Interested in maintaining your focus, healthy sleep habits, and full-body wellness? Across the country, millions are enjoying the wellness benefits of CBD. But for many, the legality of this plant-based product is still unclear. For young people, in particular, it can be difficult to know whether you’re of the legal age to purchase CBD.
Are you wondering “How old do you have to be to buy CBD?”
The answer could be 18, 21, or any age — depending on where you live and the CBD product you’re interested in purchasing. This guide will help you navigate local and federal laws as well as the products allowed for specific legal age groups. Read on to discover if you’re legally allowed to buy CBD and find the best options to enjoy its benefits.
Is CBD Legal in The US?
Before discovering whether you can buy CBD, it’s worth diving into the general laws regarding hemp, CBD, and the cannabis plant in the United States.
In 2018, congress passed the Farm Bill, a total overhaul of federal policy regarding the hemp plant. This can get a little tricky, as the hemp plant is a variation of the federally illegal cannabis plant.
That said, hemp, or industrial hemp as it’s often called, can be differentiated in the following ways:
- Non-psychoactive – While other strands of the cannabis plant are notable for containing high levels of the psychoactive chemical THC, industrial hemp has been cultivated with only trace amounts of THC. Legal hemp in the US is specifically non-psychoactive and shouldn’t cause any of the “high” effects of standard cannabis.
- A history of textile use – Before being made illegal in the early 20th century, hemp was used extensively in textile production across the world. From hemp cloth to hemp rope, this plant has a long history of use in many countries.
- Use in food products – Hemp has several culinary uses. From milk to cooking oils, hemp has found its way into food products in health food shops and grocery stores. Hemp seeds are even a common addition to various salads, sandwiches, and baked goods.
Today, hemp has been federally legalized in the United States, so long as it contains no more than 0.3% THC based on dried weight. That said, many states have passed legislation regulating or limiting the use of hemp and CBD products.
What Are The Age Restrictions Regarding CBD?
CBD products that are compliant with all federal laws are generally legal for sale in all 50 states.
That said, many states have restricted the purchase of CBD to adults aged 18 and older, and individual retailers may set their own restrictions when it comes to younger buyers.
Additionally, certain CBD products may be restricted for sale by the state government, and certain products are under the guidelines of additional restrictions.
Age restrictions are generally a factor for purchasing the following CBD products:
- Smokable CBD products – Combustible CBD flower or plant material is sold in several states but is generally more regulated than oils, tablets, or topicals. You can expect these CBD sales to be restricted to those of legal age (21 years or older). Smokable products can pose high health risks for people of any age.
- Vapable CBD products – CBD oils designed to be vaporized and inhaled as well as CBD vape cartridges are also highly regulated by states. CBD vape products can be incredibly dangerous and the long-term health risks related to vaping are still unknown. Typically, vaping device sales are restricted to those 21 and older, although it's recommended for consumers to avoid these products entirely.
- Marijuana-derived CBD – In states that have legalized marijuana-based products, the age restriction for purchasing CBD with more than 0.3% THC is 21. Generally, states require a valid driver's license or state ID to purchase any marijuana-derived product.
What Is Marijuana-Derived CBD vs Hemp-Derived CBD?
Another level of legal confusion regarding CBD and federal law is where the CBD comes from. While the federal government has legalized industrial hemp for use, all other forms of the cannabis plant remain a controlled substance and federally illegal.
To make matters more confusing, several states have legalized non-hemp cannabis, commonly known as marijuana, for medical or recreational use. This means businesses in states with legalized marijuana are currently producing marijuana-derived CBD products.
Key takeaways regarding marijuana-derived CBD vs hemp-derived CBD include:
- Potential psychoactive qualities – Marijuana-derived CBD products have the potential to contain higher levels of THC than hemp-derived CBD products. This means consumers may be exposed to the powerful psychoactive effects associated with THC.
- Federally criminalized – If you plan on traveling with CBD, you could be breaking the law if your products do not abide by the federally mandated statutes regarding THC content. Marijuana-derived CBD products may be legal in your state, but they remain illegal federally and are equally illegal to transport across state lines.
- Less regulation – Hemp-derived CBD products operate under the strict guidelines of the federal government and the FDA. Because marijuana-derived CBD products are only operating under state guidelines, they are subject to less stringent analysis and safety measures.
There exists a strict CBD age restriction in states that sell marijuana-derived CBD products, typically limiting consumption to those 21 or older. If you’re concerned about CBD legality, where your CBD products are derived from, and whether they hold up against federal regulations, consider sourcing your products from highly-vetted and transparent companies.
What States Limit CBD Usage?
As mentioned, some states have crafted specific legislation to restrict the usage of CBD. While CBD remains federally legal, it’s up to you to abide by any specific state law regarding CBD products.
Some states stipulate that CBD products may only be sold to those 18 or 21 years of age or older.
Additionally, if you’re planning to travel to another state with CBD, it’s crucial to research your destination’s specific laws. Interstate travel with an illegal substance can incur harsh legal penalties, so ensure you’re abiding by all state-specific statutes.
To understand the various state restrictions related to CBD, consider the following four categories:
- No restrictions – Washington, the District of Columbia, Oregon, Alaska, California, Nevada, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Vermont, Maine, and Massachusetts all have highly lenient laws when it comes to CBD. Essentially, any CBD product can be purchased and consumed without legal restrictions. That said, there may be age restrictions depending on the state.
- Medical restrictions – Some states have limited the use of some CBD products, requiring a medical card to purchase marijuana-based CBD. These states include Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
- Non-medical restrictions – Medical usage of marijuana-based CBD is completely illegal in the following states: Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas.
- Highly restricted – The most restrictive states do not permit the use or sale of CBD products that contain any amount of THC to those of any age. This includes hemp-derived, full-spectrum products. The two states with these strict regulations are Nebraska and Idaho.
State laws are subject to change. With the recent passing of the Farm Bill, more states are investigating CBD to determine the proper course of action. Some states may pass new legislation in the near future, so keep an eye out for new laws and regulations.
Is CBD Safe?
If you’re inexperienced when it comes to CBD, safety may be the chief concern. Young people, in particular, may worry about the potential health risks of CBD.
Fortunately, CBD is generally considered safe so long as it adheres to federal guidelines and is manufactured by reputable companies.
When taken as directed, CBD can offer general wellness benefits and targeted support — potentially assisting with sleep, focus, relaxation, and physical discomfort.
Notably, it’s important to always purchase CBD from a reputable source. Things to watch out for regarding CBD safety include:
- Inaccurate labeling – When purchasing a CBD product, it's essential for the label to accurately reflect the contents of the package. Perhaps most importantly, labels need to report the THC content of any CBD product. Unlabeled products or products with incomplete labels may be highly suspect and should be avoided.
- Proper amounts – CBD products should clearly state how much should be consumed at a time. While it’s generally safe to consume CBD, it may lead to fatigue or gastrointestinal discomfort in excess quantities.
- Questionable claims – CBD can provide a plethora of health benefits, but it is not a treatment or cure for any diseases or illnesses. Be wary of any CBD product that makes specific health claims, as it could be a sign of a dishonest company and a potentially subpar product.
There’s still a lot to discover about CBD from a scientific standpoint. While CBD continues to be a highly active area of scientific research, all the data isn’t yet available. As scientists continue to uncover the wellness benefits of CBD, it's best to continue to follow federal guidelines and enjoy CBD products from the most credible businesses.
How Can You Vet CBD Products?
To avoid any worries about the safety of your CBD products, do your research. By examining and evaluating various CBD businesses and products, you can ensure reliability and quality within the CBD industry.
Wondering what to look for when vetting CBD products? Consider the following:
- Certificate of analysis – Distributed by verified professional laboratories, a certificate of analysis states that a CBD product has been thoroughly tested and evaluated by a third party. A certificate of analysis is one of your best protections against incorrect labeling or illegitimate products.
- Quality ingredients – Prioritize quality ingredients when shopping for CBD products. All-natural ingredients and US-grown hemp can ensure that the product you purchase is fully legal and safe for consumption.
- Transparent business practices – Because CBD products are relatively new, many manufacturers have entered the market with lackluster manufacturing standards. Often, subpar CBD companies provide limited information about their products and practices. Avoid shady manufacturers and look toward companies that are forthright and clear about their products and production processes.
Ensure The Quality and Safety of Your CBD With Zebra CBD
It might take a bit of research, but after exploring this blog you should have a good idea of how old to buy CBD products. So long as you’re following your state-specific guidelines, shopping for CBD at Zebra CBD is a simple, safe and fully-legal way to enjoy all the benefits of this unique plant product.
We’re pioneers in the CBD industry, perfecting a whole host of high-potency, US-grown CBD products. With gummies, tablets, and even CBD designed specifically for your dog, we’re bringing CBD products to a wider audience with care, transparency, and third-party assurance.
When it comes to CBD, Zebra sets the standard as a CBD company, so try us today.
FDA. FDA Regulation of Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Products, Including Cannabidiol (CBD). https://fda.gov/news-events/public-health-focus/fda-regulation-cannabis-and-cannabis-derived-products-including-cannabidiol-cbd
PBS. 8 things you didn’t know about hemp. https://pbs.org/newshour/nation/8-things-didnt-know-hemp
Green Market Report. Are There Any States That Restrict CBD Products? https://greenmarketreport.com/are-there-any-states-that-restrict-cbd-products/
FDA. Smart Regulation of Products Containing Cannabis or Cannabis-Derived Compounds, specifically cannabidiol (CBD). https://fda.gov/media/128474/download
Consumer Reports. Is It Safe to Vape CBD? https://consumerreports.org/cbd/is-it-safe-to-vape-cbd/#:~:text=The%20agency%20will%20now%20require,not%20apply%20to%20CBD%20products