The legal status of cannabis for medical use or as a food supplement varies from country to country. The world’s laws on cannabis can vary in terms of possession, distribution, cultivation, consumption, and the medical problems for which it can be used. However, as a general trend, more and more countries are legalising the use of cannabidiol (CBD) and CBD based products as long as they do not contain a strong dose of THC.
The use of cannabis for recreational use is prohibited in most countries in the world. Many countries have adopted softer policies to make simple possession a non-criminal offence. Others use much more severe sanctions. For example, in some Asian countries, cannabis possession can result in several years’ imprisonment. In most Middle Eastern countries, possession of a very low dose can result in an even more severe sanction.
Reminder: The difference between hemp and marijuana
Although most people are aware of the difference between CBD and THC, the difference in hemp and marijuana is less often understood. However, it is equally important with regard to the legal status of CBD.
Marijuana and hemp are both members of the cannabis family. However, there is a difference between the two. Their main difference is based on the amount of CBD and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) that the two plants produce.
A marijuana plant can contain up to 30% THC. Marijuana is the one that provides euphoric and psychoactive effects. Hemp, on the other hand, contains less than 0.3% THC. This is why hemp is legal in most countries, and safe for adults, children, and even pets.
Legality of CBD
CBD from hemp is legal in most countries. CBD is also found in marijuana, but it is illegal in most cases because marijuana cultivation is illegal. Hemp CBD does not cause psychoactive effects. The purchase, sale and possession of hemp is allowed in most countries.
Because hemp is often confused with marijuana, there is a social stigma attached to hemp CBD. However, from a legal point of view, hemp CBD is fully authorized and its possession does not cause any legal problems in most countries.
Legal status of CBD worldwide
The countries that have legalized both recreational and medicinal marijuana are Canada, Georgia, Spain and Uruguay. In the United States, 9 states plus the District of Columbia have legalized the recreational use of marijuana. To the great surprise of many, marijuana is illegal in the Netherlands. Possession of marijuana is illegal, but sale and possession inside coffee shops is tolerated.
The list of countries that have legalized the medicinal use of cannabis is long. These countries include: Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Peru, Poland, the United Kingdom
Other countries have more restrictive laws and only allow certain types of cannabinoids, such as CBD. In the United States, 31 states, plus the District of Columbia, have legalized the medical use of marijuana. Hemp products are legal in all 50 states of the United States.
In Europe, laws on marijuana and cannabis differ from one country to another. According to European law, CBD products must not contain more than 0.2% THC. This law applies to all member countries of the European Union.Legality of CBD products is likely to spread to more countries in the near future as international organisations such as the WHO are recognizing medical applications for CBD and are even recommending reclassifying Majijuana Under International Treaties.