The simple answer to the question of how old you have to be to buy CBD is: It depends. We’ll explain that answer and give information on what to look for when buying cannabidiol (CBD) products.
Is CBD legal?
Growing the hemp plant CBD is made from is legal. In 2018, a federal bill allowed industrial hemp to be grown legally in the United States for the first time. It also cleared the way for companies to produce products with hemp. Since then, CBD sales have grown exponentially nationwide.
Selling and buying CBD isn’t legal in all states. But not everyone can buy CBD legally. While the federal law allows for growing, some U.S. states don’t currently allow for the sale of CBD. And some states set age restrictions, too.
It depends on what state you’re in, what form of CBD you want to buy, and the store you’re trying to buy it from.
In general, you have to be 18 or older. In some cases, you have to be 21.
In states where CBD sales are legal, brick-and-mortar stores may ask you to verify that you’re 18. Reputable online CBD retailers also have basic measures in place to ask your age.
You’ll likely need to be 21 to purchase CBD from recreational dispensaries. Medical marijuana dispensaries may have additional requirements. CBD products with higher THC levels are regulated by states, and age requirements are in place.
A certificate of analysis (COA) done by a separate lab to confirm CBD and other ingredients is the easiest way for you to know what’s in a product. This lab report should be easy to get online, by email, or come with the product.
Because of CBD’s sudden increase in popularity, stores dedicated to it have popped up all over. And more often, CBD products are showing up in retail pharmacies and grocery stores. But not every product is reputable and high quality.
Before you buy, verify that the products come with third-party testing reports from independent laboratories. These reports will validate the product’s claims. They’ll also help you know what you’re spending your money on.
If you’re shopping online or in a store and these reports aren’t available, steer clear. You may be getting a product that has less CBD than promised, if any at all.
Understanding what you’re buying will help you get a better product. It’ll also help you find one that’s targeted to what you’re trying to address. For example, some CBD products are formulated for nerve pain, while others may be popular for migraine or chronic pain.
CBD extracts come from cannabis plants
The term “hemp” describes cannabis plants that have 0.3 percent or less tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
The term “marijuana” refers to cannabis plants that have more than 0.3 percent THC. But this term is controversial due to its racist and anti-cannabis history. Today, those in the industry prefer to use the term “cannabis” instead.
Both hemp and cannabis come from plants in the same family. That’s why some cannabis products have CBD in them. It’s also why some CBD products have trace amounts of THC, which is the main psychoactive compound in cannabis that produces the “high” sensation.
Hemp extract isn’t the same thing as hempseed oil
Hempseed oil is made from the same cannabis plant family, but it doesn’t have the properties of CBD and THC. That’s because hempseed oil has no THC and only trace amounts of CBD. This oil is made from the seeds, not the plant itself.
While CBD was legalized with the 2018 bill, hempseed oil has been around for many decades. It’s been used in many applications, from cooking oil to beauty products, long before CBD was made legal.
If a CBD product lists hempseed oil or Cannabis sativa seed oil, the product doesn’t have any CBD. Look for CBD to be listed as cannabidiol, full-spectrum hemp, hemp oil, PCR (phytocannabinoid-rich), or PCR hemp extracts.
- full-spectrum hemp
- hemp oil
- PCR (phytocannabinoid-rich) or PCR hemp extracts
Doesn’t have CBD
- hempseed oil
- Cannabis sativa seed oil
How is CBD different from THC?
THC and CBD are both active cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. THC produces a euphoric sensation, or that feeling of being “high.” CBD, on the other hand, is non-euphoric.
Legal hemp products, like CBD, are required to have less than 0.3 percent THC. But dispensaries can sell products with a higher THC-to-CBD ratio.
What are cannabinoids?
Good question. Cannabinoids are the active compounds found naturally in cannabis plants. In most strains of cannabis, the main cannabinoid is THC. In CBD products, the predominant cannabinoid is CBD.
CBD and THC are not always the only cannabinoids in these products. In fact, CBD and THC are just two of hundreds.
Some CBD products are made without other cannabinoids.
Types of CBD
- CBD isolate products have no THC.
- Broad-spectrum CBD products may have other cannabinoids, but the THC is removed during processing.
- Full-spectrum CBD products have many other cannabinoids, including THC.
CBD was only made legal in 2018, making many CBD products relatively new. That means science is still learning all the benefits CBD can have for people.
Many CBD users report a sensation of relaxation and calmness. In fact, CBD may be useful for relieving symptoms of anxiety and depression.
People with chronic pain may also experience some relief. CBD has been shown to reduce inflammation and interact with the neurotransmitters that tell your brain you’re in pain.
Furthermore, CBD may help treat pain caused by other symptoms, such as arthritis.
CBD has also shown great promise in helping people sleep better and reduce episodes of insomnia.
For a small percentage of people, CBD has the effect of waking them up.
CBD comes in several forms. The most commonly known is CBD oil. That can be taken by mouth. Oil can also be added to drinks and some foods.
Edibles are a popular way for people to try CBD. Many gummies, truffles, and mints come with premeasured doses. However, it may take several hours for you to feel the effects of the edibles.
Topical CBD products are popular for skin care issues and pain treatment. Gels and lotions with CBD can be applied directly to affected areas.
Lastly, is smoking high-CBD cannabis flowers or using a vapor cartridge loaded with CBD oil. Some vape pens also use CBD concentrates on sugar waxes, which is meant to speed effects.
Like other forms of smoking, vaping isn’t healthy. Smoking and vaping are especially problematic for people with asthma. They may also expose you to carcinogens and problematic substances.
Hemp plants were illegal until a few years ago. In 2018, Congress passed a bill that allowed the plants to be grown federally and made into products. However, not every state has adjusted its laws to reflect the lift on federal restrictions. That means in some states, you can’t buy CBD legally.
Likewise, some states have age restrictions on CBD. You may be able to buy CBD at age 18 with proper identification. Most online stores will require you to verify your age, too. And if you’re buying CBD products from a dispensary, you’ll likely have to be 21.
Is CBD Legal? Hemp-derived CBD products (with less than 0.3 percent THC) are legal on the federal level, but are still illegal under some state laws. Marijuana-derived CBD products are illegal on the federal level, but are legal under some state laws. Check your state’s laws and those of anywhere you travel. Keep in mind that nonprescription CBD products are not FDA-approved, and may be inaccurately labeled.