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Is the commercialization of the CBD now legal in France?


The issue of legalizing CBD has sparked much debate in France. CBD or cannabidiol has no psychoactive effects, it is often used to treat problems such as anxiety or pain. Cannabidiol being already legal in several countries, many people wonder its legality in France. Recently, we have learned that the Council of State suspended the decree aimed at blocking the marketing of CBD. But what does this really mean for the country and for consumers? The blur always hovers around this subject. Read on to find out more!!

What is CBD? What is the difference with Cannabis? 

CBD oil

CBD is a substance from cannabis plants. But unlike THC or tetrahydrocannabinol, it does not have the same psychoactive effects as these other substances. This means that CBD users do not hover and feel no alteration  in their state when consuming this substance.

This has made CBD a popular option for those seeking to treat certain medical conditions but want to avoid the psychoactive effects associated with traditional cannabis use. Some of the most common uses include treating anxiety, pain and sleep disorders.

Is CBD legal in France?

There is a difference between cannabidiol and cannabis. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a compound in the cannabis plant and has no psychoactive effect. It can be used to treat symptoms such as anxiety, pain and epilepsy. 

Cannabis, on the other hand, contains both CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in large quantities. It therefore affects our brain and can make you hover. The CBD can be extracted from the hemp plant, then formulated in an oil, extract, tincture, capsule or another type of administration to be used as a treatment of various diseases.

In November 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union judged that Cannabidiol was not a drug, thus accelerating its acceptance in Europe. The prohibition of the sale of CBD flowers and raw leaves enacted by the French government in December 2021 was temporarily halted by the Council of State on January 24, 2022. The sale of raw CBD flowers and leaves is once again authorized.

Relief of CBD sellers and consumers

CBD marketing

Worldwide, the cannabidiol market is booming. It's one of the few industries experiencing double-digit growth. Grand View Research predicts that the CBD industry will grow 21.2% each year through 2028, with sales doubling every five years.

a/ Green lights for CBD sellers in France

In France, too, the same dynamic is taking place. For example, the number of physical locations specializing in the sale of CBD items has increased from 400 in 2020 to nearly 2,000 in 2022 (a 500% increase). These specialty stores are experiencing strong interest from consumers seeking the soothing, anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects of the multi-benefit substance cannabidiol.

Several French companies that sell CBD were against the December 2021 ban. But today there is a sense of Relief among vendors and consumers.

For example, for several years, the CBD market in Occitania has been growing rapidly. Last July, this region had 260 stores specializing in these CBD or cannabidiol-based items. It would be too risky to close the doors of these stores. Many jobs would disappear overnight.

The growth of the CBD market is good for the economy because it creates jobs and generates tax revenue. 

Questions still pending

Despite the Council of State's communiqué giving the green light to market cannabidiol, it should not be forgotten that the decree of December 30 is only suspended. TThere is still a lot of confusion about the legal status of CBD in France and in the world.

a/ What are the conditions for the commercialization of CBD?

For the moment, the CBD is legal in France under the following conditions:

  • Cultivated hemp plants must have a THC content lower than 0.3%.
  • The products extraced from hemp must have a THC content also less than 0.3%.
  • Under penalty of law, products containing CBD are not allowed to make therapeutic claims, unless they have been authorized as medicines.



CBD and THC are different molecules found in cannabis plants. You understood it, the CBD does not make high, whereas the THC does it. THC is known for its psychoactive properties.

Symptoms of THC-rich cannabis use are: blurred vision, euphoria, dry mouth and throat, increased heart rate, impaired motor skills, drowsiness. While CBD helps reduce anxiety and stress, reduces inflammation, improves sleep, and relieves chronic pain.

In France, it is legal to sell CBD products with a THC content of less than 0.3%.  Any product with a higher THC content is considered illegal. In other words, cannabis (with a high THC content) is still illegal in France.

Beyond the CBD, would a legalization of cannabis be beneficial for France?

France is slowly and cautiously moving towards the legalization of cannabis products. The case of CBD is already a big step. As mentioned earlier, the consumption of THC-rich herbs is still not allowed in the country.

A/ The economic challenges of cannabis legalization

Let's take the case of the United States. Colorado was the first American state to legalize the consumption of cannabis for recreational purposes in 2014. In one year, taxes collected on the sale of cannabis for recreational or health purposes amounted to $76 million. In 2015, they had exceeded $135 million. 

In addition, legalization of cannabis would allow for better quality control and regulation of products. Currently, the illegal cannabis market is largely unregulated. This can lead to the sale of dangerous products without proper safety testing and labeling. Legalization would make the sale of cannabis safer for consumers.

Although the benefits of legalizing cannabis are obvious, the French government has been reluctant to do so due to health concerns about its potential negative effects. Only time will tell if they will eventually change their position on the issue!

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