Californians and visitors often ask is CBD legal in California and what laws govern its sale and use. Here is an introduction to CBD in California, its legal status, and what that means for users.
Terminology can be confusing because the same words may be used for different substances. Cannabidiol (CBD) is sourced from the hemp plant which is a species of the cannabis plant. It is one of over a hundred different compounds unique to the species. Its famous cousin, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is also a member of the cannabis compound family. Understandably, many users mistake one compound for the other, leading to confusion over its legal status and effects.
CBD Knowledge Nuggets – click here for all
CBD stands for cannabidiol. It is a member of the large family of cannabinol compounds found in the marijuana plant. Research has demonstrated CBD’s remarkable capacity for treating a range of health conditions by impacting the functioning of your body’s Endocannabinoid System.
The cannabinoid, THC, is responsible for the “high” feelings that people feel when smoking cannabis. For a plant to be legally classified as hemp and therefore produce CBD, it must consist of less than 0.3% THC. A person should feel no feelings of euphoria when taking CBD.
The effects of CBD are as varied as the people who have taken it. Your body uses CBD in the way that it needs to most. For most, the absence of anxiety and reduction of stress are the biggest benefits of regular CBD supplementation.
THC vs. CBD or Marijuana vs Hemp
The most obvious and important difference between marijuana and CBD is their main compounds. The “high” that marijuana smokers experience comes from the tetrahydrocannabinol content. By definition, a hemp plant, from which CBD is derived, can contain no more than 0.3% THC by content. Most marijuana strains contain between 5% and 30% THC. Many people take CBD as part of their daily routine and go about their day normally as CBD has no psychoactive effects.
There are CBD products with a THC level of more than 0.3%. These products are usually referred to as marijuana CBD and may give more relief than lower THC level products. However, they are only available for purchase in dispensaries throughout the state. In the state of California all adults 21 and over are allowed to possess CBD products regardless of tetrahydrocannabinol content. This is because marijuana is legal in California. We’ll talk more about this later.
Related Article Best Ways To Consume CBD
The 2018 Farm Bill
Didn’t this make CBD legal?
The flagship provision of the 2018 Farm Bill, otherwise a routine bill regulating the agricultural industry, was the inclusion of legal status for industrial hemp plants. The bill moved regulation of hemp derived products from the DEA to the FDA. The FDA regulates any product sold across state lines and used as a drug, food, dietary supplement, or cosmetic. The FDA is currently evaluating CBD’s safety and the long awaited regulations have been delayed. For now, the official stance is that products that add CBD to food or label CBD as a dietary supplement are not legal for interstate commerce.
So how are people selling CBD without fear of legal prosecution? The legal interpretation gets very gray here because this was a bill from the federal government, not the state government. States, counties, even individual cities can still make their own laws regarding the legality of a substance. For instance federally, marijuana is illegal, however, in California, medicinal and recreational marijuana is legal but in the city of Fresno, only medicinal marijuana is legal. So while waiting on the FDA, individual states are creating their own laws regarding the cultivation and use of hemp-derived CBD products.
CBD Knowledge Nuggets – click here for more
You can buy hemp seed oil cheaply on Amazon. Hemp seed oil does NOT contain CBD. Click here to see the difference. Hemp Oil vs Hemp Seed Oil
It depends. The 2018 Farm Bill removed industrial hemp from the Schedule 1 list of illegal drugs. Growing the hemp plant is legal but what is done with it is in a gray area.
California Law and AB 228
Currently, California’s definition of CBD is in line with the federal definition. The Attorney General‘s Office states, “although California currently allows the manufacturing and sales of cannabis products (including edibles), the use of industrial hemp as the source of CBD to be added to food products is prohibited. Until the FDA rules that industrial hemp-derived CBD oil and CBD products can be used as a food or California makes a determination that they are safe to use for human and animal consumption, CBD products are not an approved food, food ingredient, food additive, or dietary supplement.”
After the 2018 Farm Bill passed, the state introduced AB 228, which would legalize hemp-derived CBD to be included in food, beverage, and cosmetics products without restrictions. Until the bill is passed and signed by the governor, California’s laws surrounding hemp-derived CBD fall in line with the FDA rulings.
The Bottom Line: Is CBD Legal in California?
Californians enjoy full legal access to marijuana CBD and all marijuana products following the passage of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act that legalized marijuana for all purposes throughout the state. While hemp-derived CBD cannot be used in food, beverages, or dietary supplements in California, you can still find a variety of CBD products, including CBD oil, in both retail stores and online. Why? Because once you purchase the oil, you can add it to whatever you choose. All other products are “flying under the radar.”