Yes (under specific circumstances). Whether CBD is legal depends on several things, most importantly the chemical composition of the plant from which it’s derived. Hemp, which is legal everywhere, is cannabis with less than 0.3% THC. The federal 2018 Hemp Farming Act legalized the growing of hemp in the US and removed hemp from the federal list of controlled substances.
CBD derived from hemp is also known as hemp oil, hemp extract, or hemp-derived cannabidiol. It’s regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA’s rules around CBD shifted in spring 2019 and more changes may be coming, so keep an eye on the FDA’s Cannabis FAQ page.
The FDA has not prohibited or restricted cannabis or cannabis-derived ingredients from being used in cosmetics. However, the FDA must approve any CBD products that claim therapeutic, health, or disease benefits. The FDA doesn’t allow dietary supplements to contain CBD and doesn’t allow CBD to be added to foods. Hulled hemp seed, hemp seed protein powder, and hemp seed oil do not contain CBD. They are considered food ingredients rather than food additives and are therefore allowed in food products.
CBD derived from cannabis with a THC concentration of more than 0.3% is illegal everywhere in the US as federal law classifies it as a controlled substance. State laws that allow recreational or medical use of cannabis conflict with federal law, and this conflict has not been resolved. In states where recreational cannabis use is legal, CBD oil derived from all cannabis plants, regardless of THC levels, is legal under state law. In states that have legalized cannabis for medical purposes, all CBD oil may be legal with a prescription.
CBD isolate is exactly what it sounds like—isolated CBD extract without any other cannabinoids, terpenes, or other parts of the plant. CBD isolate is odorless and flavorless. Manufacturers have better control of CBD levels when using CBD isolate instead of whole-plant CBD. CBD isolate products cost less than whole-plant CBD products.
Whole-plant CBD, also called “full spectrum” CBD, contains all 113 cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, including trace amounts of THC. Many researchers think that the cannabinoids, flavonoids, terpenes, and fatty acids naturally found in cannabis work together in a synergistic fashion, resulting in what’s called the entourage effect. This means that the benefits of each part of the plant, including CBD, are enhanced by interacting with all the other parts. In short, the whole plant produces greater benefits than its individual parts.