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CBD is Everywhere, But is it Legal?

A fresh green plant next to a glass dropper of legal CBD oil.

If you have been noticing an influx of signs reading “CBD Sold Here”, you are not alone. CBD proves to be a major aspect of the “green rush” taking over our society, specifically the human and animal health industry.

Unfortunately, since the FDA does not yet regulate non-prescription CBD products, misguided and false claims from would-be CBD companies can run rampant.

This bears the question, what can you trust? The following piece is intended to offer insight into CBD products in the animal health field.

When the topic of CBD comes up, one of the first questions that arise is, well, is it legal in my State? Since hemp and marijuana are often and inaccurately grouped together as the same thing, the laws and how they are applied can be difficult to navigate for someone who is not versed in the industry. For the average pet owner, this question is important to understand.


With the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp-derived CBD products are deemed federally legal to produce and sell. All hemp-derived products must contain less than .3% THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). This minimal amount of THC is beneficial in hemp-derived products, as it makes the CBD cannabinoid more effective. THC, like CBD (cannabidiol), is one of the many cannabinoids found in cannabis, predominantly in the marijuana plant. THC is responsible for delivering the psychoactive “high” that consumers experience. It is important to note that while THC may benefit humans, it is toxic to dogs when levels exceed .3%.

While hemp-derived CBD is federally legal, marijuana-derived CBD is not. This misconception is where the confusion of legality can set-in. Marijuana is still listed as a schedule 1 controlled substance, according to the US Drug Enforcement Agency. In turn, this makes CBD extracted from a marijuana plant illegal (unless you reside in a State where marijuana is legalized).

In short, if the product you are interested in trying is derived from hemp and contains less than .3% THC, it is legal and protected under the Farm Act.

Hemp vs. Marijuana

Besides legality, what is the difference between hemp and marijuana?

There are many misconceptions surrounding CBD. One of the most common is the notion that CBD is mutually exclusive with the marijuana plant. While CBD can be found in the marijuana plant, it is actually far more abundant in the hemp plant.

Simply put; Hemp, while closely related to marijuana and part of the same species (cannabis sativa), is not the same plant.