The last few years have seen an explosion in the popularity and availability of CBD oils and CBD products across the United States. CBD -- previously something only in the purview of alternative health practitioners became an overnight sensation.
Suddenly thrust into the limelight, CBD is now widely available in health food stores, supplement shops, online retailers, even in gas stations and convenience stores.
All of this popularity left many scratching their heads. Where did CBD come from? Why the sudden fame? And, perhaps more importantly - is CBD even legal?
For those who want to get into the nitty-gritty details, things are a little more complex than this simple answer makes them seem.
Understanding the Legality of CBD
To understand the complexities of CBD’s legality, we need to look at where it comes from.
CBD is part of a class of chemicals known as cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are naturally occurring compounds that are produced by many living creatures -- including humans!
Your body uses what are known as endocannabinoids as essential neurotransmitters, which supports functions throughout your body.
However, the most (in)famous source of cannabinoids is their namesake: the cannabis plant.
While modern laws and sentiments towards marijuana have shifted (as you probably know,) marijuana remains federally illegal. It was first made illegal by the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act, and labeled a Schedule I substance under the 1971 Controlled Substances Act.
At the time, CBD was not a well-known compound. Most people had never heard of it at all, and those who were at all familiar considered it to be just another one of the dozens of cannabinoids produced by the cannabis plant.
As a result, CBD got thrown under the bus by the legislation which made marijuana illegal. Until very recently, CBD has been just as illegal as the marijuana plant itself, or its cousin THC -- the primary cannabinoid responsible for the “high” associated with marijuana use.
Despite the fact that CBD does not produce any intoxicating effects, it has been federally illegal as part of the “collateral damage” felt from the prohibition of marijuana.
That is until things changed in 2018.
The Shifting Legality of CBD
As the understanding of cannabis and cannabinoids has improved, legislators have been able to create more nuanced laws regarding their legality.
In 2018, congress passed the Agricultural Improvement Act -- more widely known as the “Farm Bill.”
The Farm Bill split the cannabis plant into two legal categories: hemp and marijuana. While biologically these are the same plant, hemp is defined as containing 0.3% or less THC, while anything above that amount classifies it as a marijuana plant.
As a result of this legislation, producers were finally able to grow, extract, and sell CBD. But only from hemp plants. CBD products derived from marijuana plants remain federally illegal.
Somewhat confusingly, this puts CBD in a sort of limbo. The compound itself is simultaneously legal and illegal. It all depends on if it came from a cannabis plant with a THC concentration of 0.3% or less.
Intriguingly enough, under the provisions of the Farm Act, your CBD oil can even contain small traces of still-federally-illegal cannabinoids like THC. You’ll find two kinds of CBD products: isolates and full spectrum.
Full spectrum products contain traces of every cannabinoid found in the hemp plant, including THC (but not nearly enough to produce any intoxicating effects.) In contrast, an isolate has been further refined and purified to contain only CBD and none of these other cannabinoids.
But as long as these full spectrum products contain 0.3% or less THC, they are federally legal. Many CBD products do contain these small traces of THC. These traces are so minute that they will not have any so you can consume full spectrum CBD products without concern.
In a discussion of the Farm Bill published by the Brookings Institute, the complexities of the situation are laid bare with this quote:
“The Farm Bill ensures that any cannabinoid—a set of chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant—that is derived from hemp will be legal, if and only if that hemp is produced in a manner consistent with the Farm Bill, associated federal regulations, association state regulations, and by a licensed grower. All other cannabinoids, produced in any other setting, remain a Schedule I substance under federal law and are thus illegal.”
CBD and State Laws
While the 2018 Farm Act made hemp-derived CBD products federally legal, individual states still have the ability to make their own rules regarding CBD.
The exact details of the laws regarding the sale and possession of CBD can vary from state to state or even county to county.
The widespread popularity and acceptance of CBD is still in its infancy. As such, state laws are still undergoing changes as legislators react to this relatively new trend. However, if CBD is for sale in your area, you can safely assume it is being sold legally.
For the most up to date information, consult your local laws.
So… is My CBD Legal?
As long as your CBD was extracted from hemp plants rather than marijuana plants, it is federally legal. State laws can create additional restrictions.
Like we mentioned above, consumers who buy CBD legally from a reputable vendor don’t really have anything to worry about.
Sabaidee takes extreme measures to ensure all of our CBD products are sourced from completely legal hemp plants.
Our CBD is extracted from the finest hemp plants grown by licensed growers until the provisions of the Farm Act. After extraction, we perform in-house testing to ensure compliance with federal regulations. As a final step, we send samples to a third-party laboratory to verify our results.
Put simply: when you buy from Sabaidee, you can be sure you’re getting legal CBD products.