CBD products’ popularity is booming, with products popping up everywhere from online stores like Rebel, to your local pharmacy.
Given its broad use, you probably know someone who swears by CBD oil—maybe they use it to relieve chronic pain, or they’ve found it helps clear their skin, or it helps them sleep more soundly.
If you’re thinking of trying CBD for yourself, you might be wondering: Do I need a prescription? After all, CBD is derived from cannabis, and cannabis is still illegal (or requires a prescription) in many states.
The short answer: No, you don’t need a prescription.
But you might need to do some research before finding a form of CBD oil that’s legal in your state or other jurisdiction. Unfortunately, because of ambiguous laws and stringent requirements, not all forms of CBD oil are legal in all states.
Below, we’ve outlined the steps you’ll need to take in order to find legal CBD for your area.
A short history: Cannabis, CBD, and marijuana laws
CBD’s legal journey certainly hasn’t been an easy (or straight one). This has caused a lot of confusion on all sides of the aisle, from consumers to manufacturers and even retailers hoping to stock their store shelves with this natural supplement.
If you’ve heard conflicting information, that’s because no one could agree on its status for a long time. We’ve added this section to help you understand the reasoning behind current CBD laws (and help you use your CBD oil with full peace of mind).
Marijuana vs. Hemp
CBD doesn’t always come from marijuana. Sometimes, it comes from another part of the cannabis plant: hemp.
Hemp contains CBD just like marijuana, but it contains only a nominal amount of THC and as such does not produce the “high” that marijuana does.
This is a good thing, because (in general), CBD produced from hemp that contains less than 0.03% THC is legal in most jurisdictions.
The 2014 Farm Bill
In the 2014 Farm Bill, the government legalized the growth of industrial and research-based hemp. However, there was nothing in the bill addressing hemp products (like CBD oil) specifically.
Some took this to mean sales of CBD oil were automatically legal as well. Others argued that CBD oil and hemp products were still illegal because the bill didn’t specifically state anything on these products.
The 2018 Farm Bill
Recently, the federal government passed the 2018 Farm Bill. This bill cleared up previous confusion and made CBD oil legally available for anyone in the United States, regardless of state law—no prescription necessary.
Only certain CBD oils meet the government’s stringent requirements, though. Keep reading to learn how to find legal CBD oil:
Your guide to finding legal CBD oil
Legal sources of CBD
For your CBD oil to be legal, it must be sourced from industrial or research hemp. This is to ensure your oil begins with low levels of THC (the compound responsible for psychoactive effects). The US government regulates industrial and research farms: every crop is tested for THC levels. Any crop that tests above 0.3% THC, according to the 2018 Farm Bill, must be destroyed.
Regulating hemp allows the government to ensure only high-quality, non-psychoactive CBD enters the market.
Make sure your CBD is sourced legally. If your favorite brand doesn’t explain their sources on their website, ask.
Full-spectrum vs. CBD isolate: Is there a legal difference?
There are two types of CBD oil: full-spectrum oil and CBD isolate. Both are legal (as long as they’re sourced from legal hemp plants).
CBD isolate contains only CBD—no other cannabis compounds. While this may seem like a good thing, certain research shows CBD may work better alongside other cannabis-sourced compounds. Full-spectrum oil contains many helpful cannabis compounds in addition to CBD, so some people prefer it.
However, full-spectrum oil generally contains traces of THC. Occasionally, consumers raise concerns about purchasing full-spectrum oil due to the THC content. Is THC illegal? Will full-spectrum CBD oil cause a high?
Any full-spectrum CBD oil originating from legal hemp plants is also fully legal. Regulated plants won’t contain enough THC to cause a high—you don’t have to worry.
Whether you purchase full-spectrum oil or CBD isolate, your CBD oil is legal as long as it comes from industrial or research-grown plants.
Should I talk to my doctor about CBD?
Just because you don’t need a prescription doesn’t mean you should skip a doctor’s appointment. CBD can occasionally interfere with certain medications or chronic health conditions, so it’s wise to check with a health professional before using CBD products. In addition, in an emergency situation, whether or not you use CBD can determine the type of treatment you receive; ask your doctor to make a note on your chart for this purpose.
But don’t worry too much: Many people have experienced incredible results using CBD, from pain and anxiety relief to clearer skin and better sleep. Let your doctor know, and if they give the go-ahead, give it a try! No prescription is necessary.
If you’re eager to try CBD oil for yourself, go for it! Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, it’s completely legal. But don’t buy from any company: look for ones with authority, transparency, and quality. The right company won’t be shy about their CBD sources. They’ll offer high-quality CBD, sourced from legal plants with minimal amounts of THC.
What are you waiting for? It’s time to see what CBD can do for you.