Is CBD legal in North Carolina?

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Understanding the Legal Status of CBD in North Carolina

As a lawyer specializing in the legal status of food and drugs, I often encounter questions about the legality of certain substances. One such substance that has become increasingly popular in recent years is Cannabidiol (CBD). This article aims to shed light on the legal status of CBD in North Carolina.

What is CBD?

CBD is a naturally occurring compound found in the cannabis plant. Unlike its more famous cousin, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD does not produce a "high" or any form of intoxication. Instead, it has been praised for its potential therapeutic benefits, including pain relief, anxiety reduction, and even seizure reduction in certain cases.

Is CBD Legal in North Carolina?

The legal status of CBD in North Carolina is a complex issue due to the interplay between state and federal laws. According to federal law, specifically the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp-derived CBD (containing less than 0.3% THC) is legal. However, the legality of CBD at the state level depends on various factors.

State Law vs. Federal Law

While federal law permits the use of hemp-derived CBD, North Carolina's state law is less clear. In North Carolina, the cultivation of industrial hemp is legal, and so is the production of CBD. However, the sale of CBD-infused food and beverages is currently prohibited by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services. This is because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not yet approved CBD as a food additive.

Medical Use of CBD in North Carolina

North Carolina has a very limited medical marijuana program. Under the Epilepsy Alternative Treatment Act, individuals with intractable epilepsy can use and possess hemp extracts that contain at least 5% CBD and no more than 0.9% THC. However, these patients must have a recommendation from a neurologist and a state-issued hemp extract registration card.


In summary, the legality of CBD in North Carolina is nuanced. While the production and use of hemp-derived CBD is legal under federal law, the sale of CBD-infused food and beverages is prohibited by the state. Additionally, the medical use of CBD is limited to patients with intractable epilepsy who have a state-issued registration card. Therefore, if you're considering bringing or buying CBD in North Carolina, it's essential to be aware of these legal complexities.

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