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are cbd oils legal

Although cultures around the world have used cannabis for centuries, Americans are just now beginning to understand what cannabis and the chemical compounds in it do to the human body. Cannabidiol (CBD) oil, in particular, has become wildly popular for its alleged health benefits, but is CBD oil legal?

Cannabis is filled with chemicals. Arguably the most well known of these chemicals is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Whereas THC is largely responsible for cannabis’ “high," CBD does not result in a high. Supplement manufacturers are making CBD into many forms, including oils, tinctures, pills, and lotions. Some supposed benefits of using CBD include:

When Is CBD Oil Illegal?

Both industrial hemp and marijuana are members of the cannabis family, but they are treated differently under federal law. Industrial hemp, as defined by the federal government, is cannabis that contains less than 0.3% THC by weight. Marijuana is defined as any cannabis that contains more than 0.3% THC by weight.

Every U.S. state allows for the use of cannabis in some form, but each state’s laws are different. For example, Washington state law allows residents to legally consume CBD oil for recreational purposes, whereas South Dakota state law categorizes CBD as a Schedule IV controlled substance and allows citizens to use CBD only in forms that are approved by the Food and Drug Administration, e.g., Epidiolex.

America’s relationship with cannabis is complicated. According to federal law, cannabis — including CBD — is still predominantly illegal, although there are exceptions. Even with the continuing federal prohibition of cannabis, most U.S. states have enacted their own cannabis-related laws. As such, CBD oils reside in a legal grey area.

Most reputable CBD producers typically include the following information on their CBD product labels:

CBD oil labels should not make any medical claims. The FDA monitors and regulates claims of medical efficacy related to any unapproved substance. The agency sent warning letters to several companies that sold CBD products with labels claiming the contents could prevent, treat, and cure serious diseases. Yet plenty of companies voluntarily follow FDA standards and prohibit unverified claims on their labels. Words such as “cure,” “prevent,” “reduce,” and “treat” can be red flags that a seller isn’t operating with integrity.

Since the FDA’s job is to protect Americans from dangerous and unproven products but they haven’t stepped up yet on CBD, consumers are on their own and must be especially wary. That means it’s important for shoppers to choose CBD products wisely.

Can CBD be taken out of state?

Since federal cannabis prohibition is still in place, CBD laws vary significantly from state to state. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

There are state laws and then there’s federal law. Under federal law, marijuana is illegal but hemp is not even though they are both cannabis. After decades of rolling measures to stamp out weed nationwide,t all types of cannabis, including hemp, were made illegal by the 1970 Federal Controlled Substances Act. The legislation swept all cannabis under the Schedule 1 umbrella, which classifies it as a substance with a high potential for abuse, no accepted medical use, and a likelihood for addiction.

Despite the Farm Bill’s passage, the FDA has issued a directive that no CBD, not even hemp-derived, may be added to food or beverages or marketed as a dietary supplement. Given the flood of CBD products on the market already, the FDA has begun re-evaluating that stance. But the agency’s slow movement has created further confusion on the state level. States may attempt to regulate CBD in food, beverage, dietary supplements, and cosmetic products independently of the FDA’s rules but federal law makes it clear that the FDA has jurisdiction.

Broad-spectrum means that the product contains CBD and terpenes, but has undergone additional processing to strip out any THC.