CBD Legal Situation – The Final Answer

CBD Legal Situation - The Final Answer

CBD is popping up everywhere, and this can make you feel that it’s become an item that’s legal to use and own.

However, the situation is a bit more complicated than that.

But, CBD is safe, right?

CBD doesn’t contain THC, which is a compound that’s responsible for making people high. It also doesn’t have effects on a person’s heart rate or body temperature, which is why it’s considered safe for use in most people.

Based on that, you might assume that CBD has to be legal.

But is it really?

Let’s take a look at the facts surrounding CBD’s legal situation so we can clear up the confusion once and for all.

The Stigma Against Marijuana

products from cannabis

Have you ever noticed how people who’ve never used CBD and don’t know much about it will assume that it’s an illicit substance?

Although it might be frustrating to witness this, it’s thanks to marijuana for why CBD sometimes gets a bad rap.

When marijuna was made illegal, CBD was also made illegal by default, as well as other derivatives from the cannabis plant.

Even hemp was considered to be illegal because it had trace amounts of THC. People were worried that any derivative from marijuana could be abused or treated in the same way as marijuana, even if this was not the case.

In addition, the stigma against marijuana as a hallucinogenic drug doesn’t seem to help matters as people assume that anything that is extracted from the marijuana plant will have the same effects.

Thankfully, ideas are slowly changing, with people realizing that CBD is not the same thing as THC at all – CBD can’t make you high, for one, and it actually offers many benefits to one’s health without the negative side effects of THC.

In fact, in 2018 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a drug that contains CBD which is meant to treat severe epilepsy in young children.

This is the first time that the FDA has approved a CBD product in medication, and it’s definitely going to pave the way for other medications that contain this beneficial ingredient to hit the market.

How Did CBD Come About?

glass jars for chemical process

Although we know CBD as a modern ingredient that’s found in products from pet treats to pills and bath bombs, it actually dates back to the 1940s.

A chemist by the name of Roger Adams was the first to extract CBD from the cannabis sativa plant in a successful way.

At that time, he didn’t realize exactly what he’d done and it was only years later when he and other scientists began researching CBD and its benefits that he realized CBD was a valuable compound, as Ministry of the Hemp reports.

Adams opened the door to further research that came to light over the next few years. In 1946, Dr. Walter S. Loewe conducted a test on lab animals and this proved that CBD did not cause psychoactive effects.

In the same year, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam brought CBD’s three-dimensional structure to life. He’s actually regarded as the scientist who discovered CBD!

In the 1960s, after more CBD tests were conducted on primates, British pharmacologists released CBD oil and it was meant to be used therapeutically. This sparked even more tests and research on CBD and its healing effects.

CBD was certainly not going to disappear into the textbooks. Scientists were just getting started with exploring this compound.

In 1980, Dr. Mechoulam made another historical breakthrough when he conducted a study that discovered CBD could help to treat epilepsy – and it’s thanks to him that the FDA approved a drug containing CBD in 2018!

CBD As A “Schedule 1” Substance – Really?

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is still categorized as a Schedule 1 in the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).

What this means is that it can’t be used medically and carries a high potential for abuse.

Although that might sound unbelievable considering CBD isn’t something you can get addicted to, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) are the organizations that are in control of what substances are categorized into schedules.

Schedule 1 substances are said to be the most dangerous and have a high risk for being abused.

In addition, they are said to have no perceived health benefit, while being criminalized the most heavily. Other types of Schedule 1 drugs include LSD, methamphetamines, and heroin.

You might’ve read the above and wondered how on earth CBD can be classified as a Schedule 1 drug if it doesn’t contain THC, which is the addictive and psychoactive ingredient of the marijuana plant.

Well, this definition specifically applies to CBD that is taken from marijuana plants. Cannabis is a Schedule 1 drug, so it follows that CBD derived from the plant will be categorized in the same way by default.

As we mentioned earlier, anything that comes from the marijuana plant is usually thought to be the same as marijuana.

However, it’s not just the plant that matters when it comes to defining CBD as legal or not. What also matters is how much THC it contains.

Some CBD products actually contain THC, and since this is the psychoactive ingredient of cannabis, it has to be removed in order for CBD to be considered legal. That makes sense.

Some good news: On a federal level, CBD that is taken from cannabis plants with a THC percentage of 0.3 or less is considered to be legal.

Many of the CBD products you can find on the market will specify that they contain trace amounts of THC no more than 0.3 percent, which is perfectly fine.

What About CBD And Hemp?

hemp crops

CBD isn’t just taken from the marijuana plant – it can also be extracted from hemp.

The laws are much better for hemp than marijuana, and that’s thanks in part to the 2018 Farm Bill in the U. S. which states that companies are allowed to grow, produce, and sell CBD-rich hemp across the U.S. as long as certain guidelines are adhered to, as Royal CBD reports.

These rules include that the hemp must not contain more than 0.3 percent of THC, the hemp needs to be grown by licensed farmers, and the hemp must abide by state-federal regulations.

Even if CBD from hemp has trace amounts of THC in it, these are often less than 0.3 percent and therefore don’t pose additive or other risks for people who consume them.

The danger of extracting CBD from marijuana is that sometimes manufacturers will exceed that 0.3 percentage, and that’s what makes it tricky to legalize all of the CBD that is derived from the marijuana plant specifically.

Understanding Federal Marijuana Laws 

understanding marijuana laws

In order to know if CBD is legal on a federal level, we need to see what the status is of marijuana when it comes to the actual states in which it’s used.

Although earlier we stated that CBD with no more than 0.3 percent of THC is legal from a federal stance, this doesn’t mean that CBD is legal in every state.

In fact, far from it! Ultimately, the different states get to have the final say when it comes to choosing what cannabis-derived products are allowed within their borders.

Where Is Marijuana Legal?

Marijuana has been made legal in 10 states in the U.S. for both recreational and medical uses. In these states, you can use CBD oil legally and without fear.

These states are:

  • Alaska
  • California
  • Maine
  • Washington
  • Colorado
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Oregon
  • Nevada
  • Vermont

What About Other States?

In some other U.S. states, you can only use CBD oil for medicinal purposes.

That means that if you want to purchase it, you have to be able to show proof that you’re supposed to be using it for a health condition, such as by presenting a prescription from your doctor.

These are the states that follow this law:

  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Delaware
  • Connecticut
  • Hawaii
  • Minnesota
  • Florida
  • Missouri
  • Illinois
  • Maryland
  • Louisiana
  • New Mexico
  • Montana  
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Rhode Island
  • Pennsylvania
  • Utah
  • West Virginia

The U.S. States That Define When It’s OK To Use CBD

states in us

There are also some U.S. states in which you can only use CBD products if they are used for specific reasons – and these reasons vary from one state to the next.

Here’s a rundown of the states and their requirements, as explained on CBD Oil Review:


If you want to use CBD-infused products in Alabama, you can only do so if you’re suffering from chronic conditions that result in seizures.

The only way you’d be able to make use of CBD oil to treat your affliction is by signing up to a clinical trial.


If you have a degenerative or debilitating illness, you can use CBD oil but it has to be prescribed to you by a doctor first.


laws about cbd oil in iowa

You can use CBD oil if you have a medical condition such as epilepsy or cancer.


You can buy and use CBD oil as long as it doesn’t contain THC of more than 0.3 percent.

That seems pretty fair.


Here, using CBD oil isn’t a criminal offense but you have to ensure it doesn’t contain any trace of THC at all.

That means zero THC in order to be able to use it!


If you suffer from epilepsy, you can take CBD oil, but it must be under the guidance of your doctor.

The THC content in the oil can’t be higher than 0.5 percent.

North Carolina

It’s fine to use CBD if you suffer from severe epilepsy and in North Carolina what helps is that you’ll find that the CBD oil is extracted from hemp.

South Carolina

The rules are the same as those for North Carolina – CBD oil is reserved for legal use by people suffering from severe forms of epilepsy.


If you want to use CBD oil, it has to be prescribed by a doctor and it has to have 0.3 percent or less of THC in it.

State-sponsored clinical trials of CBD oil are also provided for people to participate in.


It’s legal to use CBD that comes from hemp. If you have epilepsy, you can purchase CBD oil from marijuana, but it needs to contain less than 0.9 percent of THC.


laws about cbd in texas

Here, you can legally use CBD oil but it must not contain more than 0.3 THC. CBD derived from hemp is legal.


If your doctor prescribes CBD oil for an illness, then it’s legal.


CBD oil is only meant for people who suffer from epilepsy and whose condition hasn’t been treated effectively with other medication or interventions.

If you want to use CBD oil for epilepsy, your neurologist will have to submit a referral to the Department of Health.


If your doctor prescribes CBD for a health condition, then you can use it legally.


In Hawaii, the Senate Bill 862 states that you can use, possess, transport, and cultivate marijuana if used medically for a crippling condition.

CBD oil that’s extracted from hemp is legal, as long as it doesn’t have more than 0.3 percent of THC in it.

States In Which You Can’t Use ANY CBD From Marijuana Plants

cbd oil is ilegal in three states

While some states offer a bit of wiggle room when it comes to the use of CBD, there are some states in which it is highly forbidden to use CBD from marijuana plants.

In these states, which are Nebraska, South Dakota, and Idaho, even the use of CBD that’s been derived from the hemp plant isn’t always as cut and dry as one would think!

For example, in South Dakota, it’s against the law to use industrial hemp and all forms of CBD oil are also illegal.

Is CBD Legal In Other Parts Of The World?

Now that we know what the situation is for CBD in the U.S. states, let’s take a look at what its legal status is in other parts of the world.

Canada And CBD

is cbd oil legal in canada

People who manufacture CBD products in Canada must have a processing licence.

When it comes to hemp, the Industrial Hemp Regulations under the Cannabis Act states that producers of industrial hemp (which is defined as cannabis that contains 0.3 percent or less of THC in its leaves and flowers) can produce hemp with any amount of CBD, as the Government of Canada states.

Interestingly, the Cannabis Act doesn’t differentiate between CBD that’s extracted from industrial hemp or CBD which is derived from cannabis with THC greater than 0.3 percent!

Although cannabis is considered to be legal, the only legal derivatives of it are dried or fresh flowers, seeds and oils.

When it comes to oils, this excludes topicals, edibles, or extracts. Full-spectrum CBD oil is considered to be an extract, not an oil, because of how it is extracted from the plant.

Now, this obviously has caused some confusion!

However, the marketing and sale of recreational CBD and THC edibles and extracts are legal, provided that the TCH is less than 10mg per package, as Reuters reports.

CBD And Europe

What about Europe?

Is CBD legal in that part of the world? Let’s take a look!

Most European countries have legalized CBD – except for Slovakia.

In Italy, CBD is in a grey area because it was considered legal for a while, but then the laws changed back to making CBD illegal.

The interesting part about this is that people can still purchase cannabis-derived products to buy in the country because retailers haven’t been shut down as yet, as Talk Business reports.

Let’s take a look at the legal state of CBD in other European countries.


coffee shops in amsterdam

Here, it’s illegal to sell isolated cannabinoids to the public. This is strange considering that THC and CBD are legal in this country.

Czech Republic

CBD taken from the hemp plant is legal but needs less than 0.3 percent of THC in order to be within the law.


Products extracted from the hemp plant are not considered to be drugs. CBD is legal as long as products contain no more than 0.2 percent of THC.


In Finland, CBD products are legal, but they’re considered medicine so you have to have a prescription from your doctor to be able to use them.


CBD taken from the cannabis plant is legal, but you need a prescription for these products.

Marijuana is still illegal in this country.


laws about cbd in irleand

Here, CBD with less than 0.2 percent of THC is legal.

The country views hemp-derived CBD as not being the same as cannabis.


In Germany, both medical cannabis and CBD are considered legal.

However, if you need CBD, you’ll have to get a doctor’s prescription for it.


This was the first EU country to allow the free sale of CBD derived from hemp.

CBD is completely legal, but it mustn’t contain more than 0.2 percent of THC.


CBD containing extracts can be sold but not as medication or food supplements.

The THC content must be 0.3 percent or less.


cbd laws in spain

Here, you can produce and use CBD products, but there’s a catch – it’s only legal if the products are meant for topical use!

Luckily, the popularity of topical CBD products has been on the increase, and you can find many creams that contain CBD to relieve pain as well as skincare products.


You can legally purchase CBD and you’re likely to find it in health stores.

This makes it quite easy to get your hands on it.


Industrial hemp is considered to be legal in Croatia, but it must not have a THC content higher than 0.2 percent.


Across the U.K. the law states that CBD is legal but it must not contain THC, as THC is considered to be a controlled substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act (1971).

The Interesting Case Of Charlotte’s Web Cannabis

cbd oil named after girl charlotte

If you’ve read up about cannabis you’ve probably heard about what is known as Charlotte’s Web Cannabis.

What is this about?

Here’s everything you need to know.

Charlotte’s Web is a strain of cannabis that was named after Charlotte Figi, a child for whom it was created.

This cannabis variety is a hemp variant of cannabis because it has 17 percent of CBD in it and less than one percent of THC.

It has more than 300 times the percentage of CBD than marijuana, so it is useful to treat a variety of medical conditions, and it was produced specifically to treat a medical condition in a young girl called Charlotte Figi.

Charlotte Figi was diagnosed with a severe form of epilepsy when she was very young, after having experienced severe seizures from the age of a few months.

She became heavily medicated as a result to try to treat the seizures, but the drugs she was on were not stopping her from having severe seizures that could last up to 30 minutes at a time.

By the time she was three years old, Charlotte was having almost two seizures every hour. The drugs she was on were also addictive, which was a concern for her parents.

When she was two-and-a-half years old, Charlotte’s parents took her to the Children’s Hospital Colorado, where she was tested for a gene mutation that’s present in 80 percent of all cases of Dravet Syndrome.

This is a syndrome that causes severe epilepsy that can’t be controlled by medication. The tests confirmed that Charlotte did indeed have Dravet Syndrome.

When Charlotte was five years old, doctors said there was nothing more that they could do to help her, so her parents turned to the option of medical marijuana for a solution.

Charlotte’s mom gave her R4 marijuana, which is a strain of cannabis that is low in THC and high in CBD, and she got this from a dispensary, as CNN reports.

 Interesting Case Of Charlotte’s Web Cannabis

After starting with a small dose to see how it would affect the young girl, Charlotte’s parents were shocked to see that the marijuana stopped Charlotte’s seizures.

Fuelled by the promise of being able to better manage Charlotte’s seizures, they then consulted with the Stanley Brothers who were crossbreeding a marijuana strain that was low in THC and high in CBD.

The Stanley Brothers is a company that’s known as being a pioneer in changing views regarding cannabis so that it’s seen as a medicinal and therapeutic substance.

The Stanley Brothers provided Charlotte with cannabis oil that she was told to take in her food, twice a day. The results were amazing.

As CNN reported in an article published in 2013, Charlotte only experienced seizures two or three times every month and she could walk, ride her bike, talk, and feed herself, thus living like other young girls her age. 

This strain of marijuana that Charlotte was given is now also administered to other people who need it for various conditions, such as cancer and epilepsy.

It’s called Charlotte’s Web because it was named after her.

Today, Charlotte is 13 and her mother, Paige Figi, is the founder of a nonprofit organization called Coalition for Access Now, which is aimed at educating both lawmakers and members of the public on the health benefits of natural cannabis for chronic health conditions.

Related Questions

What conditions does Charlotte’s Web treat?

young man lying after epileptic seizure

It is being used to treat medical conditions such as PTSD and epileptic seizures, and is becoming a choice for people who want the medication without any of the psychoactive symptoms.

Compared to other CBD strains, it contains almost no THC.

How can you ensure CBD products you purchase don’t contain any THC?

To ensure there are no traces of THC, choose a broad-spectrum CBD product or an isolate.

In addition, full-spectrum CBD that’s been derived from hemp will naturally not have any THC.


Is CBD legal?

While the issue has long been regarded as a grey area, we’ve now tried to clear up the confusion.

In this article, we’ve outlined the issue of CBD and if it’s legal across the U.S. states, as well as looked at its situation elsewhere in the world.

Although CBD doesn’t contain the psychoactive ingredients found in the marijuana plant, it is sometimes still viewed as being the same illicit substance in many places, but hopefully that will change with more research.

For now, it’s essential to stay up to date on the laws regarding marijuana and CBD in your state, which we’ve outlined in this article, so that you can stay safe while enjoying your CBD products.

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