It’s no secret that the cannabis industry has experienced sharp growth over the past few years. This sudden rise in popularity and demand have caused many people to question its legality. You may be wondering:

  • Is it legal to ship CBD oil?

  • Can I legally purchase CBD oil online?

  • Can CBD oil be shipped to me via mail?

If you’re thinking of starting a CBD oil business that involves shipping or selling CBD oil online, the first thing you need to do is separate misinformation from facts. Since the industry is booming, it’s certainly worth seeking out as much information as you can.

With this in mind, in this post, we’ll talk about how you can start shipping CBD oil online and the best options available to you.

Let’s put everything into context before we begin.

CBD vs THC: Key Differences


Although CBD and THC are both derived from the same plant (i.e., cannabis sativa), they cause entirely different effects on the mind and body. Here are the key differences between CBD and THC:


CBD is the non-psychoactive part of the cannabis sativa plant. It doesn’t get you high and is legal in most states. CBD is well-known for its various health benefits and is available as over the counter supplements and in various foods – honey, chocolate bars and even hot sauce and coffee. CBD oil is produced by extracting CBD from cannabis and diluting it with a carrier oil – such as coconut oil. There are many benefits associated with using CBD oil, including:

  • Relief from pain and inflammation.

  • Reduction in depression and anxiety.

  • Relaxation and stress relief.


THC is the psychoactive cannabinoid present in the cannabis sativa plant and the component that can get you high, which is why its use is either illegal or controlled in most states. THC is extracted from the cannabis plant and then turned into a concentrate. Here are some of the reported effects of using THC:

  • Increase in hunger.

  • Decrease in aggression.

  • Alters senses of taste, smell, sight, and hearing.

Now that you understand the differences between CBD and THC, let’s dig deeper to see how you can legally ship CBD oil to your customers.

How to Determine if You Can Legally Ship CBD


Here, we’ll answer some of the questions surrounding the legality of shipping CBD oil across the United States.

Is CBD legal?

The short answer is that CBD’s legality depends on several factors. For the most part, it is legal. However, this status doesn’t apply to every state or federal jurisdiction. One important factor that determines whether CBD is legal or not is if it was extracted from hemp (legal) or marijuana (illegal). Marijuana is rich in THC (the chemical responsible for giving you the high) and, under federal laws, it’s still considered illegal.

Note: The contents of this piece pertain solely to hemp-derived CBD.

Recently the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 – more commonly known as the 2018 Farm Bill – was passed which changed the official classification of hemp from a Schedule I substance to an “agricultural commodity.” This has led to many people selling hemp and hemp-based products. Additionally, the DEA also reclassified some CBD (having a THC content less than 0.1 percent) from a Schedule I (illegal substance) to Schedule 5 drug (less restrictive), assuming the product is approved by the FDA.

Can you ship CBD oil via mail?

Shipping CBD oil is completely legal across the United States. With the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, the restrictions on sales and shipping were lifted as well as on holding CBD-based products derived from hemp as long as the hemp is:

E-commerce businesses selling and shipping CBD oil need to take note of the above-mentioned regulations to make sure that their farm and production operations are entirely legal.

How do you know if you can legally ship CBD?

So, how can you be sure that it’s alright to ship CBD?

Some people argue that shipping is not legal and may result in seizure and confiscation of goods. Still others say that the Farm Act of 2018 makes purchasing, selling, and shipping CBD oil completely legal, especially if it’s derived from hemp. The DEA has also listed it as a non-priority in the list of restricted substances.

Bear in mind that the status of legality depends on:

  • The amount of THC present.

  • The real source of the CBD oil.

  • If the farmer and manufacturer are in compliance with the 2018 Farm Bill.

Here’s how major carriers in the USA handle CBD shipping:

  • USPS. The USPS issued a guide in March about mailing hemp-based CBD goods. The guide includes notes about the legal status of hemp-based CBD and specifies the acceptance criteria at which mailing the substance is legal.

  • UPS. UPS allows you to ship CBD products if you follow a few conditions. You must state the area where the raw material was grown, how it was processed in the manufacturing of the final product, and how it was forwarded to the end customer.

  • FedEx. The Prohibited Items, Sections S – T section in the FedEx Service Guide mentions the following as prohibited substances. “Marijuana…including marijuana intended for recreational or medicinal use and cannabidiol (“CBD”)…Hemp plants, hemp leaves, hemp oil, and hemp seed oil and CBD derived from hemp…”

  • DHL. As of this writing, DHL doesn’t ship CBD products though this may change in the future.

Enlist a 3PL Company to Ship CBD Orders


Here are the steps you need to follow if you’re looking to ship CBD oil:

  • Make sure that the CBD oil is compliant with federal regulations.

  • Whether you use USPS or a private shipping carrier, you need to follow USPS’s guidelines on shipping CBD oil by following the documentation issued in its March 2019 advisory.

  • Select shipping boxes with the right dimensions and put the CBD oil inside it while securing them with bubble wrap or packing peanuts.

  • Get the carrier of your choice to pick the shipment or enlist a 3PL service provider to take care of CBD fulfillment for your business.

Disclaimer: Symbia Logistics does not provide fulfillment services for CBD products with more than 0.3 percent THC content.

Let’s look at some reasons why you should consider enlisting a 3PL to ship CBD orders:

  • Multiple fulfillment centers: A 3PL provider – like Symbia – gives you access to fulfillment centers all across the U.S. This allows you to ship orders to customers faster.

  • Warehouse management system integration: Symbia’s Veracore Warehouse Management System integrates with several e-commerce platforms such as Amazon, BigCommerce, Order Desk, and Shopify. This lets you easily monitor your orders by tracking them with real-time accuracy and generate detailed reports.


The demand for CBD oil has dramatically increased over the past few years. By developing a better understanding of the laws related to CBD oil in the United States, you’ll be able to avoid any regulatory issues and run your CBD oil business safely and legally.