is cannabis oil legal in north carolina

CBD Oil In North Carolina

Medical marijuana continues to garner more and more support across the United States. As such, laws are changing left right and center. Many people, in fact, feel that it is only a matter of time before all forms of cannabis (and their extracts) become legal across the world.

That said, it is clear that some U.S. states are more generous than others in terms of cannabis laws. Unfortunately, North Carolina remains on the “stricter” side of the fence in this regard. The state no doubt has some of the tightest and most zero-tolerance marijuana laws in the country.

In 2014, however, a real-life story emerged of a young girl named Haley Ward. Details of the girl’s story prompted North Carolina to pass House Bill 1220, otherwise known as the Epilepsy Alternative Treatment Act. This bill allows children with various forms of epilepsy to use cannabis extract to help control their condition.

In this article, we go over everything you need to know about CBD oil in North Carolina. We’ll discuss how to get it if you (or your child) is a qualifying patient, what some of the legal restrictions are, and what you can do if you do not qualify for CBD use, but still want to acquire and use some form of hemp extract.

What Is Cannabidiol (CBD)?

First, let’s go over what exactly CBD is in terms of how it’s affiliated with the cannabis plant. Then we can discuss legislation and the legal framework surrounding CBD in North Carolina.

In recent years, researchers all over the globe have been focusing their efforts on cannabidiol – the scientific name for CBD. It appears that CBD displays many of the therapeutic and medicinal capacities of cannabis, without providing any of the high.

Basically, there are two primary components of cannabis in terms of the plant’s medicinal use to humans: THC and CBD. THC is the compound that provides the mind-altering, stereotypical marijuana high. It is the sole reason for cannabis illegality over the past 80+ years.

CBD, on the other hand, has zero psychoactive (mind-altering) properties. It also maintains most of the primary therapeutic effects of the cannabis plant. From a global report issued by the World Health Organization, CBD is “safe, well-tolerated, and not associated with any significant adverse public health effects.”

The Importance of Scientific Evidence

Dozens of studies have come out within the last decade or so showcasing the potential medicinal effects of CBD. CBD displays properties as:

  • An anti-inflammatory
  • An anti-depressant
  • An antioxidant
  • An antipsychotic
  • An anxiolytic (anxiety-reliever)
  • And an anti-carcinogenic

As a result of these findings, CBD is becoming increasingly popular. Physician-recommended treatment is now even taking place for rare forms of epilepsy. CBD is also used to help moderate treatment-related symptoms of:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Chronic Pain
  • Cancer
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Glaucoma
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • ADHD

Living in North Carolina? Explore How CBD Works

There have been hundreds of studies done on marijuana and its cannabinoids to find out how it works with our bodies, and if it is safe to consume. And while some states are still unconvinced, the science speaks for itself, as there have been no recorded deaths as a result of cannabis.

From this research, we now know that when consumed, CBD interacts with an internal molecular system in our bodies called the endocannabinoid system , or ECS. The ECS is in charge of our body’s homeostasis, which basically means that it regulates most of our bodily functions to keep things healthy, balanced, and working in sync. From our body temperature to the way we feel pain, it plays a part in almost everything.

When CBD enters our body, it works with receptors in the ECS to encourage an increase in the production of naturally-occurring cannabinoids that play such a crucial part in our health. It is for this reason that CBD can work for so many conditions.

CBD In North Carolina: What You Need to Know

The legal language surrounding CBD and its various forms is still pretty cloudy. There are different types of the compound depending on whether it comes from industrial hemp (which many companies claim is legal), or actual medical marijuana (which is still illegal on a federal level).

In many states, quality CBD is extremely easy to get hold of and even recommended by some physicians and professional health practitioners. As such, it is a real shame that other states (such as North Carolina) remain so strict with their laws.

While CBD derived from hemp is available in North Carolina, the state has outlined a specific process for how you can go about legally obtaining cannabis-extracted oils.

Basically, in order to legally use CBD in North Carolina, your child (or otherwise a child you look after) has to be diagnosed with an intractable form of epilepsy “for which other treatment options have not been effective.” As a caregiver, you will need to fill out this form and mail it in along with supporting documents to:

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services

Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services

3008 Mail Service Center

Raleigh, NC 27699-3008

A Brief History of CBD in North Carolina

As we mentioned earlier, back in 2014 the state of North Carolina took its very first step in cannabis-based legislation by passing House Bill 1220, otherwise known as the Epilepsy Alternative Treatment Act.

The law was passed to allow medically-diagnosed children with some forms of epilepsy to use hemp-derived CBD oil, as long as the oil had a THC content below 0.9% and CBD levels of at least 5%.

Amendments to the initial legislation currently make CBD oil more accessible for qualifying children, as they no longer have to participate in a pilot study program (as per the Epilepsy Alternative Treatment Act).

Be advised however that we are currently not aware of any doctors in North Carolina who are seeing patients under the Epilepsy Alternative Treatment Act. In fact, there have been news articles of pediatricians in the state cutting ties with patients who use CBD oil to treat epilepsy and other conditions.

Current Legislation on CBD Oil in North Carolina

As it stands, there has been very little movement for CBD in North Carolina since the 2015 amendments. In fact, the current law leaves a lot to be desired for many residents of the state – particularly adults who wish to use legal CBD oil to treat a variety of medical ailments.

Possession of even 0.5 oz of cannabis (not specifically CBD oil) or less can still earn you a misdemeanor criminal penalty charge in the state, although potential jail time for this amount has been lifted. (You can, however, still go to prison for possession of more than 0.5 oz).

So as a North Carolina resident, what are your options in terms of acquiring legal CBD oil?

Let’s take a look.

How to Get CBD Oil if You Are a Resident of North Carolina

To be clear, we are NOT stating that it is legal to buy, possess, or use CBD oil without medical certification in the state of North Carolina. As per current legislation, CBD is only legal under doctor-recommended use for instances of intractable pediatric epilepsy.

That said, it appears that state laws do not coincide with federal laws on hemp products. The Agricultural Act of 2018 (the U.S. Farm Bill) legalizes industrial hemp, which is the source material for many CBD products.

There are several high-quality American CBD manufacturers that claim to operate legally under the Agricultural Act. Many of these brands ship to all 50 U.S. states, including North Carolina.

Again, however, as a resident of North Carolina, we are not stating that it is legal for you to buy CBD oil online from one of these sellers, regardless of the “legal language” of the Farm Bill or the claims that are made on the company’s website.

A Murky Situation…

All we can say is (as mentioned earlier) many of these companies frequently ship to North Carolina without issue, and many residents of the state are currently using online-purchased CBD oil without problem.

Moreover, it is our understanding that various health food stores and vape shops across the state are still openly selling CBD oil products. Again, however, these do not appear to be technically legal under state law.

In fact, a story surfaced not too long ago about the owners of a Concord vape/tobacco shop who were arrested on marijuana possession charges, simply for selling bottles of CBD oil in their store. It is unclear whether the charges remained, or if the case was dropped.

If you do decide to purchase CBD oil online and have it shipped to your home in North Carolina, remember that you are doing so at your own discretion, and we are not responsible for any potential penalties or infractions. (If you have any additional questions, feel free to comment below or contact us via our Facebook page ).

Also, in terms of which CBD oils to purchase if you do decide to go the online route, be advised that due to the current unregulated nature of the cannabis industry, there are a lot of sub-par, even potentially dangerous products out there that contain harsh chemicals.

We have completed a few thorough reviews over the years from various CBD oil manufacturers. One of our recent guides may be a good place to start if you’re considering trying to find an oil that will work for you and your condition.

Final Thoughts on CBD oil in North Carolina

As you can see, North Carolina is not yet fully on board with medical marijuana. This is unfortunate for many residents of the state who wish to experience the powerful healing effects of cannabis , and CBD in particular. That being said, while buying CBD oil in North Carolina may not be as straightforward as it is in other states, you do have options. Even if the legislation or legal language is still a bit cloudy.

We hope that in the near future, North Carolina catches up with the times. We hope the state allows people to utilize the compound’s massive health benefits. CBD provides many healing properties, and all should have access to this natural compound.

If you're looking to use Cannabis but live in N.C, you've probably run into a dead end. Here's what you need to know about CBD oil in North Carolina.


North Carolina

Is weed legal in North Carolina?

No. Both medical and adult-use marijuana are illegal in the state. CBD extract with less than 0.9% THC and at least 5% CBD by weight is allowed for patients with intractable epilepsy. It’s only legal to possess it in the state; patients and caregivers must obtain it outside state lines.

A first offense of possession of 0.5 ounce of cannabis or less or 0.2 ounce of hash or less is a Class C misdemeanor , which is punishable by a maximum fine of $200. Larger amounts and subsequent offenses may carry more severe penalties.

Legislative history

Gov. Pat McCrory signed HB 1220 , the Epilepsy Alternative Treatment Act, into law in 2014. HB 1220 granted access to low-THC hemp extract to patients diagnosed with intractable epilepsy.

In July 2015, HB 1220 was amended by HB 766 , which increased the allowed amount of THC from 0.3% to 0.9% and decreased the required CBD amount from 10% to 5%. It also expanded the number of qualified physicians, increased the number of certified hospitals, and removed the requirement that patients be children.

Where is it safe to purchase?

North Carolina does not have a state-regulated supply chain or any other state-sponsored method of obtaining hemp oil extract. Caregivers must purchase hemp oil extract in a state that offers reciprocity.

Where is it safe to consume?

North Carolina has not placed limits or restrictions on patient consumption.


The DHHS forbids the cultivation of cannabis or the production of hemp oil extract for any reason within North Carolina.

Medical CBD program overview

North Carolina allows patients with intractable epilepsy and their caregivers to possess and consume CBD extract with less than 0.9% THC and at least 5% CBD by weight. The patients must be diagnosed by and have a written statement from a state-licensed, board certified neurologist who is affiliated with the neurology department of a state-licensed hospital.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is responsible for regulatory oversight of the Epilepsy Alternative Treatment Act program, and for enrolling registered patients and caregivers in the program. Patients must appoint a caregiver to obtain the extract. No registry card is required for patients. There is no minimum age for patients who can participate in the program, though caregivers must be at least 18 years old.

Caregiver requirements

Though the law no longer requires that patients be children, it specifies that only caregivers are allowed to possess CBD extract. Caregivers must be at least 18 years old and must be a permanent resident of North Carolina. Only a parent, legal guardian, or custodian of a person with intractable epilepsy is eligible to be a registered caregiver.

Once all materials have been submitted, and the application has been processed, caregivers will receive a letter from the DHHS authorizing their approval. Caregivers must carry this letter with them when in possession of hemp extract within North Carolina. They must also carry or keep near the CBD extract a certificate of analysis for the extract that shows it meets the state’s standards.

Application process:

  1. Obtain a written statement from a state-licensed neurologist affiliated with a state-licensed hospital.
  2. Submit a valid North Carolina ID card or driver’s license to show proof of age and residency.
  3. Complete and submit a written caregiver’s application .


There is currently no lab testing required by the state.


How long before medical marijuana is legal in North Carolina?

While we can’t predict the future, we do know that North Carolinans can’t petition to get an medical marijuana initiative added to the ballot. Any path to legalize marijuana would have to go through the state legislature.

What would it take to make weed legal in NC?

Unlike in other states that have legalized cannabis for medical or recreational use, North Carolina residents can’t petition to get an medical marijuana initiative added to the ballot.

What agency in NC enforces marijuana laws?

Marijuana enforcement happens at the local level. City police officers or county sheriffs typically make marijuana arrests though state highway patrol officers (troopers) may also arrest people suspected of possession, consumption, or trafficking. After arrest, trials usually take place in local courts.

What are the laws on the cultivation of marijuana in North Carolina?

Marijuana is illegal in North Carolina so cultivation is also illegal. Farmers can grow hemp with less than 0.3% THC if they are licensed by the state Department of Agriculture.

The information contained in this site is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice.

This page was last updated November 11, 2020.

View the cannabis & CBD laws & regulations for North Carolina.