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Is CBD Oil Legal in the US? An Update on the Medical Marijuana Laws

CBD oil or CBD hemp oil, otherwise known as Cannabidiol is an extract of the Sativa plant. While this component can be derived from cannabis plants that are grown for smoking and have a high concentration of THC, it is much more common to refine CBD from hemp, which has only a negligible amount of the compound.

It has been shown to have powerful medicinal qualities with one massive advantage over cannabis oil and that is it has only a minute amount of THC. In effect, this means that you can access all of the medicinal benefits of marijuana without getting high. As you can imagine, the fact that you cannot use this product to get high also affects on its legality.

Law Books

However, the actual situation on the ground is a bit more complicated than that, and it is this uncertainty that put some people off using this fantastic product. Because pot and its derivatives have been under scrutiny for so long in the US, it is taking some time for laws and regulations to change, even with a large number of states already saying yes to weed. But the confusion goes even further when it comes to cannabis oil products because a lot of people seem to be asking "is CBD legal in the US?"

Shortly, I'm about to give you a full rundown on the current status on the regulation of this product in the US at both the state and federal level so that we can educate you about your weed rights.

But first, let’s define the difference between illegal and legal CBD oil.

What Is the Difference Between Legal & Illegal CBD Oil?

There is a lot of confusion when it comes to the legality of cannabis oil products, so we’re finally going to answer the question “is CBD oil legal in the US?” In short, the answer is, it depends - the determining factor: THC levels.

Legality of CBD Oil derived from marijuana?

Though hemp and cannabis (or medical marijuana) come from the same plant species (cannabis sativa strain), they are quite different.

CBD products that come from cannabis (or medical marijuana) are only legal in states where marijuana is deemed legal. Remember that cannabis contains THC levels above 0.3% and can even reach levels between 15-30%. So if you’re considering purchasing CBD oil, check on your state’s law regarding marijuana and CBD.

Is CBD Hemp oil legal?

Medical Dispensary

CBD products from hemp (CBD hemp oil) is legal in all 50 states. Note the keyword is “hemp-derived.” Hemp typically contains THC content less than 0.3%, so with negligible psychoactive properties, it is just not possible to get high on this product. So, there is no logical reason why this product should be prohibited and hence it is legal for academic and educational purposes, according to federal law. This is all thanks to President Obama, wherein 2014, he signed into the Agricultural Act of 2014 which defines industrial hemp is different from marijuana.

Now that you know CBD hemp oil is legal, don’t go rushing to your local pharmacy to purchase this magical oil. Many companies falsely advertise their CBD oil products. However, they contain little to no CBD in it. Remember that CBD hemp oil and hemp oil (hemp seed oil) are two entirely different things. So when purchasing, make sure to research the company's website to make sure your buying something that contains CBD in it and is both legal and safe.

Where Is This Product Legal in the US?

Map of US

As you are likely already aware, the situation with cannabis-based products in the United States is currently undergoing some massive changes. Already, a large number of states have legalized either full recreational use or medicinal use of weed based products and many more are following suit.

However, big changes like this, especially after marijuana has been prohibited for such a long time and can be difficult to get through legislative bodies. The question you need to be asking is, "is medical marijuana legal in all 50 states?" because we now know that hemp-derived CBD doesn't contain the psychoactive properties, therefore meaning that it is strictly a medicinal product.

With that being said, let’s break down the legal laws.

States where hemp-derived CBD oil is legal

All 50 states in America. It is important to remember that hemp has been legal for quite some years now, and you can find all kinds of hemp products in the market, from hemp clothing to industrial items and even in supplements. ​

States where marijuana-derived CBD oil is legal for Recreational use

As of 2018, these eight states are free to use any cannabis product for both recreational and medicinal use without prescription:

  • Alaska
  • California​
  • Colorado​
  • Maine​
  • Massachusetts
  • Nevada
  • Oregon
  • Washington

States where marijuana-derived CBD oil is legal for medicinal use

As of 2018, here is a full list of states in which this CBD oil is legal with a prescription for medicinal usage. Note this list contains the eight states mentioned previously:

  • Alabama
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Montana
  • Minnesota
  • Michigan

That's a pretty long list. So is CBD illegal? As you can see, most certainly not. The only thing to keep in mind is that each of the states listed above has different rules about exactly who can access cannabidiol products and for what reasons medicinal prescriptions can be given, so be careful.


For example, in some states, only people suffering from specific diseases or disorders are eligible, while in others it's more open, but prescriptions are still required. Do be aware that some states in the above list also have rules surrounding where you can safely acquire this product from.

Before you go ahead and purchase any products for yourself, check your state's specific laws. At all times it pays to be on the right side of the law, and that is why we are in the business of keeping you informed of every development.

If your state is not featured on the list above (Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota), there is no need to despair; you are probably closer to legalizing medicinal marijuana products than you think. Many states have laws progressing through state legislatures right now to regulate the industry, including various cannabis-based products.

Importing CBD

Though it’s legal to manufacture and distribute CBD hemp oil products in the U.S., it’s still largely illegal to grow hemp in America for commercial purposes. Therefore most CBD oil companies import these plants from international sources.

Laying Down the Law With Marijuana Products

Judges Hammer

As you can see from all of the details above this is not a simple situation; however, one thing is clear, things are changing fast. After decades of weed and its derivatives being classed as illegal at the state and federal level, we have begun to see the first moves towards widespread use of this substance for medicinal purposes. These products are an entirely legitimate medical treatment and in no way represent a way to get ‘high.’

A wide range of scientific research has been conducted, and there is an ever growing consensus that this product offers real benefits to those with chronic illnesses. The states shown above that have already legalized this product speaks volumes about the belief people have in this natural extract. Things are only going to improve as more and more state legislatures pass laws allowing the use and sale of CBD oil.

For more information on everything you need to know about CBD oil, check out our buyers guide right here.

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