Understanding the Legality of CBD in Europe


hemp leaves on wooden background, seeds, cannabis oil extracts in jars.


It seems like CBD has taken the world by the storm. Although probably one of the most talked-about subjects in the last year or two, many people are still confused about it. What is it? What does it do? Is it legal?     

The last question is particularly tricky to answer when talking about the European continent. Although the EU functions like one big organism, all countries still have their unique legislations and not all of them have the same stance when it comes to this chemical compound.

So, let’s dive in a bit deeper into the European CBD market and see what are some of the burning legal issues.

The CBD Regulations in Europe

As we already mentioned the situation in the Old Continent is a bit complicated. Any CBD induced products are illegal in the territory of the EU if they contain more than 0.2% of THC. However, this number can vary from country to country.

Austria and Luxembourg allow products with up to 0.3% of THC while France only those goods containing CBD isolate (0% THC). It’s legal in Switzerland as long as the dose is less than 1%. On the other hand, in Slovakia and Lithuania, they are considered illegal.  

Up until recently, the European market was completely unrestricted. However, in January 2019, new guidance on cannabinoid-infused products was released by EFSA (the European Food Safety Authority) saying that CBD is not defined as medicine but as food. Or to be more precise – as a ‘novel food’ ingredient.

“Food that was not used for human consumption to a significant degree within the Union before 15 May 1997” is the basic definition of this term. And anyone who wishes to sell food containing this type of ingredient must first secure an EFSA license. Although member states don’t have to abide by this regulation, many of them have changed their laws to fit this new classification.        

The Booming CBD Market

There are many health benefits to using cannabidiol so it comes as no surprise that the European market is rapidly expanding. By you being here, it indicates that you have probably already heard about the CBD infused products and their positive effects. Let’s see what are the reasons for their increasing popularity.     

CBD is now being included in a wide variety of products, from food to skincare creams. Why? Different studies in the last several years have shown that this substance can reduce the risk of diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular diseases, help in maintaining your brain health, protect and heal skin, provide assistance with insomnia and build-up stress, and much more.

With all this in mind and with the reports stating that nearly 50% of EU residents see CBD favorably, projections showing that the market in Europe will grow over 400% in the course of the next 4 years is making perfect sense.   


Marijuana oil cbd bottle isolated on white background


When it comes to legislation regarding CBD, the European area is a bit chaotic. In some countries, it’s considered illegal while others allow it in certain forms and specific amounts. All of this can be rather confusing for people, not to mention it can cause legal problems for those traveling across the continent.


What Next?

Recent Articles