December 29, 2020 6 min read

A map with a thumb tack marking Tennessee

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized CBD across the country, but each state can impose their own regulations and restrictions regarding CBD. This can make it difficult to understand the laws in states that have yet to even allow medical access to cannabis, like Tennessee.

So, is CBD legal in Tennessee? Or does the state restrict hemp the same way they restrict other cannabis products?

Luckily, Tennessee has updated hemp legislation to expand access to CBD to consumers across the state.

Still, certain regulations may interfere with the way that CBD can be sold and how you should approach buying CBD in the state.

Check out Tennessee CBD laws to learn more:

Table of Contents
Legal Concerns About CBD
What are the CBD laws in Tennessee?
Is full spectrum CBD legal in Tennessee?
Does Tennessee have a CBD possession limit?
Do you need a prescription for CBD in Tennessee?
Where to buy CBD in Tennessee? Can you buy CBD at 18 in Tennessee? 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

Tennessee was hesitant to pass updated CBD legislation at first, but now many different types of CBD products are available in the state.

There are no regulations against any specific form of CBD, so long as it meets federal requirements. Smokable hemp flower can only be sold in a sealed container.

The state regulates hemp farming, manufacturing, and sales, but it’s actually a lack of regulations that may impact consumers most.

Most state regulations have to do with THC content, but they do not necessarily ensure consumer safety. Shopping online may give you better oversight of brand quality, and many online CBD brands ship legal CBD products to Tennessee to buyers aged 18 and up.

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 variety of CBD oil tinctures, a popular legal form of CBD found in Tennessee.

 

What are the CBD laws in Tennessee?

Tennessee signed SB 2125 into law in 2016, a bill that clarified the difference between hemp and marijuana by amending marijuana legislation in the state. Under the new bill, any cannabis material with less than 0.6% THC is considered hemp.

Later that year, HB 1044 was also signed into law, allowing cannabis material with less than 0.9% THC to be grown, manufactured, and distributed to qualifying patients by approved state universities.

In 2017, Tennessee further updated hemp laws in the state by passing HB 1164. This bill expanded access to hemp providing that it contains less than 0.3% THC, and enabled the state to officially offer their hemp plan to the USDA for approval. 

The USDA approved the plan in July of 2020, setting forth a series of regulations that would affect growers and manufacturers. Some requirements include lab testing to verify THC content and specific labeling requirements. Like most other states (see Illinois, Ohio, Nebraska, and West Virginia), there are still no requirements in place for safety testing.

Thanks to Tennessee's reclassification of hemp, CBD and hemp-derived products became legal for all consumers after the 2018 Farm Bill passed into law.

Now, consumers will find cannabis with 0.3% THC or less (made in accordance with federal law) all over the state. There are no restrictions as to the type of CBD products that can be sold, but smokable hemp flower must be sold in a sealed container.

Is full spectrum CBD legal in Tennessee?

It’s easy to assume that CBD isolate, which contains no THC, is legal in most places. Laws surrounding full spectrum products that contain some amount of THC are not always so clear. Tennessee law allows for CBD products to contain up to 0.3% THC, which means full spectrum CBD products are legal in the state.

Does Tennessee have a CBD possession limit?

Tennessee laws do not define any possession limits for products that meet the legal requirements for hemp. Products with a slightly higher THC content may be available to qualifying patients as part of the state’s medical CBD program, but the possession limits may differ. Products with higher levels of THC are classified as marijuana products, which are illegal in the state.

Do you need a prescription for CBD in Tennessee?

There is no need for a prescription to access CBD products in Tennessee. In fact, doctors typically cannot “prescribe” CBD products that are sold over the counter, rather they may “recommend” them. Even in states where medical marijuana is legal, access usually requires a doctor’s recommendation, not a prescription.

The exception is for CBD products with more than 0.3% THC but less than 0.9% THC, which require a special recommendation and diagnosis from a Tennessee doctor.

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 Tennessee?

A CBD oil tincture, which may be accessible in stores and online in Tennessee

Tennessee laws regarding who can sell manufactured hemp products are very loose, and you may find CBD products that meet federal and state regulations in stores all over the state.

However, these loose regulations fail to outline any quality testing requirements. Most testing required by the state only concerns the THC content, and not necessarily quality or purity. For this reason, buying CBD can be risky if you don’t take special precautions.

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.

Can you buy CBD at 18 in Tennessee?

In theory, CBD should be accessible to people of all ages, especially since it originally gained 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.

CBD age limits are mostly undefined, even by federal law. Tennessee does not impose any age restrictions for buying CBD products, but there may still be limitations.

Generally, the minimum age for purchase is decided by the vendor. The legal age for buying tobacco has been increased to 21, and it's possible that most CBD vendors will require buyers to meet this minimum age requirement as well.

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

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 legal in Tennessee, but every state has different regulations regarding the manufacture and sale of CBD. Click here to find out where CBD is legal.

Resources

  1. “Hemp Farming Act of 2018” https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/5485
  2. “SB 2125” http://www.capitol.tn.gov/Bills/109/Bill/SB2125.pdf
  3. “HB 1044” https://legiscan.com/TN/text/HB1044/2019
  4. “HB 1164” https://openstates.org/tn/bills/110/HB1164/
  5. “USDA Approved Hemp Production Plans for Minnesota, Tennessee, Puerto Rico” https://www.ams.usda.gov/content/usda-approves-hemp-production-plans-minnesota-tennessee-puerto-rico

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