CBD Legality in Europe

CBD legality in Europe

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8 mins read

We are familiar with the legal minefield that is the CBD market in the UK. Companies may sell CBD products less than 0.2% THC with 1mg THC per pack is the guidance, but CBD products on the market may not follow these guidelines. 

 But how is CBD treated in other European countries? 

CBD is now legal in many countries, but there are still some exceptions and restrictions on its sale depending on where you are in the world. 

You can now find great CBD online on the CBD shop JustBob, a brilliant way to secure excellent quality CBD products and easily buy your CBD online.

CBD in Europe

Until recently, there were few restrictions on CBD in Europe, and indeed, industrial hemp with a THC content of no more than 0.2% remains legal throughout the Continent.

Nevertheless, the regulations have been tightening, and in January 2019 the European Food Safety Authority, EFSA, published new guidelines that affect foods containing cannabinoids.

All products that contain CBD now have to be approved by a national food authority as a so-called novel food. While these new guidelines are not mandatory, some EU member states have already changed their CBD laws accordingly. Many European countries that do not belong to the European Union also adhere to these guidelines. 

You may be aware that CBD is regarded differently in different European Countries:

CBD in Great Britain

CBD products made from isolates are ‘legal’ in the UK, which unfortunately moves away from the whole plant medicine. The cultivation of hemp plants with a THC content of less than 0.2% is allowed by licenced farmers, but this cannot legally be processed into cannabidiol. 

Incoming Novel Food regulations and the wide adoption of a 1mg total THC content per pack rule look likely to halt some products from sale after the regulations kick in at the end of March 2021.

Medical cannabis, including both CBD and THC can be obtained by patients if prescribed by a doctor, even in its herbal form (to be vaporised, not smoked).

Belgium and CBD

Until recently, Belgium had rather relaxed laws when it came to CBD and CBD could easily be bought in many stores. But after the EU guidelines for novel foods were published, Belgium changed their laws, banning CBD edibles. 

The ban also includes CBD oil, without prescription. CBD flowers that contain less than 0.2% THC have been considered tobacco products in Belgium since April 2019 and so are taxed as such. CBD in the form of oils, pills and ointments is available in pharmacies since August 2019 for those with a prescription. Even though the sale is banned, there are still many retailers online who offer CBD in Belgium.

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CBD cannabis in Germany

In Germany, CBD products that contain less than 0.2% THC can be bought legally and without a prescription. 

However, there is one restriction – they may not be advertised. Medical CBD (and medical THC) is also available on prescription from approved pharmacies.

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Is CBD legal in France?

Growing hemp with a THC content of no more than 0.2% is legal in France. Until recently, this % also applied to CBD products, but the French authorities changed that. 

Now only CBD products that do not contain any THC are allowed. It means that CBD can only be sold if the products are made from isolate (at the time of writing.)

Italy: JustBob’s headquarters for the CBD business

Hemp with a THC content of 0.2% is legal in Italy. The law even tolerates fluctuations of up to 0.6%. And by the end of May 2019, CBD oils with a THC content of up to 0.6% were available all over the country. 

However, in Italy, too, the legal situation is quite unclear. Selling and marketing products made from Cannabis sativa L. is a criminal offence under the law. The only exception is if the product does not have any narcotic effects. However, to date, there is no precise definition of the meaning of this exception. Accordingly, CBD remains in a grey area.

Netherlands and CBD

The Netherlands is often considered laid back when it comes to soft drugs. Recreational cannabis use is tolerated in the country, so both marijuana and hemp are perfectly legal, but CBD weirdly is not so relaxed. There are strict rules for CBD in the Netherlands. CBD, extracted from hemp, is permitted, but the THC content must not exceed 0.05%.

CBD in Austria

Until the end of 2018, CBD was sold more or less without restriction in Austria, and quality assurance was virtually non-existent. But from that point on, CBD products had to be marketed differently and were no longer sold as drugs or dietary supplements. 

There are exceptions for a few patients for whom medical cannabis treatment would benefit due to their illness, and can still buy cannabis extracts, cannabis flowers and hashish in Austria, so long as it contains less than 0.3% THC. 

CBD in Switzerland

The well-known Swiss precision can also be seen in their laws governing the cultivation of cannabis and manufacturing of CBD products. The cultivation of cannabis is legal in Switzerland up to an even 1% THC, vs 0.3% recently agreed by the EU..

There are no restrictions whatsoever regarding the varieties and cultivation of the hemp plants, so the development of different species is also allowed, which is great news for breeding projects. CBD oil is available in Switzerland in both local stores and online shops, and you can even buy hemp cigarettes in supermarkets there. No wonder Switzerland is referred to as a CBD capital of Europe.

Spain and CBD cannabis

CBD with a THC content of 0.2% can be legally bought and used in Spain, and cosmetic CBD products for skin care are freely available.

However, CBD is not on the list of approved dietary supplements. This does not stop its availability – many shopkeepers continue to sell CBD products for consumption, albeit outside the law.

For many European residents, ordering CBD online is more comfortable than in-store (particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic). And when searching for CBD, you can research laws in your area if you are concerned before ordering.