When looking to buy CBD oil for the first time, you may have a lot of questions. CBD products, while increasingly popular, haven’t been around for that long. Medical marijuana is derived from the cannabis plant and can help treat conditions such as anxiety, arthritis, epilepsy, and cancer-related nausea. Its many forms include CBD (cannabidiol) oils and edibles and products containing both THC and CBD.
Do You Need A Prescription For CBD Oil?
When looking to buy CBD oil for the first time, you may have a lot of questions. CBD products , while increasingly popular, haven’t been around for that long. Because of this, there are many questions left unanswered.
One of these questions is: do you need a prescription for CBD oil? In short, no , you do not need a CBD prescription from your doctor or another medical authority in order to buy CBD oil. However, there are more layers to this question than meets the eye.
CBD is not currently included on the United States’ list of controlled substances , which catalogs drugs and chemicals regulated by the government. Some controlled substances are outright illegal, like heroin, while some require a prescription, like Xanax.
And while the government does not regulate CBD, another popular cannabinoid is considered a controlled substance: THC, commonly associated with marijuana. THC induces intoxicating side effects, unlike CBD . However, it also aids in a variety of medical conditions . And not too long ago, marijuana was much more illegal than it is today, with patients needing a medical marijuana card to purchase and ingest medical cannabis. One complicating element is that CBD products contain small amounts of THC. So why do you not need a CBD prescription?
The History of Medical Cannabis, in Short
The history of medical cannabis is almost as long as the history of recorded medical conditions. In fact, the first known use of cannabis to treat medical conditions comes from circa 2900 BCE, when Chinese Emperor Fu Hsi wrote about the medicinal properties of cannabis , calling it a very popular medicine.
It wasn’t until the 1900s that THC became stigmatized and eventually outlawed. Cannabis was officially included among the U.S. list of controlled substances in 1970 . It would take over 20 years for one state to fight back against federal cannabis regulations.
California passed Prop. 215 in 1996 , legalizing medical cannabis. Patients suffering from severe or chronic illnesses could receive a medical marijuana card, allowing them to purchase both THC and CBD products from licensed distributors (although THC products were far more popular, as we still didn’t fully understand the CBD compound).
2018: a BOOM in CBD
When answering the question, do you need a prescription for CBD oil , we must look at a variety of factors. For starters, the U.S. government legalized CBD products at the end of 2018 with the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill . If you’re wondering why you can buy CBD oil just about anywhere, this bill is why.
However, these legal CBD products can only contain trace amounts of THC, 0.3 percent, or less, to be exact. What happened to all those medical marijuana cardholders who used medical cannabis (containing both CBD and THC) to treat a variety of medical conditions.
Cannabis is legal for recreational use in a handful of states . However, medical marijuana is legal in far more states, many of whom have refused to make the jump to recreational legalization. If you live in a state where medical cannabis is permitted, but recreational cannabis is illegal, do you need a prescription for CBD oil?
If you want to purchase CBD products that contain more than just trace amounts of THC, yes , you would need a prescription (in the form of a medical marijuana card) to purchase THC-heavy CBD products.
What About Other States?
When examining the question do you need a prescription for CBD oil , there are a variety of layers to consider. The most crucial factor might be where you live.
If you live in a state where medical cannabis is legal but recreational cannabis is illegal, you would need a CBD prescription if you want a product that contains high concentrations of both CBD and THC.
But do you need a prescription for CBD oil if you live in a state where both medical and recreational cannabis is legal? And what about states where medical and recreational cannabis are both illegal? Do you need a CBD prescription then?
States with Medical & Recreational Cannabis Laws
Do you need a prescription for CBD oil if you live in a state where both medical and recreational cannabis are legal? No, you do not. If you want CBD products that contain only trace amounts of THC, you can buy CBD oil online or your local stores. If you want CBD products with high amounts of THC, you can go to your local recreational cannabis dispensary.
States where medical and recreational cannabis are legal include:
- District of Columbia (D.C.)
States with Medical Cannabis Laws, but No Recreational Cannabis Laws
Do you need a prescription for CBD oil if you live in a state where medical cannabis is legal, but recreational cannabis is illegal? As we mentioned, you only need a prescription if you wish to buy CBD oil that contains more than 0.3 percent THC. If you want CBD products that contain 0.3 percent THC or less, you can find these products online or at your local stores.
States where medical cannabis is legal but recreational cannabis is illegal include:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- West Virginia
States with Neither Medical or Recreational Cannabis Laws
Do you need a prescription for CBD oil if you live in a state where medical cannabis and recreational cannabis are both considered illegal? No, so long as your CBD products only contain trace amounts of THC (0.3 percent or less), in line with the federal 2018 Farm Bill.
States where neither medical or recreational cannabis are legal include:
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
Epidiolex: The One CBD Prescription
In the eyes of the federal government, THC is still a Schedule I narcotic on the list of controlled substances. This means that the federal government believes THC has no medical use and is unsafe for human consumption.
The federal government used to think this way about all cannabinoids, CBD included. However, prior to passing the 2018 Farm Bill, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Epidiolex – a medication containing CBD – for prescription use in children suffering from two severe forms of epilepsy.
While you don’t need a prescription to buy CBD oil, there does exist one CBD-based medication. We at CBD Choice believe that there are many more medicinal uses for CBD than currently approved by the federal government, and we should see more prescription CBD uses in the not-so-distant future.
CBD: No Prescription Needed
Because of CBD’s status as a federally-legal substance, you can buy CBD oil online and have it shipped anywhere in the country! Some states have attempted to pass Draconian laws that limit the local sale and supply of CBD products within state lines but remember: you do not need a prescription for CBD oil.
Stay informed on all CBD-related laws , standings, and medical evaluations with CBD Choice. And remember: no matter where you live, you’re entitled to CBD treatment.
What Are Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol (CBD)? Everything You Need to Know
The cannabis plant, from which marijuana is derived, is often smoked for recreational purposes. But people are increasingly using marijuana to treat medical conditions — and this medical marijuana is not always smoked. It comes in many forms:
- Marijuana cigarettes containing the cannabinoids (chemical compounds) tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or cannabidiol (CBD), or both THC and CBD
- CBD oils, edibles, tinctures, creams, and capsules
- Cannabis-derived pharmaceutical products approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Studies suggest that the medical use of marijuana may help treat the following conditions or help alleviate the following symptoms: (1)
- Anxiety, particularly social anxiety disorder
- Chronic pain
Some research has suggested that the cannabinoids in marijuana could also be useful in managing these conditions: (2,3,4,5,6,7)
- HIV/AIDS like Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
According to a 2017 report from the National Academies of the Sciences, Medicine, and Engineering (NASME), the strongest scientific evidence so far has been found in support of using marijuana for chronic pain, cancer-related nausea and vomiting, and MS-related spasticity. (1)
This NASME report, one of the largest of its kind, looked at more than 10,000 studies published since 1999.
How Does Marijuana Affect the Body?
It depends on whether THC or CBD is the cannabinoid at work. They produce similar effects, but there are differences in intensity because they each affect a different neural pathway.
THC is thought to engage with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which helps regulate physiological functioning. THC is similar to a chemical that’s present in this system, and when these two chemicals meet, the similarity allows THC to exert an influence on the body and brain in ways that alter coordination, memory, decision-making, appetite, and mood.
The endocannabinoid system also helps regulate gastrointestinal functions, and this may explain why medical marijuana seems to help digestive disorders like IBS.
CBD, scientists think, affects the brain because of the way it interacts with the neurological pathways that regulate serotonin, the hormone that regulates anxiety, pain, nausea, and appetite.
How Marijuana Can Help Fight Chemotherapy-Induced Nausea
Medical Marijuana for Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain
Crohn’s and Medical Marijuana: What to Know About Symptoms and Treatment
Medical Marijuana May Ease Certain MS Symptoms
How Can Marijuana Help Opioid Use Disorder?
Some individuals use marijuana instead of addictive opioids to treat pain. In these cases, marijuana may actually be responsible for a decrease in the use of — and deaths from — these prescription drugs.
A study published in May 2018 in JAMA Internal Medicine reported that prescriptions for opioids decreased in states that have medical marijuana laws. Researchers looked at Medicare data from 2010 to 2015 and found that states with active dispensaries saw 3.742 million fewer daily doses of opioids filled by pharmacies. (8)
4 Doctors Comment on Legal Marijuana and Prescribing Fewer Opioids
Another study, published in October 2014 in JAMA Internal Medicine, found that states with medical cannabis laws had a 24.8 percent lower annual overdose rate than states without such laws. (9)
Some states, like Pennsylvania and New York, now consider opioid use disorder as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana use. New York, for example, allows people who qualify to use medical marijuana instead of opioids to treat pain.
What Is Cannabidiol and How Will It Affect Me?
Cannabidiol is the cannabinoid in marijuana that, along with interacting with the brain’s serotonin system, may also help relax and calm you, but it doesn’t alter your perception or affect physical reactions too much. CBD may be particularly effective for: (10)
- Anxiety disorders
- Nausea and vomiting
- Psychotic disorders
- Non-cancer-related pain
- Sleep problems (Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome)
Staci Gruber, MD , is an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School in Boston and the director of the Marijuana Investigations for Neuroscientific Discovery program at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts, which is researching the neurological effects of medical marijuana use.
In a large study that she’s conducting on the use of medical marijuana, Dr. Gruber says the second most commonly reported use of medical marijuana among subjects is for anxiety. She’s also about to begin an FDA-approved clinical trial of a CBD sublingual (administered under the tongue) tincture, consisting of CBD in a coconut oil base, for the treatment of anxiety. (Tinctures are medicines — in this case CBD — dissolved in a liquid like alcohol or glycerine.)
Indeed, anecdotal evidence points to the effectiveness of CBD as an anxiety and stress reducer, as well as a sleep aid. Eric*, a busy sales executive in San Francisco, has been sleeping more soundly since he started using a high-CBD, low-THC product via a vaporizer three months ago for work-related stress and anxiety.
“The quality of my sleep is better, I’m sleeping longer and deeper, and I now have no problem falling and staying asleep,” he says. “It has changed my life.”
In addition to being a potentially powerful treatment for anxiety disorders, a growing body of research is suggesting that CBD may help treat symptoms of neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease . (11,12)
Scientists think that CBD acts in yet to be determined ways that protect the brain against inflammation and oxidative stress. (13)
Research also points to CBD as a potential treatment for psychosis and schizophrenia . (14,15)
Medical marijuana may also be effective in palliative care. In one Canadian case study, published in 2013 in Case Reports in Oncology, physicians reported that CBD oil, administered orally, was a successful treatment for a 14-year-old patient in palliative care with an aggressive form of leukemia. (16)