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Do I Need a Doctor’s Recommendation To Buy CBD In States With Medical Cannabis Programs?

One question that comes up a lot, especially in states where medical marijuana is legal, is if people need a doctor’s recommendation to buy CBD even though they can easily buy CBD online. The question is especially relevant in states with CBD-only programs.

All CBD Is Not Created Equal

The first point that needs to be made is that CBD can be extracted from both hemp—which is THC-free—and marijuana—which contains THC. THC is the cannabinoid compound that causes a “high.”

All of the CBD found online that can be purchased without a doctor’s recommendation is extracted from hemp (assuming the company is following the law). There are two reasons for this. The first is the THC factor. By extracting CBD from hemp, marijuana laws generally do not come into play. The second reason is that hemp is far cheaper to produce and therefore a far cheaper source for producing CBD.

CBD which is extracted from marijuana can only be legally purchased in states which allow medical marijuana, and only with a doctor’s recommendation.

CBD In Medical Marijuana States

In some U.S. states, CBD extracted from marijuana is legal for the treatment of specific medical conditions such as intractable epilepsy, chronic pain, cancer, and many other ailments. And 28 states have full-blown medical marijuana laws. In all of these states, CBD can be purchased at a dispensary with a doctor’s recommendation (assuming they allow dispensaries—some don’t yet).

Here’s where most of the confusion lies: In states with medical marijuana laws consumers can purchase both kinds of CBD—CBD from marijuana and CBD from hemp. The purchase of CBD from marijuana requires a doctor’s note, while the purchase of CBD from hemp—since it has no THC and is not extracted from marijuana—can be purchased online without a doctor’s approval.

An important aspect to be considered is that even in some of the CBD-only states, small percentages of THC are allowed. In all of these cases—where small amounts of THC are allowed—the CBD found in dispensaries may well be extracted from low-THC marijuana—not hemp. As stated above, to purchase this CBD extracted from marijuana—which is generally only available in dispensaries—one is still required to have a doctor’s recommendation.

On a side note, if someone lives in any state with medical marijuana or CBD laws, and they specifically do not want THC in their CBD oil, then they should avoid buying it at a dispensary—even if they do have a doctor’s recommendation. The reason being, there’s no guarantee that the product is THC-free. While these products undergo lab tests, humans can make mistakes from time to time, and things can go wrong. If the CBD was extracted from hemp, on the other hand, the amount of THC will either be zero or negligible.


So, the short answer to the question is, no, one does not need a doctor’s recommendation to purchase CBD made from hemp. People can purchase CBD oil online right now, and they won’t be asked for a medical marijuana card, and no one will come knocking down their door to drag them off to prison.

NOTE: This article is not meant to provide legal advice. Some states still consider CBD to be a marijuana product (even though it’s not). But none of these states have the time and money to undertake an organized effort to go chasing after hemp-based CBD users. They have far more important issues with which to deal.

Nonetheless, consumers should do some more research on the particulars of their state’s CBD laws if for no other reason than laws can change from time to time.

Here is some more reading material on this topic: