Is CBD legal in the United States?

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The Complex Legal Status of CBD in the United States

The legal status of cannabidiol (CBD) in the United States is a complex issue, due to various laws at both the federal and state levels. This article aims to provide a clear, unbiased overview of the current legal landscape surrounding CBD in the U.S.

Federal Law and CBD

At the federal level, the legality of CBD depends on its source. CBD can be derived from two types of cannabis plants: marijuana and hemp. The 2018 Farm Bill, signed into law by President Donald Trump, legalized hemp and hemp-derived products at the federal level. This means that CBD derived from hemp, which contains less than 0.3% THC (the psychoactive compound in cannabis), is legal under federal law.

However, CBD derived from marijuana plants, which often contains more than 0.3% THC, remains illegal under the federal Controlled Substances Act. This is because marijuana, unlike hemp, is classified as a Schedule I substance, making it illegal for any use, including medical, at the federal level.

The Role of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

The FDA has authority over the regulation of CBD under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. As of now, the FDA has approved only one CBD product, a prescription drug product to treat two rare, severe forms of epilepsy. The FDA has not approved any other CBD-containing products, and it is currently illegal to market CBD by adding it to a food or labeling it as a dietary supplement.

State Laws and CBD

While federal law provides a general framework, the legality of CBD can also vary from state to state. Some states have laws that align with federal law, meaning that hemp-derived CBD is legal, while marijuana-derived CBD is not. Other states, however, have legalized marijuana for medical or recreational use, making all forms of CBD legal in those states.

It's important to note that even in states where CBD is legal, there may be specific regulations regarding its sale and use. For example, some states require a prescription for CBD, while others do not. Therefore, it's crucial to research the specific laws in your state if you're considering using CBD.


In conclusion, the legality of CBD in the United States is complex and depends on both the source of the CBD and the specific state laws. In general, hemp-derived CBD (containing less than 0.3% THC) is legal under federal law, while marijuana-derived CBD is not. However, state laws vary, and it's essential to check the laws in your specific state before using CBD. As the legal landscape continues to evolve, it's crucial to stay informed about the latest developments.

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