·  Legal News, Analysis, & Commentary

Health & Medicine

Is Your CBD Legal? CBD Laws in US/EU/UK

— July 17, 2020

It’s essential to keep an eye out for CBD use updates since laws surrounding cannabidiol compounds are constantly changing.

CBD-infused products have seen a huge increase in popularity in the past few years for their numerous uses and potential health benefits. Despite massive recognition and widespread use as an effective remedy in the health and wellness market, CBD is usually stuck in a legal grey area due to its complicated relationship with cannabis. Since CBD is extracted from cannabis, it’s often related to laws and regulations, which are meant to target marijuana and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) compound.

The good news is that more places around the globe are learning to recognise the distinction of understanding CBD separately as its own substance. When it comes to the legality of CBD to the general public, it all depends on the country, its laws and restrictions regarding the control of CBD. From a legal perspective, hemp-derived CBD is allowed for use, and its possession shouldn’t cause any legal issues in many countries and most of the United States. To help you figure out and better understand the legality surrounding CBD in the EU, US, and UK, let’s discuss key facts and recent progression of CBD laws.

Is CBD Legal in the UK?

While the cannabis plant is still illegal in the UK, the government has made some concessions and changes in the use of medical cannabis. Nowadays, CBD products that are obtained from an EU-approved industrial hemp strain are legal in the United Kingdom. They also should be sold as a food supplement without making any medicinal claims such as diagnosis, treatment, or prevention.

CBD oil is legal in the UK as long as the product contains trace amounts (less than 0.2%) of controlled substances such as THC and CBN. On the other hand, CBD product with higher amounts of THC can be legally used medicinally. Unless you have a doctor’s prescription for a medical condition, CBD products that contain THC aren’t available for purchase. 

The Legality of CBD in the EU

As for Europe, marijuana and cannabis laws vary from one country to another. While the general EU law allows the intake of CBD products containing up to 0.2% of THC, there are a few exceptions that apply an outright ban to CBD use.

Most countries in Europe have progressive and liberal policies toward CBD, but some European laws and regulations are considerably complex and strict. Here is a brief overview of legal CBD use in each European country. 

It might be a good starting point, but the best advice is to spend some time and do pre-purchase research for your particular location as European countries have a broad spectrum of regulations and specifics in law. Additionally, it’s essential to keep an eye out for CBD use updates since laws surrounding cannabidiol compounds are constantly changing.

Marijuana leaf on wooden surface, with a brown bottle and eyedropper on the leaf; image by CBD-Infos-Com, via
Marijuana leaf on wooden surface, with a brown bottle and eyedropper on the leaf; image by CBD-Infos-Com, via

Italy – Italy allows CBD use if it contains less than 0.6% of THC, which is relatively high compared to other EU nations. What’s more, high in CBD and low in THC cannabis strains are also permitted in Italy in smokeable form, which is called “Cannabis Light”. Both products are available in shops and online vendors.

Belgium, Czech Republic, Luxembourg – in these countries you can legally purchase CBD products that include no more than 0.3% of THC compound.

Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal (for medicinal purposes), Romania, Slovenia, Spain – European Union law in these countries allow the use of CBD products that contain no more than 0.2% of THC.

The Netherlands – All the components that come from the Cannabis plant fall under the Netherlands’ Opium Act of 1912, which forbid procession of the Cannabis plant. In 1999 the law was amended, which approve the use of specific hemp strains that include less than 0.2% of THC. Such change allows the cultivation of hemp in the Netherlands and production outside the country, as it’s illegal to deliver anything from the hemp plant.

However, in the Netherlands, CBD-infused products are available over the counter if THC concentration in the composition doesn’t exceed 0.05%. Also, if you would like to purchase CBD, you shouldn’t consume more than 160 mg of CBD within a day while the product can’t include any health claims.

Sweden – The CBD compound isn’t prohibited in Sweden, but the marketing and sales with statements of its advantages or benefits are banned. Any CBD-infused product can’t display statements of health, beauty, benefits in the instruction for use. You can buy CBD legally if the THC levels are 0.00%.

Denmark, Finland, Malta – all these European countries allow CBD use as long as you can provide doctor note or prescription from a pharmacist.

Austria – Until 2018, CBD was considered legal for purchasing and selling in Austria, as long as the THC levels didn’t exceed 0.3%. However, this statement was revised by the government, meaning it’s now forbidden to sell CBD edible products and cosmetics. Nevertheless, you can legally buy CBD items as an aromatherapy product or essential oil.

Slovakia – is currently the only country where CBD is completely illegal.

CBD Laws and Regulations in the US

Determined THC limits in hemp and marijuana products differ in each country as well as their law regulations. Prior to 2018, Hemp and Marijuana were deemed controlled substances in the US. From the beginning of 2018, hemp was changed from a regulated and strictly banned substance to an agricultural raw-material in the United States according to Farm Bill. The Farm Bill also set requirements and standards in place that hemp farmers must follow for a CBD product to be considered legal.

Since this moment, customers are allowed to purchase CBD infused products with up to 0.3% of the THC compound. While the majority of states have approved CBD-infused products with less than 0.3%, the status of CBD is different for every state as well as laws and regulations of a certain state. 

  • In Idaho, CBD oil is only legal if it’s produced from the seeds or stalks of the hemp plant and includes 0% of THC; 
  • Alaska, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, are states where CBD products are legal, including items that have more than 0.3% of THC compound;
  • Restrictions in states like Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, and others allow CBD use for those people who need it for specific medical purposes.

Join the conversation!