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The reason for such controversy is the association between CBD oil and recreational marijuana, that is still federally illegal and illegal in most states across the U.S. Although the number of states that are legalizing the use of recreational or medical marijuana continues to grow, it’s association with psychoactive effects is what has many people debating.



However, there isn’t just one type of CBD. In fact, there are two sources for CBD oil and other types of cannabidiol products: hemp and marijuana. But what’s the difference between the two cannabis plants and why does that matter?

A Matter of Legality: THC Levels
While both plants are members of the cannabis plant family, their main difference lies in their tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content. Marijuana plants typically feature a high THC concentration, anywhere between 3% to 15%. It is the THC that gives users its associated “high.” On the other hand, hemp has very little-if any-THC, at less than 1%.

Because of this difference in THC levels, hemp and marijuana are perceived very differently under the law. Since marijuana has a high THC content, it is federally illegal to purchase and consume for recreational purposes. In contrast, hemp’s very low THC levels make it legal under federal law. As long as hemp-derived CBD products fall below a 0.03% THC concentration adults can legally buy them.

How both plants are viewed and treated under the law has a direct impact on how CBD oil is perceived. Since hemp is legal, the CBD oil that is derived from it is legal.