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DENVER, CO – APRIL 24: Andrew Aamot, president and co-founder of Strava Craft Coffee ready to add the hemp oil preparation to that will make a blend of CBD-rich hemp oil-infused coffee. April 24, 2018 Denver, CO (Photo by Joe Amon/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

legalization | 04.21.2022

Is Hemp CBD a Good Alternative in States Where Cannabis is Illegal?

Before you buy hemp CBD, this is what you need to know.

You’ve heard of CBD, but do you know the difference between hemp CBD, derived from industrial hemp plants, and CBD derived from “drug,” or marijuana plants? We break it down, including the pros and cons of hemp CBD, to determine if it’s a good alternative in illegal states.

What’s the difference between Hemp CBD and Marijuana CBD?

Hemp CBD is derived from hemp plants, which by law, must contain 0.3% of THC or less. But that number only became law a few years ago, with the Agricultural Act of 2014, commonly known as the Farm Bill. The Farm Bill allows for American farmers to grow hemp under state-sponsored programs, as long as plants have 0.3% of THC or less. Before 2014, hemp was defined by the Controlled Substances Act as a Cannabis sativa L.plant of the “low-resin” variety, while “marihuana” is the cannabis plant of the “high resin” variety.

Currently, “drug” or marijuana plants, are those with 0.3 percent of THC or more and are federally illegal, considered a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act. But hemp CBD falls into a legal grey area. CBD oil and other products derived from hemp plants with 0.3 percent THC or less are “basically” legal in the U.S. under the Farm Bill. However, all extracts of the cannabis sativa L. plant are considered illegal under the Controlled Substances Act, so there’s been a lot of confusion. While you can order hemp CBD oil online and get it shipped to your house today, stores in states with strict cannabis laws can be raided by law enforcement for selling CBD products, derived from hemp or not.

In states with legal adult use cannabis, like Colorado and California, there are a lot more CBD options because they’re not all derived from hemp. Instead, high-CBD products, often with some THC in varying ratios, are made from “drug” or marijuana plants. Some of these products provide a mild psychoactive effect, like those 1:1 or 3:1 CBD: THC ratio. But others, with ratios like 18:1 CBD: THC, will not provide much of a high, but they do provide the maximum medical benefits, due to what many call “the entourage effect.”

However, if you’re in a state without cannabis dispensaries or much access to medicinal marijuana, hemp CBD can be a good alternative. But it’s important to learn where your CBD is sourced from and to check it’s been tested by a third party lab.

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FORT LUPTON, CO – JUNE 10: Lignin made from industrial hemp, which can be used in the production of plastics, fuels and other chemicals, sits on a table in a lab at PureVision Technology on Wednesday, June 10, 2015. PureVision Technology Inc., a Fort Lupton biofuels company that is processing hemp stalks into sugars, lignin, pulp and CBD extracts. (Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Hemp CBD Pros

The most obvious pro of hemp CBD is that it’s accessible to everyone in the U.S. Even though the substance is technically in a legal gray area, it can be ordered online and shipped to all 50 states.

However, not all hemp CBD is created equally. Before making a purchase, check to see if the hemp CBD product was made from “medicinal hemp plants” if you can – these still have 0.3% THC or less but are high resin-plants, often testing higher than 15 percent CBD and may contain other cannabinoids as well.

The problem is, many companies selling hemp CBD products online are using low-resin, industrial hemp plants cultivated for their fibers or seeds. These are not ideal because they typically only contain 3.5 percent CBD or less, and so are more likely to contain toxins. We’ll discuss why in more depth below.

The bottom line is, CBD, derived from hemp or not, can help with multiple medical conditions and ailments, including:

Hemp CBD Cons

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BOULDER, CO – MARCH 10: Extraction technician Jacob Ostler filtering out hemp plant material from 99% isopropyl alcohol for extraction at CW Hemp. March 10, 2017, Boulder, Colorado. (Photo by Joe Amon/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

The biggest con of hemp CBD is its lack of THC. CBD works best in the presence of the other compounds and cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, including THC. This is known as the entourage effect, and it provides more relief to patients than isolated CBD. Even for patients who don’t want to “get high,” whole plant medicine with ratios like 18:1, 20:1, or even 28:1 CBD: THC only provide medical relief without psychoactive effects.

Another reason CBD derived from the “marijuana” or “plant is better is because it’s regulated and tested, at least in legal states. Hemp CBD products, on the other hand, are not regulated like legal cannabis and are not even allowed to be sold at cannabis dispensaries in California or Oregon. That’s because they’ve been grown in this “legal gray area” without regulations and testing, and so there’s guarantee that they’re safe.

What’s more, hemp plants are natural “bio-accumulators,” which means they absorb toxins, heavy metals, and pesticides from the soil. While this is great for cleaning damaged ecosystems, like in Chernobyl, it’s not ideal for producing hemp CBD medicine.

Like we mentioned above, low-resin, industrial hemp plants often only have around 3.5 percent of CBD. In order to make hemp CBD oil, they have to use a ton of dried hemp, which increases the likelihood of that hemp containing toxins the hemp absorbed from the soil. To avoid ingesting chemicals, check to see if the hemp CBD products were grown organically, especially in organic soil that has less of a chance of containing toxins and pesticides.

This confusing landscape of hemp CBD and “marijuana” CBD won’t end until federal cannabis prohibition also ends in the U.S. Full legalization will provide patients with the safest access to CBD and medical cannabis, because all products will be regulated and tested. While there are many hemp bills gaining support in Washington, for now, hemp CBD products are the only choice many Americans seeking alternative treatment have. It’s a “good enough” option until lawmakers recognize the incredible medical benefits of CBD.

Best CBD Strains To Buy Online

After you have learned about the pros and cons of CBD as an alternative to illegal Marijuana, you might want to learn where to buy it and what are the best options to have an incredible time using it. Let’s review some of our favorite CBD hemp flowers.

These strains are available to buy online on weed.com, a reliable vendor that provides top-quality hemp, and not only buds but also amazing CBD and Delta 8 THC edibles and concentrates.

Dutch Delight

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Photo courtesy of Weed.com

This is a balanced strain that has a CBD concentration of 12%, more than enough potency to brighten your day with its calming and uplifting effects. The Dutch delight is perfect to use during the day to keep you motivated when working on your projects. Boost your mood while enjoying its sweet aroma and piney notes that caress your tongue in delightfulness.

Key Lime Pie

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Photo courtesy of Weed.com

Key Lime Pie is the key to making your day the best story it can be. With outstanding CBD levels of 18%, this hybrid strain is an amazing mood booster to use on any occasion. It has a complex aroma that you will associate with some of the best moments of your life. It gives a slightly spicy taste when inhaling that soon fades into citrus and cheesy notes when exhaling.

Orange Cookies

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Photo courtesy of Weed.com

These cookies are not sweet treats. Instead, its flavor reminds you of gasoline and has a bitter taste. But, the effects of this balanced hybrid are nothing but pleasant. Its CBD amount of 18% helps recharge your energy and boost your focus with a smooth smoke. This is a favorite among users who love pungent flavors, and if you are one of them, it will make it into your favorite strains’ top list.


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Photo courtesy of Weed.com

You can fall in love with CBD, and the Wife strain is the proof of it. This is one of the most potent strains you will find on the market as it has a CBD concentration of 19%. The Wife is the companion you want to have next to you when winding up during the evening. Its full-body relaxation effects make it perfect to use before making your way to bed to have a chilling night and a restful sleep.

Cherry Abacus X Spectrum 7

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Photo courtesy of Weed.com

This strain is the result of the search for the most potent strain. Its CBD amount of 21% has no rival. Smoking this Indica feels like a warm hug that relaxes all your muscles, making your limbs feel pleasantly heavy without causing a couchlock. Instead, you feel free when moving and more in control of your body once all stress and muscular tension fades away.

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