Worried whether dabbling in CBD will get you in trouble with local laws? Learn the legal lowdown on CBD here!
It’s getting easier and easier to find cannabidiol (CBD) products, but are you holding back because you’re not so sure about the legality? That’s a valid question since, just a few years ago, plenty of hemp products could land you in trouble if you had them in the wrong state.
Today, the vast majority of CBD that’s sold in the United States is regulated and legal. But you should know the red flags, in case you ever run into potentially illegal, mislabeled CBD.
Here’s what to know about CBD legality by state, federally, and by country:
CBD is legal in what states?
Since the federal Farm Bill was passed in 2018, all CBD is legal as long as it meets these specifications:
- It’s derived from hemp
- It contains less than 0.03% THC (delta-8 or delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, the part of cannabis that makes you high!)
- It’s grown by a licensed producer under federal regulations
Something that’s labeled CBD could still be illegal in any of these cases:
- It’s derived from a marijuana plant
- It contains more than 0.03% THC
- It’s grown by an unlicensed, unregulated producer
Do states have their own CBD laws?
Hemp-derived CBD is legal as long as it meets the federal regulations laid down by the Farm Bill. Still, some states are setting their own laws for the use of hemp products.
For example, in Colorado, it’s now legal to use all parts of the hemp plant as food ingredients. At the same time, many states ban CBD's use in food products, especially in restaurants or bars. Check the local laws in your area, as CBD edibles legality, in particular, can get sticky.
CBD legality by country
CBD that comes from hemp is legal in most countries, while CBD from marijuana plants isn’t. The difference is that hemp-derived CBD is processed from plants with low or no THC, while marijuana-derived CBD comes from plants with a lot of that psychoactive substance.
In these countries, it’s generally legal to buy CBD products that come from hemp. But there are different wrinkles to the laws; some nations require less than 0.2%, 0.3%, 0.5%, or other proportions of THC, while others have restrictions on how the CBD is processed:
- Czech Republic
- United Kingdom
Certain countries have additional restrictions about buying hemp-based CBD, such as:
- Finland: CBD products require a prescription.
- Germany: In Germany, some hemp products are legal, but not all of them. Isolated CBD is prescription-only, coffee and tea drinks with CBD are banned, and CBD flowers are illegal.
- Ireland: CBD is only legal if it’s cold-pressed.
- Norway: CBD must have 0% THC to be legal.
- Sweden considers all CBD products to be narcotics and requires a prescription.
In these countries, CBD products of all kinds are banned—whether they contain THC or not:
How to avoid mislabeled, potentially illegal CBD products
You can steer clear of coming home with the wrong CBD products by doing your due diligence whenever you buy a new product. There are plenty of sketchy companies on the market that don't operate 100% by the book, so don't put your health or legal status at risk!
When you’re researching a new CBD product, here’s what to look for:
- Hemp origin: Only buy products with hemp that’s grown in the United States. Hemp grown elsewhere doesn’t follow minimum FDA rules and regulations regarding hemp testing and quality.
- Certificate of Analysis: Ask for a CoA—a document that shows the results of independent lab testing. These can check for contaminants as well as the amount of CBD and THC, in total and per dose.
- Testing methods: On the CoA, check to ensure that testing meets ISO 17025 standards, which will be written on the lab report. That simply means that a national regulatory organization validates the testing methods.
CBD suppliers that don’t give out all of this information freely may have something to hide, like illegal or unethical production methods. On the flip side, companies that are open about their product and where it comes from are more likely to be compliant, especially if they have the documentation to back it up.
The bottom line? Ask questions, and be an informed consumer! The more you know about CBD legality and quality, the better you can make informed decisions about what you’re buying.
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This article discusses CBD's legality, a substance that's legal in some places but not others. We don't condone illegal substance use—we do promote knowing the legality of what you’re putting into your body. This article is for informative and educational purposes only, not legal advice.