If CBD oil comes from hemp, it is federally legal. If CBD oil comes from marijuana, it is federally illegal. State laws, however, vary widely.
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:
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.
Hemp vs. Marijuana
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.
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.
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?
It depends. In terms of federal law, the legality of CBD oil depends largely on where the CBD came from and where it is being used, so it is important to understand some cannabis fundamentals.
Information from adverse event reports regarding cannabis use is extremely limited; the FDA primarily receives adverse event reports for approved products. General information on the potential adverse effects of using cannabis and its constituents can come from clinical trials that have been published, as well as from spontaneously reported adverse events sent to the FDA. Additional information about the safety and effectiveness of cannabis and its constituents is needed. Clinical trials of cannabis conducted under an IND application could collect this important information as a part of the drug development process.
21. Does the FDA have concerns about administering a cannabis product to pregnant and lactating women?
Numerous other legal requirements apply to dietary supplement products, including requirements relating to Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMPs) and labeling. Information about these requirements, and about FDA requirements across all product areas, can be found on FDA’s website.
3. Has FDA approved any medical products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds such as CBD?
A. The FDA is aware that there are potential adverse health effects with use of cannabis products containing THC in pregnant or lactating women. Published scientific literature reports potential adverse effects of cannabis use in pregnant women, including fetal growth restriction, low birth weight, preterm birth, small-for-gestational age, neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) admission, and stillbirth. [1, 2, 3] Based on published animal research, there are also concerns that use of cannabis during pregnancy may negatively impact fetal brain development. [4, 5, 6 ] The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that women who are pregnant or contemplating pregnancy should be encouraged to discontinue cannabis use. In addition, ACOG notes that there are insufficient data to evaluate the effects of cannabis use on breastfed infants; therefore, cannabis use is discouraged when breastfeeding.  Pregnant and lactating women should talk with a health care provider about the potential adverse health effects of cannabis use.
CBD is now available in all 50 states of America — to varying degrees. Most citizens can access the supplement in-store legally but may be hard-pressed to find it in some of the stricter states requiring medical cards.
But the landscape is continually changing, each state has its own laws to work out in response to this federal change — and some are much slower than others.
Science has come a long way in recent decades to track the benefits of the cannabis plant and its chief cannabinoids — CBD and THC (the main psychoactive cannabinoid).
As a byproduct of this evolution, supplement companies now have access to hemp as a source of nutritional products — which now falls under the jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate as a nutritional supplement.
The first type of cannabis — marijuana — is what most people think of when they hear the word “cannabis”. These plants are a form of Cannabis sativa that produces mid to high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — which is the main psychoactive compound in the plant. The THC is what makes users high.
In all conditionally legal states, you can expect it to be a little harder to find hemp-derived CBD products locally.
These states honor the changes in the 2018 Farm Bill completely — in these states, you’re free to purchase, possess, and use hemp-derived products including CBD oils and capsules.