Area of Law:
It's a question that more and more people are asking because of how popular CBD products has become. Thanks to its miraculous healing properties that rival the most potent pharmaceutical medications, CBD is becoming a staple in many people's daily regimens.
Yet many people question the legality of CBD before deciding to buy and use CBD, and rightfully so.
But depending on the exact location, the answer to whether or not CBD is legal may differ.
In terms of the United States, the question of whether or not CBD is technically legal is rather clouded. This cannabinoid is non-psychoactive, so it really shouldn't be prohibited. But laws surrounding this compound can often be fuzzy in the US, especially when you consider how federal and state laws may clash over it, as well as the occasional change in how the compound is viewed by the government.
Since CBD comes from a specific species of the cannabis plant, it certainly comes with a certain stigma attached to it. After all, cannabis is typically synonymous with getting high, and therefore any compound that is derived from the plant is often associated with mind-altering effects that make such substances illegal.
But CBD - or cannabidiol - is not a psychoactive substance. Unlike its THC counterpart (which is what gets cannabis users high), CBD does not produce a "high" in users.
Despite this fact, CBD has still had a challenge in terms of legality, especially in the US. In fact, the cannabinoid has recently been put through the ringer.
Just this past month, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reinforced the decision by the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to classify CBD as a Schedule 1 substance under the Controlled Substances Act. This ruling was made in spite of the fact that CBD has no psychoactive effects and has been shown to have several medical benefits. The DEA previously made the distinction between CBD and THC but seems to have back-tracked in favor of big pharmaceutical companies.
Each one of the 50 states across the nation has their own laws on cannabis and the compounds derived from the plant.
When it comes to federal law, cannabis is considered illegal because it is listed as a Schedule I drug under The Controlled Substances Act. That means it's illegal to produce, distribute, possess, and use cannabis, a well as any other substance listed under this act. This law on cannabis is also applicable to extracts derived from the plant, as per the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
But where things can get really confusing is when we start to talk about hemp, which is what pure CBD oil is extracted from. Industrial hemp is actually legal and has been for centuries. In fact, hemp has long been used for the production of many consumer goods in the US.
While cannabis is federally illegal, industrial hemp is not. Despite this fact, the DEA seems to be holding to the notion that it is still considered a Schedule 1 substance and is therefore only legal in states where marijuana is legal.
State Laws on CBD in the US
States are free to come up with their own legislation and enforce them on their citizens. And when it comes to cannabis, state laws are actually considered a little more lenient than federal law in certain states. In fact, an increasing number of states have already legalized medical marijuana, and many more have also legalized the use of marijuana for recreational purposes.
Right now, 31 states have legalized medical marijuana. The following states, however, have legalized both recreational and medical marijuana:
· District of Columbia (Washington DC)
In terms of CBD, this particular cannabinoid is legal in all 50 states, although there are certain scenarios in which it may actually not be considered legal. Typically, the difference between legal and illegal will depend on certain factors as per the particular state.
More specifically, the difference between CBD that's considered legal versus illegal comes down to where exactly the CBD is derived from - hemp or marijuana.
Both hemp and marijuana are part of the cannabis family, so they'll obviously share some common traits. But there is one major difference between them, which is the amount of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) that each plant has. Marijuana can have as much as a 30% THC content, compared to no more than 0.3% THC in hemp.
As you probably know, THC is the psychoactive compound in cannabis that is what gets users high. Since hemp has tiny traces of THC - or none at all - it does not cause mind-altering effects when its compounds - including CBD - are consumed.
It's this issue of THC content that can mean the difference between legal and illegal. CBD that is derived from the hemp plant is therefore considered legal. At the end of the day, the legal status of CBD is directly connected to any accompanying THC.
What is CBD's Legal Situation in Other Countries?
In most nations across the globe, CBD is available and legal, particularly CBD that is prescribed by a physician. But non-prescription CBD can be a bit more of a cloudy issue. Hemp-derived CBD that is low or void of THC is legal in most countries, though there are some that don't have a clear stance on the cannabinoid.
Since CBD is considered the same as any other cannabis product in some countries, it is often regulated by the specific country's cannabis legislation. That said, CBD may be readily available even if cannabis products are technically illegal. That's because cannabis legislation is often outdated and in many countries, it may not even really be enforced.
If you're planning to travel to any parts of the US or even the world and are planning to take CBD along with you, you'd be advised to look into that specific location's stance on CBD in order to ensure you won't be met with any obstacles or troubles.