CBD Oil Illegal?
Cannabis is filled with chemicals. Arguably the most well known of these chemicals is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Whereas THC is largely responsible for cannabis’ “high," CBD does not result in a high. Supplement manufacturers are making CBD into many forms, including oils, tinctures, pills, and lotions. Some supposed benefits of using CBD include:
America’s relationship with cannabis is complicated. According to federal law, cannabis — including CBD — is still predominantly illegal, although there are exceptions. Even with the continuing federal prohibition of cannabis, most U.S. states have enacted their own cannabis-related laws. As such, CBD oils reside in a legal grey area.
If CBD oil comes from hemp, it is federally legal. If CBD oil comes from marijuana, it is federally illegal. State laws, however, vary widely.
While THC provides a psychoactive effect, CBD offers the same medicinal benefits without the “high.” Patients looking for CBD, however, may have issues finding it, since dispensaries and other facilities that sell CBD products are not always allowed.
While some states allow CBD possession, federal and state law must both agree for CBD to be free of consequence. For example, someone who fails a drug test because of CBD that contains too much THC will not be allowed to work a federal job.
Medical Needs Matter
There are over 100 compounds present in cannabis, and we are only just beginning to understand how each one interacts with the human body. Future research could show the benefits of compounds still unknown to us.
Not all proponents of legalization disagree with the DEA, however. Paul Armentano, the deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), clarifies that this is a legal technicality regarding a truth that already exists:
The sale of CBD oil and other hemp products is a major business with a large profit margin. The product is touted to have medical benefits, skincare benefits, and to produce quality lotions and paper products. Companies will continue to push for the production of these products.