Is CBD Legal? Read This Before Buying 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
Is CBD Legal? Read This Before Buying
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Over the last few years, the demand for CBD products has skyrocketed, especially as a growing number of consumers seek all natural alternatives to common ailments such as poor sleep, anxiety, and chronic pain.
One of the first questions that people have in regards to CBD products is whether they’re legal or not. The short answer is yes, but only under specific conditions. CBD legality isn’t black and white. There’s a lot of gray area that causes a lot of confusion amongst those with a newfound interest in CBD.
Because there is so much misinformation about the legality of CBD, we’re here to help set the record straight. Here’s everything you need to know about whether CBD is legal or not, along with a list of five of the top CBD brands that meet all legal regulations.
Understanding Hemp vs. Marijuana
A lot of the confusion and misinformation comes from people not understanding that hemp and marijuana are two different plants. Therefore, the products made using compounds derived from each of these plants are also quite different.
Hemp and marijuana are two different varieties of the cannabis sativa plant. Both naturally produce CBD, along with other cannabinoids. Visually, hemp and marijuana look the same. However, the biggest difference is the level of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
THC is the compound that causes people to get “high.” It’s known to create feelings of euphoria, and may cause confusion and anxiety. Hemp has a nearly non-existence amount of THC, with levels averaging below 0.3%. However, marijuana plants contain a much higher amount of THC, which can be as high as 30%.
Because marijuana has such a high THC content, which produces mind-altering effects, the plant is federally illegal in the U.S. along with many other countries around the globe.
Hemp-Derived CBD Is Legal
Understanding the difference between hemp and marijuana is crucial in understanding the legality of CBD products. Under the 2018 Farm Bill , hemp-derived CBD products are legal on a federal level. The bill removed hemp as a Schedule I substance and reclassified it as an “agricultural commodity.”
One of the most common misconceptions about this bill is that it legalizes all CBD products, regardless of whether the CBD was derived from hemp or marijuana. However, this isn’t true. According to the DEA, CBD is a Schedule I substance, which is illegal.
But, if the CBD is derived from hemp, and adheres to all of the regulations stated in the 2018 Farm Bill, then it’s no longer a Schedule I substance and is legal. In order for a CBD product to be legal, it must not only be derived from hemp, it must also:
● Contain less than 0.3% THC
● Must adhere to shared state-federal regulations
● Must be grown by a licensed grower
The bill also removed all restrictions on the sale, transportation, and possession of hemp-derived CBD products. This means that these products can be transported across state lines, as long as the product meets the above criteria.
Federal Legality Doesn’t Guarantee State Legality
Just because CBD is legal on a federal level doesn’t necessarily make it legal in all states. States can have laws that set forth further regulations, or ones that outright ban CBD products altogether.
Before buying any kind of CBD product, it’s important to check into any state laws that may be in place. For example, CBD products are considered illegal in Iowa. However, they are legal in neighboring states such as Illinois and Minnesota.
How to Confirm a Product’s Legality
Companies can advertise that a CBD product is 100% legal, but that doesn’t mean that what’s marketed is necessarily true. The only way to guarantee with total certainty that a product is legal is by reviewing the certificate of analysis (COA).
This is a document that’s created once a product has been tested by an independent third-party lab. A COA provides extremely detailed information about a product, including:
● Microbial contaminants (ie. mold, yeast, etc.)
Not only does a COA confirm the presence of these compounds, but it also provides a measurement. So when determining whether a CBD product is legal, you’ll want to look at the findings for THC. If the percentage is 0.3% or below, then the product meets all legal regulations.
If a product has a reading higher than 0.3%, or if a product doesn’t have a COA available, it’s best to steer clear.
Now that you know the ins and outs of the legality of CBD and how to determine if a product is legal, let’s take a look at the top 5 trusted CBD brands. These brands use the highest quality hemp-derived CBD and each product undergoes rigorous testing to ensure it meets legal regulations as well as quality, safety, and potency standards.
Top 5 Trusted CBD Brands
Penguin CBD products are powered by nature and inspired by earth. The company is run by a team of specialists from a variety of fields that work together to create quality CBD products. Penguin products are inspired by the calm, cool-under-pressure personality and lifestyle of penguins. The brand believes that everyone should be able to have a life that is balanced and chill.
All Penguin CBD products are made using GMO-free Oregon-grown hemp plants. These plants are raised and farmed without the use of pesticides or any other harmful chemicals.
Extract type : CBD isolate and broad spectrum (product dependent)
COAs : Lab results are available for each product on the Penguin website
2. Verma Farms
Verma Farms creates premium CBD products that are inspired by Hawaii. All CBD is sustainably sourced from the highest quality hemp plants grown throughout the United States that are grown without the use of harmful pesticides. Ingredients are carefully selected to ensure only the safest, highest quality options are used.
Though best known for their tropical paradise flavored collection of gummies, Verma Farms also offers a line of performance gummies that are uniquely formulated for improved recovery, sleep, and energy.
Extract type : Broad spectrum
● Pet products (oils and treats)
COAs : Lab results are available for each product on the Verma Farms website
FOCL is a premium CBD brand based out of Los Angeles and Denver. The team at FOCL (short for Focus) is passionate about wellness and obsessed with producing plant-based products that actually work.
Alongside its overarching belief in plant-powered wellness, FOCL has impressive third party testing standards and clearly does not cut corners in terms of quality. FOCL hemp is grown in the USA using organic and sustainable practices, and all FOCL products are non-GMO, THC-free and vegan. With fair prices and high quality ingredients, FOCL really is a go-to for all things CBD.
4. R+R Medicinals
As we routinely write about R+R Medicinals becoming one of the leading brands in the US, their gummies are no exception. They continue to impress by having created a 25mg gummy, available in both full and broad spectrum (THC-Free) with an amazing taste.
What’s even more amazing is that their gummies are USDA Organic, making them one of the only options available in that category worldwide! Furthermore, they’re completely Vegan, and they taste awesome, as they’ve partnered with a local candy manufacturer to create these delicious rings. So many other brands use artificial flavors, dyes, and other funky ingredients to achieve great tastes at the sacrifice of unnatural ingredients. R+R is truly delicious and a much more pure product.
20% off your first purchase with code: RRWORKS20 , 15% off all subscriptions!
5. Colorado Botanicals
Colorado Botanicals offers surprisingly affordable, premium, THC-free, broad-spectrum CBD with sustainability in mind. Their organic Colorado hemp is tested and uses no synthetic chemicals or potentially dangerous pesticides throughout the growing process. Although they’re yet to have any issues, their unique, vertically-integrated quality control offers multiple layers of protection.
Colorado Botanicals offers the usual range of hemp-derived CBD products, but their maximum potency is above and beyond their competitors.
Extract type : Broad spectrum
COAs : Lab results are easily accessible on each product’s page or their Lab Reports page
Bonus: Sunday Scaries
Sunday Scaries products are created to keep away the the impending doom of Monday that most people experience every Sunday. These top notch products are infused with premium CBD extract to calm the mind, improve your focus, relieve work pressure, and to reset your equilibrium so that you feel more balanced.
Sunday Scaries products deliver all of the whole-plant benefits offered by terpenes, flavonoids, fatty acids, and minor cannabinoids. Whether you want to have a truly relaxing bath or want to partake in some delicious CBD candy, this brand has got just the product for you.
Extract type : Broad spectrum
COAs : Lab results are available for each product on the Sunday Scaries website
The legality of CBD products isn’t as clear cut as many people would hope. However, by understanding the regulations at the federal and state level, it should be much easier to navigate the ever-changing and ever-growing landscape.
Buying CBD products from reputable brands that embrace third party testing is the best way to ensure that you’re investing in a legal product. The five brands on our list are well known in the CBD industry and go above and beyond to meet legal, quality, and safety regulations.
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.