Home » Is CBD Legal? – Understanding the Laws

Is CBD Legal? – Understanding the Laws

Aug 19, 2022

A growing number of consumers are looking to alleviate pain, improve sleep quality and lessen anxiety through buying CBD online. As both interest and demand for CBD products continue to rapidly increase, the question of legality is often brought forth. Is CBD legal? The quick answer is yes, but the conditions are very specific:

If CBD is hemp-derived and contains less than 0.3% THC, it is legal on a federal level. In case that only makes things more confusing, let’s break it down further.

The first step is understanding the difference between hemp and marijuana. They are both varieties of the Cannabis plant, and visually look the same. Along with other cannabinoids, they both naturally produce CBD, a non psychoactive compound used to self-treat various conditions, including pain, anxiety, and insomnia.

However, the biggest difference between the two is the level of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) found in the plants. THC is the compound that produces a high, and can lead to confusion and anxiety. Hemp carries a very low amount of THC, with average levels below 0.3%. Marijuana plants carry a much higher rate of THC (up to 30%). 

Because marijuana has such a high THC content, which produces mind-altering effects, the plant is federally illegal in the United States.

Hemp, on the other hand, was recently reclassified as an agricultural commodity under the 2018 Farm Bill. The bill removed hemp as a Schedule I substance, therefore federally legalizing CBD derived from the plant.   

In order for a CBD product to be legal, it must be derived from hemp and meet the following requirements:

  • Contain less than 0.3% THC
  • Adhere to shared state-federal regulations
  • Grown by a licensed grower

In addition to legalizing the plant, the bill also removed all restrictions on the sale, transportation, and possession of hemp-derived CBD products. This means that the products can be legally ordered online or transported across state lines, as long as the product meets the criteria.

Keep in mind, legality on a federal level does not necessarily mean CBD products are legal in all states. Each state has the power to set laws that add further regulations, or even ban cannabis products altogether. Be sure to check your state’s laws before making a CBD purchase.

The Food and Drug Administration also places regulations on cannabis and cannabis-derived products including CBD. According to their website (fda.gov), 

“FDA recognizes the potential opportunities that cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds may offer and acknowledges the significant interest in these possibilities. However, FDA is aware that some companies are marketing products containing cannabis and cannabis-derived compounds in ways that violate the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) and that may put the health and safety of consumers at risk. The agency is committed to protecting public health while also taking steps to improve the efficiency of regulatory pathways for the lawful marketing of appropriate cannabis and cannabis-derived products.” 

Another way to guarantee a product is legal (and legit) 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:

  • Cannabinoids
  • Microbial contaminants (ie. mold, yeast, etc.)
  • Residual solvents
  • Heavy metals
  • Pesticides

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.

Armed with this knowledge, you are equipped with the information you need to buy CBD products online, with the certainty that your purchase and possession are legal.


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