You’d have to have been living under a rock to have missed it: CBD is one of the most popular supplements on the market today. Recent survey data has indicated that 1 in 7 Americans have actually tried CBD, a number that is sure to rise in the next few months. CBD’s popularity is based on countless anecdotal stories and some scientific evidence, which shows that CBD can help people cope with a variety of physical or emotional problems.
However, a great deal of confusion remains around CBD. This is mostly because it is produced from the cannabis plant, which is the same plant that produces marijuana. As a result, many people have wondered whether or not CBD is legal. The answer is yes, but there are some important qualifications to that.
Yes, CBD Is Legal at The Federal Level
CBD was formally legalized with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill. That legislation, which was an omnibus agriculture bill, formally removed CBD from the list of banned Schedule One drugs. This means that CBD can be manufactured, purchased, sold, and consumed. It also means that it can be transported across state lines.
However, that is not to say that there is a free-for-all, and any type of CBD can be bought and sold anywhere, anytime, at any place. Two broad guidelines remain in effect:
- CBD must contain no more than .3% THC or tetrahydrocannabinol. THC is the specific cannabinoid in marijuana that is responsible for intoxication. The .3% level is well below the amount of THC necessary to intoxicate anyone. This ensures that CBD will not result in any sort of intoxication.
- All other applicable state and federal laws must be adhered to, and the FDA and states retain the ability to regulate the market as they see fit.
However, while CBD can be bought and sold, food and drink supplements remain illegal in the eyes of the FDA. However, this ban is unenforced, mainly at the federal level.
CBD Is Legal in Most States, But Laws Vary
As noted above, states retain the ability to regulate the manufacturing, processing, sale, and consumption of CBD. Indeed, many states have proposed individual regulating schemes for how hemp can be grown, processed into CBD, and sold. Future regulations are also likely, as numerous studies have shown that far too many CBD vendors engage in deceptive labeling, advertising that their CBD products contain certain ingredients when they do not. As a result, some states have begun to propose legislation that requires that CBD be tested and display those testing results.
CBD is fully legal in 47 states. Idaho, South Dakota, and Nebraska have some degree of confusion about the legality of CBD in their states. However, given the rapidly evolving nature of the CBD world, it is highly possible that CBD use may be fully legalized in these states in the very near future.
States have also approached CBD from a variety of perspectives. Most states have some sort of licensure system when it comes to their growth and processing. However, other states have started to address other challenges within the CBD world.
In Tennessee, two legislators have introduced legislation to increase the amount of marijuana that would need to be detectable in someone’s system for them to fail a drug test. This is because CBD use can cause someone to fail a drug test, even if that person was not intoxicated.
Additional regulation deals with further issues related to processing, licensure, and manufacturing. For example, in Florida, the state recently passed legislation that allowed for the CBD to be regulated by the state. Specifically, Florida’s bill creates a hemp program within the state’s Departments of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The program will promote and regulate all aspects related to the state’s hemp industry, and requires that anyone looking to grow or sell hemp products register with the state.
Marketing CBD Can Be Dicey
As a result of the 2018 Farm Bill, an entire CBD industry seems to have sprouted up overnight. Many websites and brick and mortar stores have been making broad, sweeping claims about CBD’s unparalleled ability to cure cancer and medically proven ability to remove pain.
However, there’s a serious problem with those claims: They aren’t completely agreed to by medical science, and using CBD to make medical claims is completely contrary to current FDA guidance.
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration has come down hard on CBD firms that make unsubstantiated medical claims about CBD. While CBD vendors can note that some studies have found CBD to be beneficial, they cannot make any definitive medical claims, as per an FDA update from November 2019. At the time, the FDA declined to recognize CBD as safe to use.
As a result, they have reached out to vendors or CBD vendors who have marketed CBD by making any unrecognized medical claims, issuing cease and desist letters, and threatening legal action.
To be sure, CBD can be marketed. However, it has to be done in a way that avoids making any unrecognized medical claims.
The CBD industry is a brand new one; barely more than a year and a half old and already generating billions upon billions of dollars. While legal questions remain and the industry and laws related to it will likely continue to change, you can rest assured that general CBD use is legal at the federal level and legal in the vast majority of states.