Is CBD Flower Legal? Let’s Look At State & Federal Laws

In this article, we’re going to cover the question, “Is CBD flower legal?”

The short answer is: federally, it’s legal. But several states have made it either illegal or a gray area.

So let’s look into the details, like what differentiates CBD from THC, what CBD does, state law versus federal law, and drug testing.

Key Takeaways

  • CBD hemp flower is legal at the Federal level under the 2018 Farm Bill
  • Some states have instituted CBD laws banning the flower for consumption
  • Other state laws attempted to ban CBD flower, but it’s in a legal limbo

Absolutely yes, at the Federal level.

But smoking hemp isn’t going to do much for you. You want the CBD flower from the hemp plant. That’s where the plant concentrates all of the good stuff.

The hemp plant is any Cannabis sativa plant with less than 0.3% concentration of THC. This was originally determined in the 2018 Farm Bill, but since then, several states have amended it to be any THC, not just Delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabidiol. There are other THC compounds like Delta-8. That may sound basically the same to you and me, but it’s slightly chemically different. Hence the legal fussing.

Is Industrial Hemp the Same as Marijuana?

Nope. Industrial hemp is not the same as marijuana. It’s a fiber crop. It historically was used to make cloth and paper. Proponents of industrial hemp argue that the fiber is tougher and lasts longer than cotton with similar properties. Marijuana is grown for the THC content of the flower.

While they’re technically the same plant, it’d be like asking if a chihuahua is the same as a great dane. Sure, they’re both dogs. But they have been bred for very different purposes.

CBD versus THC

You’ll see these percentages on the flower, vape oil, edibles, etc., at your local dispensary.

THC is a psychoactive compound. It makes you high. Plant breeders are developing different profiles and levels of THC to get different effects for the high.

For example, you might ask your budtender for recommendations on getting flower that’s great for “melting into the couch while listening to your favorite band” type of high. Or you might want something that will make the world a little more vivid while doing some gardening.

Of course, every person is slightly different, so it’s a try-it-and-fine-tune sort of situation.

CBD binds in your brain with the endocannabinoid system. While remaining sober, you can relax, reduce anxiety, potentially minimize pain, and the like.

What is CBD Flower? 

CBD flower is the flower of the hemp plant or Cannabis sativa.

It looks just like a marijuana flower. A dense, green, fuzzy bud, often with orange or white hairs. CBD buds have no psychoactive effects. 

What does CBD flower look like?

You can’t smoke it right off the plant. It needs to go through a curing and drying process first, just like THC-focused cannabis.

The plant concentrates most of the CBD here, which is why people put the bud or flower in their joint, bong, or vape instead of the stems or leaves of the plant.

When you smoke CBD flower, you’re getting full-spectrum CBD. It has all of the other compounds that create entourage effects. Some people prefer the synergistic effects of full-spectrum CBD. Others stick to CBD-isolate, which is usually found in oils. 

This article looks at the differences between hemp and marijuana.

State Law vs. Federal Law

So while Federal law sets the benchmark, states are allowed to adjust legality within their borders.

Is CBD flower legal?

Since it defaults to legal, here’s the list of states that have banned hemp:

  • Idaho
  • Mississippi
  • New Hampshire
  • South Dakota
  • Washington DC

Now, there are another handful of states where the legality of CBD flower has some gray area regulations. These laws are constantly changing, so it’d be wise to see if there are any updates from your local laws or the respective court decisions.


CBD flower is legal. However, it cannot be sold in food. So no CBD edibles here, but oils are okay.


Indiana had a good try at banning smokable hemp buds. A Federal judge told them to kick rocks since it was a law enforcement problem if they couldn’t distinguish smokable hemp from cannabis.


Only hemp-based CBD oil is allowed. Smokable CBD products were banned in 2020.


Hemp products are okay. Smokable hemp got singled out and banned.


CBD edibles, tinctures, and topical products are allowed.


All products must go through state-mandated testing.


Hemp-derived CBD is okay. Cannabis-derived CBD is not.

Does hemp flower show up on a drug test? 

Most drug tests do not screen for CBD. If your hemp flower is properly tested and labeled, it should not show up.

The >0.3% concentration of THC should not show up in drug tests either. However, I wouldn’t go smoke a bunch of CBD flower right before a drug test to calm my nerves.

What Does Hemp Flower Do?

Most people take it for its calming effects. It can produce anti-anxiety effects, relaxation, promote sleep, and even help with pain management. It also has anti-inflammatory properties.

One randomized controlled medical trial found that consuming cannabidiol (CBD) can help cigarette smokers reduce their tobacco consumption.

There is a ton of anecdotal information available about a long list of things CBD via hemp flower can help with. The same effects can also be found in CBD oils, edibles, and the like. 

As seems to be the case recently in finding medical evidence, we need more studies.

That being said, here’s what we know about some of the compounds within the cannabis plant.


Terpenes and terpenoids are generally good things to consume. They tend to have the following properties:

  • Anticancer
  • Antimicrobial
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antioxidant
  • Antiallergic

Not bad, right?


Flavonoids come in a bunch of different varieties. This Healthline article explains it quite well.

In generic terms, they come from fruits, veggies, and other plants (like hemp). They are the superstars of the antioxidant world.

Can You Get High From Hemp Flower?

You cannot get high from hemp flower products. Unless it’s horribly mislabeled, there should be negligible THC in it. THC is a psychoactive compound that creates the high feeling. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a non-psychoactive compound. Even high amounts of CBD will not produce a high feeling. 

Will Smoking CBD Flower Affect My Life Insurance?

As long as you aren’t smoking anything else, smoking CBD has no effect on your life insurance.

Insurance companies care about smoking tobacco. That can jump your premiums up 50-100%. Most will auto-decline smoking THC cannabis. These 12 cannabis-friendly companies won’t penalize you, depending on how frequently you smoke.

For more information about the life insurance drug test, read this article explaining what chemicals it looks for.

CBD is not tested for and not asked about—no need to worry about it. But if you want to be triple sure, you can always ask your agent or give us a call at (888) 987-8447, and we can do an anonymous pre-screen with an underwriter just to be sure.

Final Thoughts

Hemp flower is one way to consume full-spectrum CBD. However, with the legality no-no in some states and gray areas with changing laws in others, it may be wise to use oils or topicals instead. 

Smokable hemp flower is permitted by the Federal government through the 2018 Farm Bill. But it’s always a good idea to double-check your state’s regulations or get legal advice, as the laws like to shift with little warning.