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Is CBD legal in Europe in 2021?

CBD is legal in almost every European country – but there are some exceptions.

By LLM Reporters  |  October 25, 2021
CBD oil

CBD has become something of a buzz-word over recent years, with holistic health enthusiasts increasingly turning to this powerful compound to help treat a range of different health conditions ranging from chronic pain and inflammation to depression and anxiety.

And over the past eighteen months, with more focus placed on our health than ever before, those who once didn’t think twice about consuming over-the-counter and prescription medication have found themselves looking for a more natural way to get relief, with a focus on pure and organic ingredients in place of unknown chemicals.

CBD – or cannabidiol – is the non-psychoactive compound found in the marijuana plant, and is now legal in the UK. Today, it can be bought in most health food stores, as well as via a variety of different online channels, in the form of everything from oils and tinctures to food and drink items like chocolate and beer – but it hasn’t always been so accessible. And although several studies have shown promising results in the treatment of illnesses and ailments like epilepsy, stress and arthritis in terms of the easing of symptoms, the jury is still largely out on just how effective it is likely to be long-term.

For a long time, cannabis and all of its various derivatives were illegal in much of the world. Categorised as a ‘class C’ drug in the UK and much of Europe, using, carrying or supplying marijuana itself had – and still has – the potential to land you with a lengthy jail term. But as scientists begin to understand more about its therapeutic properties and how some of these can be harnessed without the inclusion of psycho-active compound delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol – or THC, things have started to change and the CBD flower in Europe is no longer the no-no it once was.

Many EU countries allow the purchase of CBD products as long as they contain less than 0.2% THC

Changing times

In recent years, we’ve seen governments across the UK and Europe relax their stances and adjust their laws in relation to such substances, with the likes of both hemp and CBD now readily available to buy from all sorts of places. While the use of marijuana itself is still not permitted, the healing properties of CBD have proven themselves to be hard to ignore.

Now classed as a ‘novel food’ – in other words, a type of food that had not been consumed to a significant degree by humans in the EU before 1997, which was when the initial novel food regulation came into force – CBD has been relieved of the ‘illegal drug’ status all together in the UK and the EU. But to avoid inadvertently breaking the law, users still need to be careful about where and how they source their supplies from, as in some countries, CBD blends may contain the compound of THC, which is still considered illegal in some parts of Europe.

Should you accidentally bring this type of CBD into the country then you could face serious criminal charges – so be sure to do your research before making a purchase, especially when buying abroad or online.

CBD oil has long been known for its medicinal properties, having quickly replaced pharmaceutical alternatives for conditions ranging from inflammation and chronic pain to anxiety, depression and more

It’s also worth noting that despite now being widely legal to buy and consume across Europe, there are some exceptions. In Slovakia, for example, it is still deemed entirely illegal in all its forms.

To avoid landing yourself in hot water when purchasing CBD in Europe, be sure to look out for certified products that clearly state the exact percentage of active ingredients on the packaging. Different countries may have different laws in this regard, so when moving between countries, ensure that you look into this first.

In the UK, any CBD product containing less than 0.2 per cent of THC is deemed satisfactory from a legal perspective.

Of course, marijuana, in all its forms, is also entirely legal in some countries. Take, for example, the Netherlands, where users can buy and smoke cannabis in a relaxed environment in specialist coffee shops and at various other points of sale that have been authorised by the authorities.

As a general rule of thumb, it’s wise never to assume that the product you are buying is legal until you have delved a little deeper into the specifications and the legalities of the country in which you live or intend to travel to. Even so, for the most part, you can safely purchase THC-free CBD products for personal use and enjoy its many benefits – so if you’re currently dealing with a chronic health condition it has been shown to help with, then it could well be worth giving it a try.