Are cannabidiol and CBD oil legal in Europe?

CBD can be a food ingredient as it is not an addictive substance. Since, according to the Novel Food Catalogue of the European Union, CBD was not represented to any significant extent on the European food market before 1997. It is considered new in food. It requires approval after prior safety testing before being sold.

Besides, you should know that CBD is legal in Europe and the UK and Ireland and that you can now easily order your CBD Oil in Ireland at

Basic rules and regulations

There are currently three applications for novel food approval for synthetically produced cannabidiol. The classification as novel-food also applies to other cannabinoids such as CBDA, CBG, CBN or CBC. In addition, according to the Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety, a hemp extract that contains cannabinoids can also be classified as novel and requires approval.

Some manufacturers argue that a hemp extract with the same natural CBD concentration as the crop is not novel food. However, from the point of view of the consumer advice centre, calling such products in which CBD is not enriched as CBD oil is misleading. Some suppliers advertise simple hemp edible oil at significantly inflated prices about a natural CBD content.

According to the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, cannabidiol products (CBD products) that are on the market as dietary supplements are unapproved new foods that may not be placed on the market. Court rulings support this legal assessment. However, a final decision by the EU Commission is still pending.

According to various administrative court rulings, a hemp flavour extract is also novel and is therefore not permitted as an ingredient.

Specifically: CBD products are currently not approved as food.

Therefore, CBD oils are often sold as aromatic oils or cosmetics—but these are not suitable for consumption (for oral intake). Furthermore, the first courts already see such re-declarations to circumvent legal regulations. Therefore, the (external) use of a few drops of CBD as a cosmetic use is not conceivable.

The consumer centre NRW acts against platforms on which CBD products are advertised as marketable. For example, the well-known portal was last warned in spring 2021, as cannabidiol-containing food supplements from around 30 different manufacturers were presented there as supposedly legal under the guise of apparently objective price comparison.

The website previously operated by the “Central Association for Citizen-Friendly Consumer Information” (ZVBV) is now managed by a dubious company in Cyprus. In particular, in the field of dietary supplements, retailers and their advertising partners try to evade legal responsibility through subsidiaries abroad.

What rare side effects are possible?

Numerous undesirable effects are known for CBD. CBD triggers drowsiness and drowsiness in every tenth person. Just as often, CBD seems to lead to insomnia, sleep disorders and inner restlessness.

Other common side effects are diarrhoea, loss of appetite, fever, vomiting, and fatigue. The frequency of infections may also be increased after using CBD.

Under no circumstances should CBD be taken by people suffering from liver disease.

There are interactions with numerous drugs that inhibit the enzymes CYP2C19 and CYP3A4 in drug metabolism. It can affect, for example, psychotropic drugs, calcium channel blockers, protease inhibitors, steroids, and antibiotics. Therefore, if you take medication regularly, you should refrain from taking CBD products without express medical advice or advice at the pharmacy.

Why these paradigm shifts?

In Europe, the popularity of CBD is increasing. The great interest in such products goes across all sections of the population. However, it is offset by rather a sluggish market development. Moreover, it leads to various problems due to new and differently handled laws.

According to which all hemp extracts are now to be considered “novel food”, the new EU guideline changed a lot. From now on, only products made from hemp seeds count as food. So, everything made from hemp flowers and leaves has been moved into a legal grey area. The “European Industrial Hemp Association” (EIHA) promptly rejected the decision—which was nothing more than a non-binding recommendation from the EU Commission to the EU member states.

The EIHA declared the new rules to be excessive. They are also illogical regarding content and would cause many EU states to now enact “disproportionate and unjustified” laws. Indeed, the recommendation creates issues for national CBD manufacturers and distributors. Novel food is subject to different review and approval procedures than food supplements or foods.

Is CBD a narcotic?

According to a Commission decision from July 2020, CBD made from hemp flowers should now be considered a narcotic. After several months of delay, the “narcotic effect” attributed to the CBD was rejected again. Strangely enough, on that very day, the UN decided to remove cannabis and cannabis resin from a list that had been in effect since 1961 and came from the “Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs”.

Subsequently, the “European Court of Justice” (ECJ) issued a judgment. The “European Commission” confirmed provisionally that CBD is not a narcotic drug. Therefore, the “novel food” approval process should now be restarted. Furthermore, the ECJ ruling states that EU member states do not prohibit CBD marketing if the CBD has been legally produced in another EU country.

Before this decision, Italy decided to withdraw its draft legislation. Even before a corresponding ordinance by the Ministry of Health came into force, it was rejected.

Important things to know.

  • The THC traces in food supplements containing hemp can lead to positive urine tests (drug tests).
  • Indications from the USA indicate that products with fake certificates of analysis are being offered. That’s why you should always and only choose the best online suppliers, such as