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CBD: A Legal Maze in Europe

CBD in Europe

The attention being drawn towards CBD, a non-psychoactive compound from cannabis for its health benefits. Unlike THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis, CBD does not get you “high,” but is claimed to aid with various wellness problems. This has led to increased availability of the products such as the oils, tinctures, creams, edibles and the cosmetics to mention a few. Nevertheless, the legal aspects surrounding CBD are confusing, and vary from one country to another in Europe.

The EU: Setting the Rules

The EU has set some restrictions around CBD use, but individual countries may still enforce their own laws. In 2020, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) stated that CBD is not a narcotic drug under the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. This implies that CBD can be regarded as a food or food supplement, but it must follow EU food safety regulations.

CBD as a Food or Food Supplement: Tricky Stuff

The ECJ ruling, however, made the situation clearer but also a bit more confusing. Whether CBD can be categorized as a food or food supplement depends upon the way it is being used and how it is being packaged. CBD as food has to go through EU’s Novel Food Regulation which requires a lot of scientific evidence showing that it is safe and effective.

CBD in Cosmetics: A Grey Area

In the EU, they are still making the CBD rules for cosmetics. Europe has not issued specific laws and, therefore, it is up to each country to figure it out. Some countries prohibit CBD Cosmetics completely, while others restrict its use.

National CBD Laws: A Patchwork of Rules

Each country has its own regulations which are not harmonized EU wide CBD laws. Therefore, the laws governing CBD vary from one country to another in Europe.

Albania and Serbia: CBD is a No-No

Only Albania and Serbia have fully banned CBD products among EU countries. They also consider CBD to be an illegal drug.

France: Bye-Bye CBD Cosmetics?

France is considering banning CBD cosmetics because its worried about their safety and effectiveness. This is in contrast with the European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA) that represents the hemp industry and is against this proposal.

Germany: Stepping Carefully

As far as CBD regulation in Germany is concerned, they are careful. CBD is not banned in Germany, but there are stipulated ways it can be sold and used. For example, CBD should not exceed 0.2% and cannot advertise health claims.

Switzerland: Leading the Way

Switzerland is one of the most developed countries in the world with respect to CBD legislation. They made the sale of CBD products with less than 1% of THC legal in 2022. The doctor’s supervision is also permitted for medical use of CBD.

What’s next for CBD in Europe?

Europe seems to keep shifting its laws on CBD, and they are likely to keep changing as more research is conducted, and more people show interest in this product. In the near future, the EU is expected to provide more guidance on CBD regulation, which may help make the rules more consistent across Europe.


It is recommended to consult local authorities before purchasing or using CBD products in Europe.
Opt for CBD products from trustworthy suppliers who can offer third-party lab test results to ascertain their quality and safety.