What is CBD? These popular cannabis products won’t get you high


Well, much like with other cannabis products, that’s kind of a gray area. On the federal level, any CBD products derived from cannabis plants are completely illegal, unless they are approved by the FDA (which only includes Epidiolex at the moment), the Drug Enforcement Agency said in September. The DEA even told VICE recently that the federal law makes no distinction between CBD derived from cannabis or hemp (a cannabis plant species with an especially low concentration of THC grown legally in roughly 40 states, mostly for industrial purposes). In other words, the official stance of the federal government seems to be that CBD products are illegal whether they are derived from cannabis or hemp.

However (and this is very important), as has typically been the case with legal marijuana, the federal government mostly looks the other way while individual states decide how to treat CBD. As such, most states allow CBD products in some form, usually for medical purposes. The 30 states that have legalized medical marijuana include CBD products in that protection, while a number of other states have specific CBD laws that allow for those products in some form, so long as they also contain no more than a miniscule amount of THC. Only four states consider all cannabis-derived products, including CBD, to be illegal: Idaho, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas.

Meanwhile, CBD derived solely from hemp could soon be legal everywhere. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is backing a new legislation that would remove hemp from the DEA’s list of controlled substances, which would make it legal across the country (along with products made from hemp).

In short, CBD’s legal status in the U.S. may still not be entirely clear, but with the potential for billions of dollars in sales in the coming years, it doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon.

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