US Law

Is CBD Legal In The USA?

Unless you’ve been living alone in a cave, you’ve probably noticed talk about CBD seems to be on everyone’s lips. It seems as if CBD is everywhere, and there seem to be some pretty extravagant claims about the abilities of CBD; everything from treating nausea to preventing cancer. Most likely you are curious yourself and you could be asking a very important question: Is CBD even legal?

So, Is CBD Oil Legal In The United States?

The answer is yes, at a federal level, but states can make their own decisions about the legal status of CBD. CBD oil’s legal status was in  flux before the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill. The 2018 Farm Bill clarified things by removing hemp-derived products from Schedule 1 categorization. As a result, CBD which is produced under appropriate regulation and by a licensed grower are legal for sale and distribution.

It is important to note there can be two sources of CBD; hemp and marijuana. If CBD is derived from marijuana it may or may not have high levels of THC in it, furthermore and more importantly, CBD oil from marijuana is illegal at the federal level. Federally legal CBD oil is dervied from industrial hemp and contains less than .03% THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the compound in marijuana that gets people high). 

While it is true that CBD is legal at the federal level, different states have different regulatory schemes and laws. Some states have little to no regulation on CBD oil and some, such as Virginia, dramatically limit CBD sales and purchases. In some states it is not legal at all.

FDA And Federal Regulations In A State of Change

Federal regulations on CBD are in a state of change. The FDA does not at this time have any regulations on CBD. However, the FDA has issued cease and desist orders to companies who marketed CBD when the FDA felt that the claims being made by companies were not supported by existing science. These letters have been sent as recently as July 2019.

At this time the CBD industry is, for the most part, self-regulated, and many are calling this time the “wild west” of CBD. There are currently no requirements when it comes to labeling, and the FDA does not independently verify accuracy of CBD product ingredients because of a lack of regulatory measures in place. Anyone using CBD should be concerned about this as there is ample evidence to suggest that some CBD vendors are not regularly checking their claims against reality when it comes to labeling their products. For example, a 2017 study by Penn State tested the labels of 81 CBD products and found that nearly 70% of those labels were inaccurate.I

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