The Court of Justice of the European Union maintained yesterday that CBD is NOT a narcotic drug, in a ‘big win’ for the CBD industry.
The case at hand involved a French prosecution against a Czech company that sold CBD and hemp-derived products extracted from the whole cannabis plant for use in e-cigarettes.
Under French law, only the seeds and the fibre of hemp may be used commercially, not the flower itself. However, the EU’s highest court has ruled that the French ban on marketing CBD products contradicts EU law on the free movement of goods.
In recent months, some EU member countries have been trying to crack down on the sale and distribution of CBD and hemp-derived products due to baseless claims that CBD is harmful to human health. However, judges told the court that the compound CBD, unlike THC, “does not appear to have any psychotropic effect or any harmful effect on human health”. As a result, “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 Member States, can be adopted only if that risk appears sufficiently established”.
Since CBD possesses no apparent harm to human health and no sufficiently established risk, the court ruled that CBD cannot be considered a narcotic, and therefore, the prohibited free movement of banned substances simply does not apply to CBD or CBD products.
The court paid particular reference to two established UN conventions that classify illegal drugs, both of which do not mention specifically CBD. The judges also shed light on the irregularities of French legislation which had not banned synthetic CBD even though it shares the same properties, but is not extracted from the flower of the cannabis plant.
While the UN conventions do not prohibit the sale or distribution of CBD products, the World Health Organisation maintains that CBD “is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile”, upholding the fact that there is no sufficient proof or verification “of any public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD products”.
The court stated that France is not required to prove that CBD may pose a threat to human public health, but the country must look at the scientific data at hand to ensure that any risk to human health is not “based on purely hypothetical considerations”.
It is hopeful that the new ruling will be a catalyst for a necessary improvement of the regulation of the CBD industry, in order to ensure that the manufacture and sale of CBD oils and CBD products are within strict quality standards with the best interests of consumers at heart. The result of which may prevent the over saturation of the market with substandard products which have flooded the CBD industry in recent years.
While there is a lack of data that suggests any harm to human health, the science does in fact suggest, in abundance, that pure CBD, CBD creams and other pure CBD products may relieve stress and anxiety, reduce inflammation, improve sleep, lower pain in arthritis and help to treat epilepsy. The ruling is considered a big win for the CBD industry, while making it difficult for some EU member States to pursue their campaign to categorise CBD as a narcotic.