Did the DEA Remove CBD from Schedule I?

| “Has the DEA finally removed CBD from its list of banned Schedule I substances?”

You’ve likely seen some headlines by now that the federal government has finally “rescheduled” CBD, and has removed it once and for all from the DEA’s list of banned drugs. While this is true to an extent, there is (as you might expect), a little more to the story.

In this article, we go over everything you need to know about the recent legal updates on CBD, it’s current status as Schedule I, and how the DEA currently views products like hemp-based CBD oil.

What is CBD, Anyway?

For those that are still not quite sure what CBD is, it’s basically a natural component of cannabis that possesses most of the health benefits of marijuana, but doesn’t get you high.

Over the last few years people of all ages and social types have been using products like CBD-infused creams, CBD edibles, and CBD oils for relief things like pain, anxiety, and sleep disorders.

| “Over the last few years, people of all ages have been using CBD for things like pain, anxiety, insomnia, and depression.”

However, given the open market that the products are sold in (which is largely unregulated at the moment), the quality, purity, and effectiveness of CBD can differ wildly.

That being said, the medicinal and therapeutic properties of CBD are undeniable, especially given the recent FDA-approval of Epidiolex – a new prescription epilepsy medication that uses CBD extract as the active ingredient.

If CBD Doesn’t Get You High, Then Why is it Illegal?

The major confusion regarding the legal status of CBD simply comes down to the fact that it is an extract of the cannabis plant. According to the federal government, cannabis is an illicit Schedule I substance with no medicinal value.

However, legal proceedings back in 2009 and 2014 led many to believe that as long as the CBD compound is extracted from hemp, and has less than 0.3% THC (the component that gets you high), then it is legal to sell, ship, and possess in the US.

Depending on who you talk to, this may or may not be the case.

According to well-known Colorado attorney Garrett Graff, for instance, CBD that is produced under the U.S. Farm Bill is “not subject to the DEA’s authority”:

“The court case found that there is differing legislation between the Farm Bill and the DEA’s illegal scheduling of hemp… but when there is a conflict between the two, the Farm Bill “wins.”

In other words, it would appear that the federal government does not have jurisdiction to outlaw the possession of hemp-based CBD products that have less than 0.3% THC.

| “It would appear that the federal government does not have jurisdiction to outlaw the possession of hemp-based CBD products, as long as it contains less than 0.3% THC.”

Whatever the “official” legal status is on CBD, it’s clear that the DEA is not making the substance a high priority. Products like CBD oil and CBD gummy bears are currently being sold online and in smoke shops across the country, and we have yet to hear of anyone getting arrested for its use or possession. In fact, DEA spokesperson Rusty Payne recently made the following statement on the legal status of CBD:

“Does that mean we’re going to come in and search warrant your house [if you possess CBD oil]? No, we’ve got bigger fish to fry. We are in the midst of an opioid epidemic. I think people think [CBD] is high on the priority list right now. It is not.”

So is CBD still Schedule I, or not? What changes did the DEA make?

On October 1, 2018, the DEA issued what’s known as a “Final Order” on the Scheduling status of Epidiolex. In the Order, it was declared that “FDA-approved drugs that contain CBD derived from cannabis and no more than 0.1 percent tetrahydrocannabinols [THC] … are now in Schedule V of the Controlled Substances Act.”

In other words, nothing but Epidiolex has been removed from Schedule I — CBD is still an illicit (and illegal) substance, according to the federal government.

| “The only substance that has been removed from Schedule I is Epidiolex – [any other form of] CBD is still an illegal substance, according to the federal government.”

Is this odd – and unfair – considering that the active medicinal ingredient in Epidiolex is CBD? If Epidiolex is rescheduled, doesn’t it seem like all CBD products should be rescheduled?

In our opinion, yes. But remember that the DEA has made it clear they have no intentions of seeking criminal punishment for those who use, sell, or possess hemp-based CBD products. In all likelihood, CBD will continue to be extracted from cannabis and sold in all 50 U.S. states, regardless of specific state-by-state marijuana laws.

| “The DEA has made it clear they have no intentions of seeking criminal punishment for those who use, sell, or possess hemp-based CBD products.”


Is CBD still an illegal Schedule I substance?Technically, yes. The only thing that has been rescheduled is “FDA-approved drugs” that contain CBD. In other words, Epidiolex is the only thing that has been rescheduled from Schedule I to Schedule V.
Can I still buy CBD oil and other CBD products online and in stores?Yes.
I live in a state where cannabis is not legal. Am I going to get arrested if I buy – or use – CBD oil?Probably not.
Will my package get confiscated if I buy CBD oil online?   Probably not – but it has happened before.

(Want to learn more about CBD or check out our personal picks for the best CBD oils of 2018? Visit our updated consumer review right here!)