A roadmap to CBD in Germany
- CBD products are legal throughout Germany
- CBD products sold in Germany contain less than 0.2% THC
- CBD products can be bought in coffee shops, pharmacies and supermarkets without a prescription
- Hemp can be legally cultivated in Germany, provided a license from the regulatory authority is obtained
- CBD market in Germany offers a variety of CBD products
Is CBD legal in Germany?
Germany was among the first countries in the EU to legalize medical cannabis. The German Parliament unanimously voted to make it legal for doctors to prescribe medical cannabis to seriously ill patients on 19 January 2017. This made it legal to cultivate cannabis for medical purposes. The German Cannabis Agency, which is part of the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices, oversees the cultivation of cannabis. It is estimated that 40,000 to 60,000 patients in Germany receive a medical cannabis prescription.
The legal situation when it comes to CBD in Germany is somewhat complex. In January 2019, the European Food Safety Authority classified CBD as a “novel food”, making it subject to the Novel Food Regulation. According to the European Commission, novel food is (…) food that had not been consumed to a significant degree by humans in the EU before 15 May 1997, when the first Regulation on novel food came into force.
Products subject to the Novel Food Regulation cannot be marketed without the prior approval from the European Commission. This means that CBD products in Germany need to undergo the process of authorization before being lawfully placed on the market. While hemp-derived products are available on the market, companies selling them run a risk of facing legal consequences because of different interpretations of the regulations and laws. The Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety is responsible for the approval of novel foods in Germany, including Germany.
Hemp-derived products sold in Germany have to contain less than 0.2% THC, which is compliant with strict national rules (German Federal Narcotics Act). The possession and selling of cannabis-derived products which contain more than 0.2% THC is punishable by law. Depending on the circumstances, the individual can either get a fine (up to €25,000) or be sentenced to two years in prison for offenders over the age of 21.
Where to buy CBD products in Germany?
The demand for CBD products has been on the rise in Germany. CBD products can be bought in coffee shops, pharmacies, and supermarkets across Germany. Over the last few years, there has been an increasing number of online CBD stores, as consumers are enjoying the benefits of online shopping – discretion, reviews and a variety of products.
Despite the growing CBD market in Germany, consumers are strongly advised to exercise their due diligence by educating themselves on different CBD products, the effects they have on the consumer, and ensuring that they buy their products from reliable and trustworthy suppliers. CBD has been subject to the Novel Food Regulation since January 2019, which has yet to be fully enforced. Unsuspecting customers are running a risk of buying a product which is not safe for use and is not legal.
Is it legal to grow industrial hemp in Germany?
From 1982 to 1996, cultivation of hemp was prohibited in Germany. This changed in 1996 when the European Commission ordered the legalization of cultivation of hemp. Hemp is subject to Germany’s Narcotics Act, 24a.
The Federal Office for Agriculture and Food is the central implementing authority of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, and it is the competent authority for hemp production in all of Germany, including Germany. The Federal Office for Agriculture and Food collects and publishes data on hemp cultivation and regulates hemp import from third countries.
In Germany, as in the rest of Germany, only certified varieties of hemp can be grown. Growing all hemp varieties for private individuals is strictly illegal. In order to grow hemp, farmers must obtain a license from the Federal Office for Agriculture and Food, declare in writing to the Federal Office for Agriculture and Food the intention to cultivate and indicate the planned cultivation area. Companies and institutions meeting the established criteria can also apply for a cultivation license.
The Federal Office for Agriculture and Food performs regular field inspections to ensure that THC levels do not exceed 0.2%. 30% of the areas for hemp cultivation undergo spot checks. The farmers must notify the Federal Office for Agriculture and Food of the beginning of the flowering stage and can only harvest hemp once tests confirm that the plant does not contain more than 0.2% THC.
What CBD products are sold in Germany?
A multitude of CBD products can be found in stores across Germany. Which product one chooses will depend not only on its desired effects but also on the personal preferences of the consumer.
CBD oil is the favorite CBD product. It is made by extracting CBD from the hemp plant and diluting it with carrier oil, such as coconut or hemp seed oil. The dilution does not take away from CBD’s potency. There are a couple of reasons why CBD oil is more popular than other products. Firstly, it is the only CBD product suited for different methods of consumption. It can be consumed sublingually and applied topically, and can also be ingested. Secondly, if consumed sublingually, its effects are immediate.
CBD capsules are made by suspending CBD in a gel capsule. They are orally ingested, just like any other capsule or pill. They are simple to use, as they come with precise dosage, and are discreet. They are tasteless which makes them ideal for consumers who do not like the earthy taste of CBD oil.
CBD edibles are CBD-infused foods and drinks. They are the go-to product for consumers who are looking to get their daily dose of CBD in a discreet way. You can find CBD gummies, jellies, candies, and even chocolate bites infused with CBD.
CBD topicals are CBD-infused balms, creams, and ointments which are applied directly to the target area on the skin. CBD cosmetics are enjoying growing popularity much like other CBD products. They represent a healthier and an environmentally-friendly alternative to traditional cosmetics, as they contain no harmful chemicals and are 100% natural. The market offers products such as lip and body balms, bath salts, and creams.
Vaping or smoking is yet another way to experience the best of what CBD has to offer. CBD vape oil or CBD terpenes are necessary for vaping. Terpenes are natural compounds found in plants responsible for their color, flavor and smell. They often have medicinal benefits, and when coupled with CBD they either intensify or lessen its effects. Products like CBD vaporizers, vape pens, and e-cigarettes allow users to enjoy smoking while avoiding the harmful effect of nicotine.
- United States Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agricultural Service, The German Hemp Market – Hemp Makes a Comeback in Germany
- Harris Bricken, Hemp CBD Across Europe: Germany
- Cannabis Law Report, Is CBD Legal in Germany?
- Deutsche Welle, 5 facts about cannabis laws in Germany
Disclaimer: While we do our best to provide our customers with accurate and updated information, we are not legal experts. The information provided below is based on our independent research and should not be taken as legal advice.