As I aged, I found myself suffering from chronic inflammation and other health issues. Having to keep track of pharmaceuticals grew frustrating, and I tried numerous drug cocktails trying to find relief. Along the way, someone told me about a natural product that offers multiple health benefits, CBD. Knowing that this product comes from the hemp plant, the first question I asked myself was, “Is CBD oil legal?”
My curiosity caused me to divulge further into the topic. Below, you’ll find my determination as to whether CBD oil is legal in all 50 states.
Understanding the Difference Between Hemp and Marijuana
When trying to determine whether CBD oil is legal, the first thing we must do is distinguish the difference between hemp and marijuana, with are both Cannabis plants. The Cannabis plant contains both tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
THC is a psychoactive compound. It is the reason that you get “high” when you smoke the plant or ingest edibles.
CBD, on the other hand, is a non-psychoactive compound. CBD will not get you high. As Healthline explains, the reason for this has to do with CB1 receptors in your brain. Without getting over-technical, your braid contains cannabinoid 1 receptors.
THC binds itself to these receptors, which produces euphoric sensations. CBD does not bind to these receptors.
When determining whether CBD oil is legal, one of the critical factors is the origin of the oil. Manufacturers can derive CBD oil from both the hemp plant and the marijuana plant. The difference between the two plants is the amount of THC that they contain.
The marijuana plant can hold up to 30 percent THC. The hemp plant, on the other hand, includes a maximum of .3 percent THC.
To put this in layman’s terms, marijuana can get you very high, while it’s practically impossible to get high from hemp. The answer to whether CBD oil is legal boils down to the source. If producers derived the oil from marijuana, then the answer is “Maybe.” If they derived the oil from hemp, then the answer is a resounding “Yes!”
The 2018 Farm Bill
Hemp wasn’t always legal in America. In fact, for a long while, the federal government banned the plant, considering it a controlled substance. It wasn’t until Congress passed the 2018 Farm Bill that CBD oil became legal in all 50 states.
This bill changed the status of hemp from a controlled substance to an agricultural product, a notable distinction from the marijuana plant.
At the time of the bill’s passing, Josh Hendrix, a product development director for cannabis-based CV Sciences, told Business Insider, “The passing of the Farm Bill will most certainly open up the marketplace for hemp products, specifically hemp extracts that are high in CBD.
It will provide a higher comfort level for retailers and consumers and will lead to more investment and opportunity in the industry as it will continue to see rapid expansion.”
Unfortunately, this rapid growth is not without consequences. Although CBD oil is now legal, the government has failed to implement regulatory measures. A lack of regulation means that what the label says you’re buying may be different than what’s in the product.
For instance, the Journal of American Medical Associated conducted a study in 2017 – before the Farm Bill’s passing – in which they tested CBD products from 31 online retailers. Approximately 70 percent of the products contained different CBD levels than what the label indicated.
Some products contained more CBD than indicated, while others contained less. Perhaps more concerning was the fact that about 20 percent of the products contained THC. The passage of the Farm Bill created a situation in which more products are on the market than ever before. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to ensure that CBD oil you use is legal and will not get you high.
Tips to Ensure You Purchase Legal CBD
One of the first things you can do to verify that you receive a hemp-derived product is to ask the producer for the strain of the plant. You can then lookup the strain online to ensure that it is a hemp strain and not a marijuana strain.
Additionally, you can ask producers where they grew the source plant. Although hemp is now legal, some states have an extensive history with the product. For instance, Kentucky passed a law in 2013 meant to support hemp farmers as they shifted away from tobacco. States with established hemp histories include:
Lastly, you can ask your supplier to produce the certificate of analysis. These certificates come from third-party tests that the supplier arranged on its own. The supplier is not required to conduct these tests. Suppliers who verify the contents of their product with a certificate of analysis have committed to providing pure substances, as the tests cut into their bottom line.
These certificates should tell how you much CBD and THC are in a product. If suppliers are unwilling or unable to produce a certificate of analysis, it’s probably in your best interest to avoid purchasing their products.
There’s a good chance that the cannabis industry will continue to self-regulate itself in the coming years. With popularity for the plants exploding, suppliers will face increased scrutiny from the public. They’ll likely want to ensure that the products they supply are clean, safe, and as advertised.
The Legality of CBD Oil from Marijuana
If the CBD oil that you wish to use comes from a marijuana plant, there’s an increased likelihood that it contains trace amounts of THC. However, marijuana legalization has begun to sweep the nation. If your CBD oil came from a marijuana plant, instead of a hemp plant, it would still be considered legal in some states.
Recreational Marijuana Use is Legal in Some States
In some states, recreational marijuana use is legal for those over the age of either 18 or 21, depending on where you live. You can walk into a store and purchase products in leaf, oil, and edible form, so long as you have a government-issued ID.
There are currently ten states where recreational marijuana is legal, not including the District of Columbia:
Medical Marijuana Use is Legal in Other States
In many other states, medical marijuana use is legal. Medical marijuana use means that you could use a CBD oil created from a marijuana plant so long as you had a medical card. The process of obtaining a medical card varies from state to state.
Once you have a medical card, you can walk into a dispensary and purchase products. The ten states above all approve the use of medicinal marijuana, as do:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- West Virginia
Other states have approved marijuana for medical use but have placed restrictions on the maximum amount of THC that CBD products can contain. Some of these states are stricter about the conditions for which you can obtain a medical card. These states include:
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
States Where Marijuana is Illegal
Four states in the United States have not yet approved the use of THC for medicinal or recreational use. However, the passage of the farm bill ensures that the use of hemp and CBD is legal in these states. The four states that do not allow marijuana use are:
- South Dakota
If you live in one of these four states, the use of CBD oil is permitted. However, you must be careful to ensure that it comes from the hemp plant, not the marijuana plant. Doing so is the best way to ensure that the product you consume is legal.
Hemp Oil v. CBD Oil
Much of this article has stressed that legal CBD oil comes from the hemp plant. When shopping for hemp-derived CBD oil, you may come across a product known as hemp oil. Many seniors who don’t have experience shopping for the product often confuse these products as synonymous. However, this is not the case.
Hemp oil and CBD oil both come from the cannabis plant. The difference is primarily in how manufacturers obtain the oil. Producers create hemp oil by pressing the seeds of the hemp plant. This oil is high antioxidants, omega 3, and omega 6 fatty acids.
CBD oil is also known as a hemp extract. Manufacturers extract the oil from a fully-grown plant. CBD Oil is perhaps similar to essential oils, which are extracts taken from plants such as rosemary and eucalyptus. Manufacturers typically extract CBD oil during a gentle, alcohol-free process.
CBD oil is more typically used to treat an array of health issues, such as anxiety and inflammation. So, if you’re a senior looking for a natural way to manage your health conditions, consider talking to your doctor about CBD. Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp-derived CBD oil is legal in all 50 states.
So, Is CBD Oil Legal?
To sum everything up, CBD is legal in all 50 states when it contains 0% THC.