The popularity of cannabidiol CBD has grown exponentially over the years due to a growing number of health benefits and consumer products that use this compound. In Europe, the status and legality of CBD and products that contain this compound are reminiscent of the early years of CBD awareness in the United States. Not all states openly accepted and legalized CBD due to its negative association with another psychoactive derivative, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). However, as more studies surfaced to delineate the differences between these two compounds, the atmosphere of legalization changed in the US.
Here, we will examine the essential aspects of CBD in the European Union and the possible direction of CBD’s legal status in the future.
The 31 member states of the European Union (EU) have taken a collective stance on how CBD in food and cosmetics is regulated. Given the cultural diversity of the member EU member states, one might ask: “Is CBD legal in Europe?” or “Are there states where CBD is legal?” Before we proceed to answer these questions, let us first examine some of the relevant EU regulations concerning CBD.
Food or food items that are not regularly consumed or consumed to a significant degree are classified as “novel food” and undergo stricter control and regulation than regular food. Foods with CDB as one of their ingredients are classified under this umbrella. It means that producers of novel foods need to process an application for the authorization of the novel food and comply with the implementing acts for its authorization of market placement and distribution.
CBD in cosmetics also has a strict regulation concerning CDB as an ingredient in skincare products. However, the provisions of the law only mention that derivatives and substances from the flowering or fruiting tops of the cannabis plant are prohibited from being used in cosmetic products. It means that derivatives from seeds and leaves not accompanied by the tops are allowed as cosmetic product ingredients but are still subject to the general legal requirements for cosmetic products, including product safety.
Going back to the earlier questions about CBD’s legal status in the EU, the short answer is a conditional yes. CBD products are legal as long the producers and sellers are duly registered and comply with the applicable EU and national legislations.
The CBD market is thriving in most parts of the region. Even though the CBD industry is relatively young, it is already displaying growth opportunities. Currently, Europe is the second-largest CBD market following North America, with the UK and Germany leading the European CBD market, followed by Switzerland and Austria. Also worth noting are the growing CBD markets in the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Poland, and Bulgaria.
Even though there are varying national laws concerning CBD in the EU, the remarkable spread of awareness regarding the benefits of CBD is a promising step to increasing the adoption of CBD and CBD-based products. A positive forecast is seen for the growth of the CBD industry in Europe in the next few years. The positive developments surrounding CBD will also result in more countries reconsidering their positions on this compound.
Currently, there is a tight regulation of CBD in the EU manufacturers and sellers can reap incredible benefits if they comply with the applicable legislation concerning CBD. CBD is conditionally legal in this region, so to speak but the current landscape shows promise of growth in the future. As long as the EU legislators strive to make CBD regulations clearer and more reasonable, along with companies staying committed to selling safe and quality CBD products, a remarkable future awaits the CBD industry in the EU.