With the popularity of CBD increasing, a lot of people are wondering about its legality. Is CBD legal, and can you purchase it without a prescription? Well, the truth is that several factors come to play when it comes to determining this. In this article review, we look at the history of CBD, its legality in the 50 states, and its difference with THC. Besides that, we also analyze some of the factors that you need to consider before buying a CBD product.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is a chemical compound that’s found in the Cannabis sativa plant. It’s the second most prevalent active compound in cannabis with lots of medicinal benefits. CBD can effectively help you manage your mental health issues as well as physical complications.
But is CBD legal to treat these medical complications? Besides that, how long has CBD been legal in the US?
Is CBD Legal? A Quick History of CBD Legislation in the United States
The history and legal status of CBD in America go back 1600s. That’s when people officially started talking about cannabis in colonial America. At this time, the early colonists only cultivated cannabis for textile and ropes.
In the 1800s, early medicinal research started. While many controversies were surrounding the use of cannabis, the cannabis plant was used to treat a variety of ailments in this era. Between 1900 and 1931, the use of cannabis was outlawed in 29 American states.
However, the legal status of cannabis started to change when the marijuana tax act was introduced in 1937. This was the first time this country had started to regulate the production of cannabis for medicinal and industrial use.
CBD was discovered in 1940, leading to a new shift in how cannabis plants were perceived. The controlled substance act was introduced in 1970, with CBD’s first major medical breakthrough happening in 1980.
Further studies led to the discovery of the endocannabinoid system between 1988 and 1995. In 1996, the compassionate use act legalized the use of cannabis in California, with several other states following its footsteps later. This included Alaska, Oregon, Washington, Maine, and Nevada, etc.
In 2012, the presentation for recreational cannabis legalization was made, and Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize the use of recreational cannabis. With the advancement of medical research, the 2018 Farm Bill was passed into law. The US federally legalized the use of CBD from industrial hemp.
Is CBD Legal in All 50 States?
Is CBD federally legal? Well, CBD-based products are no longer illegal federally. With the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, CBD was no longer a Schedule I drug, as long as it comes from industrial hemp and contains less than 0.3% THC. However, different states have different rules. So, what’s the legal status of CBD in 2021 in all 50 American states?
|State||CBD is legal (Under 0.3% THC)||CBD is Legal ( 0% THC)|
|1. Alabama||CBD is legal in Alabama. Even before the use of this product became legal federally, this state was already trying to implement a medical marijuana program.
|2. Alaska||This state legalized the use of medical cannabis after CBD was approved by the FDA.|
|3. Arizona||Low-THC and high-CBD cannabis strains products are legal in the state of Arizona.|
|4. Arkansas||Purchasing as well as consuming hemp-derived CBD products is legal, falling the passing of the federal law.|
|5. California||This state has made cannabis products legal for purchasing and possession for adults of 21 years and older. CBD products are widely available in dispensaries and as OTC drugs.|
|6. Colorado||CBD oil is legal here, and unlike most other states, Colorado allows you to use hemp as a food additive.|
|7. Connecticut||CBD products have been legal in this state since 2015. This is after the passing of House Bill No. 5780.|
|8. Delaware||CBD is legal in this state. However, you should familiarize yourself with the state laws to avoid getting in trouble with authorities.|
|9. Florida||CBD is a legal substance in Florida. However, it must come from the industrial hemp plant.|
|10. Georgia||CBD is legal here. Just make sure that its label indicates that it contains less than 0.3% THC.|
|11. Hawaii||It’s legal.|
|12. Idaho||CBD and CBD products are only legal if they contain zero THC content. Besides that, they need to be specifically derived from the following 5 parts of the cannabis plant:
|13. Illinois||All THC-containing, as well as non-THC CBD oil products, have been made legal for use and possession in Illinois for residents of 21 years or older.|
|14. Indiana||You have a right to possess hemp-derived CBD with less than 0.3% THC in Indiana.|
|15. Iowa||The Iowa state law still classifies CBD as a controlled substance. So, it’s illegal to purchase or possess CBD or cannabidiol products here.|
|16. Kansas||The law permits citizens to buy and possess products with zero THC content.|
|17. Kentucky||Hemp-derived CBD products are legal in this state, pursuant to 40 KRS 218A.|
|18. Louisiana||Farming, processing, as well as handling of industrial hemp and industrial hemp, are legal in this state.|
Yes, CBD is legal in this state.
|20. Maryland||It’s legal to purchase, possess, and consume hemp-derived CBD products in this state.|
|21. Massachusetts||It’s legal to purchase and consume CBD products derived from industrial hemp.|
|22. Michigan||Michigan has a quite long history regarding the authorization of medical marijuana. However, this wasn’t clearly outlined. The latest changes mean that CBD is legal in this state.|
|23. Minnesota||Hemp-derived CBD is legal in this state as long as the consumer is 18 years and older.|
|24. Mississippi||It’s legal to possess hemp-derived CBD as long is contains a ratio of 20:1 in relation to CBD:THC|
|25. Missouri||Even though this state has harsh marijuana laws, it’s still legal to purchase and use CBD products derived from the hemp plant.|
|26. Montana||You are allowed to use hemp-derived CBD legally in the form of tinctures, oils, balms, salves, and lotions.|
|27. Nebraska||Yes, hemp-derived CBD is legal here!|
|28. Nevada||CBD is legal in Nevada|
|29. New Hampshire||This state follows the federal policy when it comes to CBD. So, cultivating, possessing, and consumption of CBD is legal in this state.|
|30. New Jersey||You can legally buy hemp-derived CBD in this state.|
|31. New Mexico||The federal law applies when it comes to CBD and its usage in this state.|
|32. New York||CBD is legal for purchase and consumption in this state. However, adding it to food or drinks is illegal.|
|33. North Carolina||CBD and other cannabinoids (minus THC) are all legal|
|34. North Dakota||CBD is legal|
|35. Ohio||Hemp-derived CBD products are legal here.|
|36. Oklahoma||Hemp-derived CBD products have been legal here since 2015.|
|37. Oregon||This is a pioneer state when it comes to the legalization of cannabis products. So, yes, CBD is legal.|
|38. Pennsylvania||It’s legal to purchase and consume hemp-derived CBD products.|
|39. Rhode Island||CBD from industrial hemp and flowering marijuana plants are legal in this state|
|40. South Carolina||Industrial hemp-derived CBD products for sale, purchase, and usage.|
|41. South Dakota||The use of CBD in this state is still in a gray area. This is because South Dakota laws don’t agree with the federal laws. Generally, the law indicates that such products are still illegal.|
|42. Tennessee||You can legally purchase, possess, and use CBD products in this state without a prescription.|
|43. Texas||CBD oil and CBD tinctures are legal for medicinal use as long as they are derived from the industrial hemp plant.|
|44. Utah||CBD is legal for purchasing and consumption in this state.|
|45. Vermont||Both hemp and its active component, CBD, are legal.|
|46. Virginia||Hemp-derived CBD products are legal in this state without any restrictions. This is because Virginia applies federal laws when it comes to CBD products.|
|47. Washington||Hemp-derived CBD and related products are legal for purchase as well as consumption in this state.|
|48. West Virginia||The legal status of CBD in this state allows individuals to purchase and consume CBD and hemp-oil-related products with less than 0.3% THC content.|
|49. Wisconsin||This state applies federal law when it comes to the possession, purchasing, and consumption of CBD products. So, industrial hemp-derived CBD products are legal here.|
|50. Wyoming||Yes, possession, selling, and using CBD from hemp is legal here.|
Note: From this table, the question of “Is CBD legal?” simply depends on your location. Federally, it’s legal, that the state’s law determines if you can buy, use, or even cultivate CBD-based products.
Can Hemp Crops Become Marijuana?
Hemp crops and marijuana are from the same plant species. The only difference between them is the amount of THC content. Hemp crops are usually cultivated from hemp seeds that contain minute amounts of THC.
CBD versus THC
Even though they both come from the cannabis plant, CBD and THC are quite different compounds. That’s why they have different effects and benefits to the body. Besides that, their legality in the US is different.
CBD vs. THC: Chemical Structure
They both have the same molecular structure. However, there is a slight difference in how the atoms in their molecular structures are arranged. This is one of the reasons why they have different effects on the body.
CBD vs THC: Psychoactivity
While they both have similar chemical structures, CBD and THC have different psychoactive effects. CBD is generally classified as non-psychoactive. This is because it doesn’t produce the “high” feeling.” On the other hand, THC is psychoactive. It binds itself to the CB1 receptors in the brain. This process is what usually results in a “high” feeling or a sense of euphoria.
CBD vs. THC: Benefits
These two cannabis compounds can help to provide pain relief for different medical conditions. THC is usually used to manage medical conditions such as:
- Pain and insomnia
- Muscle spasticity
- Low appetite and nausea
On the other hand, CBD can help to manage the following conditions:
- Anxiety and depression
- Mental disorders
CBD vs. THC: Legality
CBD is legal federally in all 50 states in the US. However, the state’s law may vary, meaning that there are some states such as Idaho and Iowa, CBD is still illegal. THC is illegal; however, some states have made the recreational use of THC legal. Full-spectrum CBD products that contain THC are also legal. But you need to know how much THC is legal. Federally, CBD is legal only when it contains trace amounts of THC, i.e., less than 0.3%.
How CBD Works
CBD’s therapeutic effects are based on its interaction with the endocannabinoid system. While this organic compound has a slight affinity for CB1 and CB2 cannabidiol receptors, it helps to modulate other ion channels and non-cannabinoid receptors. The basis of the functionality of CBD is usually based on the following:
- Interaction with serotonin receptors
CBD doesn’t necessarily cause an increase in the levels of serotonin. However, it may play an influential role in how the brain’s chemical receptors respond to it. An animal study that was done in 2014 indicates that CBD has anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects on serotonin receptors. As a result, it.
- Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptors (PPRAs)
CBD exerts its anti-cancer effects on the body by activating the functions of PPARs that are usually located on the cell nucleus’s surface. By doing so, this organic compound can induce cancerous tumor regression in human lung cancer cell lines. Besides that, when the PPAR-gamma is activated, it can significantly degrade the amyloid-beta plaque. This is the critical molecule that’s influential to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Some studies indicate that PPAR receptors can also help regulate genes involved in insulin sensitivity, energy homeostasis, and lipid uptake. This means that diabetics can significantly benefit from this compound if they use it accordingly.
- Allosteric Modulator
Allosteric modulators are substances that usually bind to receptors to change the way these receptors respond to stimuli. Some of these modulators are drugs.CBD is said to behave like a non-competitive negative allosteric modulator of the CB1 receptors. It’s worth noting that the allosteric modulators of the CB1 receptors have a great potential in treating CNS as well as other peripheral disorders. What makes CBD even more attractive is the fact that this compound has minimal side effects.
- Vanilloid Receptors
In order to result in a calm and therapeutic effect, CBD usually interacts with various ions in the body. For instance, it can bind to the TRPV1 receptors that also function as ion channels. Scientifically, TRPV1s are also known as vanilloid receptors. Generally, these receptors are known to treat inflammation, mediate pain perception, and regulate body temperature.
- Reuptake Inhibitor
CBD can also function as a reuptake inhibitor. But how does this happen? Well, it gets into the human cell and binds itself to a nuclear receptor. The whole process usually starts when this organic compound passes through the cell membrane by initially hitching a ride with the fatty acid-binding protein. Once the compound reaches inside the cell, CBD interferes with the breakdown of the anandamide. As a result, anandamide will fail to have full access to fatty acid-binding protein. This is what makes it a breakdown inhibitor.
Things to Consider Before Buying CBD
There is no doubt that the use of CBD products isn’t about to slow down any time soon. As the popularity of CBD continues to increase, consumers must purchase high-quality products. But with the availability of many brands on the market, finding the best CBD can be quite challenging. However, if you consider certain factors, then the selection process can be pretty straightforward. They include:
- The Source of Hemp
Hemp is a pretty beneficial plant with lots of health benefits. However, this is also a pretty sensitive plant that usually absorbs elements found in its surroundings. It’s a bio-accumulator, which can absorb everything found in the air, water, and soil. This can be good or bad, depending on the farming practices. To ensure that you end up with high-quality CBD oil products, the most reputable farmers in the market usually use organic farming practices. Avoid any CBD product that isn’t organically cultivated since it may contain harsh pesticides, chemicals, and synthetic products. If you are unsure of the source, then check the manufacturer’s official website.
- The Method of Extraction
How CBD is extracted from hemp plants determines its quality eventually. There are many methods that manufacturers can use to extract CBD. Solvent extraction, for instance, is the fastest and cheapest. However, it requires the use of chemicals such as propane, butane, ethanol, and alcohol. This can be a bit dangerous for the end product since the methods can result in chemical contamination. The best method of CBD extraction currently is C02 extraction. Even though it’s pretty expensive, it ensures that the end product is pure and contaminant-free. Besides that, the use of the olive oil method is another excellent option. Not only is it safe but also cheaper.
Note: while the olive method seems to be a good alternative, this type of extraction is highly perishable. So, it isn’t the ideal long-term solution.
- The Part of Hemp Plant Extraction
Now that we know the methods that produce quality CBD products, it’s also critical to determine the part of the plant that CBD is getting extracted from. This is important in determining the quality of the extract. For instance, hemp seeds usually contain low amounts of CBD. This means that they definitely contribute very little during the extraction process. The best parts of hemp plants with high amounts of CBD include the flowers, leaves, and stalks. So, when you are purchasing your CBD product, ensure that it has the phrase “whole-plant extracts.” This would mean that the product either contains broad or full-spectrum CBD.
- Form of CBD
While the extraction method for all CBD products is almost the same, the form of CBD determines the ease of use.CBD is a highly flexible compound. You can find it in multiple forms, including tinctures, edibles, and topicals. CBD tinctures and oils provide almost instant effects. They can be used sublingually, as vape oil, or consumed alongside food and drinks. Edibles such as gummies and cookies are for oral intake. Meanwhile, CBD topical products are for external application on the skin. Such products usually provide a localized effect since you need to apply the topical specifically to a specific body part.
Type of CBD
There are many forms of CBD products with different types of extract. The type of CBD is mainly influenced by the cannabinoid and other plant compounds found in it. The three main types of CBD include:
- Full-spectrum CBD: This type of CBD contains whole hemp plant extract. That means that it has cannabinoids, terpenes, as well as other beneficial plant compounds. Besides that, it contains trace amounts of THC. This type of CBD is known to result in the synergistic entourage effect.
- Broad-spectrum CBD: It’s another whole plant extract that contains cannabinoids, terpenes, and other natural cannabinoids. While this type of CBD also produces an entourage effect, it doesn’t contain any THC content.
- CBD isolate: It’s sometimes referred to as the “true CBD.” This is because the product contains almost 99.9% pure CBD without any other plant compound. CBD isolate is generally used by those people who want to avoid the psychoactive effects of THC altogether.
Your Medical Condition
The type and severity of your medical condition are critical in determining the type of CBD you will choose. There are certain conditions where CBD topical would be the most ideal, e.g., arthritis and joint pains. Besides that, there are certain conditions that may require high potent or low-potent CBD. For instance, the potency of CBD used to treat chronic pain is different from what’s used to treat mild anxiety. If you are dealing with a severe or chronic condition, then you need a highly potent product. The converse is also true.
Note: Regardless of the medical condition you’re using CBD for, make sure that you first consult your doctor. This will help to ensure that you avoid unwanted side effects.
Availability of Independent Lab Tests
The lack of a specific regulatory body means that it’s upon the manufacturer to verify the quality of the CBD product they’re selling. The most reputable brands usually subject all their product batches to independent 3rd-party lab tests. Besides that, you will readily find the lab reports on their official website. So, if a company doesn’t conduct its own lab tests and the results aren’t available, then you should refrain from buying its CBD products.
The Bottom Line
So, is CBD legal? Federally, it is. But you have to make yourself familiar with different states’ laws. This is because some states don’t apply federal laws to determine the legality of CBD products.CBD has lots of health benefits. From treating anxiety to insomnia to chronic pain, you can definitely depend on it for improved wellness. However, you need to exercise caution and ensure that you buy high-quality CBD oil products. Besides that, you should first consult with your doctor to avoid unwanted side effects.