CBD and the law

CBD is short for cannabidiol. Because CBD is usually found and written about as an oil, many mistakenly think it is called cannabidoil, as in oil from a cannabis plant.

So, lets first clear up what cannabidiol actually is and how it is obtained, as this will help you to understand the legal aspects surrounding CBD.

Most CBD oil is not obtained from cannabis plants

One of the reasons there has been a ‘grey area’ with the law is because CBD oil can be obtained from both the cannabis plant and the hemp plant. The hemp plant is a close relation of the cannabis plant, being derived from the plant cannabis sativa. As a consequence, hemp oil and CBD oil can be one and the same thing. However, that’s where the similarity begins and ends. While hemp oil obtained from the hemp plant is rich in CBD, it has nominal traces of Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Cannabis plants can have varying levels of THC in them, but all appreciably higher than in the hemp plant. 

What is THC?

THC is one of the reasons why cannabis is illegal. Tetrahydrocannabinol has hallucinogenic properties; it is the THC in cannabis that is responsible for the ‘high’ because of its mind-altering properties. In most, but not all countries across the globe, the recreational use of cannabis is illegal, though some are now looking to decriminalise its possession if in small quantities. The following 30 countries permit the use of cannabis for medical purposes: 

  • Argentina
  • Germany
  • Netherlands
  • Australia
  • Greece
  • Norway
  • Canada
  • Peru
  • Israel
  • Chile
  • Italy
  • Poland
  • Colombia
  • Jamaica
  • Romania
  • Croatia
  • Lesotho
  • San Marino
  • Cyprus
  • Luxembourg
  • Switzerland
  • Czech Republic
  • Macedonia
  • Turkey
  • Denmark
  • Malta
  • Uruguay
  • Finland
  • Mexico
  • Zimbabwe

Original legal status of CBD oil

You would think that as CBD oil had next to no THC in it, it would automatically be legal to both sell and consume. The problem is, CBD was identified first in the cannabis plant and not in the hemp plant, so despite its non-hallucinogenic properties, as it was cannabis-derived, it was by dint of the law, illegal. Once CBD was also identified in the hemp plant, it was still illegal as it was CBD and the law did not differentiate on the source of CBD.

The law has changed with the discovery of the medical and holistic benefits of CBD

Once it had been identified that the perceived medical benefits of cannabis were not derived from the combined constituents of the plant, but CBD alone, there was a sea change with regard to the legality of CBD and Europe is leading the way. Beyond moves to legalise cannabis for medical purposes, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared in 2018 that there were no public health risks or abuse potentials where CBD was concerned. In Europe, countries have now set rules that permit the use of CBD, as in CBD oil, CBD vape juice and CBD e-liquids providing they have limited amounts of THC in it, ranging from 0.5% to 0.0%. In Europe the law differs from country to country despite EU directives. These laws seem to change on an almost monthly basis, so it is impossible to give a definitive opinion of the matter, as tomorrow it could all have changed. If one thing seems to be clear, the changes in the law all seem to be going in a positive direction where the use of CBD oil is concerned.

The logical conclusion regarding the use of CBD is that where vaping is concerned, it is okay 

In theory, CBD is an illegal substance because it is classed as cannabinoid, and in general terms, it is accepted that cannabinoids are illegal. Interestingly, the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) bans all cannabinoids, except canabidiol.  As a consequence, the law states that CBD cannot be used as a food or dietary supplement. However, CBD oil itself, CBD vape oil, CBD vape juice or CBD e-liquid – which ever you prefer to call it, is not a ‘foodstuff’ or a dietary supplement.  With scientists confirming that CBD has no hallucinogenic properties, and the majority of CBD users using it for medicinal and holistic reasons, what sane court in any country would fine someone or lock them away simply for taking a ‘substance’ that is not mind-altering in the way cannabis is, and which can be beneficial for a person’s well-being? 

Get in contact

The laws surrounding cannabis and CBD are changing almost daily. If you are not sure if CBD oil is legal in your country of residence, get in contact with us and we will be glad to advise you.