is hemp oil legal in kentucky

CBD Oil in Kentucky: All You Need to Know About Benefits & Legality

At the time of writing, marijuana is still illegal in the state of Kentucky. However, in February 2020, the House of Representatives successfully passed legislation to create a medical marijuana (MMJ) program in the state.

While this is fantastic news for Kentucky residents, it will likely be some time before the program becomes operational. Even then, it appears that the state will operate one of the strictest MMJ programs around. Stay tuned and we will provide you with more details as they emerge.

Until then, Kentucky residents will have to make do with cannabidiol , CBD, which comes from industrial hemp. Here’s all you need to know about CBD oil in Kentucky.

Legality of CBD Oil in Kentucky

Kentucky has had a long and turbulent relationship with cannabis. Industrial hemp was first cultivated near Danville in 1775 and hemp growing remained an agricultural staple of the region into the 20th century, even as it ceased in neighboring states. According to a USDA report in 1914: “Practically all of the hemp grown in the United States is from seed produced in Kentucky.”

Cannabis probably became popular as a drug in Kentucky in the early 20 th century. Mention of its popularity can be found in a 1930 issue of the Louisville Times; joints are referred to as “loco weed cigarettes.” The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 ensured that weed became illegal across the United States.

While an increased number of states have legalized medical marijuana, Kentucky resisted the pressure for longer than most. However, in March 2014, Senate Bill 124 removed industrial hemp from its definition of marijuana.

CBD itself was also exempted, as long as a patient could prove that a Kentucky public university-affiliated physician prescribed it in written form. However, it was only made available to patients with certain pediatric seizures .

Changing CBD Laws in Kentucky

In 2017, Kentucky’s General Assembly passed Senate Bill 218 and House Bill 333, which were designed to protect the hemp industry. They altered HB 333’s language to the benefit of hemp users. Initially, it included a provision that would require CBD to be approved by the FDA and prescribed by a physician. The language was changed to protect hemp expansion.

SB 218 was a revision of the legal framework enacted by Senate Bill 50 in 2013 and is in alignment with Section 7606 of the 2014 Farm Bill. For the record, SB 50 allowed for the commencement of industrial hemp growing programs in the state.

The Industrial Hemp Farming Act was introduced by Mitch McConnell of Kentucky in March 2018. He announced that Kentucky’s James Comer would introduce a companion bill into the House of Representatives, and Comer did so on April 12.

The Senate and House passed the bill in December 2018 and received the President’s signature on December 20 when it officially became law. The bill legalizes industrial hemp farming and makes it easier to grow high-quality CBD-rich crops .

At present, Kentucky follows the guidelines of the 2014 Farm Bill which only allows the cultivation of hemp with a THC content of less than 0.3%. In other words, CBD oil is now legal in Kentucky, and you don’t need a prescription or the written permission of a doctor.

Why Is CBD Oil Legal in Kentucky, and Not THC?

THC is the most abundant cannabinoid in marijuana and is responsible for the psychoactive effects which opponents of weed say are harmful. CBD taken from industrial hemp contains less than 0.3% THC (and often far less) once the extraction process is complete.

As CBD is non-intoxicating; you won’t feel ‘high,’ nor will you develop side effects such as an increase in anxiety or paranoia . Proponents of CBD say its medical benefits are comparable with those of THC, but there is no high to worry about.

As for why THC provides a high and CBD doesn’t, we need to investigate the human endocannabinoid system (ECS) briefly. The cannabinoids from marijuana and hemp interact with built-in receptors, better known as CB1 and CB2. These receptors control various parts of our body and mind.

While the CB1 receptor mainly interacts with the brain and impacts things such as appetite, coordination, and movement, the CB2 receptor primarily affects the immune system and impacts issues such as pain and inflammation.

THC becomes attached to CB1 receptors in the central nervous system which helps us achieve the psychoactive effect. In contrast, CBD doesn’t attach to either receptor and promotes the release of endocannabinoids in our body.

What Medical Problems Can CBD Oil Treat?

First of all, it is important to point out that there is a wide variety of CBD products available. There are edibles, capsules, and balms that you can purchase online.

CBD oil remains one of the most popular products and normally consists of CBD extracted using supercritical CO2 extraction. It is mixed with an oil, often coconut (MCT) or olive oil, to help consumers absorb the CBD faster.

Before we continue, it is important to note that the positive medical effects associated with CBD come from research data and anecdotal evidence. It is not classified as a medicine, nor is it FDA approved as a medical treatment. Even so, hundreds of thousands of people believe that cannabidiol has helped improved their physical and mental wellbeing.

Here is a list of medical conditions that CBD oil could potentially treat:


One of the most famous CBD cases involved a young girl named Charlotte Figi. She suffers from Dravet Syndrome and had hundreds of seizures each week. Once she used CBD taken from the Charlotte’s Web strain , cultivated by the Stanley Brothers in Colorado, Charlotte’s seizures reduced to the point where she only gets a couple per month at night.

Anxiety disorders:

Many people claim that CBD oil can help reduce stress and treat anxiety. A study by De Mello et al., published in CNS & Neurological Disorders Drug Targets in 2014, showed that CBD exhibited anti-depressant and anti-anxiety effects in animal models.

Pain relief:

Individuals with chronic pain swear by CBD’s analgesic properties. Back in 2008, Ethan Russo concluded that “the future for cannabinoid therapeutics appears very bright indeed” in an issue of Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management. He cited numerous studies that showed the impact of cannabidiol as a painkiller .

You could include one of the three issues above as a symptom for dozens of conditions, which means that CBD is a versatile treatment. Consumers also use CBD to treat:

  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)
  • Cancer
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Hepatitis C
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Tourette Syndrome
  • Ulcerative Colitis

How to Obtain CBD Oil in Kentucky, & How to Use It

Thanks to the change in federal law regarding the Farm Bill of 2018, industrial hemp is legal to grow and use in most places across the United States.

Up until very recently, you needed the written permission of a physician affiliated with a university to attain CBD oil. However, as long as the oil comes from industrial hemp and contains practically no THC, you shouldn’t have an issue finding it now.

The CBD industry is new and unregulated, which means there is a lot of low-quality fare online. We recommend focusing on the handful of companies that have developed a trustworthy reputation.

As for how much you take, that depends on factors such as your existing state of health, what you’re taking the CBD for, and even how much you weigh.

For example, you need more CBD to treat epilepsy than to reduce pain, and a 240-pound individual will, on average, need more CBD than a 160-pound person to achieve the same effect.

Whatever the dosage, hold the oil beneath your tongue for up to 60 seconds. This helps to increase bioavailability – a fancy way of saying it increases the potency of the oil.

Final Thoughts on CBD Oil in Kentucky & Where to Buy

Recent events have opened up the CBD market in Kentucky. Louisville has more than a dozen places where you can indulge in CBD. There are several Saffire Vapor Retail Stores alone in the state capital. There is also a multitude of stores in towns such as Owensboro, Lexington, Bowling Green, and Bardstown.

You can visit these physical stores if you don’t want to purchase it online. But if you would prefer to buy CBD from the comfort of your home, check out the list of reputable online suppliers we have assembled below. PureKana, for example, uses hemp that is grown and harvested in Kentucky!

Here is everything you need to know about CBD oil in Kentucky, including legalities, where to buy, and how to use it safely.

Is CBD oil legal in Kentucky?

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  1. What is CBD?
  2. Why is CBD sometimes illegal?
  3. Kentucky CBD laws
  4. Where to buy CBD in Kentucky
  5. How to read CBD labels and packaging

Hemp is a crop that connects Kentucky’s past with its future. In the 18th century, Kentucky was one of the largest suppliers of hemp in the United States until the 1930s, when both hemp and cannabis were criminalized. Following the 2014 Farm Bill, Kentucky reinstated hemp as a crop and has since developed a robust industrial hemp pilot program.

Non-psychoactive CBD was first legalized in Kentucky in 2014 for eligible patients under SB 124. The bill made no provision for the sale or production of CBD outside medical contexts. In 2017, hemp-derived CBD products with 0.3% THC or less became legal for all consumers in Kentucky.

Kentucky has no medical cannabis program at present. Adult-use cannabis is illegal. The possession of small amounts of cannabis has been decriminalized in Jefferson County and Louisville.

What is CBD?

CBD is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid found in cannabis and the second-most prominent in the plant after THC, which is largely responsible for producing an intoxicating high. CBD can be sourced either from marijuana or hemp plants and has a wide range of potential therapeutic benefits.

CBD stands for cannabidiol, a non-intoxicating substance found in cannabis. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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To date, researchers have identified a number of potential applications linked to CBD, including anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-anxiety, and anti-seizure properties. Further, the chemical has shown promise in treating numerous health conditions, including seizure disorders, mood disorders such as depression, anxiety, and psychosis, chronic pain, and many more.

Most raw cannabis strains on the market today contain small amounts of CBD, especially compared with THC. But since the cannabinoid has gained considerable attention for its wide range of purported therapeutic benefits, more high-CBD strains have recently been cultivated.

Why is CBD sometimes illegal?

All types of cannabis, including hemp strains that don’t produce enough THC to cause intoxication, were considered illegal under the Federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970. The law categorized all cannabis as Schedule 1, which defined the plant as a highly addictive substance with a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use.

The 2018 Farm Bill re-classified hemp as an agricultural commodity and made its cultivation federally legal. Further, the act removed some forms of cannabis from Schedule 1 status by creating a legal distinction between hemp and marijuana. Hemp is cannabis with less than 0.3% THC, and marijuana refers to cannabis with more than 0.3% THC. This distinction in federal law effectively legalized CBD that is derived from cannabis with less than 0.3% THC, as long as it has been cultivated according to federal and state regulations.

The 2018 Farm Bill legislation does not mean that CBD derived from hemp is universally legal throughout the United States. According to the Farm Bill, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has the power to regulate CBD product labeling, including therapeutic claims and the use of CBD as a food additive.

The FDA has declared that even hemp-derived CBD may not legally be added to food and beverages, or marketed as a dietary supplement. Although the organization has begun to re-evaluate some of its stances on legal CBD products, the FDA has not revised its regulations. The agency also has been strict in its position against any labeling that could be perceived as a medical claim about CBD.

In addition to the federal regulation of CBD, the Farm Bill also gave states the option to regulate and prohibit the cultivation and commerce of CBD. States may also regulate CBD in food, beverages, dietary supplements, and cosmetic products independently, even before the FDA finalizes its policies.

Kentucky CBD laws

Kentucky residents may legally purchase and consume hemp-derived CBD products on the provision that the product contains no more than 0.3% THC or other cannabinoids. Hemp-derived CBD cannot be sold in flower form.

In 2014, hemp cultivation was legalized with the passage of the 2014 Farm Bill. In that same year, 2014, Gov. Steve Beshear signed SB 124, a law that allowed eligible patients to access hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) products with a physician’s written order. CBD derived from cannabis is illegal in Kentucky for medicinal purposes. Two bills proposing the creation of a medicinal cannabis framework were passed over in 2015.

The 2014 Farm Bill catalyzed the creation of Kentucky’s industrial hemp pilot program, with regulations drafted and overseen by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA). In 2017, Kentucky lawmakers passed HB 333, which broadly legalized the consumption and retail sale of hemp and hemp-derived CBD products that contain 0.3% THC or less.

In April 2018, Kentucky legislators published HCR35 in 2018 before the Farm Bill was signed into law, urging the FDA to remove hemp from the definition of marijuana and its Schedule 1 classification. When the 2018 Farm Bill passed, Kentucky lawmakers approved HB 197 to align the state’s definition of industrial hemp with that of the federal government.

There is no specific legislation in Kentucky regarding the use of CBD in food or beverages.

Licensing requirements for CBD

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) is responsible for the management and oversight of the state’s hemp program. The 2020 growing season will see Kentucky shift from its research pilot program to full commercial hemp production under its USDA approved state hemp plan.

Only license holders registered with the KDA can grow hemp. Home cultivation of hemp without a license, or of cannabis with greater than 0.3% THC content, is illegal. Those interested in applying for a license to grow hemp must supply a criminal background check. To qualify for a license, the applicant must have no felony convictions or drug-related misdemeanors dated within the past ten years.

Farmers participating in the program must use seeds provided by an educational institution with a DEA license and use varieties expected to be low in THC. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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Farmers participating in the program must use seeds provided by an educational institution with a DEA license and use varieties expected to be low in THC. The state tests a sample of each licensed farmer’s hemp crop. The lab test results must confirm that the final product contains no more than 0.3% THC content. Growers and processors are required by law to save their lab test results to ensure their availability to the KDA and law enforcement officials for a minimum of three years.

Kentucky CBD possession limits

The possession of any amount of CBD is legal in Kentucky on the condition that the product contains less than 0.3% THC by weight.

CBD derived from cannabis is illegal, even for medical patients. Possession of up to eight ounces of cannabis can lead to 45 days in prison and a $250 fine, while a subsequent offense of fewer than eight ounces may result in a felony charge, 1 to 5 years in prison, and a maximum $10,000 fine. Cannabis possession of more than eight ounces results in increased imprisonment.

Where to buy CBD in Kentucky

Kentucky residents can legally purchase hemp-derived CBD products in stores and online, as long as the product contains no more than 0.3% THC. Consumers can find CBD products at CBD-specific stores and grocers such as Whole Foods or Walgreens.

When purchasing from a brick and mortar shop, particularly if the store specializes in CBD, you can typically receive guidance from an employee. Explain what you’re looking for, your reasons for consuming CBD, and they can point you in the right direction.

When it comes to online sales, CBD is most frequently found on brand-specific websites. You can also find verified CBD brands on Weedmaps. Reputable brands will generally provide you with essential product details, including the form of the CBD (such as oil, capsules, topicals, tinctures, etc.), the quantity of CBD the product contains, the other chemicals or ingredients present in the product, and more.

To meet federal legal criteria, CBD oil must contain no more than 0.3 percent THC. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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While many online checkout systems support US-based CBD sellers, some companies like Paypal consider CBD a “restricted business” and don’t support online sales. Confirm the websites’ checkout system before purchasing CBD online.

How to read CBD labels and packaging

The 2018 Farm Bill shifted the oversight of hemp and hemp-derived products from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA does not presently allow CBD-infused food, drinks, or dietary supplements to be sold, and hasn’t yet provided regulations for hemp-derived CBD products.

Still, the agency warns that regulations in flux still require companies to make legitimate claims on their labels. Buyers should nonetheless approach CBD products with caution. A CBD product should clearly state what kind of CBD is used. Full-spectrum CBD oil means the extract contains cannabis-derived terpenes and trace amounts of cannabinoids such as THC. Broad-spectrum also includes other cannabis compounds but has had THC removed during the processing phase. CBD isolate is a pure crystalline powder containing only CBD.

Most reputable CBD producers typically include the following information on their CBD product labels:

  • Amount of active CBD per serving.
  • Supplement Fact panel, including other ingredients.
  • Net weight.
  • Manufacturer or distributor name.
  • Suggested use.
  • Full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or isolate.
  • Batch or date code.

Is CBD oil legal in Kentucky? Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents What is CBD? Why is CBD sometimes illegal? Kentucky CBD laws Where to