How To Buy CBD Oil In Europe


 | Last revised

Aug, 2022

The European Union, and other countries in Europe, is one of the more forward-thinking parts of the world when it comes to the legalisation of CBD products.

For the most part, you can buy it in regular shops without the need for a prescription or shopping on the green market.

Getting your hands on high-quality CBD legally is not always as straightforward as it sounds though.

This guide will help you navigate buying CBD oil in Europe.

Is CBD Oil Legal In Europe?

The short answer to the question of CBD legality in Europe is yes, CBD is legal in the majority of European countries.

However, there are some limits and caveats to this, and the law is not the same in every country.

Since May 2021, cannabidiol has been legal in some form for every country in the European Union.

Even within the European Union, though, member countries can have different laws and regulations covering CBD oil products.

In most European countries, you can legally buy CBD oil online or as an over-the-counter product. In a few countries, however, you can only buy CBD oil products if you have a medical CBD prescription.

Each country also sets its own limits on the permitted THC content of a CBD product. This can range from as low as less than 0.2% to as much as 1% THC content, depending on the country. That means CBD oil you bought legally in one country may be over the legal THC limit in another country. [1]

It’s important to remember that CBD has different uses depending on the user, condition and symptoms.

Legal Loopholes

In a few other places in Europe, CBD without a prescription is only authorised for certain uses or substances. For example, Spain has legalised cannabidiol as a cosmetics ingredient, but not as a consumable. In Austria, CBD oil can be sold as an aromatherapy product, but not as a food supplement.

As a result, CBD products in these countries will always be labelled ‘For external use only’ or ‘Not for human consumption’, even in the case of ordinary CBD oil bottles clearly intended for oral use.

Do not confuse these with products that really are not made for consumption! Products that are genuinely meant for use as a skin ointment or aromatherapy products may contain ingredients that are unsafe to consume.

Where Do You Need A Prescription To Buy CBD In Europe?

If you are in one of the following European countries, you are not allowed to buy CBD oil without a prescription:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Finland
  • Malta
  • Portugal

Travelling With CBD In Europe

While you are allowed to travel between European countries with CBD products, it is a good idea to check that your CBD oil does not exceed the THC limit for CBD products in the country you are travelling to. [2]

This could result in your CBD oil being confiscated, and possibly a fine depending on the country and how much you were carrying. It is also a good idea to keep the receipt as proof that your CBD oil was purchased from a legal shop.

You can also only travel with up to 30 days’ use of CBD oil. If you do not have a prescription, it is up to a customs officer to decide whether your CBD oil is more than 30 days’ use or not.

Accordingly, even though a CBD prescription usually is not needed, it can help reduce hassle at airports and border crossings.

Changes to European laws regarding CBD are recent and ongoing, so you might otherwise get delayed while border officials check what they should do about your CBD products.

CBD products on a UK supermarket shelf

Buying European CBD Oil

In most European countries you can buy CBD oil at pharmacies or sometimes even regular stores, or shop online. Shopping online is the easiest and usually least costly option for buying European CBD oil.

You can buy online from countries both inside and outside of the country you are in, even from countries outside of the EU, if the company will shop to your address.

If an online store will not ship to you directly, you can use a mail forwarding service to complete your product’s journey. Online stores may prevent you from buying items that do not comply with the restrictions on CBD in your country, however.

Buying High-Quality CBD In Europe

Whether you are buying in-store or online, it is always a good idea to research the product manufacturer first. Europe’s CBD market has many untested products of questionable quality and purity.

In the EU, non-medical CBD products are regulated as a novel food, not as a drug. Among other things, this means CBD manufacturers are not held to the same standards as pharmaceutical companies when it comes to the accuracy of product information and claims of health benefits.

This is particularly true in markets that use loopholes such as marking products as “not for human consumption” to legally sell CBD oil.

For example, in Austria shops can sell CBD to you without a prescription, but only as an aromatherapy product. In Spain, over-the-counter CBD products must be sold as skincare products. These do not need to be tested with the same rigour as products are sold as food supplements or medication.

Reputable CBD manufacturers regularly send samples of their products to third-party testing companies. The testing companies then provide an unbiased analysis of the quality, purity, and potency of the CBD oil.

You can find this report, called a Certificate of Analysis, on online stores or the manufacturers’ websites. Checking these test results before you buy helps ensure you are getting what you paid for, without any unwanted extras.

Steer clear of companies without public test results. These may contain a much smaller amount of CBD than advertised or be contaminated with harmful substances.

Certificate of Analysis listing contents of a CBD drops sample

Is it the same in Australia?

Similar principles apply when researching and purchasing CBD oil in Australia, particularly on the green market.

However, there are a number of exciting developments within the Australian medical cannabis industry also. Althea Group Holdings is the company pioneering research for low-dose over-the-counter (OTC) CBD products in Australia.

The launch of OTC CBD products is hotly anticipated to happen in the second half of 2022, depending on research, trials and TGA approval.

Many people don’t realise that you can also access CBD buds in Australia as well as CBD oil. While harder to find on the green market, there are a number of reputable products available by prescription if inhalation is more your thing.

Do Your Research Before You Buy European CBD Oil

Is CBD legal in Europe? Yes, and CBD oil is less heavily regulated in Europe than many other parts of the world. However, that also means there are plenty of low-quality products on the market. As a result, it is vital to do your research into a CBD product before you decide to buy.

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1. MJ News Team, "CBD Legal Landscape in Europe".
Marry Jane.
2. Anooradha Unni, "Can You Take CBD Oil On A Plane".
Nordic Oil CBD Blog.


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