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CBD is not a narcotic, says EU court as it rules French ban is illegal

Court rules that French ban on marketing hemp-derived CBD products contradicts EU law

A bottle of oils containing CBD on display in a shop in Paris. Under French law, only the fibre and seeds of hemp may be put to commercial use, not the flower. Photograph: Geoffroy van der Hasselt/AFP/Getty Images

A bottle of oils containing CBD on display in a shop in Paris. Under French law, only the fibre and seeds of hemp may be put to commercial use, not the flower. Photograph: Geoffroy van der Hasselt/AFP/Getty Images

Last modified on Thu 19 Nov 2020 16.20 GMT

The cannabis-derived compound CBD is not a narcotic drug because “it does not appear to have any psychotropic effect or any harmful effect on human health”, the EU’s highest court has ruled.

The decision by the court of justice of the European Union deals a severe blow to efforts by some EU countries to limit the sale of CBD, while simultaneously giving the CBD industry a boost. Many products are currently sold in the EU in a legal grey area.

The ruling was made in relation to the prosecution in France of KanaVape, a company that exports CBD oil made from whole hemp plants.

Under French law, only the fibre and seeds of hemp – a variety of the cannabis plant containing less than 0.2% of the psychoactive cannabinoid THC – may be put to commercial use, not the flower.

The court ruled that the French ban on the marketing of hemp-derived CBD products contradicted EU law on the free movement of goods.

“The national court must assess available scientific data in order to make sure that the real risk to public health alleged does not appear to be based on purely hypothetical considerations,” the court wrote.

“A decision to prohibit the marketing of CBD, which indeed constitutes the most restrictive obstacle to trade in products lawfully manufactured and marketed in other [EU] member states, can be adopted only if that risk appears sufficiently established.”

It noted that two key UN conventions classifying illegal drug do not specifically mention CBD, although they 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 along with his fellow KanaVape co-founder Sébastien Béguerie, said the lack of clear regulations on CBD prevented safe market development.

“It is fundamental to develop strict quality standards in the interests of consumers in order to avoid the circulation of dangerous products,” he said. “My goal is to improve access to the benefits of plants, in a legal and secure environment.”

Robert Jappie, a partner at the law firm Ince, said the ruling was “a big win” 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 their proposed classification of CBD as a narcotic,” he said.

The World Health Organization says CBD is “generally well tolerated with a good safety profile” and that there is no evidence “of any public health-related 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 to reduce inflammation. A study in the European Journal of Pain suggests that skin-applied CBD can help lower arthritic pain, but there is a lack of clinical evidence for its overall efficacy, and concern over the unregulated nature of the CBD market.

Epidyolex, a CBD-based drug known as Epidiolex in the US, has been approved by US and European health authorities to treat two rare and severe types of childhood epilepsy – the only such drug to receive the status so far.

Court rules that French ban on marketing hemp-derived CBD products contradicts EU law


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Bulk CBD is for secondary producers, who need CBD extract as an ingredient for the products they manufacture.

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White label products come from the producer without their label on it. You are responsible for branding and packaging.


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Talk to one of our experts to discuss your needs. We will support through the entire process from sourcing to final distribution. We also offer training for your staff on how to sell CBD products responsibly.


We are experts in bulk CBD Isolate and have the most competitive prices in Europe. Our longstanding partners manufacture CBD Isolate for cosmetics, vape and pharmaceutical purposes.


CBD bulk products come in a range of different types depending on application or delivery method.

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Also known as CBD oil, CBD drops are produced by combining hemp extract with a liquid oil, most commonly hemp seed oil or MCT (medium chain triglycerides) oil. Ideal for sublingual use, most commonly sold as food supplement.

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Encapsulated CBD products is one of the fastest growing segments of the CBD industry today. Available in soft gel or Zeolite-capsules (with blister packaging), capsules are easy to dose and have a neutral flavour.

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We offer several formulations for CBD skin products: balm, serum, and muscle oil. Topical use of CBD products is gaining popularity rapidly. Many existing products can be improved by adding CBD.

bulk hemp terpenes


Terpenes are the essential oils of the hemp plant. They are steam distilled and can be used for secondary formulations, aroma therapy or as natural flavouring.

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We offer a growing range of formulations with EFSA approved health claims for white labelling. These herbal products target specific area’s of health, and allow for specific health claims to be made under EFSA regulation, with a unique KAAG number for each product.

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If you are looking to buy CBD extract for vaping applications, it’s very important to make sure it has been properly winterized.


If you are looking for Bulk CBD products you can fill out our application form to become a customer. Let us know what you are looking for and when you need it and one of our experts will be in touch.


Finished CBD products are perfect If you are a retailer or have your own webshop. We can give competitive wholesale discounts on a range of Europes top CBD brands.


CBD is becoming very popular in the sports community after a number of high profile athletes have claimed it speeds up post workout recovery time. It’a also rising in popularity with MMA fighters for the same reason.


If you are looking to white label CBD products we can help you get started. White label products come from the producer without their label on it. You are responsible for branding and packaging.


Build your own CBD Oil brand by white labelling products. We supply a complete range of CBD products, including unique formulations with EFSA approved health claims attached to them.

The Benefits of White labelling

Why spend your marketing budget building someone else’s brand when you can start building your own. You would be surprised how many of the top CBD brands started this way and are now producing and manufacturing their own CBD oil.

It’s easy to get started, you just provide the branding and we can supply you with the perfect product range to grow your business.


We have opportunities for anyone looking to add CBD oil and cannabinoid therapies to their healing practice.

CBD Oil Europe are proud to be members of the European Industrial Hemp Association. It represents the common interest of industrial hemp farmers and producers, both nationally and on a European level.

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CBD Oil Europe offers a complete range of wholesale CBD products, bulk and whitelabel. Exclusive relationships with biggest CBD manufacturers in Europe.