Simple question, not so simple answer.
At the state level, CBD from either marijuana or hemp is clearly legal everywhere other than Idaho, Nebraska, and South Dakota. Every other state, plus Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C, has legalized CBD, either alone (18 jurisdictions) or also with THC (31).
Still, details vary from state to state, with many (at least officially) requiring you to get a doctorâ€™s recommendation. And the health problems that states say CBD (alone or with THC) can be used to treat differ, too. For details, see our map.
From a federal perspective, things are less straightforward, depending on whether the CBD comes from hemp or marijuana.
If the source is marijuana, the feds clearly consider it illegal. Thatâ€™s because the DEAâ€™s position on marijuana is unambiguous: It classifies anything from the plant, including both THC and CBD, as Schedule I substances, meaning that the agency says they have no known medical use and are addictiveâ€”just like ecstasy, heroin, and LSD.
Will the FDAâ€™s approval of Epidiolex prompt the DEA to change its position, at least on the â€śno medical useâ€ť clause? Melvin Patterson, spokesman for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, says thatâ€™s not certain. Instead, the agency may just reclassify Epidiolex, not all CBD. The agency has 90 days to decide.
The legal questions get more tangled when CBD comes from hemp.
Under its interpretation of the 2014 Farm Bill, the DEA says CBD from hemp is illegal. Unless, that is, the grower raised the plant â€śunder the auspices of a state agricultural pilot programâ€ť for research purposes. Or possibly if it comes not from the flower but the stem. Though in that case, if the CBD is an â€śextracted resin,â€ť it could be illegal again.
Confused? Donâ€™t worry, youâ€™re not the only one.
â€śAs long as there is conflict between federal and state law, there will continue to be confusion over the legal status of CBD,â€ť says Amanda Reiman, Ph.D., a cannabis policy and public health expert based in California who also works for Flow Kana, a cannabis company.
The current Senate version of the Farm Bill tries to unravel the confusion, in part by clarifying that â€śhempâ€ť means not just the stems of the plant, but seeds, extracts, and all of its cannabinoidsâ€”which would include CBD. One important caveat: As in the past, the plant must have THC levels of 0.3 percent or less.
But even if the law does go into effect, it could take time, and possibly lawsuits, to settle the question. Â