Why is CBD legal in the United States, while marijuana remains illegal in a vast majority of states? Both products come from the same species of plant (Cannabis Sativa), so why is one illegal and one is ok to use? This is actually a very popular question, and I can understand how it would confuse people. There is actually only one small molecular difference that makes CBD ok to use. Some may already know the answer. To those who want to know why CBD is legal, but marijuana is not, keep reading below.
When did CBD become Legal in the United States?
The Farm Bill of 2018, also known as the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, set into motion several different regulation, or lifting of regulations, in regards to agriculture in the United States. For the purposes of this article, we will discuss how this act helped make CBD legal. This $867,000,000,000 (yes, billion) reconciled farm bill was passed by the Senate on December 11, 2018, and by the House on December 12.
This bill proposed law to take away hemp from the Schedule I controlled substances list and making it an ordinary agricultural commodity. The key factor here is that hemp was defined as Cannabis Sativa with less than 0.3% THC by dry weight. As long as the hemp being grown contained less than that amount of THC, it was completely legal. This was a massive move in the right direction for agriculture in the United States. A lot of people know that hemp has many, many different uses, and now farmers can legally grow it.
Marijuana, on the other hand, remains illegal because of the THC content being over 0.3% by dry weight.
What is the difference between CBD and marijuana?
CBD is legal because hemp being grown contains less than 0.3% THC by dry weight. This is really the only considerable factor when determining the differences between CBD and marijuana. They both are the same species of plant (Cannabis Sativa). They often look, and smell, identical in nature. Some hemp being grown for it’s stalks may appear more stringy, but they still look very similar.
As long as CBD contains less than 0.3% of THC by dry weight, the product is completely legal. A lot of people confused CBD with marijuana, and think it’s the same thing. It is actually not the same thing – at all. This one, small, molecular difference actually makes the products WAY different. THC is responsible for it’s psychoactive affects on the brain. That’s why when people consume or smoke marijuana they get high.
- Hemp-derived CBD contains almost no THC at all
- Marijuana products have a high amount of THC, which makes them psycho-active
If you take CBD, you will not notice ANY psychoactive effects at all. You could eat the whole bag of gummies, or drink the whole tincture and not notice any psychoactive change at all (this is obviously not recommended!).
How do I Tell if I Have a Legal CBD Product or a Marijuana Product?
Everything you need to know will be on your product’s label. All CBD products are required to have a scannable QR code on the label of it. When you scan this with your phone, it will bring you to a certificate of analysis that shows every single cannabinoid in it. You will notice that the THC content is less than 0.3%, so you’re good to go. Marijuana products, on the other hand, may have CBD in them, but they also have very high amounts of THC.
Some marijuana products can be as low as 15% THC, while other skyrocket up to 99% THC! Be sure to read your labeling and never remove the label just in case someone wants to scan the QR code. As an exercise, scan this QR code. It will link you to a New Phase Blends certificate of analysis, or CoA. You can see for yourself exactly what is in this product.
Bottom Line | CBD vs. Marijuana
If you didn’t have time to read the article (tldr) and skipped to the bottom for the answer, here it is: CBD is legal because it contains less than 0.3% of THC by dry weight. That one difference in molecular composition is what differentiates CBD products from marijuana products. Always keep the label with the QR code on it handy, you never know when you may need to scan it to prove that it is a 100% legal product.
Legal CBD products and marijuana products sometimes look identical – even the flowers. Better to be safe than sorry!
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If you find interest in reading about CBD, you should check out the eBook “CBD Essentials“, written by CBD expert and CEO of New Phase Blends, Dale Hewett.