The demand for CBD oil or cannabidiol has skyrocketed in the US over the past few years. For those not very familiar with CBD oil might rightly like to know what is cannabidiol. It is a cannabinoid strain obtained from cannabis and hemp plants. Do not confuse it with the recreational drug commonly called cannabis or marijuana because CBD is more akin to medical marijuana due to its medicinal qualities. The quantum of THC in CBD determines its legality, and luckily CBD oils that do not have any THC or an insignificant amount is a legal product in the US.

CBD is capable of curing or providing relief in a number of chronic diseases and the medicinal and therapeutic properties of the cannabis strain that make it so popular. The acceptance of the natural product that does not have any side effects is spreading across all the states of America. However, the legality of CBD across the United States is still under the cloud due to the assortment of laws that keep varying between the states, and even the Federal laws are not very clear about CBD. This leaves many people guessing if it is legal to use CBD.

The grey areas add to the confusion

 Anomalies in the laws related to CBD have resulted in the creation of many grey areas left open to interpretation. This creates enormous confusion because even though CBD is legal in all the fifty states of the country, you could land up in situations when you find yourself on the wrong side of the law. Each state uses its own unique yardstick to judge the legality of CBD and lists a number of factors to determine whether it is legal or not. This increases the chances of one state looking upon CBD as legal while some other state considers it illegal. However, there is one factor that is common across all the states that determines the legality – is CBD obtained from hemp or cannabis (marijuana)?

The origin of CBD determines its legality

 The origin of CBD is responsible for its medicinal quality. The quality of CBD largely depends on how much THC it contains that has a direct link to the legal status of the compound.  THC or Tetrahydrocannabinol is the dreaded psychoactive agent responsible for giving a ‘high’ when you consume marijuana. Therefore, marijuana is bad in the eyes of laws as it has mind-altering effects due to the presence of THC in high quantity.

The extent of THC present in CBD, therefore, determines whether it is legal or not. Being a natural product, the THC content in CBD depends on the plant variety from which it comes. Marijuana that comes from the cannabis plant can contain as high as 30% THC whereas CBD derived from hemp has very low THC content to the tune of 0.3%. Interestingly, both marijuana and hemp belong to the cannabis plant species, but CBD from one source is legal while the other is not.  Interpreting the law in layman’s language, if CBD gives a ‘high,' it is illegal but not so if it does not alter the state of mind.

Hemp-derived CBD products are safe and legal

CBD obtained from hemp does not have any psychoactive effects regardless of whether THC is present in it or not. Hence it is legal. On the other hand, marijuana is illegal in most of the states, and the debate rages on about according legality to it. However, it remains open to question what would happen if CBD from marijuana plant has very low THC content. If you are sure that the CBD you intend to use is derived from hemp and you have documents to support the claim, it would be completely within your legal rights to use it. You just do not have to look back once you start using hemp derived CBD.

No blanket ban on marijuana-derived CBD

Although CBD derived from marijuana plant is illegal, there is no blanket ban on it across the United States.  Some states have framed laws of its own and have given the legal status of marijuana in all forms whether it is for recreational or medical use. Some other states have not yet considered marijuana-derived CBD legal while in most of the other states there are state-specific CBD laws.  Consider your location to understand the legality of CBD because even if your state does not permit it, your neighboring state could be allowing its use.

States where there is no ban on any kind of CBD

About 16% of the American states, to be precise eight states have given legal recognition to both marijuana and hemp whether the derivates obtained from it are for recreational use or medical purpose.  The states of California, Alaska, Maine, Colorado, Nevada, Massachusetts, Washington, and Oregon have opened its doors to marijuana and CBD. The cannabis plant and products derived from it are legal in these states regardless of the THC content. In these states, you can buy CBD without any prescription.

States that allow the use of CBD for medicinal needs

 In addition to the eight states where CBD is legal, 38 more states consider CBD legal for medicinal use but only against valid prescription. Interestingly, despite declaring that CBD is legal, 17 of the states in the list (Florida, Alabama, Indiana, Georgia, Kentucky, Iowa, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Missouri, Texas, Tennessee, Virginia, Utah, Wyoming and Wisconsin) have specific laws related to the levels of THC in CBD and the conditions that necessitate the use of CBD. 

Medical use of CBD from both marijuana and hemp is fully legal inArizona, Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Colorado, California, Hawaii, Florida, Delaware, Maine, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Michigan, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Rhode Island, West Virginia and Washington.

The states of South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Idaho Marijuana, have banned marijuana-derived CBD. However, going by the trend, the time is not far when CBD of all kinds will be legal throughout America.

Published by Lucy Jones