You can buy CBD—cannabidiol, the therapeutic yet noneuphoria–inducing marijuana component—online and in some health-food stores even if your state doesn’t allow it. But is it legal to do so?

That’s now being battled out in federal courts. While a US law makes it legal to sell marijuana-plant products such as hemp and hemp oil that have only trace amounts of THC (the compound in marijuana that makes people high), the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency still classifies CBD (the marijuana compound that doesn’t make people high) as an illegal narcotic—like heroin.

As a consumer, though, you’re almost certainly safe—it’s highly unlikely that you’d get into legal trouble for buying or using a CBD product. The real target of the federal prohibition seems to be sellers, not buyers.

If your state allows the sale of medical ­marijuana—you can find out by going to and searching for “marijuana map”—go to a state-licensed dispensary. If your state doesn’t allow medical marijuana and you want to try using CBD, you still might be able to find it for sale…if not, you always have the option of ordering online.

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