Millions of people around the world use cannabidiol (CBD) every day to either treat conditions like depression or anxiety. It is, therefore, critically important that these people and their families have fast and easy access to this safe pharmacological wonder. But what happens when they have to go abroad? Do other countries follow UK standards and allow you to walk into any health store, pharmacy or online retailer to purchase this potent oil, or could you get in serious trouble?
It is vital that you know the legality of CBD in the country that you are travelling to so you may continue using it without interruption.
A summary of CBD
CBD is one of many medicinal cannabinoids (compounds) found in the cannabis plant.
Cannabinoids shot to fame in the early ’90s when they led scientists to discover a system present in humans and all vertebrates. A molecular signalling system known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
The ECS has been shown to regulate multiple biological functions and is responsible for our mood, memory, appetite, immunity and more.
The human body produces endocannabinoids on its own to interact with the ECS and promote health but if it can’t, scientists found that cannabinoids like CBD can mimic the action of these human molecules with the same end result: homeostasis.
CBD may have an abundance of proven and yet-to-be-proven properties but unlike THC it is not psychotropic and so regardless of how much you consume it would be impossible to get that ‘high-like’ feeling typically associated with cannabis.
Difference between CBD Oil And Cannabis oil
The terminology in cannabis research can get confusing and words are often used interchangeably and sometimes incorrectly. Both oils come from cannabis plants.
CBD oil comes from strains that are predominantly CBD rich and cannabis oil comes from strains that are predominantly THC rich.
CBD rich cannabis strains (commonly known as industrial hemp) produce CBD oil which is medicinal but does not contain enough THC to ever produce a high feeling. CBD is legal in the UK but this is the only oil available over the counter in the UK.
THC rich cannabis strains (commonly referred to as cannabis oil) contains larger amounts of THC (with varying amounts of CBD) and are only available in the UK via prescription and even the only for certain illnesses such as Multiple Sclerosis.
Is CBD legal worldwide?
No, unfortunately, CBD oil is not legal worldwide. In fact, mentions of CBD oil are more often found hiding out in a grey area of dusty old archaic laws than featuring in medical texts, where it should be.
It really all depends on where you go. It is legal in the UK, most of Europe, America, and Canada but when you start looking into Asia, the Middle East, and elsewhere it begins to get a little foggy and eventually simply illegal.
Where in Europe is CBD legal?
The vast majority of Europe allows CBD to be sold and consumed. We have listed each European country and their current stance on CBD here.
It would be prudent however to double-check your country of destination prior to leaving as laws can change, and some countries (such as Bulgaria) only allow the sale of certain branded CBD products.
List of European countries with CBD legal status:
|Location||Is It Legal|
|Bosnia & Herzegovina||No|
CBD oil is legal in the vast majority of Europe but it would be important to check with local authorities prior to departure in case anything has changed. Other countries, particularly some of those in South America, on the other hand, are not as liberal.
Where in South America is CBD legal?
Specific information regarding the legality of CBD in South America is hazy at best and as such we have looked here instead primarily at the legality of cannabis in these countries. If cannabis is legal then CBD oil is naturally legal but not necessarily the other way round.
|Country||Is It Legal|
|Argentina||No but Cannabis is Decriminalised|
|Bolivia||No but Cannabis is Decriminalised|
|Brazil||CBD only available with Brazilian prescription - Cannabis is Decriminalised|
|Chile||No but Cannabis is Decriminalised|
|Columbia||No but Cannabis is Decriminalised|
|Ecuador||No but Cannabis is Decriminalised|
|Paraguay||No but Cannabis is Decriminalised|
|Peru||No but Cannabis is Decriminalised|
|Uruguay||Yes - Cannabis legal but only for residents|
South America is slowly taking steps to legalise cannabis for medical use. In fact, Uruguay was the first country in the world to legalise cannabis. Unfortunately, there is little in terms of legality and availability of CBD for tourists, nearly as poor as in Africa.
Where in Africa is CBD legal?
Neither cannabis nor CBD is legal on the African continent bar in the country of South Africa. To digress for a moment, cannabis use in Africa is quite prevalent and authorities usually turn a blind eye to this but don’t expect to find any 3rd party lab approved CBD oil anytime soon in the Garden of Eden.
South Africa, on the other hand, is in the middle of great change in terms of cannabis legalisation. CBD oil is available to purchase legally while THC-rich cannabis is permitted to be grown but only for personal use.
Where in the Middle East is CBD legal?
The Middle East is still quite conservative in terms of cannabis use and even CBD oil. In fact, ‘conservative’ might be an understatement as in some parts, such as Saudi Arabia, carrying CBD oil could be seen as “drug trafficking” which could result in the death penalty!
Buying CBD oil in Israel can be very difficult too, even though they are a major exporter of cannabis products as well as being at the forefront of cannabinoid scientific discoveries. Their government is making progress though and this year decriminalized cannabis as well as making medical cannabis available for certain illnesses.
In what states in America is CBD oil legal?
The 2018 farm bill made cannabis products from hemp (such as CBD oil) that contain less than 0.3% THC legal on a federal level throughout the United States.
However, although federally legal, the United States has a two-tiered governmental system that doesn’t always see eye to eye. You must look at individual state laws of your travel destination to ascertain if you can or cannot purchase and use CBD oil there.
America is divided into 4 categories when it comes to CBD oil legality, they are:
- Green States
- Amber States
- Amber/Red States
- Red States
You can purchase CBD oil freely here as both medicinal and recreational cannabis are completely legal.
|Green States In The USA|
These states allow for the purchase and consumption of all cannabis products including CBD oil but only if you have a medical cannabis card or a prescription.
|Amber States In The USA|
Amber / Red States
These states are rather conservative and accessibility to CBD oil will only come about if you have a medical prescription for certain illnesses.
|Amber / Red States In The USA|
No cannabis products are legal in the following states:
|Red States In The USA|
America is one of a handful of countries in the world really leading the field in terms of legalisation and availability of CBD oil products. In the Southern hemisphere, however, things are still a little bit behind.
Is CBD legal in Australia?
CBD oil is legal in Australia but only on prescription and for certain medical conditions.
It is believed CBD oil should be readily available throughout the country and that more states should follow the example that Australian Capital Territory (ACT) has set, which legalised cannabis for personal use this year.
Is CBD legal in New Zealand?
CBD oil can be readily purchased in New Zealand but only if you have a prescription. Recent legislative changes determined CBD as a medicine rather than as a health supplement and only bottles containing less than 2% THC are allowed for sale.
Is CBD legal in Canada?
Cannabis in all its many shapes and forms are completely legal both recreationally and medicinally in Canada. As such, CBD oil is readily available on every corner.
For those who rely on CBD to stave off illnesses or symptoms of pain or ms, for example, it is imperative that their holiday destination can supply them with quality CBD. It could be a matter of life or death. This is why Canada is the perfect destination because you can bring CBD oil with you flying there, buy some in Canada and bring it home here – stress-free.
Is CBD legal in Mexico?
Mexico has welcomed CBD with open arms and the ‘Land of Enchantment’ even has a vast range of products that you can choose from without the need for a prescription.
A perfect holiday destination where you will never run out of CBD oil.
Which Countries are likely to change their CBD laws soon?
Changes across the pond always send out a ripple effect and as such there are a number of countries that have been linked with loosening laws around cannabis or at least fully legalising CBD such as:
Medicinal cannabis was legalized in Columbia in 2015 but until it is legalized recreationally you require a prescription to purchase CBD oil. It appears the health authority in Columbia have limited over the counter CBD products (without a prescription) to mainly cosmetics.
Although synonymous with cannabis, it is only medicinal cannabis that is legal in Jamaica while recreational cannabis is decriminalised. Watch this space.
The Icelandic people are one of the world's top consumers of cannabis yet it is currently illegal. Some analysts believe this may not be the case for much longer.
The winds of change are clearly upon the world as the mistruths of the past make way for the academics who tell us every day of more new and exciting medical benefits from the plant.
Always check with local authorities/embassy officials before you depart to check to see if there has been any change in the law regarding CBD oil legality.
Only purchase CBD oil from reputable suppliers to guarantee that your oil contains less than the allowed amount of THC.
If possible carry proof of purchase and the supplier’s independent 3rd party lab cannabinoid report as proof of quality and content.
In terms of the best holiday destinations for people who need CBD daily then look at most of Europe, Canada, and much of the United States.