Is CBD legal in Sweden?
Sweden is often thought of as a very open-minded and liberal country. In this article, we want to explore if this is also true for its regulation of CBD products.
As you might know, CBD products have enormous growth potential and are already a fast-growing market in the western world. There are different explanations on why this is the case, but we believe it is based on recent scientific discoveries that are showing a possible link of CBD use to health benefits. Although the jury is still out on this one and the benefits are not conclusively proven yet, we think this is already showing in consumer behaviour and investment opportunities.
All rapidly expanding markets pose all sorts of questions. But, when it comes to products that people consume for their health benefits or for relaxing effects on their body, it is especially important to be certain that these products are of the highest possible quality.
This is usually where governmental regulation comes in, but because governmental apparatus can be slow, this regulation is often not up to date. Unfortunately, this means that it does not meet the needs of consumers and companies. We at Essentia Pura want to explain the often difficult legal language in layman terms, so you can make informed decisions when it comes to CBD oil and related products.
In this article we will:
- Explain what CBD is.
- Tell you the possible use of CBD.
- Explain is CBD oil legal in Sweden.
- Explain the conditions under which CBD can be used in Sweden.
- Give you some tips on where to buy CBD.
- Give you some advice on how to start your own CBD business.
What is CBD
For some of you, CBD might be just another new acronym or another trend on social media that you cannot quite keep up with. So what exactly is CBD?
Well, CBD is short for cannabidiol, which is one of 113 known cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. This is still a lot to take in, isn’t it?
The first thing to note is, that CBD has something to do with the cannabis plant. In fact, you should think about it as a component of the cannabis plant. Each cannabinoid found in the plant has its own effect, making the plant an interesting botanical phenomenon. We know that many of you view cannabis in the same basket as other dangerous drugs, but we wish to change this view at least a little bit.
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Cannabis in Sweden
To understand CBD laws, we have to take a closer look at the cannabis plant. There are at least two major types of cannabis plants: industrial hemp and marijuana. The law usually distinguishes between them and the difference is crucial for CBD oil.
Marijuana in Sweden
People usually know marijuana for its intoxicating effect. The “high feeling” that you get from using marijuana is an effect of another one of those cannabinoids – THC. Because THC impairs your psychomotor functions it is considered a narcotic substance. Consequently, it is included in the narcotics regulation in Sweden.
Marijuana is therefore not legal in Sweden. According to the law, it is illegal to be under the influence of any illegal drug in Sweden, this effectively means that even recreational use of marijuana is not permitted.
It goes almost without saying that the cultivation and sale of narcotic drugs are also prohibited.
You might ask yourself if you can use marijuana for your health condition? After all, a growing number of European countries allow marijuana as a medicine.
Unfortunately, Sweden is not among them. On the contrary, a woman claiming that she used marijuana only to alleviate the effects of her illness was punished even harder. Apparently, the court considered that she lacked the motivation to stop using the drug.
Although there were some changes in 2017 and cannabis for medicine is allowed now, we do not see a clear path for medical cannabis rich in THC to break through in Sweden. We will of course keep a close eye on this and let you know if anything changes.
The second important type of cannabis is industrial hemp. Unlike marijuana, hemp has virtually no THC but is nonetheless very rich in CBD. We have to stress that virtually no THC does not mean that its THC content is zero, there is still a very small amount of THC present in hemp.
However, this means that you can retain the health benefits of CBD and not have any of the “side effects” of THC use.
Do the laws recognise this distinction? Yes, it does. Hemp has been used in Sweden for centuries, which means that there is also a historical and cultural reason to regulate it more leniently than marijuana.
CBD oil in Sweden
The logical conclusion would be that CBD extracted from industrial hemp is legal, while CBD extracted from marijuana is not legal in Sweden. Unfortunately, Swedish laws are a bit more complicated than that.
Swedish supreme court ruled in 2019 that CBD oil and other products are not legal in Sweden if they contain THC1. This means that if any trace of THC content is present in CBD oil, this product is immediately treated as a narcotic drug. We can say that this recent ruling by the supreme court is both a curse and a blessing.
It is a blessing because it finally clears up the regulatory situation of CBD and gives companies some form of security. On the other hand, it is a curse, because the threshold for cannabidiol products to be considered part of the narcotics is incredibly high. For example, the amount of THC usually allowed in hemp across Europe is 0,2%, the zero percent limit that is in force in Sweden is much harsher.
With differences in regulation across the European Union, we must ask ourselves what happens if you buy CBD oil in Italy and bring it to Sweden? Are you then persecuted as if you would be in possession of narcotics, even though the product is legal in Italy?
A recent ruling of the European Court of Justice might shed some light on this. Following the reasoning of the court, you should be fine because freedom of movement of goods is a fundamental principle of the EU. Moreover, the EU removed CBD from the list of narcotics, so Swedish harsh treatment of CBD is under increasing pressure. Nonetheless, we will have to wait and see what happens in the future.
You should think about the Swedish legal case, as well as the EU one, as the Court asking the regulators to set clear rules about this popular substance.
Regretfully, to date, things are not getting better in Sweden. In fact, by 2023, they have gotten worse. It is now almost impossible to sell CBD products that are even THC-free in Sweden.
The problem in Sweden has been with the Medical Product Agency. This agency is responsible for deciding what product is considered a medicine and what is a food supplement. This agency is also responsible for approving medical drugs.
Medical Product Agency in Sweden decided that any CBD product must get their approval as a medicine. It means without the authorization of the agency, it is not possible to sell CBD products. However, proving that CBD product is medicine can be highly challenging. It means that even THC-free CBD products are almost impossible to sell legally in Sweden.2,3 This decision by Medical Product Agency to classify THC-free CBD products as medicine led to some companies filing legal proceedings against the agency. However, the law court has ruled in favor of the Medical Product Agency. Thus, almost closing the Swedish market for CBD products.4
Where to buy CBD oil in Sweden?
If you are thinking about buying CBD oil in Sweden you used to have plenty of options. It was readily available across plenty of health and food stores. The court ruling changed this. Now there are fewer CBD oil products on offer, but there is still some choice.
You can still find CBD oil in some health food stores, but we advise you to check if they have any THC content.
How to sell CBD oil in Sweden?
If you are thinking of setting up a CBD oil shop in Sweden, this is a bit more tricky. But do not be discouraged, setting up your own company is possible!
As we explained above CBD oil containing THC is not legal according to the laws. Furthermore, if your CBD oil is THC-free you still have to go through a rigorous approval process before you can sell it. You have to register your products at the Swedish medical agency. We advise you to talk to a local legal expert that will take you through this process.
Nonetheless, there are some decisions you can make before you get the approval for your CBD oil. First of all, you should choose your supplier of hemp or CBD – this is important because the authorities will want to test the products. Choosing your supplier is crucial and you should thoroughly check them.
We at Essentia Pura specialise in the bulk sale of CBD products and are compliance-oriented. If you want to know more, please visit our website or just contact us at our email address. Our staff will get back to you shortly to try and work out an optimal path for your new business.
Then, you should decide if you want to have an in-person store, or if you only want to sell your CBD oil products online. This means taking a clear look at the costs of each option and analysing foot traffic for the in-person store and just generally testing the market around you.
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Future of CBD market in Sweden
As a result of the 2019 supreme court ruling, a lot has changed in the Swedish CBD oil market. Although CBD oil with THC is not allowed, we are hopeful that the Swedish medical agency will put forward new regulations that will allow CBD oils containing small amounts of THC. Such a change in the laws could bring new demand for CBD oil in the country. Above all, it would bring the laws closer to those of other countries in Europe and regulate the substance in a clear way. We hope that in the years to come, the CBD industry will continue to grow in countries around the world.
So is CBD oil legal in Sweden? Let us quickly review what we learned.
- CBD is a component of the cannabis plant.
- Marijuana is not legal and is considered a drug.
- The use of marijuana is prohibited.
- Medical marijuana is not yet popular in the country.
- Hemp is legal and is getting more popular.
- CBD oil containing no THC is legal to buy and use.
- If you wish to sell the substance you have to register the product with the Swedish medical agency
- You cannot sell CBD products without registering with the Swedish medical agency, even if it is THC-free.
We hope this answered most of your questions regarding the use of CBD in Sweden. If you wish an answer to a different question, do not hesitate to contact us online. Our staff will take the time to answer all of your questions and view your email as soon as possible.
If you are interested in the regulation of CBD in other countries, you are welcome to read our articles covering: