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cbd oil legality in europe

The legality of CBD oil in Europe is a complex issue, varying significantly across different countries. While majority of European Union (EU) nations have legalized CBD in some form, each member state retains its own specific laws and regulations. Under EU's novel food regulation, CBD is classified as a novel food requiring registration with the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Thus, businesses dealing in CBD products must acquaint themselves with the distinct regulations in their operational countries to circumvent legal pitfalls. It is prudent to stay updated on changes in CBD law across Europe, as these will inevitably impact both businesses and consumers.

Key Takeaways

  • CBD oil is legal in most European Union nations, but each country has its own specific laws and regulations.
  • CBD products must undergo registration with the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and be classified as a novel food.
  • Compliance with local laws for growing hemp and processing Cannabis Sativa L. is necessary for businesses.
  • The THC content and novel food classification influence the legality of CBD oil in Europe.

Understanding European Union CBD Legislation

To fully grasp the legal landscape of CBD oil in Europe, it is essential to delve into the specifics of the European Union's CBD legislation. The European Union has generally adopted a relaxed attitude towards cannabis, leading to the decriminalization and often the legality of CBD in many EU member states. However, the legal status of CBD and its derivatives can vary significantly between member states, emphasizing the importance of thoroughly researching the laws regarding CBD in each country.

In the EU, CBD is recognized as a novel food, which means products containing CBD must undergo a registration procedure with the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to ensure they are lawfully produced and safe for consumption. This EU novel food regulation has impacted the CBD oil legal landscape, as it requires companies to submit comprehensive details about their products for EFSA approval. The European Union is actively working to finalize the novel food procedure for CBD, a process that has seen 19 applications to the EFSA.

Furthermore, CBD derived from hemp grown in the European Union has now been recognized as an INCI ingredient, expanding its use in cosmetic products and acknowledging its potential benefits in skincare. This recognition further underscores the legality of CBD in the EU, albeit with certain stipulations. These regulations and classifications form the backbone of the legal status of CBD in Europe, providing a mixed but generally supportive legal environment for the burgeoning CBD industry.

CBD Oil Legality: Country by Country Analysis

Navigating the intricacies of CBD oil legality in Europe requires a detailed country by country analysis, given the varying regulations that exist within the diverse landscape of member states. In Austria, CBD is legal but with restrictions. The law does not permit CBD to be sold for human consumption, but it is available as an aromatherapy product.

Bulgaria, on the other hand, offers a contrasting perspective. CBD products are legal as long as they are derived from industrial hemp and contain less than 0.2% THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis. This makes CBD, particularly CBD oil, widely accessible within the country, classifying it as food.

France, a key player in the European landscape, has also embraced the legal use of CBD. However, the law insists on 0% THC in CBD products, with an exception made for CBD derived from hemp flowers, provided the THC content remains below the legal threshold.

In Germany, CBD oil is legal, provided it contains less than 0.2% THC. However, recent market developments have prompted the government to clarify the legal status of CBD products further. This is a clear sign of the country's commitment to adapt its laws to the evolving European CBD industry.

Italy stands out with its laws, permitting a higher legal threshold of up to 0.6% for THC content in CBD products. CBD oil is legal, provided it is derived from industrial hemp. This demonstrates the diversity within the EU regarding the legal status of CBD, with each country interpreting and applying the laws differently.

Impact of CBD Regulations on Businesses

In light of the diverse regulations across Europe, the impact on businesses dealing in CBD oil is significant, shaping their operational strategies and compliance measures. The variance in local laws from country to country poses a challenge, as businesses must adapt to ensure that their CBD products sold are legal in each respective market. This often involves a thorough understanding of the specific regulations for CBD use as a cosmetic or food supplement.

Under EU regulation, businesses are allowed to sell products containing CBD derived from hemp, provided that it adheres to strict standards and quality control measures. However, the growth of the CBD market has been somewhat hindered by the complex and ever-evolving legal landscape. For instance, while CBD is legal in most parts of Europe, some countries have specific rules regarding the THC content in CBD products, with some allowing up to 0.2% and others allowing none at all.

Additionally, companies involved in the production process must also ensure compliance with local laws for growing hemp and processing Cannabis Sativa L. This often involves a significant investment in legal expertise and quality assurance, adding to the operational costs of businesses in the industry.

Updates: CBD Legal Changes in 2021

Reflecting on the events of 2021, numerous significant legal changes have been observed in the European CBD oil market. The recognition of CBD as a novel food by the EFSA has been a significant milestone for the industry. The registration procedure for CBD as a novel food has led to 19 applications, reflecting the growing interest in this sector in various European countries.

In many countries in the EU, it has become legal to grow hemp with less than 0.2% THC, a move that has opened up opportunities for the cultivation of hemp and the production of CBD oil. This is a substantial shift as it makes it legal to sell CBD derived from such hemp, increasing market accessibility for consumers and producers alike.

Furthermore, the acceptance of CBD derived from cannabis as an INCI ingredient has opened up opportunities for its use in cosmetic products. This has further enhanced the market for CBD and cannabis products in the EU. The EU authorities' commitment to work with stakeholders to finalize the procedure for CBD as a novel food in a beneficial manner is promising for the future of the industry.

However, it is crucial to note that the EFSA is still seeking further information on possible adverse effects of CBD. As a result, while the market has seen some liberalization, there are still some uncertainties that businesses must navigate. Thus, although promising, the legal landscape for CBD in Europe remains complex and multifaceted.

Predictions: CBD Laws in Europe for 2022 & 2023

While it is challenging to predict with certainty, it is anticipated that the legal landscape of CBD oil in Europe will continue to evolve and mature in 2022 and 2023. The use of CBD is considered in an intricate legal context in EU countries, largely influenced by THC content and the classification of CBD products as novel foods or as ingredients under the INCI.

CBD oil is currently legal in one form or another in several EU countries, but this status could change as knowledge about its possible adverse effects expands. Buyers looking to buy CBD oil should remain vigilant and informed about the changing legal contexts in their specific countries.

Germany's ongoing discussions about legalizing recreational cannabis could potentially influence CBD laws, especially given that CBD is often extracted from cannabis plants. Similarly, in countries like Ireland and Italy, where the Misuse of Drugs Act heavily influences the legality of cannabis products, the discussions around the medical purposes of CBD could see a shift in the law.

The European Commission's stance on CBD as a novel food will continue to shape and influence individual country regulations. As more applications for novel food recognition are submitted and further information on CBD's safety is gathered by EFSA, the legal status of CBD as an ingredient and as a novel food will continue to evolve.

CBD Oil: Different Forms and Their Legality

Although the legality of CBD oil in Europe varies by country, it is generally permitted provided it meets specific THC content regulations and is derived from industrial hemp. Different forms of CBD oils are subject to different legality standards, all contingent on the THC levels they contain.

In Bulgaria, for instance, the sale of CBD is allowed as a food supplement, provided the product contains less than 0.2% THC. This is derived from industrial hemp, complying with the general regulation across European countries. The Czech Republic also permits hemp products with CBD, maintaining a slightly higher THC level tolerance of 0.3%.

Greece and Hungary have similar rules, allowing CBD oils with a maximum of 0.2% THC. These countries emphasize on the THC levels during production, ensuring that consumers are not exposed to psychoactive effects.

Meanwhile, Italy has a more relaxed stance, allowing CBD oil with up to 0.6% THC, provided it is derived from industrial hemp. This also includes allowance for the cultivation of hemp, further promoting the hemp industry within the country.

It is important to note that although CBD oil is legal in these countries, international travelers should be cautious. Not all countries allow travelers to bring CBD oil across borders. Therefore, while you might be allowed to travel with CBD oil within Europe, it is still recommended to verify the regulations of your destination country to avoid any legal complications.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Carry CBD Oil on an International Flight?

Carrying CBD oil on an international flight depends on the specific regulations of departure and destination countries. While some countries permit CBD oil, others strictly prohibit it. It's essential to research the laws of the countries involved before travelling. Additionally, be mindful of potential complications at security checks, as sniffer dogs may not differentiate between CBD oil and illegal substances. To avoid legal issues, consider sourcing CBD oil locally at your destination.

Is It Legal to Take CBD Oil to Italy?

Yes, it is legal to take CBD oil to Italy. However, the oil must be derived from industrial hemp and the THC content should not exceed 0.6%. In Italy, CBD products containing less than 0.6% THC can be sold as food additives. Therefore, as long as your CBD oil adheres to these regulations, you should have no legal issues bringing it into the country.

Is CBD Legal Internationally?

The legality of CBD oil varies internationally, with laws ranging from full legality to complete prohibition. It is crucial to research the specific regulations of the country in question as some classify CBD as a controlled substance, while others consider it a novel food or a prescription drug. International laws also differ regarding the allowable THC content in CBD products. Hence, while CBD is gaining global acceptance, its legal status is not uniform worldwide.

Is CBD Popular in Europe?

Yes, CBD oil is quite popular in Europe. This is demonstrated by its widespread availability and use across many European countries. CBD's recognition as a novel food and its inclusion in the CosIng database has increased its presence in cosmetic products, further contributing to its popularity. However, the legal status of CBD varies from country to country, reflecting the evolving attitudes and regulations surrounding this product.


In conclusion, the complexity of CBD oil legality in Europe stems from the varying regulations across different member states. The EU novel food regulation recognizes CBD as a novel food, requiring registration with the EFSA. Businesses must remain vigilant about these evolving laws to avoid legal issues. The future of CBD laws in Europe is uncertain, with potential changes predicted for 2022 and 2023. Understanding the legality of various forms of CBD oil remains crucial for all stakeholders.

Marshan B.


Marshan B.

Marshan Beals is a co-partner at Client Verge Inc. With 8 years of experience in digital marketing, his expertise extends beyond digital marketing for cannabis brands. He is also a sponsor of the High Profits ebook, available for download when you sign up for our email list.