CBD Legality

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CBD Legality

Is CBD Legal? 

In short, yes. The 2018 Farm Bill legalized the cultivation, distribution and sale of hemp on a federal level. It removed hemp (cannabis with lower than 0.3% THC) from the definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act. 

CBD, or cannabidiol, the main cannabinoid in hemp other than THC, which does not give users a "high", has grown in popularity due to its perceived benefits in people, such as its anti-anxiety and pain relieving qualities. CBD, however, is not regulated. 

Must Distinguish "hemp-derived" vs "marijuana-derived"

CBD derived from hemp (that is, cannabis plants with less than 0.3% THC) is legal. If the CBD is derived from cannabis with more than 0.3% THC, it is then illegal, as the intoxicating cannabinoid — THC — remains a Schedule I substance, and then all substances derived from it, CBD included, would be considered Schedule I. 

According to the FDA, CBD derived from hemp plants is still not approved for use in medicinal products or in food and drink products. In September 2018, prior to the passage of the 2018 Hemp Farming Bill, the DEA released a statement announcing that CBD products that had been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and contain less with THC levels below .1% would be classified as a Schedule V substance. 

From the FDA:

"Under the FD&C Act, any product intended to treat a disease or otherwise have a therapeutic or medical use, and any product (other than a food) that is intended to affect the structure or function of the body of humans or animals, is a drug. The FDA has not approved any CBD products other than [epidiolex] to treat rare, severe forms of epilepsy. There is very limited information for other marketed CBD products, which likely differ in composition from the FDA-approved product and have not been evaluated for potential adverse effects on the body.

Unlike drugs approved by the FDA, there has been no FDA evaluation of whether these unapproved products are effective for their intended use, what the proper dosage might be, how they could interact with FDA-approved drugs, or whether they have dangerous side effects or other safety concerns. In addition, the manufacturing process of unapproved CBD drug products has not been subject to FDA review as part of the human or animal drug approval processes. Consumers may also put off getting important medical care, such as proper diagnosis, treatment and supportive care due to unsubstantiated claims associated with CBD products. For that reason, it’s important that consumers talk to a health care professional about the best way to treat diseases or conditions with existing, approved treatment options." [1]

But the cat is out of the bag, and there are a lot of companies who are already selling CBD-infused edibles and consumables, such as gummies, CBD-infused chocolate, honey, coffee, water, beer, etc. 

So for CBD consumers and potential consumers:

Always check products' tags that should read how any statements have not been evaluated by the FDA, as well as for the Certificates of Analyses (COAs), or lab tests. You can call the labs to verify if the content is as reported based on the sample. 

And while many CBD companies claiming CBD to be the end-all cure-all for all ailments, consult a medical professional before using CBD. 


Hemp-derived CBD is legal. And while many CBD companies are operating outside of FDA regulation, the consumption of CBD products will continue and will seem to continue for some time. 

[1]: https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-warns-15-companies-illegally-selling-various-products-containing-cannabidiol-agency-details

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