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Is It Legal to Mail CBD Oil?

July 27, 2017
As you are likely aware, cannabis is federally illegal under the Controlled Substances Act. This means that transporting any form of cannabis across state lines is considered a felony trafficking offense. Sending cannabis through the mail is no exception and can result in a prison sentence of up to five years for the first offense.

However, more and more often, there have been advertisements offering to ship CBD oil to your home, whether you live in Colorado or Kentucky, across state and federal lines. For those who are living in a state where cannabis is illegal, it may seem like a godsend to be able to order CBD oil over the Internet, shipped right to your house, but take a closer look at the product they’re selling.


Can you get away with mailing cannabis through the USPS?

The Cannabis sativa L. plant has several different varieties. The non-intoxicating variety is what we commonly refer to as industrial hemp, and contains little to no THC content and small amounts of CBD.

Shop trusted CBD brands on Leafly Market

Industrial hemp is legal to import and ship across state lines and process into various products, including the fabled CBD oils, so long as they contain less than 0.3% delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol.

Hemp is an incredibly useful and versatile plant, but producing CBD oil from hemp isn’t quite as easy as it sounds.


Hemp 101: What Is Hemp, What’s It Used for, and Why Is It Illegal?

Companies are processing large amounts of industrial hemp, which requires the use of harsh chemicals in order to extract enough CBD to be sold on the market. Cold pressing techniques are used for hemp seed oil, but they’re not effective in producing CBD, which comes from the plant’s seeds and stalks.

The most troubling aspect of the rise in CBD oil products on the market is the lack of quality control. There are no federal guidelines or standards to adhere to, which means that these products may contain contaminants, heavy metals, or pesticides without the consumer’s knowledge, and without any accountability on the part of the company.


Pesticides 101: questions and answers for cannabis patients and consumers

Without any testing regulations on these products, it’s also impossible to know how much CBD is actually in the oil, whether it’s labeled accurately, or if it still contains residual chemicals leftover from the extraction process.

The FDA also issued a warning to these companies in 2015 for making false claims of effectiveness and medicinal benefits. “Your products are not generally recognized as safe and effective,” the letter read. “Additionally, your product is offered for conditions that are not amenable to self-diagnosis and treatment by individuals who are not medical practitioners.”

It may seem like a dream come true, but it might just be snake oil, so proceed with caution.


Is CBD Oil Legal? Depends on Where You Are and Who You Ask

The question of whether hemp-derived CBD oil is legal under federal law remained unclear until last December, when the Drug Enforcement Administration published a new rule, “Establishment of New Drug Code for Marihuana Extract.” This rule removed all doubt about the legality of cannabidiol, but the fight wasn’t over.

Recently, the Hemp Industries Association joined forces with RMH Holdings and Centuria Natural Food to challenge the law, asking the federal court to review the final rule on the grounds that it is arbitrary and unconstitutional. The opening brief, filed on April 3, 2017, accuses the DEA of failing to act in accordance with standard protocol for scheduling the newly prohibited substance under the Controlled Substances Act.

The DEA responded in June seeking to dismiss the lawsuit, but the court has yet to issue a ruling.


New DEA Rule Says CBD Oil Is Really, Truly, No-Joke Illegal

Over the last five years, the hemp industry has boomed to a behemoth $688 million industry in 2016, thanks in large part to the production and popularity of hemp-derived CBD oils. Losing this lawsuit would be a significant blow to the American hemp industry.

Whether or not it is legal to ship hemp-derived CBD oil is still up in the air, deciding if you should order hemp-derived CBD oil is a more pertinent question, and one that a potential consumer should think long and hard about before placing their order.

Lisa Rough's Bio Image

Lisa Rough

Lisa is a former associate editor at Leafly, where she specialized in legislative cannabis policy and industry topics.

View Lisa Rough's articles

  • Open Minds

    “Cold pressing techniques are used for hemp seed oil, but they’re not effective in producing CBD, which comes from the plant’s seeds and stalks”
    CBD does NOT come from seeds. How can Leafly make such an elemental mistake? You can extract Omega oils from hemp seeds but not CBD.

    • Boris Banas

      Cannabinoid-rich extract comes from flowering tops of a cannabis/hemp plant. Not from its seeds and stalks.

    • Dea Million

      That’s right! I have seen this printed in numerous places and can’t believe this information is still being spread. Neither seeds nor stalks contain CBD, only flowers and leaves. Also, I’m upset with the comment that CBD could be “snake oil”. Get with it Lisa! Research a little before making such rude and untrue accusations.

      • While CBD may be effective at treating some conditions, the exaggeration of claims results in a situation where it is bound to be called snake oil by some, and reasonably so. To be taken seriously, proponents need to start being real about what it has been shown to treat and what it has not. And we really must not allow one-off studies, rat studies, or anecdotes to be counted as real evidence.

        • Patricia Silverman

          but you believe in bought and paid for studies?

  • Mark McCombs

    So am going to guess that CBD distillates are a bit safer.

  • Aurorachaseryyc

    Ah, Canada!

    • Robert Caterall

      Ummm……Canada is still illegal to grow hemp without a licence. Who gives a fuck…..really. I have been growing hemp for 4 years now. FUCK THE GOVT. AND THEIR INTRUSIVE WAYS INTO MY HEALTH!

      • The USA, being the ‘land of the free’ and #1 incarcerator in the world by an order of magnitude, has a different take on enforcement.

        • ScooterGirl

          But isn’t that because we are more willing to break our laws? Think about it. Saudi Arabia, for example, has much stricter laws than we do governing every aspect of life. Why aren’t they and countries like them the #1 incarcerators? I’m thinking either because their citizens are more law abiding by nature or are just plain scared of the barbaric punishments.

          I believe this country should be more like Europe when it comes to drug offenders and hopefully we will get there as people continue to fight for justice and less archaic laws. Meanwhile you sometimes have to remind yourself that it could be worse…by an order of magnitude.

          • No, that sounds like a fine theory, but compared to most other civilized nations, we actually are a top executioner as well; and where there isn’t execution, sentences are extremely heavy in the USA, increasing over time as people clamored for more proactive justice, mostly out of media induced hysteria. In the case of Saudi Arabia, I would say it has more to do with the population being more religious, tbh.

  • StanSykes

    What about within state lines. Say from Eastern Mass to Western Mass?

    • Silverado

      I predict your mail WILL get through. My God I ordered expensive cannabis seeds from foreign countries ($500+ orders were common) when all this was illegal through the USPS YEARS AGO and not once did I ever lose my money nor not get my seeds. Same deal here. Just keep your mouth shut and wrap your package up good like YOU’d like to receive something through the mail if the shoe was on the other foot. And mail away.

      • Matt Herron

        Hey dude I could some guidance on a issue close to this. Thanks

  • Pixie Witch

    I actually talked with the Hemp Association and they said it is not clear if its illegal or not. If you go by state law some states are very illegal

  • Mick Malkemus

    Imagine those dunderheads at the DEA that sit around on their fat duffs and dream this stuff up.
    CBD is illegal.
    Not because it can get you high, but because it interferes with profits of the pharma-cartels.
    Oh, they’ll go home at night and use the number one and three dangerous drugs, and feel perfectly fine about it.
    I D I O T S

    At least Sessions got shot down by the Senate.
    That’s a step in the right direction by our lackluster and lagging government.

    • ScooterGirl

      There is hardly a family sitcom that hasn’t at one point or another portrayed a drunk person as funny and rarely does their drunkenness lead to any real consequences. Yup, they start spoon feeding that drug to the kids pretty damned early.

  • Silverado

    Why bother and tell anyone what you’re doing let alone…mailing?? IT’S NOBODY’S BUSINESS PERIOD what you mail. It doesn’t smell, won’t explode or catch fire and is undetectable. So just make sure you do a good job wrapping it so it won’t be bouncing around inside that small shipping box you would be using to ship it where ever you want. You don’t tell anyone and nobody will know. Trust me. There’s lots of things shipped via the USPS that if they knew might get one into trouble. The saving Grace? You’d hardly be the first to do such a thing. Nor will you be the last.

    • Gerald Blackman

      You’d be surprised what a drug sniffing dog can detect

      • ScarlettFeverr

        Coffee beans, for example. Lots of them. Makes great cushioning for packaging I hear..

      • Daysen South

        You would be surprised how many drug dogs cant sniff out anything. It’s just a scare tactic

  • Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
  • Gary Self

    Do our research people. The 9th district court of appeals has already found the actions of the DEA to be unconstitutional. The CSA excluded the part of the hemp plant where CBD’s are derived from as a controlled substance. The reason it is legal to all 50 states is because it contains less that 0.3% THC. That isn’t enough to get an ant high.

    And Boris the CBD rich extract actually comes form the Stalk of the hemp plant not the flowering tops

  • Parcdispensary Phoenix AZ

    Does anyone know is it legal to export CBD products to Mexico?

    • ChristianRieger

      Apparently, as of June 2017, the president of Mexico signed a document making CBD legal in Mexico. However, it currently seems only one American company can send it there.

  • Jonathan Adam Moreno

    “Your products are not generally recognized as safe and effective,” is a statement of “general” opinion just like opiates and sedatives are not generally recognized as “safe and effective.” And “Companies are processing large amounts of industrial hemp, which requires the use of harsh chemicals in order to extract enough CBD to be sold on the market” just like cigarettes and tobacco products “use harsh chemicals in order to extract…to be sold on the market.” Therefore, the leading cause of Cancer related deaths is legal to consume and a plant absolutely proven to help the human body combat Cancer is illegal. So, the DEAs’ classification as CBD being illegal…Is most def a GD joke. Don’t be ignorant, do your own research, read states’ compliance outlines and understand that any publication or organization that refers to Cannabis as Marijuana/Marihuana is against it’s legalization.

  • Joshua Camp

    We will be processing upwards of 60 tons of hemp this harvest for CBD without the use of “harsh chemicals”. The process is the same for hemp as it is for any other variety of cannabis. Please stop misleading your readers. Furthermore, we are happy to provide a CoA for every product we manufacture. Consumers can trust a lot of US companies, including ours – the days of importing nasty paste from China are long behind the industry. Joshua Camp; CEO LabCanna LLC

    • Cristina Sulzener

      How to sensibly buy LEGAL cbd oil? Because I got a letter saying customs has confiscated my package two times already and I’m pissed.

  • Jack Glenn

    CBD is not extracted from the seeds or stalks of the plants. I have seen many websites conveying the same. Wrong information should not spread like this. Not expected from Leafly though. It’s relevant to note that CBD rich extract is derived from the flowers and leaves of the Cannabis plant

  • Saya ce

    If people would get as involved with such deep investigation into their own human growth and potential rather than getting into arguments about what part of a plant a chemical comes from then this world would truly be a happier place and better for our children. Come on people be nice to eachother, do some deep spiritual healing without drugs. Use plants for healing instead of “not dealing with your own issues” hypnotherapy is side effect free and has permanent results

  • Gediminas Gedas

    You can buy great CBD products at the address:

  • Nathalie Burnett

    How to sensibly buy LEGAL cbd oil? Because I got a letter saying customs has confiscated my package two times already and I’m pissed.

    • Katelyn Lockwood

      Been there done that. The only place where I was able to purchase cbd legally was this verified place here Fast shipping, great quality.

  • Nfor Johner

    CBD Oil/THC is the ANSWER. I am 48 years young and I have several pains and anxiety No more PHENOBARBITOL or DILANTIN 6 pills a day-Thanks to Dr Peter Hurt for their top quality highly efficient CBD oil. 1 drop under my tongue twice a day and the glaucoma go away. I will do everything within my power to educate people about CBD.Text/Call # (804) 537-0917


    We just got some medical marijuana and Cbd/Thc oil from Dr peter hurt via Phone number +18045370917

    • Rose Lemar

      Dr Peter Hurt get it through to me here in Oklahoma today with some CBD Cannabis Oil and meds discretely and very fast i vote for him 100% . Thanks to you tulip for linking me up with Dr hurt , he is legit love you Dr my pain and anxiety is now 80% free . Get him on #(804) 537-091

  • Hope Sebring

    so this story was written in 2017, any updates on the legality of selling/shipping cbd oil in 2018?

    • I can say that CBD extracts are being shipped to all 50 states and there has been no indication that it is illegal under any statute, and if it is, law enforcement isn’t enforcing such. I believe the hemp farming industry’s legal protections has made it pretty difficult to ban, else negligable-THC hemp would also be illegal.

  • Gediminas Gedas

    I use the CBD which helps me, I feel great! I believe this product. Hempcbdworld 😉

  • Hemp-based CBD oil is NOT, I repeat, is NOT the same as raw oil produced from the whole marijuana plant. I’m getting so sick and tired of the marketing out there, I could scream. Cannabidiol from marijuana plants contains THC-A, which is not intoxicating — heating it will convert it to THC-C. This is how large amounts of THC-A can be consumed — the oil from raw marijuana plants has a higher safety profile, too. Once this market is REGULATED (and it will be), there will be very clear distinctions. At the moment, it’s up to the consumer to do his/her homework. Until then, please don’t fall for some of this marketing. Sure, Hemp CBD oil can be useful, but people are being duped into thinking it’s the same thing with the same benefits. IT IS NOT!

  • devin hatfield

    does anyone know what is the best way to ship CBD oil to the UK or Europe?

  • Jim

    I have been having a hard time trying to find the most up to date information on this topic. I saw your post, but also saw this post and it seems that we can in some circumstances, as long as its derived from hemp? Maybe?

    I hope the federal government straightens this out, it is a very confusing subject….

    Thanks for sharing this content!

  • Daysen South

    There’s infinite reasons why you can’t bring things across the boarder that are legal on both sides. Like going to Canada to get 10 packs of cigarettes for $10 then selling them to make $90 profit. But those who think the stalks of the plant have no cbd or thc is dead wrong. I used to get high on just stems when I was a kid it just has a lot less thc.