Is CBD legal in Greece?
CBD products have been making plenty of noise around the world. Primarily, this is due to a growing amount of scientific research which points to the potential health benefits of CBD. All of this sparked a lot of interest from people who suffer from certain health issues and are searching for remedies. As a response, many new businesses have developed their own CBD products.
Similarly, countries around the world have noticed this trend. To keep pace with business and scientific development many have decided to review and rewrite some of their drug laws. Even the European Union (EU) responded to the trend and harmonised the legal regulation of CBD in its member states.
Nonetheless, we at Essentia Pura believe that much more can and should be done to encourage CBD businesses in the EU as well as around the world.
To help this effort we have prepared an overview article of the EU regulations and in-depth articles about different countries such as Portugal, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Poland, Austria, and Ireland.
We are continuing this series of articles with an in-depth look at the legal aspects of CBD in Greece.
It is without a doubt an interesting country to cover. It’s not just a popular holiday destination, it’s also a good place for the fast-developing cannabis industry. It has a long history of CBD products, the longest some might say. Thousands of years ago writers were discussing cannabis and its effects on people, without knowing that these effects are also due to CBD.
We believe that this tradition is still strong and that Greece’s CBD culture is growing stronger every day. If you want to learn more, please read on.
In the first part of the article, we will explain some basic terms regarding CBD. Then we will focus on the legal aspects of drugs in Greece. We will deal with the question of the use of cannabis, as well as the cultivation and production of cannabis. Furthermore, we will explain the legal status of CBD in Greece, including the latest developments. We will also focus on the regulations of medical cannabis. Last but not least, we will offer you some advice on how to buy CBD products in Greece and give you tips on how to best launch your own CBD product in a legally compliant way.
Basic CBD information
CBD is derived from the cannabis plant. Most of you are at least somewhat familiar with cannabis. Nonetheless, we think that if you want to understand CBD oil you first need to have a proper understanding of the cannabis plant.
There are two different categories of cannabis plants, marijuana and hemp. While they are essentially the same plant they differ in some important chemical aspects. We should tell you right away that the usage and legal regulation of them can differ significantly.
There is some confusion in Greece’s legal terminology in this regard. The drug laws published in the government gazette use the word cannabis for both hemp and marijuana, but the difference (THC content) is still present.
Marijuana is the one that gets the most attention of the two. It is also the one that most of us think of when someone mentions cannabis laws. The part that makes it so famous is this thing called THC. It is a component of marijuana that is responsible for the “high feeling” you get if you use it. Due to its psychoactive element, governments usually prohibit it in one way or the other. The Greek government is no exception.
Essentially, this means that the law prohibits the cultivation of marijuana. The use of marijuana for recreational purposes is also illegal. It follows that selling and buying the substance are thus illegal acts under the law.
Okay, so recreational use is prohibited, but what about using marijuana as a medical remedy?
In 2018 the Greek parliament made an amendment to the cannabis law and opened a path for medical cannabis in Greece. At the same time, two pharmaceutical companies were able to obtain the necessary permit to start producing medicine from cannabis plants. Since then production and processing plants have become more common in Greece. Perhaps this signals wider changes in Athens’ policy and maybe even in the region as a whole. Hopefully, more countries will adopt changes to their drug laws and allow cannabis for medical use.
You should note that medical marijuana is not freely available. So how can you get it?
If you want to get your hands on medical cannabis in Greece you need to get a prescription from your doctor. Only then can you buy the product from a licensed pharmacy in Greece.
Hemp is the second type of cannabis. This has also been around for a very long time. In fact, some of the first mentions of cannabis cultivation and hemp production, and their use, come from Greece. Hemp production was an important part of the industry in Greece until the 1950s. A wider shift in Greece’s policy occurred since then. Hemp cultivation was banned, but this was recently reversed. Hemp plants are again becoming an important part of the cannabis industry in Greece.
The crucial distinction between the two types of the plant is the THC level. Industrial hemp contains almost no THC, but it is nonetheless rich in other substances, such as CBD. The usual permissible content in hemp is less than 0. 2% THC. The same limit is also set by EU cannabis laws.
Cultivation and use of hemp are legal in Greece, albeit with some limitations, such as government approval. For example, before you can plant your cannabis seeds to grow hemp, you have to obtain the appropriate permit from the government.
It is now time to discuss the central question of this article. What exactly is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of 113 cannabinoids that come from cannabis. CBD is extracted from cannabis in such a way that it is isolated from other cannabinoids. Most importantly, it can be separated from THC, the psychoactive element in cannabis. This is a major reason why a lot of people are drawn to it.
You can learn more about the process of extraction and separation here.
Scientists have conducted a wealth of research into CBD in the last couple of years. The results look promising. Nonetheless, the benefits of CBD and cannabis products are often blown out of proportion by enthusiasts. If you want some fact-checked information on the benefits, you are welcome to read this overview written by our team.
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CBD in Greece
So what does the law say regarding CBD oil in Greece?
CBD legal status is linked to cannabis in Greece. We explained above that marijuana is generally illegal, but the Greek parliament and the Greek government are taking steps to change the law. Hemp, on the other hand, is legal to use and grow, with some limitations.
It comes as no surprise that hemp CBD oil is the most common product on the market.
CBD oil is legal in Greece if it has less than 0. 2% THC content. In other words, if it is extracted from hemp. A doctor can give you a prescription for medical cannabis, but this is, of course, just for medical purposes.
Buying and selling CBD oil in Greece
As promised in the beginning of the article, we will give you some helpful tips on where and how to buy CBD oil and related cannabis products if you are a consumer. We will provide you some information on how to efficiently sell CBD oil and similar products if you are an aspiring entrepreneur.
Buying CBD oil
You can buy CBD extracted from hemp without restrictions in Greece. It is available in pharmacies and health stores in major cities in the country.
If you want to have a wider variety of products on offer then we suggest you try to buy CBD oil online. E-commerce is a modern alternative to in-person shopping that can simplify your life and ensure a safe shopping experience in these uncertain times. You can buy CBD oil and other products from different countries and can check out online reviews from other customers.
Do you have a medical condition that you would like to treat with cannabis use?
In that case, you need to get a prescription from your doctor. Only then you can get your hands on medical cannabis. Do not worry, this is easier in Greece than in many other countries in the European Union.
Above all, please always check out the store you are buying from. You have to be sure they are a proper and legitimate business, dealing only with legal products. We also urge you to avoid buying products from companies that make over-the-top health claims about their CBD oil products.
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Selling CBD oil
If you are setting up your own CBD oil company in Greece, you have to strictly follow all the legal rules about cannabis production in Greece.
We recommend that you thoroughly examine your product supplier beforehand. Focus on whether they follow all essential cannabis laws so that you avoid any legal troubles. You should make sure that you work only with accredited buyers and dealers of CBD-related products. Your supplier should provide you with CBD oil that does not contain THC and is extracted from cannabis plants with less than 0.2% THC.1,2
It is also good to source your CBD products from EU-based manufacturers.3 Since now CBD products are classified as “Novel Food” in the European Union, it means that it’s good to have Novel Food Authorization before selling CBD products in Greece or EU nations
If you want to sell medical cannabis, you need to be a registered pharmacy, which is far more difficult. We recommend getting local legal advice on that matter.
Additionally, it is worth mentioning that although all EU member states must allow the sales of a product that was legally produced in another EU member state, things may vary in practice. Local laws prevail over local laws, which needs to be taken into account. Thus, each country has its own specific requirements for product labeling, like ‘originating from an authorized variety of cannabis’ or ‘not for medical use’. Hence, it is vital to know these local regulatory requirements to avoid goods being stuck with customs after import.
Since CBD products are widely sold in Greece, it can be said with confidence that any product based on CBD isolate is legal. Broad-spectrum CBD products are also legal as they are THC-free. However, one should seek legal advice when importing full-spectrum products. It is better to ask certificate of analysis (COA) from the manufacturer for seeking legal advice in that country. At present, products containing THC below 0.2% are legal in Greece, and it is pretty likely that this maximum limit may be raised to 0.3% in the future in accordance with the new EU Common Agricultural Policy for 2023. However, to be safe, one should only import or sell products with THC well below the established legal limit of 0.2%5.
Furthermore, it is also recommended that one should seek legal advice when importing or selling any CBD product that contains THC, even within a legally allowed limit. Since the law regarding THC content is quite blurry. The law in Greece allows unprocessed cannabis products to have THC under 0.2%, but this does not essentially mean that this law is applicable to food supplements for human consumption5.
Therefore, based on the latest information, it would be safe to say that CBD supplements that contain CBD isolate and are THC-free are absolutely legal in Greece. However, products that contain some THC must be imported with great care and only after legal advice, even if such products were legally produced in other EU nations5.
If you are looking for a partner to supply your CBD-related shop, Essentia Pura is a Slovenian company that offers the bulk sale of CBD extracts. We take pride in ensuring strict compliance with national and EU regulations. We are a trusted wholesale partner for your CBD-oriented business with plenty of experience. If you have any questions regarding the bulk sale of CBD oil and other products, as well as any legal questions about regulations in Greece or other EU member states feel free to contact us at our email address.
So is CBD oil legal? Let us quickly recap.
Greece recently changed its drug laws. As a result, Greece CBD production is rising. CBD oil is now legal in the country so long as it is extracted from hemp. This is the cannabis that has less than 0.2 % THC content. If you want to purchase CBD oil with more THC you can do so with a prescription. This is called medical cannabis. Medical use is legal in Greece.
Production of cannabis must be approved by the government. Recreational use of the plant with more than 0. 2% THC is still not legal and is considered substance abuse. Cultivation of cannabis is allowed for certain purposes in Greece.
The law is changing in the country and these changes are introducing a more generous treatment of CBD oil and medical cannabis in Greece.