California CBD Program


California marijuana laws are relatively liberal for a U.S. state. But, when it comes to the compound cannabidiol (CBD), California’s rules are more complicated. Certain types and uses of CBD are prohibited in California, while others are allowed. California lawmakers are currently considering whether to change the state’s CBD rules. Once you understand the status of CBD in California, you can medicate safely and legally.

California’s CBD Rules

Is marijuana legal in California? Yes. In California, you can buy marijuana products at licensed retailers if you are over the age of 21 or you have a medical marijuana card. This includes CBD products derived from marijuana, even though these products do not cause a high.

CBD products made from hemp are currently prohibited in California. Even so, some California businesses are selling hemp-derived CBD products anyway, as the enforcement of state CBD rules varies from county to county. 

What Can CBD Treat in California?

To purchase CBD products made from marijuana, you’ll need to visit a licensed California marijuana dispensary with an ID that shows you’re over the age of 21 or with a medical marijuana card. Some patients choose to join the California medical marijuana program for reduced taxes and other benefits, though anyone over 21 can purchase recreational marijuana in California. 

To get a medical marijuana card in California, your primary care doctor must determine that you have a serious medical condition and that consuming medical marijuana can help. Qualifying medical conditions include:

For a full list of qualifying ailments, visit our California Qualification Guide.

You don’t need to have a specific medical condition to buy CBD products from a retail dispensary if you are 21 or older. But, we recommend getting guidance from a cannabis-trained doctor for better treatment.

How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in California 

If you want to apply for a medical marijuana card in California, follow these steps:

  1. Visit a doctor and describe your symptoms. Your doctor will need to diagnose you with a serious medical condition and approve the use of medical marijuana for treatment. Your doctor must document this in your medical records. If your doctor refuses to recommend cannabis medicine, try another physician. Make sure to transfer any records showing your diagnosis for the best results.
  2. Submit the official program application along with your recommendation. You may also use a version written in Spanish.

Differences Between California CBD and Medical Marijuana Laws

California’s rules regarding CBD products vary depending on whether the CBD is made from cannabis or from hemp. CBD products made from marijuana can be sold at licensed medical or recreational dispensaries in California, while CBD products made from hemp are banned.

When in doubt about your treatment options, visit a California cannabis doctor near you.