Is CBD Legal?

Many in the medical marijuana community are becoming familiar with the medical and therapeutic effects CBD (or cannabidiols) have to offer. As the benefits of the compound become more widely known, CBD is becoming more accepted so that’s it’s now technically legal in all 50 states although there are many gray areas. The factors that must be considered when determining whether CBD is legal include where the CBD is derived from, hemp or marijuana, and the conditions it is being used to treat. Read on to find out more.

Cannabis Buds

What is CBD?

Before delving too far into the legality of CBD, let’s take a moment to look at what it is and what it is used to treat.

The marijuana plant produces more than 400 different compounds. Of these compounds, more than 60 of them are specific to the marijuana plant genus. These compounds are known as cannabinoids. One of these cannabinoids, cannabidiol, or CBD, is known for its therapeutic effects.

When cannabidiol enters the body, it reacts with our endocannabinoid system. This system runs through the body and is loaded with receptors that bind to the cannabinoids. Though the science behind it is not fully understood, the chemical reactions of these bonds create a series of responses in the body.

Although the scientific explanation behind these responses is still a bit murky, it is clear that CBD can be greatly beneficial. According to High Times Magazine, some of the ways it works within the human body include its ability to:

  • Stop epileptic seizures
  • Treat a number of neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s
  • Relieve pain
  • Fight cancer
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Treat mood disorders


CBD E-Juice Vaporizing Kit

Hemp or Marijuana

When considering where they CBD is derived from, hemp and marijuana are the two possible sources. further explores the difference between the two. They explain that hemp and marijuana are both members of the cannabis family so they have a lot of similarities, but the main difference is the amount of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) each produces.

For those that don’t know, THC is the active ingredient in cannabis that gets you high. Marijuana contains 30% THC while hemp contains 0.3%. So what does this mean for us? Marijuana can get you really high, but hemp can’t!

Because hemp can’t get you high, the law really has no problem with it. Marijuana? Not so much! So now you should have a better understanding as to why the source of the CBD is so important.

So while hemp might be still be confused with marijuana by some, hemp derived CBD is technically (with great emphasis on technically) legal in all 50 states while its black sheep marijuana based sister is not. But it doesn’t end there. Oh, if only it were so simple.

Further confusion can arise due to the fact that, while marijuana, and the CBD that is derived from it, is not legal in all 50 states, it is legal in some states.

To make this all a bit simpler, let’s look at this on a state by state basis.


Where is CBD Legal for Recreational Use?

As of 2018, there are 8 states where the cannabis plant is legal for recreational and medicinal use. These include Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. In these states, you use CBD in any form and without a prescription.

Where is CBD Legal for Medicinal Use?

Other states aren’t quite as lucky.

There are a total of 38 states where CBD is not permitted for recreational use but is legal for medicinal use with a prescription. However, of these 38 states, there are 17 that have specific legislation regarding the THC levels found the in CBD and the conditions it is being prescribed to treat.

These 17 states include Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

The other 29 states in which medical use of all CBD products are fully legal with a prescription include Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia. Guam and Puerto Rico are also okay with all CBD products used on medical grounds.

If you are purchasing a CBD product in any of these states (aside from the first 8 mentioned) you must have a prescription issued by a certified medical doctor. You should also be aware of the concentration of CBD that is permitted in the product for it to still be considered legal. For most states, this ranges between 0.3 and 0.8% but it is important to know exactly where you’re at in terms of legality so check with local legislation before purchasing and using.

Now I know what you’re probably thinking at this point. Okay, so 8 states where CBD is legal for recreational and medical use, 38 where CBD is okay for medical use only…

What About the Other Four States?

The other four states are Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota. In these states, marijuana derived CBD is illegal while hemp derived CBD is legal. However, the laws are still unclear, vary for each state and are constantly changing and updated. To stay on top of current CBD legislature, it is best to consult the website on a regular basis.

But to the best of our knowledge, here is a summary of the current CBD laws in each state.

In Idaho, the Senate bill legalizing CDB passed in both houses by was vetoed by the state. In Kansas, CBD is legal as long as it contains 0% THC. In Nebraska, CBD is legal only for those participating in clinical trials. In South Dakota CBD is viewed separately from marijuana and is legal if FDA approved.

There are clinics that sell CBD and patients that use it in all four of these states, but legal areas are gray. If you are using CBD in one of these states it is best to to familiarize yourself with current legislation and proceed with extreme caution.

Although CBD is not fully legal in every state, it is becoming increasingly accepted in society due to the many health benefits it offers. Because of this, a number of individuals and lawmakers are fighting the good fight, hoping to make it more accessible to those who are in need. The outlook is optimistic, but we can only wait and see what happens as a result of their efforts.


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