The legality of CBD has remained one of the hottest topics in the world of hemp-based products. People who ask about the legality of CBD are highly interested in knowing what the law permits in terms of possession, use and administration of CBD.
This is because the laws guiding the use of CBD differ from one state to another. Check out our complete list of all 50 states below to see your state’s CBD laws.
For instance, although CBD is legal in the United States at the federal level, there are a select few states that frown at possessing or using these products for any reason. We classify these as the ‘red states.’
This is why it is always important to understand your state laws, in addition to the federal guidelines, when it comes to CBD use.
CBD is Federally Legal in the US
The 2018 Farm Bill is one of the greatest turnarounds in the cannabis industry. This bill is also known as the Agricultural Improvement Act (2018).
The Farm Bill removed hemp-derived CBD from the list of banned substances. That means CBD is federally legal for medical and recreational usage, with one catch:
CBD must come from hemp (no other cannabis plants), and must not contain more than 0.3% THC
THC is the psychoactive member of the cannabis plant family. It is responsible for causing people to feel ‘high’ after using marijuana. The law forbids the use of CBD that comes from the cannabis plants known as marijuana, because they contain an unusually high percentage of THC.
In the chart above, you can get a visual representation of how the marijuana plant is different from hemp plants (cannabis sativa plant). Since CBD oil can come from either plant, you should make sure your CBD oil is from hemp to remain legal under federal law.
The percentage of THC in marijuana is typically at least 15%, and can go up to 80%. This is why marijuana falls under the Controlled Substances Act.
Interesting fact: The Controlled Substances Act was formed in 1970, and hemp used to fall under this act as well, until the Farm Bill of 2018 officially removed it.
Hemp plants are home to over 473 chemicals classified as terpenes, cannabinoids, complex sugars and more.
Out of this vast number, about 124 chemicals have been identified as cannabinoids. CBD that’s found within many CBD products is only one of these powerful compounds. THC, as we discussed earlier, is another.
Cannabinoids are plant-based chemicals extracted from the cannabis plant. They possess similar configurations with the endocannabinoids, making them able to interact with cannabinoid receptors.
These cannabinoids, like CBD, are then made into a CBD oil.
These receptors (CB1 and CB2) can be found largely in the brain, peripheral organs, and immune system.
Where is CBD Legal?
Since the laws guiding the use, possession and sales of pure CBD oil products vary from one state to the next, we’ll look into which states CBD laws are either strange, or don’t permit the possession or use of CBD products.
What we have here is both a federal law, and state laws. All of them dictate CBD oil use. Thankfully, 95% of states all agree with the federal law that CBD oil is legal.
Related article: Why is Marijuana Illegal While CBD is Legal?
*As a side note, CBD is already legal in several parts of the world including: Croatia, Colombia, Canada, Bermuda, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Netherlands, Lebanon, Jamaica, Macedonia, Portugal, Malawi, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Uruguay and the United States.
Let’s go ahead and divide the states up into three categories (periodically updated due to changes in legislation):
Green states are CBD friendly. Gray states have somewhat strange laws regarding CBD products. Finally, Red states do not allow CBD.
The Green States
This refers to regions where marijuana is completely legal. These states have little to no law prohibiting the purchase, sales, use and distribution of CBD products.
States under the green category include:
Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington D.C., West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
The green states have legalized the use of CBD products for recreational and medical purposes.
These states will change as time goes on.
The Gray States
This includes states where the use of CBD is still somewhat vague. It is common to find state laws clashing with federal laws in these locations.
All members of gray CBD states allow the purchase CBD products for medicinal purposes only. Some regions may even demand that you present your medical marijuana card before they will sell to you.
The gray CBD states include:
These states will likely soften their stances on hemp derived CBD items as time goes on.
The Red States
This refers to states where the use of CBD oil is not legal. Possessing and using CBD products in these regions may result in legal violations.
Here is a list of the red states:
Be careful when buying CBD products in these states.
Legal CBD and the FDA’s Involvement (or lack of)
Several research findings and customer reviews have attested to the power of CBD products. A wide range of therapeutic benefits, including those relating to antioxidant, antimicrobial, anticancer, antidepressant, antitumor, anti-inflammatory, anxiolytic, anti-seizure and analgesic agents exist.
However, these claims are yet to be confirmed by the FDA. This is why the FDA forbids making direct medical claims on how CBD products can treat any disease or condition.
The next challenge that has greatly affected the legalization of CBD by the FDA is dosage determination. Research has shown that CBD has no recommended daily intake as individuals can take as much as possible without getting high.
The FDA is yet to release any information regarding the CBD’s interaction with our bodies. That being said, let’s take a look at a study by the FDA in the summer of 2020. In this study, they compare several CBD brands’ labels to the actual CBD content in those products.
They found errors in roughly 21% of all products. That means 21% of the CBD products either had no, or a very little amount of CBD. Some say this study is a necessary step to endorsing CBD product use. Hopefully, this is the case. We will see…
The long-term effects of exposing CBD to the body is basically unknown. Until we have more time to conduct long-term studies, we can’t say for sure if CBD products are safe for the body or not. Research, so far, shows that CBD is not liver toxic and is safe for consumption.
Marijuana is Still Illegal in Most States, but CBD is 100% Federally Legal
Until the Farm Bill of 2018, United States law did not differentiate between hemp and marijuana, making everything that was produced from a cannabis plant illegal under the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act and 1970 Controlled Substances Acts.
However, the Farm Bill of 2018 defines hemp as “the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant… with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”
Therefore, anything derived from a cannabis plant with a THC concentration of less than 0.3% is no longer defined as “marijuana” and is now classified as “hemp”, and is thus no longer illegal.
CBD is Monitored by the FDA | Regulations Are Relaxed
The FDA (The U.S. Food and Drug Administration), while it is actively monitoring the sale and distribution of CBD products, has only placed firm regulations on the sale and distribution of dietary supplements and foods containing THC and CBD.
As for CBD oils and similar products, the FDA has sent warning letters to companies that sell CBD products that claim to “prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure serious diseases, such as cancer.”
Because of this, CBD products are not recognized as a pharmaceutical drug.
Otherwise, as long as the product does not contain more than 0.3% of THC, CBD oils and other products are not currently being suppressed under abnormally harsh regulations.
According to the FDA, they are continuing to monitor the effects that CBD products have on public health, and are committed to removing CBD products that are being sold illegally and may pose a serious threat to those seeking legitimate treatment.
CBD Doesn’t Require a Prescription
CBD products are not pharmaceutical drugs, and therefore cannot be classified as prescription drugs.
According to the 1938 Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, certain drugs are classified as prescription drugs due to the fact that they may have potentially harmful effects if not consumed in accordance with instructions set by a licensed healthcare professional.
While some CBD products are available at your local pharmacy, this does not mean that you need a doctor’s approval in order to purchase them.
Make Sure You Buy From a Reputable CBD Company
At the same time, these circumstances have also led to a situation where there is a wide variety of CBD oils and other similar products readily available for purchase.
Thus, it is even more important for a consumer to do their research on a CBD brand before deciding on a product.
A lack of regulations on CBD products that do not contain more than the allowed THC contents has led to a number of products that are falsely advertised as containing more CBD than they actually have.
However, there are a number of ways to ensure that you are still buying a legitimate product:
Look into the company that produces the product. Have they been issued any warnings by the FDA for selling mislabeled products? What is their reputation amongst the CBD community? Are they transparent about their sourcing and production process?
Try to find the product’s certificate of analysis (COA), which will give a detailed list of the product’s contents.
Don’t always settle for the cheaper option! Just because it costs less does not mean that it is going to be a high-quality product.
Is CBD Legal? | Conclusion
As you can see, just because CBD is legal federally doesn’t mean it is legal at the state level. This is confusing – I get it.
For this reason, New Phase Blends has an entire blog section for reviewing all 50 states and their CBD policies. Click here to search for your state.
Remember to thoroughly research a CBD company before buying from them. The FDA reported that 21% of all CBD products were did not have the correct amount of CBD, according to the label.
Look for reviews, scannable QR codes, and contact numbers on websites. If you can easily get them on the phone, chances are you are safe to purchase.
We get probably 10-20 phone calls per week from CBD scam victims. It is quite sad to see people taking advantage of other people, just to be part of the CBD products boom.
At New Phase Blends, we guarantee all products via a money-back guarantee. If you don’t like the product, return it for your money back. It’s that easy!