• According to the Louisiana Department of Health, hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) products intended for oral consumption or inhalation are prohibited in the state. State-approved CBD products are limited to CBD tinctures, oils, lotions, and other topicals(1)
  • The 2018 United States Farm Bill states that the cultivation of industrial hemp with less than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is legal(2). THC is a cannabinoid that has psychoactive effects.
  • The state of Louisiana aligned with the Farm Bill regulation by signing Act 164 into law, allowing the cultivation and distribution of hemp-derived products(3).
  • CBD products containing over 0.3% THC are considered Schedule I controlled substances. Individuals possessing a controlled substance may be apprehended by law enforcement(4). 
  • Cannabidiol (CBD) is studied for its anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, anti-anxiety, and sleep-inducing properties(5). Hemp-derived CBD oil products are currently sold and consumed in the United States.

The farming, processing, and handling of industrial hemp and industrial hemp-derived products, such as CBD oil, are legal in Louisiana since 2019(6).

Following the federal government, the state also differentiated industrial hemp from marijuana under House Bill 491(7).

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a phytocannabinoid from industrial hemp and marijuana. Phytocannabinoids are naturally occurring cannabinoids or compounds in cannabis plants.

The 2018 United States (US) Farm Bill removed hemp and its derivatives from the definition of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act(8).

The bill legalizes the growth, harvest, storage, and transport of industrial hemp-derived products, and the distribution and retail of CBD products within the 50 states.

The Farm Bill defines industrial hemp as cannabis plants containing 0.3% or less tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Any cannabis plant or product with more than 0.3% THC content is considered marijuana.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has only removed FDA-approved CBD drugs (less than 0.1% THC) from the list of the Controlled Substances Act(9).

According to the DEA, CBD products that contain more than the legal THC limit (0.3%) are considered Schedule I controlled substances. 

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also imposed federal guidelines and regulations regarding CBD and hemp-based products.

According to the FDA, CBD companies are prohibited from marketing their products as pharmaceutical drugs or dietary supplements(10).

Also, CBD is not an approved food ingredient or additive. Thus, manufacturers are not permitted to add CBD to food or beverage products.

Despite hemp-derived products’ legalization, not all CBD oil products are excluded from the controlled substance list.

Currently, laws and regulations are still being developed for the CBD industry. Each state has imposed legislatures mandating how CBD may be manufactured and sold. 

For instance, Louisiana laws still prohibit the sale of inhalable or smokable hemp and CBD products, CBD-infused alcoholic drinks, and any food or beverages with CBD additives(11)

Louisiana CBD Laws

In 2018, the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy declared CBD possession as unlawful. The board, which has a medical marijuana program, classified CBD oil as a cannabis plant-derivative due to the compound being found in marijuana plants(12).

After the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, Louisiana also passed a law to address the legality of industrial hemp and CBD products in the state.

House Bill 491 or Act 164

Lawmakers presented the state government with House Bill 491, proposing the legalization, cultivation, and sale of hemp-derivatives(13)

In June 2019, aligning the state policies with the federal law’s hemp legislation, Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the bill into Act 164(14).

The Louisiana Board of Pharmacy later rescinded their previous statement(15).

The Louisiana Hemp Law or Act 164 addressed the discrepancy between hemp and medical marijuana products. The act established that CBD products must be derived from state-approved industrial hemp plants.  

Thus, hemp oil and CBD oil products not exceeding the 0.3% THC limit may be legally sold and consumed in the state. 

According to the Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control (ATC), the state law has aligned with the FDA’s prohibition of CBD products being marketed as drugs or dietary supplements(16).

Therefore, prescribing CBD products to patients is illegal in the state. 

Act 164 does not specify a limit on how much hemp-derived or CBD products people may legally possess in Louisiana.

The legislation also prohibits the retail of the following(17):

  • Food and beverages infused with CBD
  • Alcoholic drinks with CBD
  • CBD products advertised as dietary supplements
  • Inhalable or smokable hemp and CBD products 

Therefore, CBD vape pens, CBD vape oils, CBD gummies, and CBD-infused drinks cannot be legally sold and consumed in the state(18).

House Bill 819 or Act 286

House Bill 819, which was signed as Act 286 and went into effect in August 2020, expands Louisiana’s medical cannabis law.

Under the legislation, doctors may recommend medical cannabis to patients with debilitating medical conditions.

Aside from qualifying conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease, Act 286 also allows physicians to recommend medical marijuana for other health issues they may consider debilitating for the patient(19).

CBD Licensing Requirements

Retailers selling hemp products, including CBD, must obtain a license from the Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control (ATC)(20). They should also register their physical place of business. 

Even online CBD retailers must secure an ATC license and have a registered physical place of business in the state.

Once necessary permits have been issued, CBD retailers or dealers may sell CBD products in Louisiana under the following conditions(21):

  • Licensed CBD dealers may only sell CBD products derived from industrial hemp approved by the United States Department of Agriculture
  • The CBD product’s THC content must not exceed 0.3% in dry weight. 
  • CBD products intended for inhalation are prohibited from being sold in the state.
  • Dealers are prohibited from selling CBD-infused food and beverage products.
  • CBD product labeling must not contain any medical claims (unless approved by the FDA).
  • CBD products marketed as dietary supplements are prohibited in the state.
  • Retailers may only sell CBD brands that are registered with the Louisiana Department of Health.

Testing Requirements

The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) mentioned that CBD manufacturers are required to provide a certificate of analysis (COA) for each product batch(22). CBD brands that fail to comply may be refused a license to sell in the state.

The COA is a third-party laboratory test result that indicates the potency of the concentration of cannabinoids in CBD oil products. The COA also determines if the products are free from heavy metals, herbicides, pesticides, and other harmful substances.

According to the LDH, the COAs must come from laboratories with ISO/IEC 17025 certification given by the International Standardization Organization (ISO)(23). 

The ISO is an independent body that sets international standards in various fields, ranging from technology and manufacturing to food safety and healthcare. These standards serve as guides for safety, reliability, and increased productivity.

The LDH regulations also require CBD manufacturers to include a quick response (QR) code, barcode, or website URL on the label.

Buying CBD Legally

When buying CBD oils in Louisiana, individuals are advised to choose from brands registered with the Louisiana Department of Health

These brands have been tested and closely examined by local regulations.

Extra precautions, such as checking the product’s third-party lab result, may help provide consumers with peace of mind.

The lab result must indicate that the product concentration is consistent with the label information and free from harmful chemicals.

Under state laws, only individuals 18 years or older may purchase CBD products without special permission(24).

Registered CBD retailers may require a state-issued identification from customers as proof that these individuals are not minors(25).

Prescriptions are not needed to buy either CBD products or medical marijuana in the state.

Doctors may only recommend, not prescribe, medical marijuana for debilitating medical diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, traumatic brain injury, and chronic pain due to fibromyalgia(26).

Prescriptions are only necessary for FDA-approved medications. As of November 2020, the agency has only approved one CBD-based drug in the US.

A pharmaceutical drug geared towards FDA approval has to undergo several pre-clinical and controlled clinical trials.

For example, Epidiolex, an epilepsy drug composed of CBD, underwent several clinical studies before it was approved by the FDA.

During Epidiolex’s clinical trials, the drug was tested for its efficacy, side effects, and possible drug interactions. 

After evaluating the studies’ results, the FDA approved Epidiolex use on children with rare forms of epilepsy(27).

How to Choose Which CBD Products to Buy

Before buying CBD oil in Louisiana, consumers must consider what types and forms of CBD oil products are allowed in the state.

In Louisiana, CBD oil products may only come in the form of tinctures, oil, lotions, salves, balms, bath bombs, and single-use syringes(28). 

Products intended for oral consumption or inhalation are prohibited in the state. Moreover, LDH does not issue registrations for CBD products in capsules, tablets, transdermal patches, or other forms associated with pharmaceuticals.

Individuals must be cautious when buying CBD products. A product’s third-party laboratory result determines if the product contains more than the legal amount of THC. 

CBD products without third-party lab results are not recommended for purchase. 

Note that CBD products with over 0.3% THC in a single unit are considered marijuana and Schedule I controlled substances. 

Additionally, CBD buyers may check the CBD company’s status on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website

Rating systems from organizations, such as the BBB, allow customers to provide feedback and review a company’s products and services. 

Moreover, BBB ratings allow customers to know which companies conduct ethical business practices(29).

Individuals may also opt for CBD products from brands that are accredited by the US Hemp Authority. Some of these brands, like Charlotte’s Web and Straight Hemp, are available through third-party retailers in the state.

The US Hemp Authority Program is a third-party initiative that inspects CBD products’ quality and safety(30)

Where to Buy the Best CBD Products Legally

When buying CBD in Louisiana, individuals may refer to the Louisiana Department of Alcohol and Tobacco Control(31)

The CBD licensee list, published on February 18, 2020, consists of registered brands and dispensaries in major Louisiana cities, such as New Orleans, Lafayette, and Baton Rouge.

These licensed retailers and dispensaries include:

  • Crescent City Apothecary in New Orleans, LA
  • Hippie Town in Lafayette, LA
  • Magnolia CBD Oils LLC in Baton Rouge, LA

CBD users in Louisiana may refer to the ATC’s official website for the latest CBD licensee list.

Individuals buying CBD online may also refer to the list. State laws require online stores to also register with the ATC.

Trustworthy online retailers ensure that all pertinent product information, such as the CBD potency, THC content, and lab test results, are clearly indicated or linked to on the product page.

Additionally, consumers may refer to the BBB website and other review sites to find highly-rated CBD retailers in the state.

Some Louisiana-based CBD retailers with good BBB ratings are Aurora CBD and Hemp in Houma, LA, and Southern Tropics, LLC in Hammond, LA.

Understanding CBD

What Is CBD Oil?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a phytocannabinoid primarily found in hemp plants. Phytocannabinoids are cannabinoids or compounds naturally produced by cannabis plants.

Aside from CBD, other phytocannabinoids found in hemp include THC, cannabigerol (CBG), cannabichromene (CBC), and cannabinol (CBN).

Manufacturers subject harvested industrial hemp to an extraction process that separates the cannabinoids from the rest of the plant’s elements. 

The compounds are then suspended in carrier oils to create CBD tinctures, encapsulated into a pill, or infused into topical creams and balms. 

There are three main classifications of CBD oil products in the market: 

Full-spectrum CBD oil contains all the cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and minerals found in hemp plants. Consumed together, these components produce the “entourage effect.” 

The phenomenon has led several CBD users to believe that the supposed benefits of cannabinoids and other cannabis components are greater when consumed together.

Broad-spectrum CBD oil may contain CBD and other cannabinoids except for THC. This type of CBD products is usually preferred by individuals who cannot tolerate THC in their system.

CBD isolates are created with pure CBD and do not contain other cannabinoids and phytocompounds.

Experienced users advocate the use of CBD oil to help promote wellness

Does CBD Oil Have Benefits?

A study posted by Antioxidants mentioned that CBD has many potential pharmacological effects, such as anti-inflammatory, sleep-promoting, anticonvulsant, antipsychotic, and anti-anxiety properties(32). 

The Neurotherapeutics journal published a review that highlighted CBD’s promise in alleviating anxiety-related conditions, such as panic disorder (PD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and social anxiety disorder (SAD)(33)

The authors of the review mentioned that CBD has a broad pharmacological profile, such as influencing receptors that regulated fear and anxiety behaviors. 

Studies have shown that the receptors that make up the endocannabinoid system (ECS) may be positively affected by CBD and other cannabinoids(34).

The ECS is a signaling system that influences the human body’s organs and daily internal processes, including pain management and anxiety(35).

A review from Molecules explained that CBD’s anticonvulsant properties may have the same efficacy as anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs). The authors indicated that CBD is generally safe and effective when combined with some AEDs(36).

Individuals should consult with a licensed physician before taking CBD or administering CBD to children or pets. 

What Are the Risks When Consuming CBD?

Research showed that consuming CBD may cause side effects, such as diarrhea, tiredness, dry mouth, and changes in appetite and weight(37)

Furthermore, a 2019 study shared by Molecules demonstrated how high CBD doses could increase liver injury risk(38). 

During the study, scientists administered 246 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) to 2,460 mg/kg of CBD to rat models. The study’s purpose was to evaluate how extremely high CBD dosages may affect rats and humans. 

After observing increased bilirubin and liver to weight ratio in rats, the scientists noted that high CBD doses may cause hepatotoxicity (liver injury)(39). 

Bilirubin is a yellowish waste product that passes through the liver. Excessively high bilirubin levels may be a sign of liver problems.

Conclusion

CBD regulations are still being developed in the United States

In Louisiana, the state government has imposed policies controlling how CBD products are distributed and sold.

The Louisiana Department of Health and the Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control are closely monitoring and executing these guidelines to protect constituents from purchasing low-quality CBD products.

Still, CBD buyers must remain vigilant when shopping for high-quality CBD oil. Individuals must always check if the CBD brand is registered with the LDH and the retailer has updated permits from the ATC

A CBD product must also have an updated COA to ensure its consumption safety.  

For more information on CBD’s legality in all 50 US states, click here.

*The information shared in this article was based on findings retrieved on November 5, 2020. The legal status and regulations for CBD may change without notice.  


  1. Louisiana Department of Health. Industrial Hemp-Derived Cannabidiol Products. Retrieved from https://ldh.la.gov/index.cfm/page/3633
  2. The US Food and Drug Administration. Hemp Production and the 2018 Farm Bill. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/news-events/congressional-testimony/hemp-production-and-2018-farm-bill-07252019
  3. Louisiana Legislature. Act No. 164. Retrieved from https://www.legis.la.gov/legis/ViewDocument.aspx?d=1143697
  4. Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Criminal Justice. Retrieved from https://www.lcle.la.gov/sentencing_commission/Resources/II%20A.%20Master%20Marijuana%20Compilation.pdf
  5. Atalay, S., Jarocka-Karpowicz, I., & Skrzydlewska, E. (2019). Antioxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Cannabidiol. Antioxidants (Basel, Switzerland), 9(1), 21. https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox9010021
  6. Louisiana State Legislature. Act No. 164, House Bill No. 491. Retrieved from https://www.legis.la.gov/legis/ViewDocument.aspx?d=1143697
  7. Ibid.
  8. US Food and Drug Administration. Hemp Production and the 2018 Farm Bill. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/news-events/congressional-testimony/hemp-production-and-2018-farm-bill-07252019
  9. Drug Enforcement Administration. Implementation of the Agriculture Improvement Act. Retrieved from https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/fed_regs/rules/2020/fr0821.htm
  10. US Food and Drug Administration. FDA regulation on Cannabis and Cannabis-derived Products Including Cannabidiol (CBD). Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/news-events/public-health-focus/fda-regulation-cannabis-and-cannabis-derived-products-including-cannabidiol-cbd
  11. Louisiana State Legislature. Act No. 164, House Bill No. 491. Op. cit.
  12. Louisiana Board of Pharmacy. Revised Guidance Document Regarding Cannabidiol. Retrieved from https://www.pharmacy.la.gov/assets/docs/GuidanceDocuments/CBD-Oil_RevisedGuidance_2019-0219.pdf
  13. Louisiana Legislature. Act No. 164. Op cit.
  14. Louisiana Legislature Act No. 164 Timeline. Retrieved from https://www.legis.la.gov/legis/BillInfo.aspx?s=19rs&b=HB491&sbi=y
  15. Louisiana Board of Pharmacy. Board Rescinds Guidance Information on All CBD Oil Products. Retrieved from https://www.pharmacy.la.gov/index.cfm?md=newsroom&tmp=detail&articleID=87
  16. Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control. Declaration of Emergency. Retrieved from https://atc.louisiana.gov/docs/ATC%20Emergency%20CBD%20Rule.pdf
  17. Louisiana State Legislature. Act No. 164, House Bill No. 491. Op. cit.
  18. Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control. Declaration of Emergency. Op. cit.
  19. Louisiana State Legislature. Act 286, House Bill 819. Retrieved from https://www.legis.la.gov/legis/ViewDocument.aspx?d=1182363
  20. Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control. Declaration of Emergency. Op. cit.
  21. Ibid.
  22. Louisiana Department of Health. Industrial Hemp-Derived Cannabidiol Products. Retrieved from https://ldh.la.gov/index.cfm/page/3633
  23. Ibid.
  24. Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control. Declaration of Emergency. Op. cit.
  25. Ibid.
  26. Louisiana State Legislature. Act 286, House Bill 819. Op. cit.
  27. FDA Approves First Drug Comprised of an Active Ingredient Derived from Marijuana to Treat Rare, Severe Forms of Epilepsy. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-approves-first-drug-comprised-active-ingredient-derived-marijuana-treat-rare-severe-forms
  28. Louisiana Department of Health. Industrial Hemp-Derived Cannabidiol Products. Op. cit.
  29. The Better Business Bureau. Retrieved from https://www.bbb.org/
  30. The US Hemp Authority. Retrieved from https://ushempauthority.org/
  31. Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control. CBD Licensee List. Retrieved from https://atc.louisiana.gov/docs/CBD%20Current%20Permit%20List.pdf
  32. Atalay, S., Jarocka-Karpowicz, I., & Skrzydlewska, E. (2019). Op cit.
  33. Blessing, E. M., Steenkamp, M. M., Manzanares, J., & Marmar, C. R. (2015). Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders. Neurotherapeutics : the journal of the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics, 12(4), 825–836. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13311-015-0387-1
  34. Silver R. J. (2019). The Endocannabinoid System of Animals. Animals : an open access journal from MDPI, 9(9), 686. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090686
  35. VanDolah, H. J., Bauer, B. A., & Mauck, K. F. (2019). Clinicians’ Guide to Cannabidiol and Hemp Oils. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 94(9), 1840-1851. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mayocp.2019.01.003 
  36. Silvestro, S., Mammana, S., Cavalli, E., Bramanti, P., & Mazzon, E. (2019). Use of Cannabidiol in the Treatment of Epilepsy: Efficacy and Security in Clinical Trials. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 24(8), 1459. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24081459
  37. Iffland, K., & Grotenhermen, F. (2017). An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies. Cannabis and cannabinoid research, 2(1), 139–154. https://doi.org/10.1089/can.2016.0034
  38. Ewing, L. E., Skinner, C. M., Quick, C. M., Kennon-McGill, S., McGill, M. R., Walker, L. A., ElSohly, M. A., Gurley, B. J., & Koturbash, I. (2019). Hepatotoxicity of a Cannabidiol-Rich Cannabis Extract in the Mouse Model. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 24(9), 1694. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24091694
  39. Ibid.
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