December 03, 2020 6 min read

A United States map showing Colorado and surrounding states

With CBD gaining popularity as a remedy for conditions like insomnia and poor focus, consumers are beginning to narrow in on their local CBD sources. The laws surrounding CBD can be confusing, especially since state laws don’t always align with the federal government's ruling on industrial hemp products.

Many are quick to assume that CBD is legal in states like Colorado where cannabis is fully approved even for adult use. After all, Colorado is infamous for being one of the first states to offer CBD treatment to children with severe epilepsy.

So, is CBD legal in Colorado? And if so, where can you get it?

Fortunately, CBD may be more accessible in Colorado than in most states. Here’s how Colorado CBD laws line up:

Table of Contents
Legal Concerns About CBD
What are the CBD laws in Colorado?
Does Colorado have a CBD possession limit?
Can doctors prescribe CBD in Colorado?
Where to buy CBD in Colorado?
What’s the legal age to buy CBD in Colorado?
Is CBD legal in all 50 states?
Resources

Disclaimer: We’re always working to stay informed on the latest CBD laws and research. However, state laws are subject to change and we advise that you do your own research to verify the information you find in this article. This is not intended as legal advice.

Key Takeaways

  • Colorado is one of the most CBD-forward states, and they also impose some of the strictest regulations on CBD manufacturers. Still, consumers in the state are subject to the poor federal regulation within the industry.
  • The state also has no minimum age requirements or possession limits for CBD, but it may not be easy to access CBD in stores for consumers who are under 21.
  • Doctors in Colorado may recommend CBD, but you don’t need a prescription to access it.
  • CBD may be accessible at a variety of locations in Colorado, but many people order CBD online for convenience. Certain practices, like properly vetting your CBD brand, may reduce the risks of buying low-quality formulas.

Legal Concerns About CBD

It’s true that CBD gained its federal legal status in 2018. The Hemp Farming Act effectively removed industrial hemp and its natural derivatives (like cannabinoids) from the Controlled Substances Act.

But there’s a catch, and it complicates things:

Legal CBD products must come from industrial hemp.

This classification is designated to hemp material that meets a strict set of standards. The most significant is that it contains less than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis. If CBD products are made from any cannabis strain that contains more than 0.3% THC, it is not a federally legal product.

That’s not all—

The final product must contain less than 0.3% THC, too.

That means that even if a brand starts with legal hemp material, they need to carry out careful manufacturing procedures to produce a legal end product. It’s possible for certain cannabinoids to be “concentrated” during the extraction process, leading to higher THC concentrations than in the original material. Proper manufacturing and careful testing need to be employed to avoid this issue.

Because there is very little regulation in the CBD industry, it’s important to evaluate a brand carefully before you buy. It can be hard to tell if a CBD product is made from a legal hemp source and meets the federal guidelines for legal hemp products. The best way to ensure that your CBD products are legal is by checking the third-party lab tests for cannabinoid potency.

Of course, these regulations only apply on a federal scale. You must also ensure that your products meet the standards laid out by federal guidelines and those set by your state.

A selection of CBD oil tinctures, one of the most popular types of legal CBD products.

What are the CBD laws in Colorado?

Fortunately for Colorado citizens, Colorado is one of the most progressive states in terms of CBD legality and accessibility. The state signed SB 18-205 into law in 2018, a bill that effectively legalized and regulated hemp as an agricultural good. They even allow CBD as an additive in food and dietary supplement products, something that’s been restricted even by other cannabis-forward states like California.

In general CBD is regulated by the Colorado Department of Agriculture, but manufacturers are required to register with the Colorado Department of Health and Environment (CDHE) before using CBD as an additive in food and other dietary products. Through this process, the state ensures CBD hemp products meet stricter standards than are required by many lax states, like Alabama and Connecticut. In order to register with the CDHE, manufacturers must:

  • Use hemp sourced from an approved industrial hemp program or a source that uses an equivalent criteria to evaluate quality.
  • Comply with all governing laws within the state of origin for the original hemp material.
  • Use only hemp that contains less than 0.3% THC
  • Provide lab tests results for the use of any plant material besides hemp seeds.

For consumers, there are no laws restricting the use of CBD in Colorado, and CBD may be freely available across the state.

Does Colorado have a CBD possession limit?

Colorado has no defined possession limits on legal CBD products. CBD products that contain over 0.3% THC may be classified as cannabis products, which are legal in Colorado, but are subject to their own possession limits.

Can doctors prescribe CBD in Colorado?

In Colorado, you do not need a prescription to access CBD products. In fact, doctors typically cannot “prescribe” CBD products that are sold over the counter, rather they may “recommend” them. Even in states like Colorado where medical marijuana is legal, access usually requires a doctor’s recommendation, not a prescription.

CBD is still new, and only one CBD product has been approved by the FDA to date. This product, GW Pharmaceuticals’ Epidiolex, is designed to treat rare forms of childhood epilepsy. Aside from this product (which comes with stringent usage guidelines), many doctors are still learning about CBD. If you’re interested in the benefits of CBD, you may need to spark a conversation with your doctor.

Where to buy CBD in Colorado?

A dropper filled with a CBD oil tincture

In Colorado, CBD is incredibly accessible because there are a wide variety of growers and manufacturers throughout the state. Colorado also imposes stricter quality standards than most states, but this only applies to CBD products made within the state. There is still a major lack of industry oversight and the federal government has yet to impose any real quality regulations on CBD quality in general.

The lack of regulations within the industry can be risky for consumers.

Buying CBD online is a suitable option for most consumers. When you buy CBD online directly from the brand, you get better oversight of the brand’s manufacturing practices. Looking at the brand’s hemp source and lab testing procedures can help ensure that the CBD products you choose are clean, potent, and meet legal guidelines.

Buying CBD directly from a brand instead of from a third-party market may also be less costly since you won’t have to pay the extra fees that are often tacked on by the middle man. Of course, premium CBD can be expensive to manufacture, so you should also be wary of products that offer low-ball prices.

Finally, buying CBD online may be the best way to access many different types of CBD. The most common type of CBD product is an oil tincture, but you can find a variety of CBD edibles, topicals, and other specialty products when you shop online.

For more information on how to find high-quality CBD products, check out our CBD Buyer’s Guide.

What’s the legal age to buy CBD in Colorado?

The legal age to buy CBD is unclear on state and federal levels. In theory, CBD should be accessible to people of all ages, especially since it gained its popularity as a treatment for various childhood illnesses. Of course, some products may not be suitable for people of all ages, like smokable hemp flower or CBD vaporizers.

In Colorado, there are no statewide regulations regarding the legal age to buy CBD. Instead, these laws may vary by jurisdiction and are more heavily impacted by the seller. The state requires consumers purchasing legal cannabis products to be at least 21 years old, but it’s unclear if CBD falls under these same age restrictions.

Many CBD brands allow customers who are 18 or older to order online and will ship legal CBD products to Colorado.

Is CBD legal in all 50 states?

Thanks to federal updates, CBD has the potential to be legal in every U.S. state. CBD is fully legal in Colorado, but every state has different regulations regarding the manufacture and sale of CBD. Click here to find out where CBD is legal.

Resources

  1. “H.R.5485 - Hemp Farming Act of 2018” https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/5485
  2. “SB18-205 Industrial Hemp Designation Agricultural Product” http://leg.colorado.gov/bills/sb18-205
  3. “Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Industrial Hemp Policy” https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/sites/default/files/DEHS_MfgFd_IndustrialHempPolicy_FY18.pdf
  4. “Industrial Hemp” https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/agplants/industrial-hemp

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