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CBD Facts: Is CBD Legal?


The CBD trend isn't going anywhere. What was once a growing fad is now a booming market. While CBD comes from the same plants that produce marijuana, the two couldn't be any more different.

The theory behind how CBD works is promising, and people are starting to experience the benefits for themselves. Cannabidiol (CBD), a compound naturally found in cannabis plants — is similar to compounds found in the human body called endocannabinoids, which help regulate sleep, stress, metabolism, inflammation, and to some extent, immunity. CBD is similar to these naturally occurring molecules. That said, it can interact with these bodily systems much of the same way.

Before you head out there to see for yourself if CBD indeed has super healing powers, there’s some important information about how it works that you should know.

How CBD Works

How CBD Works

While experts are still cracking the science behind how CBD works, the most accepted theory is that it influences the endocannabinoid system (ECS) — a multi-cell-signaling system responsible for regulating several essential functions in your body. Here are the most common conditions that prompt people to try a CBD routine:

Epileptic Seizures

Currently, the only CBD therapy with enough substantial evidence to become FDA-approved is for treating childhood epilepsy. In several studies, unrefined CBD administered orally was shown to lessen the occurrence of epileptic seizures, and in some cases, prevent them altogether. In 2018, the FDA finally gave the green light to Epidiolex, the first cannabis-derived prescribed medication for epileptic seizures.


Unlike studies on epileptic seizures, the studies showing that CBD can help calm your anxiety are still catching up. One 2019 study of 72 adults suffering from an anxiety disorder and poor sleep revealed that CBD helped relieve both conditions in a month. Another recent study of 60 men and women found that 300 mg of CBD more significantly reduced anxiety than the placebo group.

Relieve Pain

CBD can interact with pain receptors. One recent study on rodents published in the European Journal of Pain revealed that CBD could reduce pain and inflammation when applied topically. Another study found CBD shots prevent inflammatory and nerve pain.

Is CBD Legal?

With the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, CBD derived from hemp and containing no more than 0.3% THC is federally legal. CBD from the marijuana plant is still pretty much illegal since marijuana still holds the Schedule 1 drug status. The TSA recently announced that people with hemp products would be allowed to fly as long as they meet regulations defined by the new law. "However, we're still waiting for the USDA to create the final rules regarding the legality of hemp products, which means CBD isn't yet legal in every state," states Cristina Buccola, an attorney and expert in the cannabis industry.

The Side Effects of CBD

The Side Effects of CBD

CBD is considered generally safe. While there are no reported deaths directly associated with CBD use, you may experience drowsiness, dry mouth, and lightheadedness when on CBD. The FDA firmly warns against using CBD if you are pregnant and breastfeeding. The FDA also notes that CBD can interact adversely with other medications, so you must speak with your doctor before committing to a CBD routine.

The Dos and Don'ts When Shopping for CBD Products

Ready to see if CBD is right for you? Consider these tips as you contemplate your choices:

Labels are Not Entirely Truthful

Although unethical, the over-labeling of CBD products is more common than you might think. A 2017 study published in the journal JAMA found that of 84 CBD products bought online, 43% had more CBD than labeled, 26% had less, and some even contain THC (illegal).

Stay Away from Generic Promotions

Quality CBD products are expensive. CBD manufacturers spend a lot on extraction and purifying equipment to obtain CBD oil from hemp plants. While these processes are getting more efficient, it's costly. That's why the price range for quality CBD products is $50 to $100 for a 1-ounce bottle of oil.

There is No Ideal Dose; Everyone is Different

There is no evidence pointing at the exact amount you should take for a specific result (other than childhood epilepsy. While a 300 mg CBD oil may help someone you know fall and stay asleep, the same might not be accurate for your body. "We are working on dose studies and trying to figure out how, exactly, CBD is metabolized and absorbed," says Ranganathan. "We simply don't have definitive information yet."

Always Look for a "Certificate of Analysis" (CoA) When You Buy

The CoA is a document that provides lab results of the CBD used in the formulation. If the company you're buying from doesn't include a CoA, you can always call and ask about it, but keep in mind, a company that doesn't provide a CoA is untrustworthy.

Opt for Products Made with American Organic Hemp

Knowing that your product has been made on American farms makes it easier to determine if the soil it was grown in has been adequately tested for herbicides, pesticides, metals, and fungus.


Since the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp products’ legality is no longer under scrutiny. This has allowed the CBD industry to make considerable strides in recent years. In addition to legalizing hemp farming nationwide, the bill also provides for the plant’s legal transportation across state lines, meaning hemp companies can ship their products nationwide confidently.

However, the bill also allows individual jurisdictions to impose restrictions on CBD production and marketing, so we recommend familiarizing yourself with your state’s laws surrounding hemp and CBD.