Are CBD-based cosmetics legal in Europe?

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Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the compounds present in the cannabis plant. According to the latest scientific research, it has anti-psychotic, anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and analgesic properties (among others), and is effective in humans and pets alike. But are CBD-based cosmetics legal in Europe?

Particularly in the areas of food supplements and cosmetics, CBD-based products are gaining increasing popularity all over the world, although their legality might be questionable in some of the cases.

In terms of food supplements, the use of CBD is currently restricted by the Novel Foods Act. Basically, this means that all CBD supplements in the European market are strictly regulated and can only be placed on the market after express permission from the European Commission. Moreover, they need to abide by certain parameters and meet certain criteria, and their presence in the market will be tightly regulated and monitored.

In order to try and soften this regulation, the Czech Republic company Cannabis Pharma presented the European Commission with an application to authorize the use of CBD in food supplements, with a daily intake of up to 130 mg.

However, while we wait for the results regarding the novel foods application for CBD, there are also doubts about other types of CBD products in the European market, especially cosmetics.

Due to its health benefits (especially for the skin), the use of CBD in cosmetics has become highly demanded in the European market, and CBD-containing cosmetics are now available almost everywhere. However, given the pending status and sometimes confusing laws regarding the use of cannabis-derived products in the EU, many of us may still wonder if using CBD in cosmetics is legal.

The Cosmetics Regulation enforced by the EU prohibits the use of cannabis in cosmetics, but in this case, the definition of cannabis includes only “the flowering or fruiting tops of the cannabis plant”. In other words, this means that cannabis leaves and seeds can be used, as long as the tops aren’t included.

Therefore, the use of CBD in cosmetics is allowed in the EU, as long as that CBD is obtained from cannabis extracts, resins, tinctures (or others) originated from the leaves and seeds, not accompanied by the plants’ flowering or fruiting tops.

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