Is CBD Oil Legal in North America?

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In North America, both Canada, Mexico are undergoing policy changes that may make it possible to purchase Nordic Oil products!

As cannabidiol (CBD) becomes more widely desired by those seeking natural options for relief, many are looking to add the benefits of full-spectrum products to their health routine. While the US is today one of the world’s largest suppliers of hemp, prior to 2018 there was not yet a legal consensus for the United States to navigate personal usage of CBD.

However, for Australia, the difference in regulation still restricts access to Nordic Oil hemp-derived CBD products within the EU. 


Hemp’s favorability throughout history has flip-flopped between extremes. In the US, hemp once held a prominent role in the war effort in WW2 and was moved to Schedule 1 status alongside cannabis in the 1970s. Now, the present-day policy may be less clear to navigate as there is a difference in standards and restrictions across the nation, and the world. This is largely due to a long sustained Schedule 1 status, which the World Health Organization clarifies was directed towards cannabis and cannabis-related substances by the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).

A History of CBD and the US

In the 1970s, the Federal CSA was the initial stance of US law, prohibiting consumption, growth, and sales of both hemp and cannabis. As hemp is a non-intoxicating substance, it is unclear as to why President Richard Nixon signed the CSA into law, making distinctions for plants and their derived substances defined as legal or illegal due to likelihood for addiction, abuse potential, and declaration of medicinal value. 

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The scheduling of hemp as Schedule 1 alongside cannabis by the US Government from 1970-2018 led to alarming rates of incarceration over the years. This fact alone would make anyone confused about its properties and effects. 

Today, cannabis is still registered as a Schedule 1 substance, despite its legalized status both medicinally and recreationally in several states in the US. CBD for medicinal purposes derived from cannabis is illegal in Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas. This is due to the legal limit being 0.3% and recreational usage of cannabis being illegal. 

At present, it is not legal to purchase low THC containing hemp-derived CBD in Iowa and Nebraska as the legal limit is 0% THC, while South Dakota has restricted usage to medical, requiring an authorized medical professional’s approval to purchase.

CBD in the USA Today

With ongoing studies, the presence of hemp and cannabis in pop culture, the Schedule 1 status is representative of the undeniable rift of opinions towards hemp and cannabis, with consequences of use and possession fully contingent upon who is using it. Between the scientific community, consumers, and government, the differences in law and opinion vary.

Cannabis and hemp continue to shine with a public presence for medicinal, personal, and recreational usage, despite its Schedule status making it largely illegal around the world. Progress in policy that can match the present demand and curiosity is likely in the coming years. 

With many hopeful for updates in policy, pending federal review and approval, the regulation of hemp will be different from country to country. Within North America, differences in federal standards is a major reason for confusion and some fear around the use of CBD due to mistaken attributes of marijuana. Due to a lack of clear regulations, and some inconsistencies in circulated information, there is also room for non-verified CBD products to be purchased by trusting customers seeking natural relief.

Legal status of CBD by state

So far, the FDA has only approved one CBD product for treating different kinds of seizures. However, CBD products can be purchased legally in most states as long as sellers do not make any health promises or claims, such as CBD can cure, mitigate, treat or prevent diseases.

That being said, there are however local differences when it comes to selling and purchasing CBD products legally. While most states allow the purchase of CBD products in general, some restrictions may apply, for example in South Dakota and Idaho:

According to regulations in Idaho, CBD products must not contain any amounts of THC and furthermore has to be made from the mature stalks of the cannabis plant. Only if a product ticks both boxes it can be legally sold in Idaho.

South Dakota regulations are even stricter: Cannabis-derived products are even stricter but there are new regulations to be set forth:

From July 1st, 2021 residents of South Dakota will be allowed to purchase and grow medical marijuana if they are eligible to obtain a medical marijuana card through the South Dakota Department of Health.

Why is CBD Legal now?

Cannabidiol is a compound obtained from the hemp plant, which comes from Cannabis Sativa, a low THC plant variation of Cannabis, commonly used for its potential medicinal and therapeutic properties. As global trade has growingly aligned regulations within the hemp sector, we are looking forward to the day when the capacity to enjoy CBD products is available to everyone.
In the US, Progress was found in December of 2018 as Cannabidiol, and the varieties of Hemp containing low amounts of THC were removed from the definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This authorized the FDA’s standards to set federal guidelines for farmers and producers to authorize sales of CBD products containing no more than 0.3% THC. This change came about due to the FDA approving the drug Epidolex for treating two rare and severe seizures in children two years of age, and older. 

North America: Why don’t we ship Full Spectrum CBD Oil to Mexico and Canada?

Within the US, as of 2018, the FDA passed a bill allowing federal regulation towards hemp in the majority of the United States. The 2018 Farm bill made a legal distinction between hemp and cannabis which allowed for guidelines to be established for Hemp Farmers and those making products sourced from hemp. As the borders are still not accessible to the public to send and receive CBD products, legal sales must occur within one’s country in North America.
In 2018, Mexico’s supreme court declared the prohibition of consuming cannabis unconstitutional in two separate cases. While not legalizing the usage of cannabis, the series of judgements from 2015-2017 were groundbreaking progress. The previous prohibition of cannabis consumption restricted the judgment of individual civilians by the state. The change has authorized their capacity to defend individual usage recreationally in court and within the judicial system.

What are Cannabis and CBD policies in Mexico?

Since 2017, Mexico has held a legal limit of 1% THC in all CBD products. For Canada, the legal limit is 0.3%. This restriction enforces the prohibition of cannabis sales between borders, and also limits the selection for consumers of Full Spectrum CBD Oil products. Many seek out full spectrum CBD for its ‘entourage effect’ which uses most of the plant’s nutrients rather than an isolate, or broad-spectrum CBD.

With this change, there has been further movement towards regulation and sales of cannabis in Mexico. Within the nation’s health ministry, just this year medicinal usage has grown to establish regulations towards the study, and regulation of cannabis. As the deadline to establish regulatory standards has been pushed to April 30th, there is hope for the future of CBD and hemp in Mexico. These potential changes will protect medicinal patients seeking to incorporate cannabis and CBD into their health routines due to quality assurance and manufacturing standards. 

At the beginning of 2021, the President of Mexico issued the Regulation of the General Health Law on Health Control for the Production, Research, and Medicinal Use of Cannabis and its Pharmacological Derivatives. The purpose of this regulation is to provide a legal framework for the manufacture, use and research of raw material and cannabis derivatives. 

An institution, COFEPRIS, has been designated to be in charge of the control and monitoring, especially of laboratory tests and licenses that allow the production, cultivation, and studies of any entity interested in the matter. It also has the support of several institutions that will facilitate and provide support as needed.

It is possible to obtain a medical prescription for Cannabis. However, it is only possible for health specialists who have registered their credentials and have completed the corresponding procedures established by COFEPRIS, as well as the pharmacies that will distribute this kind of product. Similar regulations apply to the manufacture, export, or import of raw material, pharmacological derivatives of cannabis medicines. In the case of importation and distribution of plant material (plants or seeds), COFEPRIS approval must be obtained and additional laws must be followed to prevent the introduction of pests or microorganisms that may endanger the country’s agriculture and welfare.

What are Cannabis and CBD policies in Canada?

Canada has legalized recreational usage of cannabis for adults 18 and older as of 2018 with the Cannabis Act. However, CBD is still considered a controlled substance, with the legal limit of products set to 0.3% THC. While there is no limit to the CBD contained in plants, the limit of THC remains controlled.

At present, Canada still operates under the 1972 Single Convention and CBD importing or exporting CBD and other phytocannabinoids (plant properties naturally occurring in Hemp and Cannabis) requires several conditions. 

  • A permit from Health Canada
  • Being an active license holder under Cannabis Regulations
  • Pursuing legitimate scientific or medicinal study and must meet international agreements. 

While Canada may have been the first North American country to legalize recreational usage, there are many slow-moving parts that restrict citizens’ lawful usage, seen across North America. Traveling with cannabis is considered unlawful, and entry or exit from Canadian borders with possession of Cannabis will lead to criminal charges.

Why don’t we ship to Australia?

As of February 1st, some of the restrictions on low dosage CBD sales have been lifted to over-the-counter sales for those in Australia. Now, it is possible for Australian pharmacies to sell over-the-counter CBD products, fully in compliance with the Therapeutic Goods Association. This now makes CBD more accessible to those who otherwise would have previously required a referral or a prescription.

With the TGA standard outlined, there was an update to the status of Cannabidiol to over-the-counter sales. While no more than 125 mg of CBD can be purchased over the counter on a daily basis. While personal and recreational usage is yet to be permitted, the progress is stark in comparison to just one year prior.

At Nordic Oil, we comply with the European Novel food standards, and for the US the 2018 Farm Bill. These both allow for the legal limit of THC to be no more than 0.3% in any product. As our standards fall under this amount, the question is what causes this concentration? Nordic Oil products undergo a gentle CO2 extraction method and selection of terpenes which shapes the experience of consuming CBD. This ensures the highest quality extraction of cannabinoids and terpenes to deliver consistent quality and the legal limit.

CBD for everyone?

Accessibility is hugely important to Nordic Oil, and we are looking forward to growing our CBD family around the world. As our local and federal governments are responsible for drafting legislation that favors the distribution of hemp products in their earliest stages, the potential role of the individual is great. 
There are many ways to get involved in local government to ensure that CBD and hemp can be more widely accessible to the public. Whether you track bills with one of our favorite resources Marijuana Moment, or you make your voice heard with your local government, every role is valuable in the future of accessing your preferred CBD.

Connect with CBD users on Facebook
Do you want to benefit from the experience of other CBD users? Do you have questions about CBD? Check out this active CBD group on Facebook!

Published by Vicky Stocker

A Munich native and translator and interpreter for English and French, Vicky’s journey at Nordic Oil started off in the US. Since then, she discovered the multiple benefits from CBD on the body but also in particular on the skin, which has become one of her passion topics of research and writing since then.

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