Do You Need a Prescription to Buy CBD Oil?

Do You Need a Prescription to Buy CBD Oil?

Can anyone buy CBD oil? This question is frequently asked because of the plethora of CBD products in the marketplace, the existence of different laws from state to state and federal laws restricting the sale of certain products. The introduction of the medical card added another layer of complexity. The following sections describe the current state of the CBD oil industry.

Medical & Recreational Cannabis

The confusion surrounding medical vs. recreational cannabis and CBD products grew with the increase in the number of U.S. states approving medical and/or recreational marijuana (a type of cannabis plant). Full spectrum CBD products do contain some tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound in marijuana, but marijuana-derived CBD is not the same as hemp-derived CBD.

The federal and state governments control the use of marijuana and hemp plants in products, so it is important to know how to buy the desired products legally.

What is a Prescription vs. a Recommendation?

One of the concerning issues is the fact that state and federal laws are in conflict. The federal government categorizes every drug, and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) remains a Schedule 1 drug at the federal level. Doctors cannot prescribe Schedule 1 drugs.

There are two main areas of confusion. One is that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved one cannabis-derived drug product called Epidiolex (cannabidiol or CBD) and three synthetic cannabis-related drugs called Marinol, Syndros and Cesamet. These are the only FDA-approved drugs with cannabis-derived, cannabis or CBD ingredients. Accessing these drugs requires a doctor’s prescription per the federal government.

The second area of confusion is the fact “medical marijuana” is approved in a number of states now. Since the federal government still considers marijuana a Schedule 1 controlled substance, doctors cannot legally write a medical cannabis prescription. They can only write a recommendation for a patient to participate in a state medical marijuana program. Some states have approved legal, medical marijuana only, while other states have approved legal medical and recreational marijuana.

However, common terminology says a doctor writes a prescription for medical marijuana in states where recreational marijuana is not legal. Medical marijuana and recreational marijuana are basically the same items. The two main ingredients in marijuana are THC and CBD.

What is a Prescription vs. a Recommendation?

Do You Need to Get a Prescription for CBD Oil?

CBD oil is legal as long as it comes from industrial hemp (Cannabis sativa L.). The 2014 and 2018 Federal farm bills, in addition to Department of Agriculture regulations, authorize the cultivation of industrial hemp to produce various products, including CBD. Industrial hemp has less than 0.3 percent THC so is considered non-intoxicating.

Does CBD oil require a prescription? This is a common question, and the answer is “no.”

CBD oil that meets federal laws and regulations is made from industrial hemp and can be sold without a cannabis oil prescription in every state. There are three types of legal CBD oil products.

  1. Full spectrum CBD contains multiple plant extracts that include CBD, other cannabinoids, essential oils, terpenes and up to 0.3 percent THC
  1. Broad spectrum CBD contains multiple plant extracts like full spectrum but contains only a trace amount of THC or no THC
  1. CBD isolate is a pure CBD form that does not contain other plant compounds

The caution when buying CBD oil products is that some CBD oil products are manufactured from the marijuana plant (Cannabis indica or C. sativa species) in states allowing their sale. However, these products are not legal per federal law because marijuana is not legal. Only CBD oil from industrial hemp is federally legal, so it is sold in every state.

Which CBD Products Are Approved by the FDA?

The FDA has only approved one CBD product which is Epidiolex. This drug contains a purified form of CBD.

Can Anyone Buy CBD Oil?

Anyone can buy CBD oil made from industrial hemp cultivated to meet federal requirements for THC content.

Is a prescription for CBD oil required in any situation? Many states have passed laws that legalize the use of medical or recreational marijuana. Remember that people say doctors prescribe CBD oil, but doctors are legally only allowed to make a recommendation.

If the CBD oil is produced from the marijuana plant and/or contains more than 0.3% THC, no matter which cannabis plant is sourced, you do need a physician’s prescription or recommendation.

The doctor recommends using the product for a medical condition the state has included in its laws. Then, after meeting all the (usually complicated) state requirements, you get a medical card that allows purchasing products containing marijuana.

Do you need a medical card for CBD? You do not need a medical card to buy CBD oil made from industrial hemp.

It is very important to understand exactly what you are buying to avoid legal issues. It is also important to know the laws in your particular state.

Where Can You Buy CBD Oil?

CBD oil is now sold through a variety of channels, among which the most popular now are online marketplaces and CBD stores.

Basically, you can buy CBD oil over the counter or shop online. Many people choose to buy CBD oil online because they can access more CBD retailers and a wider selection of products. They also are often offered discounts on products.

Not all CBD vendors are the same, so you want to know how to buy CBD confidently. Always purchase CBD products from a reputable company:

  • With transparent product labeling
  • That provides access to independent lab reports verifying product ingredients,
  • Gets high customer reviews for their products.

In summary, keep the following in mind:

  1. You can legally buy CBD oil in every state without a medical card when it is made from industrial hemp.
  2. Generally, you need a medical card or doctor’s recommendation if the CBD oil contains more than 0.3 percent THC, no matter which plant it is extracted from.
  3. Generally, you need a medical card in states where recreational marijuana is not legal, if the CBD oil is derived from the marijuana plant and/or contains more than 0.3 percent THC.
  4. With a doctor’s recommendation, you can get a medical card in states where recreational marijuana is legal to gain access to a wider range of CBD products.


The passage of the 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the Schedule 1 substances list. Hemp became an agricultural commodity. CBD oil extracted from industrial hemp is legal and easy to purchase, especially online. You do not need a medical card. This is a major reason the CBD oil market is rapidly growing. You can buy CBD oil online without any worries about legality.

It is when CBD oil is extracted from the marijuana plant that things get more complicated. Before buying any CBD oil product, verify your state’s particular laws and requirements.

Article Sources



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *