Cannabidiol (CBD) has become a popular product around the world because of its medicinal benefits. It is now available in supplements, cocktails, candies, lotions, shampoos and coffees. Because of the increased demand for CBD, countries around the world have had to grapple with CBD legal issues and regulations. Depending on where you live, the legal restrictions you have to deal with will vary.
How Do Cannabinoids Work?
Cannabinoids like CBD are found in marijuana plants. Within this plant, there are almost 500 different compounds. Roughly 100 of these compounds are cannabinoids. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the most famous cannabinoid because it is the compound in marijuana that makes you high.
Unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive. This cannabinoid is used for its medicinal properties. According to proponents, CBD can help reduce pain, inflammation, gastrointestinal ailments and anxiety. People use it for conditions like Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and arthritis.
Because marijuana was illegal for so long, scientists still need to do more work to determine what CBD can do and how to use it safely. As different countries grapple with this problem, they also have to determine whether CBD products should be legal or not. While CBD and THC are both cannabinoids, only THC will make you high. Strains of marijuana like Cannabis ruderalis and hemp contain very low levels of THC, but they can still produce CBD. Because of this, a country could outlaw THC and still allow CBD production to take place.
As consumers learn more about CBD, demand for this product has increased significantly. The food industry is one area that is struggling to figure out CBD Eurozone restrictions. Other than Eurozone restrictions, there are also regulations at the national level as well. Currently, food and drink items are not allowed to have more than 0.2 percent of THC in them, but these laws are in flux.
Laws About CBD in Europe
In January 2019, the European Commission decided to review the Novel Food requirements to clarify CBD regulations. Currently, certain products made from cannabis are no longer considered a Novel Food. This includes the seeds, seed flour and hemp seed flour. This is true only in cases where the THC content is less than 0.2 percent. CBD is still classified as a Novel Food type because CBD has not traditionally been used as a food in the European Union (EU). This means food and drink producers must follow Novel Food regulations. Despite this law, it is still easy to find food and drink items available for sale that have not been approved at the EU level. Because of this, many of the CBD drinks and food items are considered to be unsafe by the EU.
This does not mean that CBD is illegal to have in food. It only means that the EU requires CBD products to go through the Novel Food regulations and procedures. The same is generally true when it comes to other CBD products in the EU. There are often CBD products that are legally available for purchase, but they may not be deemed safe for human consumption according to the EU’s regulations.
On January 24, 2019, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) wrote a recommendation to the United Nations for rescheduling cannabis and cannabis-related substances. The reason for the recommended change was so that cannabis compounds could be used for medical and scientific purposes. In the recommendation, the WHO stated that CBD products should not be scheduled by the International Drug Control Conventions. If this recommendation is put into practice, pure CBD in Europe would no longer be considered a Schedule 1 drug.
For vaping or e-cigarettes, the legality of these products depends on if combustion occurs. Nicotine products are also regulated differently. The Tobacco Product Directive is in charge of any nicotine or non-nicotine product that uses the combustion process. Combustion is basically a scientific term for smoking.
When it comes to vaping, EU rules can get a little tricky. Technically, e-cigarettes are any component within a device that someone uses for smoking nicotine. This includes the cartridges and tanks. If the device and cartridges are not used with nicotine, then EU law does not consider them to be an e-cigarette. This means that vaping pens and e-liquid products do not have to follow the Tobacco Product Directive. Instead, they just have to follow the EU General Product Safety Directive 2001/95/EC. Since each country treats non-nicotine e-cigarettes differently, EU residents have to check the applicable laws in their area. For example, Greece generally allows the sale of vaping products in the country except across borders. In the United Kingdom (UK), there are added labeling requirements.
Meanwhile, Bulgaria became the first EU nation to authorize a company to freely sell CBD products in May 2019. The Food Safety Agency and Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry in Bulgaria issued a Free Certificate of Sale for CBD products made by Kannaway. This company is a subsidiary of the cannabis business known as Medical Marijuana Inc. According to the permit, these products can now be used for export sales as well.
In February 2019, the European Parliament also voted on a resolution that would support medical cannabis in the EU. Another proposal was passed in April that would allow a THC level of 0.3 percent instead of the current 0.2 percent THC level that is allowed in CBD products. While products can only consist of 0.2 percent of THC for now, the limit of 0.3 percent will go into effect in 2021.
CBD In The Netherlands
The laws about CBD Netherlands residents deal with are in a state of constant change. Currently, the Netherlands allows products that have high levels of CBD and low levels of THC. If products follow a few rules, they can contain cannabis without exemptions.
- The product cannot contain any medical claims.
- The THC level cannot be more than 0.05 percent.
- The buyer should not be told to take more than 160 milligrams of CBD each day.
Municipalities are still in charge of licensing the Netherlands’ famous coffee shops. According to the Opium Act, exemptions can be granted for products designed for training, animal health or trade-related purposes. To be used as a food, CBD needs to be approved for food-related purposes.
Technically, CBD in Europe is legal everywhere except Slovakia for consumers. If you are in the European Union, you can use, possess and buy CBD. In Italy, there is a gray area because of changing laws surrounding legal hemp. Because of EU regulations, different cannabis products are treated differently. In the Netherlands, it is technically illegal to sell isolated cannabinoids to the public. CBD is legal, but CBD isolate is technically illegal for someone to sell. Dutch companies can still manufacture these products, so the main issue is for companies that want to sell CBD isolate. In comparison, the Czech Republic and Switzerland allow CBD isolate to be sold directly to the public.
The Status of CBD in Spain
The CBD Spain residents find is generally legal to produce, sell and buy. Other than the normal regulations about food, the Spanish Agency of Medicines and Medical Products (AEMPS) is in charge of regulating items that may become food or dietary supplements. According to the AEMPS, CBD is not listed as a product that is safe to consume. This means that sellers cannot sell it as a food or a product that you can ingest. It is technically legal in things like topical products.
CBD in France
While CBD oil can be incorporated into just about every product, some countries refuse to allow CBD oil. The CBD France allows is made from hemp. Technically, CBD oil is against the law in France if you want to have it for personal use. Only certain kinds of cannabis-derived items are allowed in the country.
Although France is the biggest producer of hemp in the European Union, the CBD France allows is only available if it follows restrictive regulations. In 2018, the French government instituted strict rules surrounding CBD oil. Any CBD oil in the country must be completely free of any traces of THC.
People who violate French laws face harsh repercussions. The possession and use of illicit CBD oil can be punished through a fine or jail time. It is also against the law to promote anything that relates to marijuana. This means that just posting a picture of a marijuana plant outside of your business could get you to get into legal trouble. The use of CBD oil is legal, but it must have a THC content that is less than 0.2 percent.
Austria and CBD
While the rules about the CBD Eurozone nations may vary, they generally stick to the EU’s overall regulations. In the case of Austria, there are no added restrictions. As long as you follow the EU’s regulations, the CBD Austria allows is the same. This also means that any products that have a THC content that is higher than 0.3 percent are technically illegal. Since it is not classified as a pharmaceutical substance like the CBD Germany offers for sale, CBD in Austria can be easily sold. In addition, it is legal to grow hemp that has a THS content of less than 0.3 percent for oil, fiber production and non-psychoactive uses.
CBD Laws in Germany
In Germany, the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) is in charge of determining the legality of CBD products. The BfArM currently distinguishes between cannabis for medical purposes and cannabis for non-medical purposes. There are also exemptions in place for hemp.
The CBD Germany allows is only from EU countries that use certified seeds. The product cannot have a THC content of more than 0.2 percent. According to the BfArM’s guidance, end consumers can only buy extracts that are made from industrial hemp. This rule only applies to non-medical products. Anything that is made, marketed or prescribed for medical purposes is held to the same standards as pharmaceutical drugs. CBD has not been approved under pharmaceutical regulations yet, but this situation could always change in the future.
Belgium and CBD Regulations
According to a Belgian drug law dating back to 1921, it is against the law to buy or sell extracts from the cannabis plant. This is true for extracts that contain only CBD and do not have any psychoactive ingredients. Currently, the sale of cannabis is a criminal offense. As such, selling cannabis products can lead to jail time and large fines. Cultivating and possessing cannabis are also criminal offenses.
Because the law was changed in 2003, it is no longer a criminal offense to possess a small amount of cannabis for personal use. Personal use refers to amounts that are less than 3 grams of cannabis. In these cases, the police register the offense anonymously without using the person’s name. While the CBD Belgium regulations may be illegal, medicinal cannabis can be legally used to treat AIDS, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma and chronic pain. To qualify for this option, you have to have a prescription from a registered doctor. Medical marijuana is strictly regulated through the oversight of the Medicinal Cannabis Office.
Belgium is a major exporter of hemp, but industrial hemp is different than recreational or medical marijuana. Businesses can produce industrial hemp as long as it has a THC content of less than 0.2 percent. While you might not be prosecuted or jailed for having CBD in Belgium, it is still technically against the law.
CBD in the UK
The CBD UK residents get is generally legal to have and use. The Cannabis Trades Association UK says that the number of CBD users jumped from 125,000 in 2017 to 250,000 in 2018. This increase is despite the fact that cannabis is technically illegal. Back in 1928, the UK made cannabis illegal after a drug conference in Geneva. In 1968, the Home Office’s Wootton Report determined that cannabis did not cause violent crime or other negative effects. Unfortunately, cannabis is still illegal as a recreational drug in the UK.
While cannabis is against the law, CBD products can be legal in certain circumstances. Meanwhile, THC is technically a controlled substance according to the Misuse of Drugs Act of 1971. As long as the CBD products do not contain any trace amounts of THC, they can be legally sold and used in the UK. If there is any THC at all, then the product is a controlled substance and against the law for someone to possess.
CBD in Canada
If you want to buy CBD products, CBD in Canada is legal if you are a medical patient. The Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR) states that registered medical patients can buy and use CBD as long as they get permission from licensed healthcare practitioners. In order to sell CBD, the seller must be a licensed marijuana producer.
Industrial hemp is legal in Canada, but this does not mean that CBD is always legal for everyone to buy and sell. Currently, CBD is only legal for people who have a prescription. Despite this restriction, you can find many shops that sell CBD products online and in brick-and-mortar stores. This means that many of the hemp-derived products you find are either being sold illegally or do not contain enough CBD to do anything.
CBD in Australia
In 2018, the state and national health ministers made selling and buying hemp products and food legal in Australia. This occurred after Tasmanian officials recommended the change. CBD in Australia is legal, but it is only legal if it meets certain requirements.
To be legally sold in the country, CBD in Australia must contain a THC content of less than 0.005 percent. Otherwise, the CBD products are considered an illicit substance. Previously, some agriculturists have even been subjected to legal indictments because they accidentally manufactured hemp with a higher THC content.
If you are a consumer, you can walk into any shop and legally buy CBD products. You just have to be 18 or older in order to buy these products. Meanwhile, growers can import hemp seeds, extractions and oil as long as vendors do not make dietary or health claims about it. In addition, the hemp cannot be made out of the flowers or seeds of the plant.
Learn the Laws About CBD Before You Buy
In many parts of the world, CBD exists in a gray area. Federal and state governments want to outlaw psychoactive drugs, but CBD does not cause psychoactive effects. It can also be produced from cannabis plants that do not contain significant quantities of THC. Because of this, CBD has existed in a gray area for years. Some countries have been proactive about making laws regarding the sale and purchase of CBD. In other cases, nations have been reactive or have not taken any actions regarding CBD.
As a buyer or seller, it is important to know the laws before you do anything. You may need to get a prescription for CBD or approval to sell it as a food product. In other places, you can buy small quantities of CBD without any problems. To prevent legal complications in the EU and abroad, it is important to learn the applicable laws and regulations before you shop.