What Is CBD?

Cannabidiol oil is an extraction from the cannabis plant that is then diluted with a carrier oil such as hemp seed or coconut oil. Though it can come from marijuana plants (a type of cannabis), it doesn’t have to, which is why some CBD products are legal for sale and use. CBD oils do not contain significant amounts of THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana that gets you high. For this reason, many see CBD as a non-drug alternative to weed for helping to manage mood, without altering one’s state of mind or causing side effects like lethargy and paranoia.

Is CBD Legal in all 50 states?

All cannabis products have been slowly winning a war of attrition with U.S. laws for nearly 100 years—but the war is far from over. In 1937, cannabis, and all goods derived from it, were made illegal, and in 1970, they were classified as controlled substances. But the 2014 Farm Bill allowed for cultivation of hemp for research purposes under the supervision of state pilot programs, and the 2018 update goes a step further, permitting broad cultivation—provided it’s in compliance with the regulations set forth in the Farm Bill (i.e., you can’t just grow it in your backyard).

The bill also legalized the transport of hemp products across state lines. Furthermore, people can now sell and possess cannabis goods, including CBD, as long as they abide by the bill’s rules.

Thanks to the bill, hemp is legal in all fifty states. However, the legality of CBD is still confusing for many.

The legality depends on the source of the CBD.

‘Marijuana’-derived CBD is not legal federally.

Both marijuana and hemp are members of the cannabis family making them similar in many ways. The government classifies hemp as any plant of the cannabis family that contains less than 0.3% THC. It classifies “marijuana” as any plant of the cannabis family that contains greater than 0.3% THC.

“Marijuana” cannabis plants have a low percentage of CBD than hemp plants. That’s why most CBD products use CBD from hemp not marijuana. Because marijuana has higher concentration of THC, it’s not an ideal choice for producing CBD products. Using marijuana plants would require extracting some of the THC to make CBD within the legal limits.

Hemp cannabis plant have a high amount of CBD and low THC, making them the most efficient plant for CBD processing.

So the bottom line here is, if your CBD comes from hemp, it is legal. CBD made from “marijuana” with high levels of THC, is only legal if your state legalized marijuana.

Where is CBD illegal?

Thanks to the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, zero THC CBD is not illegal in any state in the USA. That said, since the change in law is relatively new, some states might not fully embrace CBD. This should change with the new bill, however, it may take time. Below we outline four different jurisdictional categories based on pre-2018 Farm Bill practices.

States can be grouped into four jurisdictional categories.

Friendliest States.

These jurisdictions have explicit laws allowing retailers to sell industrial hemp-derived products.

These jurisdictions include: Alaska, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, and Wisconsin.


Friendly States.

In these jurisdictions industrial hemp grown in a Farm Bill-compliant agricultural pilot program is explicitly exempted from the definition of marijuana.

These jurisdictions include: The District of Columbia, Hawaii, Kansas, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, and Oklahoma.


Gray Area States.

In these jurisdictions explicit prohibitions against the retail sale of industrial hemp-derived CBD products but that have exemptions in the law for the argument that hemp-derived CBD products are legal.

These jurisdictions include: Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.


States with Concern.

These jurisdictions have no explicit prohibitions against the sale of industrial hemp-derived CBD products. However, recent law enforcement actions or pronouncements raise the risk of the retail sale of industrial hemp-derived CBD products.

These jurisdictions include: Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, South Dakota, West Virginia, and Wyoming.


Concluding Thoughts: Is CBD Legal in 2023?

Marijuana derived CBD is not legal federally. The government classifies hemp as any plant of the cannabis family that contains less than 0.3% THC. It classifies “marijuana” as any plant of the cannabis family that contains greater than 0.3% THC. You need to check your specific state for any restrictions

Federal law permissions for activities involving industrial hemp are clear. However, the Farm Bill, and other federal laws on industrial hemp, do not preempt state law.

Just as there are hundreds of municipalities in the United States that prohibit alcohol sales nearly a century after Prohibition’s repeal, local and state laws may still restrict the sale of industrial hemp products even where federal law is clearly permissive.

Some states continue to view CBD that comes from marijuana as being no different than marijuana itself. The government classifies any plant of the cannabis family that contains more than 0.3% THC to be marijuana.

Keep checking back in this space for updates as there is currently a bill going through Congress right now that could change the way the government views both hemp and marijuana.

The 2018 Farm Bill holds the promise to clear up many of the misconceptions and confusing elements surrounding CBD.


CBD Oil and Hemp Oil

To get around the legal lightning rod that the term “CBD” implies, many supplement makers call their CBD products “hemp extract” or “hemp oil.” These euphemisms can imply that there is CBD in the product, but they aren’t automatically synonymous, and they don’t give any indication how much of the formula is actually CBD.



While many people (ahem, maybe you) like to use marijuana to relax, CBD may provide more benefit for fewer side effects. One study had 16 healthy men ingest THC, CBD, or a placebo to gauge their reactions. When on THC, the men exhibited greater anxiety, feelings of dissatisfaction, and a faster heart rate than they did after ingesting CBD and the placebo, leading the researchers to conclude that THC has acute behavioral and physiological effects, while CBD was “safe and well tolerated.”

In 2018, Onnit underwent a financial restructuring, and Chief Operating Officer Jason Havey found himself bearing the brunt of it. “It was the hardest year of my life,” he says. While walking his dog, Havey succumbed to a panic attack. “All of a sudden my chest felt tight, my breathing got shallow, and I thought I was going to pass out.” When he gathered himself, Havey started looking into ways to manage stress. He didn’t want to go on prescription meds, but he did try smoking marijuana for relief. “It just made me feel out of control,” he says. “THC makes my mind race.”

In researching anxiety, Havey discovered CBD. He put together a regimen of meditation, breathwork, exercise, and nightly doses of a zero-THC CBD tincture. “My normal mental state has re-emerged using this regimen,” he says. “Stress has gotten heavier at work, but I’m not feeling it the way I did.”

Havey cautions that people shouldn’t expect CBD to be a magic bullet—it’s only an adjunct to other good habits that keep a person healthy. “But even when I miss a day of jogging or meditation, I’m still using CBD to support my normal healthy anxiety levels.”

Will I Fail a Drug Test If I Take CBD?

Blue Sky CBD is derived from hemp rather than marijuana plants. Blue Sky CBD does not contain THC, and therefore won’t test positive on a drug test.