How Old Do You Have to Be to Buy CBD?

Sophia Delphi May 23, 2022 - 9 min read
Fact Checked
Shopping cart with CBD oil

CBD has become nearly as common as vitamin D when it comes to supplementation. It’s natural, safe, non-toxic, and non-intoxicating. But most importantly, it offers a plethora of health benefits.

You can see CBD products in many health stores. They’re also found online in abundance.

The question is, how old do you have to be to buy CBD oil? After all, it’s an extract derived from cannabis plants.

The legal age for buying CBD in the United States depends on the source of your CBD products — whether they come from hemp or marijuana.

Before we tell you how old you have to be to buy CBD, let’s take a look at the current legal status of this cannabinoid and its derivatives.

Is CBD Legal? Laws and Legality

Again, that depends on where CBD was extracted from.

In 2018, the United States witnessed the legalization of industrial hemp when President Trump signed the amended Farm Bill, legalizing all parts of the plant, including the flowers, stalks, and leaves — but also all its cannabinoids, extracts, and derivatives, such as isomers, acids, salts, etc.

The only condition is that hemp plants can’t contain more than 0.3% of THC per dry weight. Anything above that concentration is considered marijuana and regulated differently.

In short, CBD that comes from industrial hemp is legal at the federal level and you can buy them in all 50 states.

Marijuana-derived CBD, on the other hand, remains federally illegal, with 17 states that have legalized it for recreational use.

So, if you live in one of those states, you may consider yourself lucky because you have access to the whole spectrum of CBD products.

Conclusion? Always check your local state laws to confirm current regulations surrounding CBD. Even states where the cannabinoid is technically legal may impose their own restrictions on its availability.

How Old Are You Required to Be Able to Legally Buy CBD

The answer boils down to which product you want to use.

Generally speaking, you don’t have to be of legal age to buy CBD as long as it comes from hemp. The 2018 Farm Bill allows people of all ages — including minors — to purchase different hemp-derived CBD products.

As long as they have 0.3% or less THC, you’re in the clear.

There’s also no limit to the amount of CBD a person can buy per transaction.

However, federal law doesn’t allow minors to buy and use inhalable or smokable CBD products.

If a minor requires marijuana-derived CBD with legal THC content, their legal guardian must apply on their behalf to their state’s medical-marijuana program. The minor will receive a medical marijuana card from their healthcare provider after being diagnosed with one of their state’s qualifying medical conditions.

After completing the procedure, the minor’s legal guardian may purchase marijuana-derived CBD products from a cannabis dispensary.

Common Forms of CBD & Their Legal Limits

There are many different forms of CBD out there.

The most popular category is hands down CBD oils and tinctures. They are placed under the tongue for about one minute before swallowing. This method ensures faster and more effective absorption of CBD because it bypasses the first-pass metabolism in the liver.

Oral CBD products, such as edibles or capsules, have a delayed onset and lower bioavailability than CBD oils. That’s because the CBD needs to travel through the liver before entering the bloodstream. On the other hand, the effects of edibles and capsules last longer than oils.

Topical CBD is the third category. It covers products like creams, balms, gels, salves, lotions, and virtually any CBD product that you can apply to the skin. These products work better for localized relief, such as normal muscle aches or flare-ups from an intense workout.

These three forms of CBD don’t have any age limits.

For inhalable and smokable products, you have to be of a certain age in order to purchase them.

Age Requirement When Buying CBD Vapes and Pre-rolls

Since December 20, 2019, the minimum age for buying vapes and smokeable products has been increased from 18 to 21 years of age.

It’s now forbidden for retailers of both vape (including CBD vapes) and tobacco products to sell them to minors under 21.

The law also requires vendors to verify their client’s IDs to ensure they’re of legal age to buy CBD vape pens and liquids.

Can Children Legally Use CBD Without Parental Consent?

When it comes to marijuana-derived CBD, minors can access it only under their parents’ supervision when they’re registered with their state’s medical-marijuana program. Having a medical marijuana card allows their parents to buy marijuana-derived CBD with higher levels of THC.

They must receive a diagnosis with one of their state’s qualifying conditions, and their parents (or a caretaker) must take care of their CBD use.

Hemp-derived CBD products don’t require a parent’s consent as long as they contain 0.3% THC or less.

Of course, except for inhalable products.

Hemp-derived CBD is generally considered safe for children. According to a study that analyzed the efficacy of CBD for epilepsy, children can safely take up to 20 mg of CBD per kilogram of their body weight daily.

That being said, parents should observe the minor’s CBD use and make sure the product comes from a reputable source that provides batch-specific lab reports on its potency and purity. This is to make sure the product doesn’t contain more than 0.3% THC and isn’t contaminated with toxic compounds like pesticides, heavy metals, solvents, or mold.

Does Age Affect the Side-Effects of CBD?

No, the side effects remain the same across all age groups, but they can be more visible in children because kids are smaller than adults.

The side effects of CBD include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Changes in appetite
  • Tiredness
  • Drowsiness
  • Loose stools or diarrhea

There’s also a risk of CBD-drug interactions due to CBD’s ability to inhibit the major system of liver enzymes that metabolize most pharmaceuticals.

CBD can either decrease or increase a drug’s concentration in your bloodstream depending on the type of interaction.

If you’re taking any medications, consult a doctor before adding CBD to your routine. They might need to adjust the dosage and timing of both compounds to avoid these interactions.

Factors to Keep In Mind When Looking For CBD Products

CBD has become one of the most in-demand health supplements in the world throughout the last few years. While it’s great to have so many options when choosing CBD products, it also creates space for scammers and companies interested in nothing but profits from a booming market.

When buying CBD for the first time, make sure to take these tips into account:

1. Consider the Type of CBD

There are three main types of CBD: pure, broad-spectrum, and full-spectrum CBD.

All three types offer relatively high levels of CBD. However, broad-spectrum and full-spectrum also come with an array of other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids that create the entourage effect. This term describes a phenomenon where the aforementioned compounds work synergistically to enhance the overall efficacy of the whole-plant product.

Full-spectrum CBD also has trace amounts of THC in it.

So, which is better?

If you’re not tested for THC and aren’t allergic to certain hemp compounds, broad-spectrum and full-spectrum are better in terms of their effectiveness. Isolates are a good alternative if you’re looking for a flavorless and odorless product with higher CBD levels per serving — or Olympic athletes because WADA only allows pure CBD in Olympic games.

2. Look At the Source of Hemp

The best CBD oils are sourced from organic, non-GMO hemp that has been grown under natural sunlight. Such crops yield clean, CBD-rich flowers which are the perfect material for extraction.

On the other hand, hemp grown in polluted soil and sprayed with pesticides will transfer these compounds into the final product if not purged properly. And even then, refining can damage the phytochemical profile of your extract, leaving you with a sub-par CBD oil.

That’s because hemp plants are dynamic bioaccumulators. They draw up all substances from the soil and their environment. You can use hemp plants to decontaminate the soil before planting other crops there, but they won’t yield good flowers for extracting CBD.

3. Choose the Right Method of Consumption

As a minor, you can use nearly all forms of CBD. The only product types you’re not allowed to use are CBD vapes and pre-rolls. For these products, you need to be above the age of 21.

If you’re looking for fast-acting effects and relatively good absorption rates, we recommend CBD oil. It takes about 15 minutes to kick in, but the effects offer a shorter duration.

For longer-lasting effects with delayed onset (30 minutes to 2 hours), you can try CBD capsules or edibles.

And if you’ve just injured yourself and need to address discomforts such as pain, swelling, redness, inflammation, and itching, you can go with a topical product to achieve localized relief.

4. Research Your CBD Brand

No two CBD products are made the same, so choose the brand that can deliver the right quality and transparency standards.

By quality and transparency, we mean non-GMO hemp, CO2 extraction, and scrutinous third-party testing that includes results for purity, safety, quality, and potency.

Certificates of Analysis from independent laboratories prove that the product doesn’t contain contaminants, toxic residues, and pathogens. It also verifies the declared concentration of CBD in the product.

Reading customer reviews on the third-party website also helps a lot. Read blogs, reviews, forums, and social groups like Reddit and Quora to gain insight from real users.

Final Verdict: How Old Do You Have to Be to Buy CBD?

CBD is federally legal as long as it comes from hemp. Such products contain no more than 0.3% CBD and can be used regardless of a person’s age — with some exceptions, of course.

If you’re a minor, you’re not allowed to use CBD vapes and smokeables, such as CBD hemp flower and pre-rolls.

For marijuana-derived CBD, you need to live in a state that has a medical marijuana program and be diagnosed with one of the qualifying conditions. Then, your parent (or caretaker) can purchase such products from medical marijuana dispensaries, taking care of the dosage and use.

Before buying CBD for minors, we suggest consulting your child’s physician first; or another medical professional who will be knowledgeable about CBD and cannabis use in general.