It’s easy to see that the CBD business is booming. Back in 2018, the industry surpassed $1 billion globally and it has been trending up ever since. Last year, the CBD industry grew by over 700% and is expected to reach $20 billion by 2024, according to experts. Although CBD’s widespread popularity has made it a household name and a part of so many people’s daily wellness routines, when it comes to legality, things aren’t as black and white as they seem.
Before we dive into the specifics of CBD’s legality, know that the answer to the question “Is CBD Oil Legal?” is generally, yes. Hemp-derived CBD products (containing no more than than 0.3% THC) are federally legal in the United States.
Cannabis, CBD, and Hemp
The term “marijuana” entered the English language during the pre-prohibition days of the late 19th century and was used as a broad term to describe all cannabis varieties including hemp. Although CBD is found in all varieties of cannabis, the broad use of the term marijuana created a negative connotation that associated hemp with THC-dominant cannabis plants (THC is the compound that produces the “high” feeling cannabis stereotypically known for). Lawmakers were then able to rally momentum to make cannabis illegal, but only on a state-by-state basis at first. By 1952, a federal drug law resulted in the first arrests of cannabis distributors. Any cannabis product containing more than 0.3% THC is still considered a controlled substance under federal law.
Where Cannabis Stands Now
In the 21st century, as individual states began to remove legal restrictions on cannabis, confusion reigned. Cannabis is now legal in some states strictly for medicinal use. Other states have legalized it for recreational use, too. For anyone traveling across the U.S., crossing state lines means a new set of laws to follow. Meanwhile, a federal marijuana ban has remained in place. A 2018 Justice Department memo reiterated the aim of the ban: “to disrupt criminal organizations, tackle the growing drug crisis, and thwart violent crime across our country.”
What Does That Mean for CBD?
Under the Agricultural Act of 2014, also known as the 2014 Farm Act, any hemp grown in the U.S. had to be part of a state’s pilot research program. Despite this restriction, by 2017 an impressive 23,343 acres of hemp were cultivated across 19 states, with 41 states passing legislation for their own hemp pilot programs.
The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp-derived CBD from the Controlled Substances Act. This was an important change for CBD, but the law already contained an important exemption. For hundreds of years, hemp has been grown for commercial purposes to make rope, fabric, and oil. So-called “industrial hemp” was already permitted through a provision in the CSA for sterilized seeds and mature stalks of cannabis. Commercial hemp producers were already familiar with navigating an intricate legal loophole.
The biggest change in the 2018 Farm Bill was that it allowed for companies to begin creating and selling products that tapped into the mind-body benefits of hemp-derived CBD. This resulted in the boom of CBD gummies, capsules, oils, tinctures, and topicals we see today.
The Future of CBD
Because hemp is legal, consumers face a range of choices when it comes to CBD products. The safest way to begin with legal CBD oil is to look for U.S.-grown, organic hemp products. We recommend only choosing CBD oils that come with lab reports confirming the CBD content, plus all other ingredients present including minor cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids. These reports will verify the product contains no traces of dangerous residues from pesticides, heavy metals or mold.
As producers and consumers become more sophisticated in their approach to CBD, the future only looks brighter. Research into CBD’s benefits could unearth even more uses for more people with a variety of health and wellness concerns. As of 2020, Epidiolex was still the only CBD-based prescription drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration. That will likely change — CBD research is a burgeoning frontier full of possibilities.
Frequently Asked CBD Questions
The complicated history of cannabis has resulted in a huge amount of confusion when it comes to newly-legal CBD oil. Here, we break down a few of the most common questions.
Will I fail a Drug/Urine Test?
Probably not, but the devil is in the details! Every SHEbd™ product contains 0.0% THC. Any product containing 0.3% THC or less is legal to consume in the United States. Since we can’t promise that all drug tests only generate positive results when an illegal substance is detected, we can’t promise you’ll pass. Always read the fine print of any product you consume!
Can I Drive After Using CBD?
Typical doses of CBD have no mind-altering properties, so you can certainly operate any motor vehicle safely with it in your system (that said, if you are new to CBD, we always recommend avoiding doing so until you know how your body will react to it). However, we can’t promise that all breathalyzer devices detect only substances that are illegal to consume before driving, such as THC or alcohol. Check with local law enforcement first.
Can I take CBD Oil on a Plane?
Yes, but only when flying domestically in the United States. In 2019, the Transportation Safety Agency (TSA) affirmed its position that “products that contain no more than 0.3 percent THC on a dry-weight basis or that are approved by the FDA” are permissible on an airplane. However, according to the TSA website “the final decision rests with the TSA officer on whether an item is allowed through the checkpoint.” If your CBD oil is tested for the presence of THC, even trace amounts could get your item flagged for confiscation.
Can I Send CBD by Mail?
Yes, you can mail any hemp-based product containing no more than 0.3% THC. On June 6, 2019, the U.S. Postal Service adopted new regulations that broadly legalized sending CBD in the mail. If you’re in the business of producing hemp-based products, you must also have documented proof of compliance with laws regarding “hemp production, processing, distribution, and sales”—but this doesn’t affect most consumers who are simply sending existing CBD products as gifts (instead of manufacturing their own).
Interested in learning more about the safety and efficacy of CBD? You can explore more education content on our blog.