The recent history of CBD legalization in Tennessee is an odd one.
Several years before cannabidiol (the full name for CBD) was legalized by the federal government, Tennessee had taken what appeared to be baby steps in the same direction. Once the national Farm Bill gave hemp-derived CBD the green light in 2018, it turned out that – at least in some ways – the Volunteer state was actually ahead of the curve.
In any event, that somewhat-modern approach to cannabidiol has led to the widespread availability of CBD in Tennessee. Not only can you buy it at the dedicated CBD stores popping up all over the state, but even many gas stations, drug stores, and supermarkets carry some variety of CBD products.
Some might find that surprising for a state that not only refuses to approve a medical marijuana program but won’t even consider decriminalizing pot.
Still, you take what you can get. And what you can get in Tennessee is CBD, in all of its forms, as long as it comes from hemp and doesn’t have THC content higher than the legal limit.
Let’s sort all of that out.
CBD Oils in Tennessee
This is the cream of the crop. It’s an ultra-high-quality CBD oil produced from cannabidiol extracted from organic, West Coast hemp grown on small, carefully-selected farms. The extraction method is top-of-the-line (supercritical CO2 extraction, which is more expensive but designed to preserve the CBD’s potency), and the carrier oil that distributes the cannabidiol is the best you can use (MCT coconut oil).
In another sign of quality, only one other ingredient is added: natural flavoring for one of Royal CBD oil’s four delicious flavors. There are also four potency options, giving customers more choice than most other producers provide.
Not many stores in Tennessee (or anywhere else, truthfully) carry Royal CBD, but it’s definitely worth ordering online if you can’t find it.
What makes Gold Bee slightly less desirable? Options, or more specifically, lack of them. There are only two flavors and two available potencies of Gold Bee CBD oil; their potencies aren’t as strong as Royal’s, either. You also won’t have the option of buying this CBD at a local Tennessee outlet, since it’s only sold online. It’s really, really good, though.
CBDPure Hemp Oil
Stop us if you’ve heard this before: CBDPure’s oil is manufactured just like our first two choices, so it’s another high-quality CBD product, with the added benefit of a lower price. Benefits usually come with drawbacks, and here are CBDPure’s: it’s a low-strength CBD oil not suitable for serious pain, and it’s only available in natural hemp flavor (which is rather raw). But it’s an excellent choice at a lower cost.
Is CBD Oil Legal in Tennessee?
Yes. The state has essentially the same CBD regulations as the U.S. law that legalized cannabidiol throughout America: it must be sourced from hemp and contain no more than 0.3% THC content. There are a few interesting twists in the Tennessee story, though. That’s because the medicinal power of CBD was recognized earlier in Tennessee than in most other states.
The federal legalization of hemp-sourced CBD came late in 2018. But several years earlier, Tennessee approved several measures easing restrictions on cannabidiol. Understanding them requires a brief explanation of the difference between marijuana and hemp, the two types of cannabis.
Both the hemp plant and marijuana plant contain well over 100 different cannabinoids, the chemical substances that give the plants their unique characteristics. One of them is CBD. Another is psychoactive THC, which makes you high when you smoke weed.
There’s THC in hemp, too, but in very small amounts; hemp’s THC level isn’t even close to the amount that would get you wasted. Even so, 20th-century laws in most states – including Tennessee – didn’t distinguish between marijuana and hemp. They simply governed the sale and use of cannabis.
That’s why hemp legislation was needed in order to “legalize” CBD. Federal officials wanted to set up a system in which marijuana was still illegal, but hemp and its byproducts weren’t. They did it in the 2018 Farm Bill.
That brings us back to the laws that Tennessee passed in 2016.
One moved CBD into a different law enforcement category, changing the definition of marijuana to exclude cannabis that had less than 0.6% THC content. In other words, CBD derived from hemp was no longer considered to be pot, so its possession was basically decriminalized.
The second law allowed some patients (those referred by specific research institutions) to possess and use cannabis with THC content as high as 0.9%. In progressive states with medical marijuana programs, that would have been no big deal; patients already had access to weed with much higher THC levels. In Tennessee, however, it was a huge step forward that allowed people who really needed strong CBD to use it.
If the 0.6% and 0.9% numbers we’ve just mentioned seem interesting, it’s because they are. They’re higher than the 0.3% THC content allowable under federal law. They don’t have any specific effect on ordinary CBD users, but they mean that some patients still have access to additional relief, and they eliminate any possibility that the cannabidiol you purchase could get you into legal trouble if the producer accidentally left a little too much THC in it.
Optimists also look at the higher numbers and hope they bode well for the eventual passage of full-fledged medical marijuana legislation. Chances appear to be slim right now – but that’s why optimists are optimists.
Do You Need a Prescription or Medical Card to Buy CBD Oil in Tennessee?
No prescription or medical cannabis card is necessary to purchase or use CBD in Tennessee unless it contains more than 0.3% THC. Patients need proof that they’re in a state-sanctioned medical trial and that they suffer from epilepsy or intractable seizures, the only conditions that currently qualify a user to use CBD with THC content up to 0.9%.
There’s one other possibility. Epidiolex, the only federally-approved form of cannabidiol that’s prescribed to some epilepsy sufferers, is only available through pharmacies with a doctor’s prescription.
Is CBD Oil Legal in Tennessee for Minors?
Yes and no. You have to be 21 or older to purchase any form of CBD in Tennessee. However, there’s no law preventing parents or guardians from purchasing CBD oil for their minor children who need it, and no law preventing them from using it.
Is Traveling With CBD Oil Legal in Tennessee?
There’s no reason you should be worried about traveling with CBD oil anywhere in Tennessee; it’s completely legal.
There are two potential issues to remember, though.
First, CBD oil derived from marijuana is illegal to possess or use. If you’ve bought some on an extended trip to Illinois, or a friend in a medical marijuana state has been gracious enough to gift you with some – be very careful.
Second, hemp with THC content lower than 0.3% is legal to smoke in Tennessee, but it’s rather unlikely that a cop would be able to tell the difference between hemp and pot if you get pulled over. Again, be very careful.
What Type of CBD is The Right One for You?
That really depends on why you’re using it. The right type of CBD for migraine headaches could be very different than the right type for arthritis pain or reducing your long-term cardiovascular risks.
We can’t diagnose your issues and make suggestions in a short article, of course. What we can do, however, is give you some general rules of thumb.
CBD Oil vs. Other Forms of CBD
The majority of users choose CBD oil because it provides a good balance between ease of use and effectiveness. It’s administered under the tongue with a medicine dropper (that’s called sublingual administration), where it’s absorbed by the sublingual glands and sent into the bloodstream. From there, it spreads throughout the body and works quickly.
There are other options to consider, though.
- CBD vape juice works just as well and is easy to use – as long as you don’t mind inhaling the vapor into your body. For that reason, vaping is not for everyone even though it’s effective.
- CBD capsules and edibles like gummies are even easier to use, and as a bonus, the latter can taste delicious. They take longer to work, however, since the cannabidiol can’t be released until the capsules or edibles are digested. They also aren’t as powerful, since some of the CBD is lost during digestion.
- CBD topicals are available in a wide variety of forms from creams and lotions, to subdermal patches. They usually work quickly, but they’re primarily intended for treating muscle and joint pain and skin issues since cannabidiol can’t penetrate the skin to reach the rest of the body.
What do Full-Spectrum, Broad-Spectrum, and CBD Isolate Mean?
They’re the three types of cannabidiol that are used in making CBD products.
“Full-Spectrum” means CBD contains the full spectrum of components naturally found in hemp, and it’s desirable because those components (more than 100 other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids) all work together to boost the performance of cannabidiol by what’s known as the entourage effect.
“Broad-Spectrum” CBD is full-spectrum cannabidiol with just one component removed: the small amount of THC normally found in hemp. The absence of that one cannabinoid does slightly reduce the entourage effect, meaning the CBD’s effectiveness is slightly lower. On the other hand, no THC means no positive drug tests if your employer or school checks you for pot use.
“CBD Isolate” is exactly what its name says: the cannabidiol has been isolated for use in CBD products. All other hemp components, including the THC, have been removed – as has the entourage effect. In truth, there’s no real benefit to choosing isolate instead of broad-spectrum CBD, unless you live in one of the few states whose laws specify that only CBD isolate is legal.
(And since we’re being truthful: there’s very little chance that even full-spectrum CBD will cause you to come up positive for THC. There’s just not enough of it to trigger most tests.)
Is Marijuana Legal in Tennessee?
Not even close, and there’s no sign that will change anytime soon. Possession and/or use are currently considered misdemeanors, as long as it’s for a half-ounce or less. The first offense carries a mandatory fine of up to $250, and it’s $500 for subsequent offenses; jail sentences as long as a year are also possible. Anything more than half-an-ounce becomes a felony with much stricter penalties.
Medical marijuana bills haven’t even come close to passage in Tennessee, and even a proposal to increase the amount of pot that’s considered a misdemeanor offense(from half-an-ounce to an ounce) has failed. Tennessee remains a strong anti-marijuana state.
Where to Buy CBD in Tennessee?
When you head out to purchase CBD in Tennessee, you won’t have to go very far. CBD stores have been around for quite some time, and not just in cities like Nashville and Memphis.
Nearly every community has at least one store devoted to CBD (or to CBD and vaping), and you can find cannabidiol at lots of convenience stores and gas stations, not to mention larger department stores. Even pharmacy chains like Walgreens and supermarkets like Kroger carry CBD-infused products such as creams, lotions, and salves.
Widespread availability isn’t necessarily a good thing, though. It can mean that people may grab some cheap CBD oil at the Circle K – and if it doesn’t work for them, conclude that cannabidiol is useless. That’s not necessarily an issue with CBD; it’s more likely an issue with the low-quality CBD carried by most brick-and-mortar outlets.
Premium CBD brands are seldom seen at convenience or grocery stores. In truth, most dedicated CBD stores don’t carry them either; those stores make a lot more money selling the moderate or low-quality stuff. Most high-quality CBD producers don’t sell via local stores. They rely on deals with a few selected high-end outlets, or more often, only sell their products online.
That’s where you find the best CBD, and shopping for it online lets you take your time to compare products, look at third-party certificates of analysis, and find the best cannabidiol for your particular needs – before having it delivered right to your door in Tennessee.
Recommended/Trusted CBD Retailers
CBD stores come and go, and the brands they sell change regularly. Here are some of the retailers you may want to patronize, though; they’re among the best in their respective cities.
- Nashville: Music City Hemp Store, Nashville CBD Solutions, LabCanna East Dispensary
- Memphis: Memphis CBD Oil, Simply Hemp Shop, Mary Jane’s CBD Dispensary
- Knoxville: Hemp Connect CBD Dispensary, Hemp House, CBD Plus USA
- Chattanooga: Hemp House, CBD Chattanooga Bud Dispensary, Grass Roots Health
- Murfreesboro: Frog Brigade Farmacy, The Barn CBD and Hemp, Gen 1:29 CBD Hemp Oil
Buying CBD in Tennessee: Final Thoughts
For a state that’s so anti-pot, Tennessee is certainly pro-hemp. CBD is easy to find and has actually been widely available longer than in many other so-called liberal states. You can even smoke hemp in Tennessee, which is not always allowed in otherwise open-minded venues.
Stop to grab a soda, get some gas or pick up dinner at the market – and you’re likely to see CBD oil on display. Drive down the street, and chances are good you’ll see a CBD store while you’re stopped at a red light. Finding CBD in Tennessee is definitely not an issue.
Finding high-quality CBD might be, though, since most outlets in the state don’t carry high-end CBD brands like the ones we’ve highlighted above. The good news: if you want the very best, or you’ve tried the bargain brands without success, all top-level CBD producers ship their products professionally and quickly.