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Posted in Essential Oil Basics by Rocky Mountain Oils

CBD 101, Part 11

Is CBD Legal? 

With the ever-growing interest in CBD, many people are learning about the benefits of this unique cannabinoid and looking into just what CBD products can do for their health. However, because of the common misunderstanding that hemp and marijuana are the same thing, and the fact that marijuana is both federally illegal and illegal in many states, many people are asking the question, "Is CBD legal?" 

While this is an extremely important question, it is one that has a fairly complicated answer. 

But don't worry. We've taken it upon ourselves to find the answer for you, do you don't have to go digging through thousands of articles and references. 

So, is CBD legal? Well, in simple terms, the answer to this question is yes...and no. 

Let us explain. 

CBD is Federally Legal

In the past, everything hemp was classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance under the Controlled Substance Act (CSA). This is because hemp was not distinguished as being separate from marijuana, which is also a federal Schedule 1 substance (a "drug with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse"). Because of this classification, both hemp and marijuana were considered illegal in any form and for any reason. 

Fast forward to 2014. In this year's Farm Bill, the nation separated industrial hemp from marijuana and redefined it as any part of the cannabis plant that has .3% THC or less on a dry weight basis. Hemp was still listed as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, but it was not separate from marijuana. In 2014, the U.S. also started a pilot program that allowed select farmers to grow industrial hemp, as long as the farmers followed some very strict regulations, including how much they grew and the reasons for growing it. Because of this pilot program, we've seen an increasing number of CBD and hemp products enter the marketplace. 

Now, jump forward to December 2018 when President Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill. This new bill made industrial hemp legal on a federal level. This means that the previous pilot program for growing hemp has come to an end, and licensed farmers can now legally grow industrial hemp and move it across state borders as long as it is within established state and federal regulations. The 2018 Farm Bill also removes hemp from DEA regulations and the CSA's classification as a Schedule 1 controlled substance. Now, the Department of Agriculture regulates hemp cultivation, and industrial hemp has the same classification as all other commercial crops. 

Because industrial hemp is now legal, all products made from industrial hemp, such as CBD oil, are also legal as long as they adhere to the following guidelines: 

  • The hemp used to make products is grown by licensed farmers and in accordance with both state and federal regulations. 
  • The hemp product contains .3% THC or less. 
  • The product comes from industrial hemp, which is a variety of the cannabis plant that contains .3% THC or less during the actual cultivation process. 

It's important to note that while hemp and its derived products are now federally legal, any product that comes from marijuana (any form of cannabis that has more than .3% THC) is still considered illegal, even if the final product itself contains less than .3% THC. 

CBD May Not Be Legal In Your State

 While we've established that, yes, CBD is federally legal, it's not quite as clear of an answer when it comes to state legality. Federal law states that industrial hemp and products derived from it are legal; however, states still have the power to create their own laws and regulations about industrial hemp and CBD. 

Because each state has the power to create their own laws, the clearest answer we can provide is to check with your state's specific regulations before purchasing any hemp or CBD products. 

Some states have differentiated hemp from marijuana, and they have legalized hemp products but still classify marijuana as illegal. Some states have made the distinction but say CBD and hemp products are only available via prescription. Other states still classify hemp and marijuana as the same thing and either legal or prohibit everything. Plus, as the CBD and hemp industry grows, some states may ease up on their restrictions and end up legalizing hemp products later on when they are currently illegal. 

To make sure that you are aware of your state's current regulations regarding hemp and CBD products, we recommend reviewing your state's laws or contacting your state government office. 

CBD and the FDA

So far, we've discussed the legality of hemp and CBD products within both state and federal regulations. However, we cannot discuss CBD's legality without mentioning its relationship with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

The FDA is responsible for regulating the safety of food, cosmetic, and supplement products throughout the nation. This includes using CBD as an ingredient in any of the mentioned categories. Although CBD has been in the marketplace for several years, the FDA's current standing is that CBD is not an approved ingredient in any food, cosmetic, or supplement. The FDA does not differentiate the source of CBD (such as whether it comes from industrial hemp or marijuana), and considers all cannabinoids, including CBD, as non-permissible ingredients, regardless of the source. 

While the FDA has not officially approved CBD as a food, cosmetic, or supplement ingredient, it did approve a CBD drug called Epidiolex in 2018. Epidiolex is designed to help treat rare forms of pediatric epilepsy. CBD has many health benefits, and as more studies are performed, the FDA could end up treating its status on CBD sooner than we think. 

While the FDA has not yet ruled CBD as permissible, there are still many companies that sell CBD products and do so without receiving a cease and desist order. This is because the FDA is only going after brands that make inaccurate claims about what CBD can 'cure' or 'treat'. 


Our Rocky Mountain Oils team wants to thank you for taking part in our 11-part series about CBD! We always love learning and sharing about the latest forms of natural healthcare, and we love making it easy for you to get the information you're looking for. As CBD and hemp products continue to rise in the industry, we will continue to share new and pertinent information with you so that you can continue to make confident decisions about how to care for your health. 


Want to review our previous articles? Find them all here! 

Comments or questions? Share below! 


“Drug Scheduling”. United States Drug Enforcement Administration.

Magner, Erin. “Get Ready For Your CBD Options To Blow Up - Because The 2018 Farm Bill (Finally) Passed”. Well + Good. 21 December 2018.

Pierre, Joe M.D. “Now That Hemp Is Legal, Is Cannabidiol (CBD) Legal Too?” Psychology Today. 02 January 2019.

“Transporting CBD: Plan Your Route Carefully.” CBD Health & Wellness. 05 September 2018.

“Will Hemp-Derived CBD Be Fully Legal with Passage of the 2018 Farm Bill? Not Quite…” The National Law Review. 18 February 2019.