Is CBD Legal?
Navigating the cannabidiol (CBD) landscape in 2019 looks vastly different than it did in 2018. Websites and local head shops tout a vast array of CBD oils, and celebrities and social media influencers endorse CBD edibles and face creams like they’re normal everyday products.
Are they legal? Illegal? And do federal and local governments care that you’re buying it from a store six states and two time zones away?
These are all great questions, and they echo the concerns we receive from our customers. No one wants to buy an illegal product online unwittingly, which is why we decided to explain the basics of CBD legalization and where it stands compared to hemp and medical and recreational cannabis.
The truth is, CBD’s popularity hinges on a few research papers and some worthwhile yet anecdotal reports of increased pain relief, deeper sleep, and an overall healthier state of mind. Quality CBD oils and edibles lack the side effects of big pharma pills and do not create addictive tendencies. Plus, unlike THC, CBD is not a psychotropic.
Despite the list of positives, CBD’s legal status isn’t so obvious. Below, we take you through the big questions our customers ask us regarding CBD legalities.
Is CBD Oil Federally Legal in the US?
Yes. You can order Balance CBD in all 50 states across the USA.
If you posited this question in October 2018, the answer would be no. But the revised US Farm Bill changed all that. Once banished to a small group of farmers in Kentucky, industrial hemp can now be grown by any farmer with arable land and a certification from the government.
The Federal Government distinguishes between industrial hemp and illegal cannabis plants by how much THC is detected in the plant — .03% THC is the demarcation. That means farmers can farm and extract CBD from hemp plants with less than .03% THC. CBD harvested from a hemp plant with more than .03% THC is considered a cannabis product, and an illegal Class 1 Substance, says the DEA.
But the Farm Bill doesn’t lay out the roadmap for the extraction processes, manufacturing methods, and sale of CBD in the US. That knotty bundle of legal nomenclature rests in the hands of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). According to the FDA, CBD is a drug, albeit a legal one, and cannot be shipped across state lines and cannot be advertised as a health or dietary supplement.
At the moment, the FDA is determining how to regulate CBD, and since they’re a massive federal division, they do not operate at the speed of today’s internet commerce. That doesn’t mean they’re sitting on the sidelines.
In the summer of 2019, they asked American citizens how they felt CBD helped them and how they’d like to see it regulated. The FDA has also sent warning letters to companies that over-sold their advertisements, vaunting benefits that they could not prove.
So, yes, CBD is federally legal. But that legality teeters on the final word of the FDA; the specifics are murky. Once the proper government bodies have chosen how the drug will be regulated for consumer sales, we’ll update this article — stay tuned.
Is CBD Legal in My State?
In the following states, all cannabis & related products are legal. These states and Washington D.C. allow medicinal and recreational use of cannabis. You can easily and legally purchase CBD oil as long as you meet the minimum age requirements.
- Washington D.C.
The following states allow for the purchase and consumption of all cannabis and cannabis products (like CBD oil) for medical use only. To purchase CBD oil in these states you may need to have a medical marijuana card or a prescription from your doctor.
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- West Virginia
What’s the Difference Between Good and Bad CBD Oil?
When we say bad CBD oil, we mean products that either claim false information or ship oil that is not 100% federally legal. Both of which thrive on the internet. You’ll find dozens of news reports of CBD oils that were tested and found to contain little to no CBD. And others that had illegal amounts of THC, much higher than the federally mandated .03%.
Until the FDA steps in and regulates the industrial hemp and CBD market, you must do your own investigating. There are some things you can do to ensure you’re buying legal CBD products that contain the ingredients they purport to contain and in the proper quantities. They are:
- Independent Lab Testing: Trustworthy companies will post their lab tests for all to see. Balance CBD, for example, prints a QR code on every bottle that will send you directly to the batch-specific report. Less reputable companies’ reports will be harder to find; you must root around the fine print to find a link. Others won’t have the information at all. Do not buy from a company without proof of what’s in the bottle.
- Organic and Non-GMO Ingredients: Aside from the CBD extract, a CBD oil contains essences, terpenes, and carrier oils to bolster the effects of the cannabinoid. You want to seek companies that ensure every ingredient is organic and safe for consumption.
- American-Grown Industrial Hemp: Many countries overseas, including China and Russia, grow hemp. You need a lot of hemp to produce an ounce of extract. One way to safeguard yourself from purchasing an oil grown on fallow land or soil rife with harsh chemicals is to buy American.
- Super-Critical CO2 Extraction: There are various ways to extract CBD from hemp plants, some are better than others. But the industry standard in today’s CBD market is CO2 extraction. That’s because it produces less waste and doesn’t require solvents, like ethanol.
Where Can I Buy Legal CBD Oil?
Gathering the information that we’ve just gone through — that CBD is federally legal, that your state laws may or may not obfuscate that legality, that the FDA has yet to provide detailed regulations for the sale of CBD, and that you must mindfully purchase your CBD products to avoid any scams or sub-par products — it’s clear that the real question isn’t where to buy legal CBD, but where you can buy the best CBD.
We recommend searching for a top-rated CBD company that sells a range of CBD products at competitive prices. Don’t buy the cheapest brand and stay away from products with eye-widening price tags. Companies like Balance CBD offer a host of options, plus unique ways to decide which option is best for you.
Their products meet all the aforementioned guidelines, and they’ve consistently been top-rated online and through consumer reviews. Check out our full list of products here. Remember, Balance CBD ships to all 50 states in the USA.
Dr Elizabeth Blackwell is a double board-certified integrative and family medicine physician. Dr Blackwell expertise lies in functional and holistic medicine.
She is the director of medical services at the Pacific Clinics MD, a comprehensive clinic focused on chronic stress, gut health, decreasing inflammation, improving hormonal imbalance, weight loss resistance and helping women get pregnant. Dr Elizabeth Blackwell also has significant experience in working with cancer, dementia and chronic pain patients.
In recent times Dr Blackwell’s work has focused on exploring the effects of cannabinoid therapies. Dr Blackwell has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, Well+Good, Vogue, Healthline, Forbes, Medical News Today, Harvard Health and more.