• In 2018, the US Farm Bill was signed, legalizing the cultivation of industrial hemp with 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or less. Low-THC products are less likely to cause psychoactive effects(1).
  • The State of Ohio has enacted Senate Bill 57, legalizing hemp cultivation and hemp processing in the state(2).  
  • There are no possession limits for hemp-derived CBD containing 0.3% THC. Individuals registered with the medical marijuana program may possess up to a 90-day supply of marijuana-derived CBD or CBD exceeding 0.3% THC(3).
  • The Ohio Board of Pharmacy awards licenses to dispensaries to sell marijuana-derived CBD oil to patients with medical marijuana cards and a written recommendation from a physician(4).

CBD’s legality status in the United States depends on the product’s cannabinoid concentration and plant source. 

The 2018 US Farm Bill legalized the cultivation of industrial hemp containing 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or less. 

At a federal level, CBD products created from low-THC industrial hemp are legal. The Farm Bill also removed hemp-derived products with 0.3% THC from the definition of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act(5).

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), hemp-derived products exceeding 0.3% THC or products created from marijuana extracts remain a Schedule I controlled substance(6).

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates CBD products in the country by imposing restrictions on how they may be sold. 

CBD companies are banned from marketing their products as a medicine or a dietary supplement. Thus, CBD brands may not make any claims regarding treating or preventing diseases or health issues(7).

Manufacturers are also prohibited from adding CBD into food and beverage products. 

Some of these regulations may vary depending on state laws. Some states aligned their policies according to the 2018 US Farm Bill, while others enacted stricter laws to protect consumers from illegal CBD products.

Ohio CBD Laws

The federal government’s legalization of hemp and hemp products made the state of Ohio revisit their policies and regulations.

To align with federal law, Ohio lawmakers proposed an amendment by enacting Senate Bill 57(8). The bill decriminalized hemp and promulgated the issuance of hemp cultivation licenses. 

Signed and approved by Governor Mike Dewine on July 30, 2019, the new law stipulated that Ohio’s hemp program shall be regulated by the Ohio Department of Agriculture. 

The bill stated that any department or person without a hemp cultivation license may possess, buy, or sell hemp products

The bill also legalized the development of hemp products in different forms, such as food, cosmetics, and dietary supplements(9).

The state government has not imposed any possession limits for hemp-derived CBD products containing 0.3% THC. 

Marijuana-derived CBD products or products exceeding 0.3% THC are considered  Schedule I substances. Unless registered with the state’s medical marijuana program, individuals in possession of cannabis products may be apprehended by a law enforcement agency. 

According to House Bill 523, Ohio state medical marijuana cardholders may possess up to a 90-day supply of marijuana-derived CBD products or cannabis products(10). 

Dispensaries licensed by the Ohio Board of Pharmacy may only sell marijuana-derived CBD oil to individuals with medical marijuana cards. A patient is also required to have a written recommendation from a certified doctor to purchase medical marijuana(11).

Medical marijuana cards can be obtained only by individuals diagnosed with qualifying conditions.

Since commercial CBD products may not be used to treat or prevent health conditions, medical practitioners are prohibited from issuing prescriptions for non-FDA-approved CBD oil.

Cannabis Laws in Ohio

The state of Ohio has implemented House Bill 523 to revise laws involving marijuana cultivation, sale, and use. The bill established that individuals with qualifying medical conditions may apply to the state’s medical marijuana program(12).

Qualifying conditions must be diagnosed by a state-certified Ohio physician. The physician shall be responsible for creating the applicant’s profile in the patient and caregiver registry.

Individuals with medical marijuana cards may purchase only from licensed dispensaries and possess up to a 90-day supply of marijuana or cannabis products(13).

The Ohio Board of Pharmacy regulates and licenses medical marijuana dispensaries in Ohio. 

Visit www.medicalmarijuana.ohio.gov to learn more about Ohio’s medical marijuana laws, list of licensed dispensaries, and qualifying medical conditions.

CBD Licensing Requirements

Growers are required to apply for a hemp farming license every three years. This regulation does not apply to research organizations or universities that grow and process hemp for scientific studies(14)

Hemp processing in Ohio also requires a license. Aspiring hemp growers and manufacturers are required to pay for the initial application fee and license fee(15).

The Ohio Department of Agriculture is responsible for regulating hemp farming and hemp processing licenses.

According to Senate Bill 57, any individual convicted of a felony involving controlled substances within the last ten years is not eligible for a hemp growing or processing license(16)

Testing Requirements

Ohio law requires growers and manufacturers to test hemp or hemp products using post-decarboxylation or other reliable methods. The tests are conducted to determine component or product compliance according to regulations(17).

The tests involve measuring the delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration levels of hemp plants and hemp-derived products.

The law also requires hemp growers to comply with annual inspections of hemp crop samples. The Ohio Department of Agriculture is allowed to order the disposal of plants or products containing THC exceeding 0.3%(18).

Buying CBD Legally

Although hemp-derived CBD oil has been legalized in Ohio, consumers must beware when they purchase such products.

The certificate of analysis (COA) is a third-party laboratory report that indicates cannabinoid concentration. The lab results also determine if the product is free from contaminants, including pesticides, heavy metals, and other harmful substances.

Consumers must refer to the COA to determine the amount of THC in the products. Any product without an updated COA is not recommended for purchase. 

The COA also verifies if the CBD company has truthful labeling practices. 

The FDA warned several CBD companies for falsely advertising product concentrations. The administration noted that some CBD products do not contain the CBD amount indicated on the label(19).

How to Choose Which CBD Products to Buy

CBD products are regulated by the FDA and state governments. However, regulations do not guarantee that all CBD brands and products are consistent in quality. 

Evaluating the CBD product before purchasing may help in one’s decision-making process. 

Consumers may consider factors, such as third-party accreditations. For example, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) provides a rating system for all processed or imported products.

Researching the CBD company’s BBB rating may provide valuable information regarding ethical business practices, product quality, and customer service(20)

BBB ratings also determine companies’ trust levels among customers who previously purchased their products.

Where to Buy the Best CBD Products Legally

Ohio residents may legally buy CBD oil, tinctures, gummies, vapes, and topicals in the state. CBD products may be found in health food stores, licensed dispensaries, and smoke shops. 

Consumers may also buy from online retailers or buy directly from a brand’s official website.

Consumers may also refer to the Better Business Bureau to find an accredited CBD shop in their area. 

According to the BBB website, the following are well-rated companies and businesses that sell CBD in Ohio(21):

  • Midwest Wellness – 5425 Bethel Sawmill Ctr, Columbus, OH 43235-7204
  • M/I Wellness – 10255 Sawmill Pkwy, Powell, OH 43065-9189
  • CBD 4 Real – 1026 N Holland Sylvania Rd, Toledo, OH 43615-4514
  • Tulip Tree CBD – Cincinnati, OH 45236-3222

Reading Product Labels

Before buying CBD products, consumers must thoroughly evaluate the information on the label. 

Product labels must contain the following:

  • CBD oil type
  • Manufacturer name
  • CBD concentration
  • Serving size or quantity
  • Batch code or ID code
  • Date of manufacturing and expiry
  • Barcode, quick response (QR) code, or website URL for the COA

Checking on the CBD oil type is essential when purchasing the right CBD oil product. Individuals who prefer consuming all the cannabinoids present in hemp plants may opt for full-spectrum CBD oil

Meanwhile, consumers who do not want THC may opt for broad-spectrum CBD oil

Product concentration matters when it comes to the consumer’s experience with CBD.

Individuals taking CBD for the first time must opt for products with a low CBD concentration. Once the body gets used to CBD, one may increase dosing or purchase a more potent variant.

Individuals must practice caution even when the CBD company provides a third-party lab result. Companies must continuously update lab reports for each batch of products.

When checking the certificate of analysis, the report must contain the product name, batch number, extraction type, and lab testing date. 

A label that includes a batch code helps verify if the COA pertains to the specific product. 

Some companies have made their lab results accessible by printing barcodes, QR codes, or website URL on their product labels.

FAQs

What Is CBD Oil?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a compound predominantly found in Cannabis sativa. 

CBD is a non-psychoactive compound studied for its potential therapeutic benefits, such as reducing inflammation, pain, and anxiety(22).

Cannabis is a flowering plant known to contain several cannabinoids, including THC, cannabigerol (CBG), cannabichromene (CBC), and cannabinol (CBN). 

The plant also contains various terpenes, flavonoids, and minerals. 

The compounds in hemp plants are extracted using various methods, such as cold pressing, solvent extraction, or CO2 extraction. 

To create CBD tinctures, manufacturers suspend the compounds in carrier oils, such as olive oil, hemp oil, or medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) oil, a byproduct of coconut or palm oil.

The compounds may also be infused into topical products, gummies, and vape oils.

Some commercial CBD oil products, such as full-spectrum CBD oil, are developed to contain all the compounds found in hemp plants, providing the consumer with the “entourage effect.” 

The term entourage effect suggests that one cannabis compound may not match the therapeutic potential of all the phytochemicals in cannabis when used together(23).

Does CBD Oil Have Health Benefits?

A study posted by The Permanente Journal has shown that CBD may alleviate anxiety and insomnia(24).

Meanwhile, a 2019 review from Molecules indicated that consuming CBD may have anticonvulsant effects, which may alleviate epilepsy symptoms(25).

The FDA has approved an anti-epilepsy drug called Epidiolex, which contains CBD as an active ingredient. Epidiolex has been shown to alleviate convulsions caused by child epilepsy conditions(26).

Furthermore, Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management published a review discussing how CBD’s anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties may be applied to chronic pain management(27)

Commercial CBD oil products are not approved by the FDA. More comprehensive studies are needed to verify CBD’s efficacy in managing health conditions.

Conclusion

Hemp-derived CBD oil with 0.3% THC is legal in Ohio. However, individuals must beware as not all CBD products are compliant with state regulations. 

Purchasing hemp-derived CBD products do not require a prescription or permission from the state.

Meanwhile, CBD products derived from marijuana or contain more than the legal amount of THC are limited to individuals registered with the medical marijuana program.

The state of Ohio has implemented laws to protect citizens from illegal and unsafe CBD products. Still, consumers must be cautious when buying CBD products from retail and online stores.

When looking for good quality products that contain hemp derivatives, individuals must always check the certificate of analysis (COA). The COA may help verify the product’s legality and if it is safe for human and animal consumption.

Consuming CBD may cause side effects, such as diarrhea, dry mouth, sleepiness, and changes in appetite and weight(28). Individuals planning to take CBD must first consult with a licensed physician for advice.

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 11, 2020. State governments may revise hemp and CBD laws without notice.  


  1. 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
  2. Ohio Legislation. Senate Bill 57. Retrieved from https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA133-SB-57
  3. Ohio Medical Marijuana Program. Retrieved from https://www.medicalmarijuana.ohio.gov/faqs
  4. Ohio Legislature. House Bill 523. Retrieved from https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-documents?id=GA131-HB-523
  5. The US Food and Drug Administration. Hemp Production and the 2018 Farm Bill. Op cit.
  6. Drug Enforcement Administration. Implementation of the Agriculture Improvement Act. Retrieved from https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/fed_regs/rules/2020/fr0821.htm
  7. US Food and Drug Administration. FDA Regulation of 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
  8. Ohio Legislature. Senate Bill 57. Retrieved from https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA133-SB-57
  9. Ibid.
  10. Ohio Legislature. House Bill 523. Retrieved from https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-documents?id=GA131-HB-523
  11. Ibid
  12. Ibid
  13. Ibid
  14. Ohio Legislature. Senate Bill 57. Op cit.
  15. Ibid
  16. Ibid
  17. Ibid.
  18. Ibid.
  19. US Food and Drug Administration. Warning Letters and Test Results for Cannabidiol-related Products. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/news-events/public-health-focus/warning-letters-and-test-results-cannabidiol-related-products
  20. Better Business Bureau. Retrieved from https://www.bbb.org/
  21. Better Business Bureau. Accredited CBD Oil Companies. Retrieved from https://www.bbb.org/search?filter_ratings=A&filter_state=AL&find_country=USA&find_entity=81000-800&find_id=81000-800&find_text=CBD%20Oil&find_type=Category&page=1&sort=Distance&touched=1
  22. Russo E. B. (2008). Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain. Therapeutics and clinical risk management, 4(1), 245–259. https://doi.org/10.2147/tcrm.s1928
  23. Russo, E. (2019). The Case for the Entourage Effect and Conventional Breeding of Clinical Cannabis: No “Strain,” No Gain. Frontiers in Plant Science, 9:1969. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30687364/
  24. Shannon, S., Lewis, N., Lee, H., & Hughes, S. (2019). Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series. The Permanente journal, 23, 18–041. https://doi.org/10.7812/TPP/18-041
  25. 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
  26. 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
  27. Russo E. B. (2008). Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain. Therapeutics and clinical risk management, 4(1), 245–259. https://doi.org/10.2147/tcrm.s1928
  28. The Mayo Clinic. Cannabidiol Side Effects. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/expert-answers/is-cbd-safe-and-effective/faq-20446700#:~:text=Though%20it’s%20often%20well%2Dtolerated,dosage%20of%20CBD%20in%20products
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