IS CBD LEGAL? CBD LEGISLATION AROUND THE WORLD
The use of CBD is on an upward trajectory. With its increasing popularity, the wellness industry has welcomed CBD with open arms. Healthcare systems are now, too, beginning to acknowledge the medicinal properties of the cannabis plant – but, for many prospective CBD users, one uncertainty remains:
Is CBD legal?
We’re here to set the record straight about the legality of CBD. How does CBD differ from cannabis, where around the world is CBD illegal, and where are you legally allowed to travel with your favourite CBD products?
Cannabidiol, better known as CBD, is one of over 100 natural cannabinoids found in hemp – or the Cannabis sativa plant.
Firstly, it’s important to establish the key differences between CBD and THC. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the molecule that gives the cannabis plant its intoxicating properties, whereas CBD is non-psychoactive; it does not get you high.
In recent years, CBD has become a go-to wellness supplement for those seeking some of the health benefits of cannabis, but without the buzz.
Nearly half of current CBD users do so to help them sleep, and roughly one-third find that it helps them to unwind. Even the latest scientific research suggests that CBD could be used to relieve stress and anxiety, reduce pain and inflammation, and provide therapeutic relief in countless other mental and physical health conditions.
Is CBD legal in the UK?
As a UK brand, it’s important to us that our UK customers feel comfortable with the legal status of our products.
Being a psychoactive substance, THC – and cannabis-based products that contain over 1mg of THC – are Class B controlled substances in the UK, under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. They are only legally available on prescription.
CBD is legal in the UK, so long as the product contains less than 1mg of THC per container or 0.2% THC. Since CBD is non-psychoactive, it is not a controlled substance and can therefore be sold and used legally in the UK.
It is, however, important to buy from a trustworthy brand. With the rapid growth of the CBD industry, unregulated products are all too accessible. As published in a report by the Centre of Medicinal Cannabis (CMC), 45% of commercial CBD products in 2019 contained measurable levels of THC. If a product contains THC levels above the legal threshold, this could have significant legal implications for the user.
At Goodrays UK, our CBD drink, oil and edibles products contain 0% THC. How do we know this? We use registered laboratories to conduct third-party testing on each of our products so you know exactly what you’re putting in your body – that is, all-natural, Colorado-grown CBD.
CBD around the world
It can be challenging to wrap your head around CBD legislation. With inconsistent restrictions on growing, producing, selling and using CBD products around the world, it’s important to know where CBD is legal and where it’s not.
Here, we’ll take a brief look at the legality of CBD in various countries and continents. Every region has their own rules and regulations – which are constantly changing – so customers should always do their own research before travelling with CBD.
Every European country differs in their laws regarding CBD and cannabis, so it’s hard to give a solid answer about where CBD is legal and where it’s not.
There is a common misconception that CBD products with no more than 0.2% THC are legal across Europe, but this only applies to hemp grown for industrial purposes. CBD remains illegal to buy and use in several European countries.
That said, many countries in the EU have similar CBD legislation to the UK. This is because the European Commission considers CBD as a novel food, provided it meets the conditions of EU legislation.
Each country has its own stipulations about THC content, or whether CBD products can legally be used without a prescription, so it’s worth reading up on specific countries for the finer details – especially if you’re hoping to travel with your CBD.
The United States
In the US, rules surrounding CBD and cannabis vary state-to-state. Although CBD is legal in some form in all 50 states, some still have strict laws surrounding who can buy CBD, and what type of CBD is legal.
As a rule of thumb, always research local laws before travelling to the US.
Canada legalised recreational cannabis in 2019, so laws surrounding cannabis-based products are quite relaxed. As such, CBD products are legal and widely available to buy.
Each Canadian province specifies their own CBD regulations, but it should be noted that it is illegal to take any cannabis products across the Canadian border without permission, including CBD.
CBD is legal in Australia, so long as products contain no more than 50 mg of any cannabinoid per kg, including CBD. CBD products must also contain less than 0.3% THC.
It is also legal to travel to and from Australia with CBD under the Traveller's Exemption Law, which allows you to enter Australia with up to a three-month supply of medications.
Despite being legal to grow hemp in Russia, it is illegal to isolate cannabinoids and therefore the sale of CBD is prohibited.
CBD, in cosmetic form, is legal in China provided the THC content is very low, but it is illegal to bring CBD products into China from elsewhere.
It is illegal to buy, sell, or travel with cannabis, and therefore CBD, in most African countries. CBD is, however, legal in South Africa. Since May 2019, medical law permits the consumption of 20 mg of CBD daily, so long as the THC content is below 0.001%.
The Middle East
Attitudes towards cannabis vary hugely across the Middle East, yet its legal status remains consistent. Cannabis is prohibited, so CBD should not be taken into any Middle Eastern country, regardless of THC content.
Those are just a handful of the rules and regulations regarding CBD use around the world. Please be aware that laws can and do change, so Goodrays customers should always check before travelling, with or without our CBD.
Gibbs, B., Yates, A., Liebling, J., (2019). CBD IN THE UK, Executive Summary. Centre for Medical Cannabis.
Moltke, J., Hindocha, C. (2021). Reasons for cannabidiol use: a cross-sectional study of CBD users, focusing on self-perceived stress, anxiety, and sleep problems. J Cannabis Res 3, 5.
Sumner, W. (2020). Identifying European Consumers’ Demand for CBD. New Frontier Data.