CBD Oil In California: Everything CBD, Legality, Shipping & More


California – The state where the sun is always shining, the population of over 40 million surpasses the entire neighboring country to the north, and marijuana is legal.

For all you CBD lovers, California is a dream come true.  With legal recreational marijuana, the path has been clear for CBD use for some time.  But it wasn’t always like this.  And we’ll dive into the history after a few preliminary questions get answered about marijuana and, of course, CBD oil in California.

What Is CBD?

CBD or cannabidiol is shrouded in confusion and can be confused with cannabis. But in reality, CBD is a cannabinoid derived from cannabis plants like Hemp and Marijuana. Both cannabis plants have different levels of CBD output.

How is Hemp Different From Marijuana?

Hemp and Marijuana are visibly different. Marijuana is lush with flowers, leaves and has visibly more resin deposits than hemp. Hemp grows bamboo-like stalks with not as many leaves or flowers. Marijuana plants, on the other hand, grow in wide bushes.
The difference between the two types of cannabis plants does not end with appearance. Marijuana contains a large amount of THC, a psychoactive compound that can be used to get high. Therefore, the FDA considers it a controlled substance. Hemp also contains THC, albeit no more than 0.3% per dry weight, making it acceptable in the federal law’s eyes.

Does Hemp or Marijuana Have More CBD Oil?

Marijuana has more flowers, leaves, and resin per crop when compared to hemp. It gives marijuana an advantage in terms of CBD yield. But even though marijuana produces more CBD than hemp, hemp has its advantage, making manufacturers prefer it over marijuana. Hemp is legal on a federal level. The CBD that comes from marijuana has an abundance of psychoactive THC, making it a highly controlled substance. On the other hand, Hemp-derived CBD has no more than 0.3% THC and is, therefore, federally legal.

The difference in CBD output between the two groups of strains will not persist. The hemp industry is intentionally breeding strains to have a higher CBD output while staying within the federally set legal limit of 0.3% THC content per dry weight.

Why is CBD Sometimes Illegal In Different States?

Multiple factors are contributing to the current status of CBD, which varies from state to state. To understand this, one must know the context in which it got legalized on a federal level.

  1. The FDA approved the use of CBD in a medical capacity when approached by a pharmaceuticals producer. The substance was approved as prescription medication only.
  2. The reason approval was not granted for over-the-counter sales was that it contained THC. THC is a psychoactive compound responsible for the feelings of being high associated with marijuana. Since CBD comes from cannabic (marijuana and hemp), it contains THC.
  3. To protect the public from exposure to THC, the FDA maintained strict regulations on CBD and marijuana and hemp, from which it comes. It was not exactly right because hemp and marijuana do not contain the same amount of THC. The CBD derived from hemp does not have enough THC to give a ‘high.’ Thus, with the 2018 United States Farm Bill, the federal law categorized hemp and marijuana separately. With the new law, hemp would be legal as long as it contained no more than 0.3% THC. Marijuana, on the other hand, would remain highly controlled.
  4. Moreover, individual states were approved to derive their conclusions regarding hemp and hemp-derived products like hemp seed, CBD, and hemp seed oil. CBD’s subject became an incredibly confusing one, with 50 states deciding their laws and regulations and the FDA producing its guidelines. However, it can be demystified by reading informative pieces like this one.

Is CBD Legal In California?

California is a very liberal state and has been at the forefront of the movement to legalize marijuana and CBD products in the United States.  Cannabis was first moved into parliament in California as far back as 1972, but the ballot back then was denied.

However, in 1996, California passed the Compassionate Use Act, which allowed medical cannabis to be legal for those prescribed it by a doctor.  It bypassed the usual FDA approval process and caused quite the political uproar.

Several years later and in 2016, the Control, Regulate, and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act passed with a 57% approval.  This new law allowed for recreational cannabis.

Only two years after the CRTAUMA passed, the Farm Bill passed federally, clearing the way for industrial hemp nationally.  The Farm Bill of 2018 made a legal distinction between strains of cannabis.  It states that industrial hemp is legal for those who receive licensing and that said hemp must contain 0.3% of THC or less by dry weight.  It is higher than this amount, and it is considered marijuana, a schedule 1 controlled substance on the federal level.

It strengthened CBD’s sales in California as it now allowed industrial hemp licensed processors to create CBD from industrial hemp legally to compete with the growing recreational marijuana market.

However, the state still follows the FDA and cautions against illegal vapes, edibles, or other ingestible products not approved by the FDA for human consumption.  And the FDA is dragging its heels to endorse CBD products, so many sells illegally.

Is CBD Derived From Cannabis Legal in California?

CBD derived from cannabis is obtainable for those over the age of 21.

Is Hemp-Derived CBD Legal in California?

Hemp-derived CBD is legal in California.  There is no current age restriction.

The Legality of Different CBD Products

What is a CBD flower? CBD flower is a term often given to the flower of the Cannabis Sativa plant.  Particularly, this term is used for strains containing a high amount of cannabidiol.
Is CBD flower legal in California? Cannabis flower is legal in California for those over the age of 21.
Can CBD flowers be purchased online? Cannabis flower is available online in California for those over the age of 21.
What are CBD terpenes? CBD terpenes are aromatic compounds found within the cannabis plant used to derive CBD oil.
Is CBD terpenes legal in California? Terpenes are chemical components found in plants that are often aromatic and reported to have numerous health benefits.  Terpenes derived from hemp are legal in California.  Terpenes derived from marijuana are permitted to those over 21 for purchase. 
Can CBD terpenes be purchased online? Hemp-derived CBD terpenes are legally available online in California. Marijuana-based CBD terpenes can be bought online well but only by those over 21.
What is CBD wax? CBD wax is a concentrated form of CBD oil, in a waxy, semi-solid form.
Is CBD wax legal in California? CBD wax is legal in California.
Can CBD wax be purchased online? CBD wax is available online in California. Those under 21 should make sure, however, that hemp is declared as the source of CBD.
What are CBD gummies? CBD gummies are gummies infused with cannabidiol
Is CBD gummies legal in California? CBD gummies derived from marijuana are legal in California for those over the age of 21.  Ingestible CBD products must still be approved by the FDA to be considered legitimate.
Can CBD gummies be purchased online? Gummies infused with CBD are available in California. You should be cautious when purchasing from a seller out of state because the FDA disapproves of adding CBD to ingestible products.
What are CBD creams? CBD creams and topicals are skin care products used externally such as moisturizers or conditioners.
Is CBD creams legal in California? CBD creams are legal in California if derived from hemp.  Those derived from marijuana may not be legal unless purchased by those over the age of 21.
Can CBD creams be purchased online? CBD creams of two categories are legally available online. All residents of California can purchase Hemp-derived CBD creams. However, one must be at least over 21 to buy CBD creams sourced from marijuana.
What is CBD liquid? CBD liquid is a unique form of CBD oil intended for vapour inhalation (vaping).
Is CBD liquid, e liquid, and vape legal in California? CBD liquid or vape oil is legal for those over the age of 21 in California.  CBD liquid derived from hemp may not be permitted if not approved by the FDA.
Can CBD liquid, e liquid, and vape be purchased online? CBD smokable liquids are available online in California. However, jurisdiction issues may occur if ordering from outside California.
What is a CBD tincture? A CBD tincture is a concentrated solution made by soaking plant materials in alcohol or vinegar-based solutions.
Is CBD tincture legal in California? A tincture is a concentration made by soaking plant material in alcohol or vinegar-based solutions.  CBD tinctures are legal in California if derived from hemp, or they may be purchased by those over the age of 21 and come from marijuana.
Can CBD tincture be purchased online? Hemp-derived CBD tincture is legally available online (for everyone) in California as if elixir sourced from marijuana-based CBD (for 21 years old and above).
What is THC oil? THC, or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol is a cannabinoid found in marijuana responsible for the elated feelings of ‘high’ felt by its users.
Is THC oil legal in California? THC or tetrahydrocannabinol is a psychoactive drug found in marijuana.  The oil is available legally in California to those over the age of 21.
Can THC oil be purchased online? THC oil is legal in California with a minimum age of 21, but the product is usually not sold online. One must be cautious of fake sellers when buying online.

Age Requirements For CBD in California

Do You Have To Be 18 To Buy CBD Oil In California?

CBD oil can be purchased at some stores by those less than 18, as there is no legislation in place restricting the age of a person to purchase hemp-derived CBD related products.  However, many retailers impose their specific restrictions when it comes to the sale of CBD oil. 

The FDA must approve any ingestible or smokable CBD oil product for human consumption, or it is still illegal. 

How Old Do You Have To Be To Buy CBD Oil In California?

If the CBD oil comes from marijuana, then one must be 21 years of age or older to purchase the oil in California. 

Do You Have To Be 18 To Use CBD Oil In California?

In California, you can be of any age and use CBD oil sourced from hemp. To use marijuana-derived CBD oil, you must be 21.

Can A Minor Use CBD In California? How Old Do You Have To Be?

Minors are legally allowed to use CBD oil, which comes from industrial hemp AND approved by the FDA. Children may use CBD oil derived from marijuana for specific medical conditions under California’s medical marijuana rules once obtaining a prescription and medical marijuana card.

Do You Need A Prescription Or Medical Card For CBD Oil In California?

CBD oil in California can be purchased by over the age of 21 without a medical card if it comes from marijuana.  CBD oil derived from hemp can be acquired by anyone as there is no technical age limit for CBD products derived from hemp.

Can You Get CBD Oil Without Having A Medical Card In California?

CBD oil may be purchased in California without a medical card.  With a medical card, one can save on the taxes when purchasing marijuana-derived CBD oil. 

The cost of a medical card varies from county to county, but the state law stipulates that a county cannot charge more than $100.

Can You Order CBD Oil Online Legally In California?

CBD oil can be purchased legally in California.  However, it may appear to be legal when it is not legal.  If the oil is marketed for smoking, ingestion, eating, or otherwise consuming by a human, the product must also be approved by the FDA.

State CBD Possession Limits

There are no limits on the possession of hemp-derived CBD oil. For CBD derived from marijuana, one may not carry more than 8 grams of marijuana concentrate (check marijuana quantity statement on your CBD oil package).

MMJ Cards In California

Medical Marijuana Card Requirements In California

California’s medical marijuana program is quite expansive, with the following as only some of the qualifying conditions.

  • Chronic pain
  • Cachexia
  • Arthritis
  • Severe nausea
  • Migraines
  • Anorexia
  • Persistent muscle spasms
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • AIDS
  • Seizures
  • Epilepsy
  • Spasticity
  • Glaucoma
  • Cancer

Furthermore, any medical condition that limits one in a major way described in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, can also qualify for medical marijuana treatment (as long as backed by a certifying physician).

How To Apply To The MCP (Medical Cannabis Program)

California’s medical cannabis program structured county-up. Therefore, one must apply to his or her local county.

To apply, you should first fill this form: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CHSI/Pages/MMICP-Forms-and-Appeals.aspx and must be in the county you are submitting the form to.

Submit the form alongside the following to your specific county.

  • Proof of identity (Driving License / ID Card)
  • A copy of your medical recommendation
  • Proof of residency

The application will be made in person to the county program office. Refer to this list to find details of the county relevant to you: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CHSI/Pages/County-Program-and-Hours.aspx

How Long Does It Take To Get A Medical Marijuana Id Card In California?

The county, in which you apply, has a maximum of 30 days to approve or reject your applications.

How Much Does It Cost To Apply For The MCP In California?

County offices may not charge more than $100 for the application. Medi-Cal beneficiaries cannot be charged more than $50 for the same.  Indigent patients with a qualifying condition may have their fee waived.

Where To Buy CBD In California

Where To Buy / How To Obtain <.3 THC In California

CBD with less than 0.3% THC is usually hemp-derived and can be bought in retail stores, smoke shops, specialty outlets, and from online retailers.

Where To Buy / How To Obtain >.3 THC In California

CBD with more than 0.3% THC is sourced from marijuana and can be found in dispensaries, at licensed specialty outlets, and in smokeshops among other outlets in California.

Where Is CBD Sold In California?

CBD is readily available at smoke shops across California.  There are numerous online retailers and also some marijuana dispensaries in the state that also sell the products.  As well, CBD products are obtainable from health food stores, convenience stores, and even significant pharmacies like CVS.

Are There Any CBD Retailers In California?

There are specific CBD retailers in California, such as LA CBD in Los Angeles.  There is a multitude of online retailers such as Blossoms and more as well in California.  Several other retailers have sprung up in California, and a quick Google search reveals a plethora of options in California to obtain CBD products.

Where Can I Find CBD Water?

CBD water is readily available at dispensaries and most CBD retailers.  However, for the product to be legal for consumption, it still must be approved by the FDA.

Where Can I Buy Medical Grade CBD In California?

Medical grade CBD, with over 0.3% THC, can be found at licensed medical marijuana dispensaries in California.

How To Read CBD Product Labels & Packaging

When you shop for CBD products online, make sure to look for the following on the product package/labels.

Expiry date – It is wise to check the ‘use before’ date before buying a CBD product because most CBD products are perishable.

Product batch number –  Different batches can be tracked with a product batch number. Most large-scale manufacturers assign this to their CBD products.

Lab testing certification – You can view the lab-testing certificate, digitally, by scanning a QR code or visiting a URL on the product package. Do not buy if this is missing.

Batch information link – This is a link meant to help you understand the product better.

A THC quantity statement – Do not buy if this is higher than 0.3% and the seller is outside of California.

Hemp extract quantity – If buying hemp-derived CBD products, check for the hemp-extract quantity, listed in milligrams, to make an informed decision.

How To Identify Quality CBD Oil

Only purchase FDA-approved CBD products to be sure of the quality. CBD oil with a lab-testing certificate is better than CBD oil without one. Moreover, you should make sure the THC quantity is no more than 0.3% if buying from out-of-state.

Make sure the product photography conveys professionalism, and the manufacturer has positive reviews across multiple social media and cannabis forums.

Finally, do not buy from manufacturers who have little to no transparency regarding their CBD products (in terms of origin).

Shipping, Mailing, & Travelling With CBD

Can You Mail CBD Products To California?

You can mail CBD products to California if the products come from 0.3% THC or less containing industrial hemp.  Federal laws apply.

Can You Ship CBD Products From California?

Shipping CBD from California is legal as long as it comes from industrial hemp, and also, as long as the destination location also accepts the legality of CBD.

How Would You Ship CBD Oil, Cream, or Flowers?

Shipping CBD products such as oil or cream are best shipped using private couriers such as FedEx or UPS.  It is due to USPS requiring more documentation, which can slow down the shipping process due to more administration.

Licensed operators may only do shipping hemp or marijuana flowers.

Can You Ship CBD Products Internationally? From Canada? To Canada?

Again, shipping CBD from California is legal as long as it comes from industrial hemp or licensed to handle and transport cannabis.  However, the destination will need to meet the same legal requirements for the flower, and likely only authorized companies will be able to accept it legally.  Check with the destination to ensure that the product you wish to ship is legal at the destination.

Can You Travel With CBD Oil?

Traveling with hemp-derived CBD oil is legal in California. One should make sure the state’s laws align with other places one will pass through during his or her travels. It is advisable not to travel with marijuana-derived CBD oil because of its federal status.

Is Marijuana Legal In California?

Marijuana is legal in California, but one must be 21 years of age or older to purchase it.

Is California Recreational?

The recreational use of marijuana is legal in California on the condition that one is at least 21 of age.

Do You Have To Be 18 To Buy Marijuana In California?

You have to be 21 years old to buy recreational marijuana.

How Old Do You Have To Be To Buy Medical Marijuana?

An emancipated minor holding a medical marijuana card can buy medical marijuana.

How Old Do You Have To Be To Use Marijuana In California?

To use medical marijuana, a patient can be of any age. To use marijuana recreationally, one must be at least 21.

Can You Buy Edibles Online Legally In California?

Marijuana edibles can be bought online, legally by in-state retailers if the buyer is over 21.

Is Hemp Legal In California?

The state of California follows federal regulations when it comes to hemp.  With the passing of the California Industrial Hemp Farming Act that became effective in 2017, hemp was permitted commercially.

What Are California’s Hemp Laws?

The California Industrial Hemp Farming Act is the law that allows for the commercial production of industrial hemp in the state.

Can You Buy Hemp Wraps At 18 In California?

It is possible to purchase hemp wraps at the age of 18 in California.

Producing, Growing, Selling Hemp & CBD Oil

Is It Legal To Grow Hemp In California?

Hemp is legal to grow in California with a hemp growing license if commercial use the goal.  For all residents, up to 6 cannabis plants may be grown per adult legally.

How Much Is A Hemp Growing License In California?

It is legal to grow up to 6 cannabis plants without a license.  However, a commercial cultivation license is $900 per year in California.

Can You Get Legal CBD Seeds In California?

CBD is a chemical compound that comes from the cannabis plant.  Seeds for cannabis are readily available in California.

Is It Legal To Grow CBD Plants? What’s The Difference?

CBD is a chemical compound that comes from the cannabis plant.  It is legal to grow up to 6 cannabis plants in California.

Do You Need A License To Sell Hemp In California?

To sell hemp to processors, one needs a grower’s license from the state.

Do You Need A License To Sell CBD Oil In California?

Hemp-derived CBD oil, as a preprocessed and prepackaged product, can be sold without requiring a special license.

Can You Sell CBD Oil Online?

Under the Farm Bill of 2018, CBD oil derived from hemp with less than 0.3% THC is legal to be sold by licensed retailers in California.

Disclaimer:  None of the information in this article should be construed as health or legal advice. We always recommend following the professional opinion of your physician or attorney and researching your own state’s laws for all of your purchases. Information current as of September 2020.

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