Is CBD Legal?

The fight to decriminalize and legalize the cannabis plant for both recreational and medicinal uses continues. Although the United States has made massive progress on this front, there are still parts of the country that do not allow people to use any form or strain of the cannabis plant.

Also, the legalities surrounding buying, selling, and producing CBD oil or other forms of cannabis is not uniform, since these laws are left up to the individual states to codify and enforce. Although the FDA has approved the use of some medical marijuana drugs and cannabis-derived medications, the DEA still classifies marijuana as a schedule 1 drug, considering it even riskier and more dangerous than addictive opioids like oxycodone.

For people who want to make, buy, or otherwise use beneficial CBD oil, it can be confusing to know if what they intend to do is legal or not where they live. This guide will cover where it is legal to buy, sell, and produce CBD oil in the U.S.

Is cannabis oil legal in all fifty states?

Technically, no, it is not. Only 47 states, plus the District of Columbia have legalized CBD oil.

First of all, CBD oil is derived from the cannabis plant, and there are several types of cannabis plants housed under the cannabis genome. There is the marijuana plant, which comes in either indica or sativa strains. The marijuana plant is used for recreational purposes, and in medical marijuana, too. These plants in the cannabis genome contain high levels of THC and also CBD, cannabinoids that directly impact the way a person feels and thinks. THC is the part of the plant that gets a person high, while CBD influences how a person physically feels, but CBD won’t impair their judgment or physical capabilities. The flowers, or buds of the cannabis plant house the highest levels of cannabinoids, THC or otherwise. The hemp plant is where HUGS gets it’s CBD oil, which contains less than .3% THC and does not get a person high nor impair them in any way.

The hemp plant is a part of the cannabis genome and can come in either indica or sativa strains. Hemp plants, however, have little to no THC. In most cases, hemp is used to make rope, cloth, supplements, lotions, and also CBD oil. Manufacturers of CBD oil will often breed hemp plants to get higher concentrations of CBD, while still keeping the final product virtually THC-free.

But remember, marijuana is considered a schedule 1 substance. In 2018, the federal government passed a law that takes the hemp plant out of schedule 1 classifying, and it is now considered an agricultural commodity. As such, CBD oils derived from hemp that contains .3% or less of THC is legal to buy and use in the U.S. CBD oils containing THC or that derive from cannabis strains that are not hemp plants are only legal in 33 states and the District of Columbia. However, the CBD oils must meet other legal guidelines to be legal to buy and use anywhere in the U.S.:

  • The hemp plant must contain less than .3% THC.
  • A licensed grower must grow the hemp plant.
  • The hemp must adhere to regulations that are shared by the states and the federal government.

In general, hemp-derived CBD oil is legal to sell, transport, and possess across state lines as long as the product meets the above requirements. It is also legal for people in the U.S. to purchase CBD oils from overseas that are hemp-derived and contain less than .3% THC.

What cities or countries are trying to legislate CBD?

In early 2019, Sarasota, a city in Florida, tried to shut down stores that sold CBD oil derived from hemp. In Florida, CBD oil containing any amount of THC is illegal. Upon testing alleged THC-free CBD products, the Sarasota police department claimed that the oils had trace amounts of THC. The shutdown has since been delayed. But the developments in Sarasota show that the CBD industry is Wild West territory and that different state regulations, federal regulations, and the fact that CBD oils are not subject to strict and uniform manufacturing processes make the issues of legality, complicated.

For example, Colorado and California have made medical and recreational marijuana legal. It then naturally follows that CBD oils containing any level of THC are legal in these states. However, it is still illegal to transport THC-laden CBD oil out of states where recreational marijuana is legal.

Are there federal laws regulating CBD production and distribution?

The 2018 Farm Bill is the closest the U.S. federal government has gotten to regulated CBD production and distribution. CBD production is still not uniformly regulated. As such, consumers can end up with a product that may say on the label that it is THC-free, but upon further testing, THC shows up in the composition of the product. This can have a host of negative consequences for the buyer.

First of all, they may live in a state where it is illegal to purchase, use, or transport CBD oils with THC in them, as was the case in Sarasota earlier this year. Also, CBD oil stays in the body for up to one week after using. If a person uses CBD oil with THC in it, they can get a positive result on a drug test. It is crucial that people who must be drug tested for work or who live in a state that doesn’t allow CBD oil with THC do their due diligence with regards to researching the products they buy, and where they are sourced.

What is the difference between hemp and marijuana?

The cannabis plant family is home to several strains, and it can be confusing for the average person to understand the difference between marijuana and hemp. In general, though, marijuana is the plant that gets someone high and can be used either for recreational or medicinal purposes. Hemp is a plant that cannot get someone high, although it does contain small traces of THC, the primary cannabinoid in the cannabis plant that causes a high.

Mostly, hemp is used for industrial purposes, or as a health food or supplement. Hemp fibers are incredibly strong, and manufacturing hemp into rope or cloth is an eco-friendly process. Both hemp and marijuana can be processed into CBD oil. Hemp and marijuana can also be broken down further into either indica or sativa strains. Originally, hemp plants were called cannabis sativa, even though they can also be found as indica strains. Many CBD manufacturers will label their products as deriving from cannabis sativa, which can be a true hemp strain of cannabis.

Cannabis indica and cannabis sativa differ in several ways — people who use and grow cannabis claim that these strains can produce different effects.

Cannabis Indica

Cannabis indica strains are believed to produce physically sedating and analgesic effects. Cannabis indica strains are considered to have a more stimulating effect for creative or social endeavors. However, there is little scientific evidence to bolster these claims. What’s true about the difference between indica and sativa strains is the appearances, flowering cycles, and their most suitable growing climates.

Cannabis Sativa

Cannabis sativa is a tall, narrow plant with bright green, small leaves. The flowering cycles for sativa plants are longer than its indica cousins, and the plants tend to grow best in warmer climates. Cannabis indica, on the other hand, does well in colder climates, and possess a shorter flowering cycle. The plants tend to be short, broad, and have wide, dark green leaves.

How can someone buy legal CBD oil, and is it legal to buy it online?

Consumers can purchase CBD oil from a reputable dispensary in their state if CBD oil is legal to buy and sell. It is also legal to purchase CBD oils online, as long as the THC content is .3% or less. European shops and shops where medical and recreational marijuana is legal are an excellent place to start for those wishing to purchase high-quality CBD oil.

In Europe, cannabis growing regulations are well established and also strict, so it is easier for consumers to know exactly what they are getting. The same principle applies when purchasing CBD oil from a store that sources their products from states where cannabis has been legalized for some time. However, there are three states in the U.S. where products derived from marijuana are illegal, and products derived from hemp are a bit of a legal gray area. Those states are South Dakota, Nebraska, and Idaho. Possessing CBD oil in these states is a risky endeavor, and residents may want to consult an attorney before purchasing CBD oil.

While clinical and subclinical studies on CBD oil have found promising results regarding its ability to alleviate the symptoms associated with many painful health conditions, intended users should always do their research before buying CBD oil. It is also a good idea for users to speak to their doctor first about using CBD oil since it can interact with certain prescription drugs.

Last updated May 15 2019