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Is CBD Legal?

Created by FindLaw's team of legal writers and editors.

Last updated 11/13/2019

Although cannabis and the chemical compounds derived from it have been around for centuries, they are quickly becoming more specialized, more potent, and more popular than ever. Cannabidiol (CBD), in particular, has become a key element of current health and well-being trends, but is CBD even legal?

Like most questions regarding the legality of anything relating to cannabis, the answer is both yes and no. Whether or not CBD is legal in a specific area depends on a variety of factors. Some of those factors include:

  • State and federal cannabis and hemp laws
  • The source of the CBD
  • How the CBD is consumed, e.g., smoking, vaping, eating
  • How the CBD product is marketed

Federal Cannabidiol Laws

The primary federal law that allowed businesses to start marketing CBD products is the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018. This Act legalized the farming of industrial hemp, which, as defined by the Act, contains less than 0.3 percent THC (THC is the chemical in cannabis that gets people high). If hemp contains more than 0.3 percent THC, the federal government considers it to be marijuana, which is an illegal Schedule 1 drug.

Both hemp and marijuana can contain CBD, but hemp is federally legal. A general starting point in federal CBD-legality: If CBD comes from hemp, it is legal; if CBD comes from marijuana, it is illegal. Although hemp-based CBD might be federally legal, some states still consider any cannabis product illegal.

State CBD Laws

Although most U.S. states allow for some types of cannabis use, many states have yet to alter their existing, prohibitory cannabis laws. In Texas, for example, any amount of THC is illegal, including the 0.3 percent found in federally legal industrial hemp.

Food and Drug Administration Oversight

The Food and Drug Administration, which is generally tasked with regulating and monitoring CBD-related products, has outlawed any CBD products that the FDA has not officially approved, i.e., any CBD products besides Epidiolex.

Despite its regulations, the FDA oftentimes fails to review and verify/disprove the claims made by companies who sell CBD products. Because of this lack of regulation, CBD products sometimes also illegally contain THC and/or other chemicals.

Legal Resources for Consumers

Cannabis laws across the nation are changing rapidly and it can be difficult for consumers to stay up-to-date on the latest developments. If you have questions regarding your state's CBD laws, it is worth looking into them. If you are facing legal charges because of cannabis, you may want to consider seeking the assistance of an experienced legal professional.

Next Steps

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