CBD, a compound derived from cannabis, is not a narcotic because “it does not appear to have any psychotropic effect or any harmful effect on human health”, has ruled the highest court in the EU.
The decision of the European Union court of law deals a severe blow to the efforts of some EU countries to limit the sale of CBD, while boosting the CBD industry. Currently, many products are sold in the EU in a legal gray area.
The ruling was made in relation to the French processing of KanaVape, a company that exports CBD oil made from whole hemp plants.
Under French law, only hemp fiber and seeds, a variety of the cannabis plant that contains less than 0.2% of the psychoactive cannabinoid THC, can be used for commercial use, not the flower.
The court ruled that the French ban on the marketing of CBD products derived from hemp contradicted the EU law on the free movement of goods.
“The national court must evaluate the available scientific data to ensure that the actual alleged public health risk does not appear to be based on purely hypothetical considerations,” the court wrote.
“A decision to ban the commercialization of CBD, which in fact constitutes the most restrictive obstacle to the trade of products manufactured and legally marketed in other [EU] Member States, it can only be taken if that risk appears to be sufficiently established. “
He noted that two key UN conventions that classify illegal drugs do not specifically mention CBD, although they do mention “cannabis extracts.”
The ruling also highlighted that France had not banned synthetic CBD, which has the same properties but is not produced using the entire cannabis plant.
Antonin Cohen, who faced the charges alongside fellow KanaVape co-founder Sébastien Béguerie, said the lack of clear regulations on CBD prevented the safe development of the market.
“It is essential to develop strict quality standards in the interest of consumers to prevent the circulation of dangerous products,” he said. “My goal is to improve access to the benefits of plants, in a legal and safe environment.”
Robert Jappie, a partner at the law firm Ince, said the ruling was “a great victory” for the CBD industry.
“By confirming that there was no scientific evidence to suggest that CBD has a harmful effect on the human body, the court has made it very difficult for the European Commission to pursue its proposed classification of CBD as a narcotic,” he said.
The World Health Organization says that CBD is “generally well tolerated with a good safety profile” and that there is no evidence “of any public health problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”
In recent years there has been a marked growth in the use of CBD oils, tinctures, creams, and other products by people seeking to relieve stress and anxiety and reduce inflammation. A study in the European Journal of Pain suggests that CBD applied to the skin may help reduce arthritic pain, but there is a lack of clinical evidence for its overall efficacy and concern about the unregulated nature of the CBD market.
Epidyolex, a CBD-based drug known as Epidiolex in the US, has been approved by health authorities in the US and Europe to treat two rare and serious types of childhood epilepsy, the only drug of its kind that has received status so far.
Digsmak is a news publisher with over 12 years of reporting experiance; and have published in many industry leading publications and news sites.