Is CBD Legal? A Federal Guide to the Legal Status of CBD Products

Is CBD Legal? A Federal Guide to the Legal Status of CBD Products

CBD suddenly seems to be available everywhere, including dispensaries, neighborhood health stores, vape shops, massage parlors, and specialized internet retailers.

However, there is still a great deal of uncertainty over CBD's legal standing. After all, the substance comes from cannabis plants, and the federal legislation is, to put it mildly, unclear in that regard.

In brief, CBD is legal in the US, albeit the legality of specific products will differ depending on the source of the CBD.

Although this is about to change, the FDA has not yet controlled the legal CBD industry, so it's not unusual to come across products that are mislabeled or include dangerous ingredients.

Due to this, we've chosen to analyze the legal status of CBD in the United States and devote a section of this article to the rules and restrictions governing CBD products globally.

Let's start by responding to the main question...

Is CBD Legal?

Whether CBD is legal in the US depends on two factors:

  • Source: Hemp and marijuana both contain CBD. Although both plants are members of the Cannabis sativa L. botanical family, they don't have the same traits. CBD derived from hemp is legal in all 50 states, but CBD derived from marijuana is only legal in those states where marijuana is legal for either medical or recreational use or both.
  • THC content: This element is connected to the previous one in a close way. To stay within the federal THC level limitations, hemp plants are bred to have 0.3% THC or less. Anything above that is regarded as marijuana; at the time of writing, THC is listed by the federal government as a Schedule I controlled substance. Marijuana possession, cultivation, and sale are federal felonies that carry severe penalties for offenders. The federal law continues to be in glaring contrast to state laws that support marijuana use.

Simply said, if you purchased CBD, you shouldn't be concerned about any legal repercussions if your CBD oil is made from hemp and contains no more than 0.3% THC, as should be confirmed by the Certificate of Analysis (CoA) from a third-party laboratory.

However, if you're looking for CBD oil made from marijuana, you can only find it in a few states. Even if you're moving marijuana between two states that have legalized marijuana in some capacity, transferring marijuana goods out of a state is still a federal crime.

Let's delve deeper now that we've established the factors impacting the legal status of CBD.

Cannabis policy by the federal government has a long history. Although people have been utilizing the plant for both recreational and medicinal purposes, the government has used this as a justification to make possession a crime even though there is no scientific proof of the supposed social damages that the plant is supposed to create (1).

The federal government has chosen to relax its attitude on cannabis several decades later. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of medical experts and activists, CBD has been taken off the list of prohibited substances and legalization is rapidly approaching.

There are, of course, certain exceptions to that rule.

First, hemp, a kind of cannabis with less than 0.3% THC in dry mass, must be used to produce CBD.

The isolated, pure form of cannabidiol is another type of CBD that has been authorized by the federal government.

CBD derived from marijuana plants is still regarded as a prohibited product, and only states with legal marijuana markets are permitted to sell it.

The federal government still has the right to enforce its "anti-drug" laws, so technically, you might still be charged with a felony if they decide it's the proper course of action.

Since industrial hemp is used to make the majority of the CBD products on the market, they are accepted in all 50 states. You're safe as long as you can demonstrate that your CBD oil contains less than 0.3% THC.

The 2018 Farm Bill reclassified hemp as an agricultural product, making it legal on a federal level. Growing and selling hemp is now permitted for all uses, including the production of CBD-rich health products.

As with any federal rule, individual states have the option of adhering to the new guidelines or placing further limitations on CBD products. Currently, CBD is accepted in some capacity in every state. Iowa, Kansas, Mississippi, and North Carolina are among the states with restricted access to the entire range of CBD products.

To be sure, we always advise checking with your state's local laws. You shouldn't regard this article as legal advice; it is only meant to be educational. Consult a legal expert if you are unsure of the legality of CBD in your area.

The same holds true for purchasing any CBD products and your health. We urge you to seek qualified medical advice on ingesting CBD oil from a reliable source.

Why Is Every Type of CBD Not Legal? Hemp vs. Marijuana

Although hemp and marijuana are both members of the same plant family, as was already mentioned, they don't necessarily have the same chemical make-up.

In reality, they differ significantly in terms of the CBD to THC ratio (2).

THC content ranges from 5 to 35% in the majority of marijuana strains, depending on the variety. They typically contain very little CBD (0.1–3%). However, selective breeding may have resulted in certain marijuana plants having higher CBD amounts. Specific hybrids have CBD-to-THC ratios that are greater.

The federal government has legalized hemp, but only some states have legalized marijuana (recreational use). For persons with a doctor's prescription or a medical marijuana license, 37 states, three territories, and the District of Columbia allow the medical use of cannabis products.(6) 

Why Some Hemp Crops Can Occasionally Become Marijuana

Despite how absurd it seems, hemp plants can become marijuana.

Most of the progeny of a female hemp plant and its male partner will be able to produce more than 0.3% of THC. In actuality, some of these seedlings will only produce THC.

Unlike many flowering plants, cannabis plants are nearly always either male or female. Additionally, as a result of the traits of the plants combining during reproduction, previously inactive genes, such as those in charge of THC release, may become active.

The ability of biological organisms to fluctuate is a variable that makes farmers and growers always concerned about their yields. Therefore, they always strive to prevent sexual reproduction.

Sadly for our male readers, the cannabis patriarchy is smashed where CBD-rich hemp grows. Farmers simply don’t want a male in their field because its presence may destroy the whole crop.

The above condition is easy to achieve when growing hemp in a greenhouse. But since cannabis is abundant in the wild, an outdoor hemp field can suddenly start breeding marijuana if the pollen is close enough.

Former President Barack Obama signed the initial Farm Bill, sometimes referred to as the Agricultural Act of 2014, in 2014. It clearly distinguished between marijuana and hemp. Additionally, it permitted universities or state agriculture departments to conduct research and pilot programs (4).

This law was passed with the intention of determining if hemp farming will be advantageous to American farmers and other industries. The United States made the decision to implement the new law because it was quite successful.

In 2018, the Agriculture Improvement Act, which was signed by President Donald Trump, made hemp federally legal and exempted it from DEA control. In the Controlled Substances Act, CBD was also shifted from Schedule I to Schedule V. (5).

How To Know If Your CBD is Legal?

Due to limited market regulations, CBD companies can make any claims they want. If you want a reliable means to confirm these statements, search for a Certificate of Analysis (CoA) from a reputable laboratory.

Companies can send samples of their products to unbiased laboratories for content analysis, however, it is not required. These labs will examine the sample for typical contaminants like pesticides, heavy metals, mold, and solvent residue as well as the concentration of CBD.

Reputable CBD companies are transparent about their testing procedures, and they also post the lab results on their websites or, at the very least, email them to customers upon request.

If a company doesn’t provide the CoA, they are not worth your time.

Can CBD be transported across state lines?

The transportation of CBD products between states is protected by the federal government. However, CBD products made from marijuana are not covered by these protections. In its 2019 memorandum, the USDA made it clear that the provisions of the 2018 Farm Bill guarantee the "free flow of hemp in interstate commerce."

In other words, as long as hemp is produced legally under local law or is granted a license under the USDA plan, the modified Farm Bill prohibits states and Native American tribal authorities from outlawing the transit or shipment of hemp across state lines. After hearing stories from places like Idaho, where officials declared they will continue to regard CBD as an illegal substance until new federal standards are updated, the administration introduced the guidelines.

Most places in the globe allow CBD ?Not sure what you are trying to say? in some form. Full-spectrum CBD extracts are permitted in some nations.

Nevertheless, some locations continue to forbid CBD, regardless of its source.

The vast majority of African nations have outlawed CBD. Additionally, Slovakia, Russia, and Belgium do not permit it. Although China produces CBD products, it is illegal to use, buy, or sell CBD there; the items are instead shipped to other nations.

In conclusion, CBD is allowed under federal law in the US if it is derived from hemp and contains no more than 0.3%. In states where marijuana is legal, CBD generated from marijuana can be lawfully purchased.

As a result of the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, which was signed by President Trump, CBD became legal in 2018. For any reason, including the production of CBD-containing botanical extracts, farmers can produce and sell hemp plants.

Due to the existing classification of CBD, there are not many regulations surrounding production and labeling, which has allowed low-quality merchants the chance to produce subpar goods and advertise them as premium CBD.

Reading third-party lab tests is the best approach to be sure you're purchasing a CBD product that is legal. You can select out goods with excessive THC content by doing this. You may find out exactly how much CBD is in your product and whether it has passed the purity test from a Certificate Of Analysis issued by the laboratory.

We hope this post has given you a better understanding of the complex legal issues regarding CBD's legal position in the US. If you enjoy our work, please consider spreading the word on social media.


  1. Siff, S. (2014). “The Illegalization of Marijuana: A Brief History”. Origins, vol. 7,8. Retrieved from:
  2. Sawler, Jason et al. “The Genetic Structure of Marijuana and Hemp.” PloS one vol. 10,8 e0133292. 26 Aug. 2015, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0133292
  3. de Meijer, Etienne P M et al. “The inheritance of chemical phenotype in Cannabis sativa L.” Genetics vol. 163,1 (2003): 335-46.
  4. United States Department of Agriculture. (2014). “Agricultural Act of 2014: Highlights and Implications.” Retrieved from:
  5. United States Department of Agriculture. (2018). “2018 Farm Bill.” Retrieved from:

Frequently Asked Questions Around CBD and Hemp Legality

Currently, the sale and use of CBD products derived from hemp are permitted in 47 of the 50 U.S. states, as well as the District of Columbia. On the other hand, several states place limitations on the CBD products that can be sold.

Which States Is CBD Illegal?

Idaho - Any CBD product derived from hemp must satisfy two requirements in order to be legal in Idaho. Not simply less than 0.3% THC will do; it must contain 0% THC. Second, it has to fall under Idaho Code 37-2701's definition of "not marijuana" (t). This simply implies that specific areas of the hemp plant must be used to obtain CBD.

Nebraska - Although hemp-derived CBD was decriminalized by the state government in a bill passed on May 30, 2019, CBD is still technically prohibited in Nebraska. Hemp and items derived from it were taken off the list of banned substances by Nebraska LB 657. Any CBD product offered for sale in Nebraska must adhere to strict production, testing, and distribution regulations and have a THC content of less than 0.3%.

Which States have no restrictions on CBD Sales?

  • Alabama
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Virginia
  • Wyoming

Most states require that CBD products have a maximum THC content of 0.3%. However, some states have exceptions, so before buying any CBD products, verify with your local government.

Is hemp oil federally legal?

The Agriculture Improvement Act was approved and signed into law by the US Congress in 2018. With the removal of hemp from the federal Controlled Substances Act, CBD that derives from hemp is now legal.

Is hemp oil the same as CBD oil?

Hemp oil contains minimal to no CBD content, which is the fundamental distinction between it and CBD oil. The hemp seeds are cold-pressed into an omega-rich cooking oil to create hemp oil. The component CBD is extracted from the hemp plant's leaves, flowers, and stalks to create CBD oil.

In 2018, the U.S. Congress passed and signed into law the Agriculture Improvement Act. This law removed hemp from the federal Controlled Substances Act, effectively legalizing CBD if it comes from hemp.2 However, a few states have not removed hemp from their state’s controlled substances acts, so the legality of CBD products differs across states.,if%20it%20comes%20from%20hemp.

Yes. All industrial hemp products are permitted under the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 as long as the THC content is 0.3% or below.

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