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CBD Legislation Around the World

Brie Lowrey

It’s hard not to love CBD. From pain relief to anxiety reduction and even seizure prevention, there are dozens of benefits CBD brings to the table. Despite its perks, CBD is still outlawed in many parts of the world. That puts those interested in purchasing, shipping, and traveling with cannabis in a bit of a pickle. So, how can you find countries where CBD is illegal? With so many laws to sift through, you wouldn’t be alone if you decided to throw in the towel. 

We’re here to break things down so you can quickly and easily get a feel for whether CBD will be accessible for you. Remember that CBD is not the same as marijuana; your country or region might outlaw marijuana and still permit CBD use.

Where is CBD Legal in The United States?

CBD is federally legal in the U.S. thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, which removed hemp from the definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act. This landmark decision shifted how the law sees cannabis products derived from hemp. While it does produce cannabinoids like its cousin marijuana, hemp has very low concentrations of the psychoactive compound THC. That means it can deliver the benefits of cannabis without the impairing effects. 

As long as the product is derived from hemp that has no more than 0.3% THC (by weight), it’s federally legal. However, states still have the right to make their own laws about CBD and cannabis. As of late 2023, no states have completely banned CBD use. But some, like Idaho and South Dakota, have notably stricter rules for who can buy products and what kind of products can be sold. 

CBD Legality Around the World

With just shy of 200 countries, our world is a big place. While parts of the Americas and Europe have taken strides to legalize (or ban) CBD, many countries don’t yet have explicit legislation. That makes our job as CBD lovers a little tricky. Laws also tend to change, so what is true today may not be in a few years or even months. 

But, for now, in which countries is CBD legal? Let’s try to simplify things as much as possible. We can break our answers down into a few main categories, each describing the level of legality in an area:

  • Open use laws. These are in place when a country doesn’t limit CBD use and allows anyone (over a certain age) to purchase products.
  • Restricted or medical use laws. Countries with specific rules about who can access CBD or what kind of products are legal have restricted use laws.
  • No use laws. These apply to areas where CBD – whether hemp- or marijuana-derived – is totally illegal.
  • Undefined use laws. This is a catch-all group for countries with no clear legislation on CBD use, manufacturing, or sales. 


While these categories help us understand where a country falls on the legality spectrum, it’s important to note they’re not all-inclusive. In other words, they don’t 100% describe the laws to consider for each country. It’s always important to research local laws that apply to you. Your region may not treat CBD the same way as others in the same country.

With that said, let’s take a closer look at countries throughout the world where CBD is legal and illegal.

North America

If you’re a CBD fan, North America is a great place to be. Open use is allowed in both the United States and Canada. Mexico’s CBD and cannabis laws are a little shakier; legislation surrounding marijuana is still somewhat ambiguous. However, CBD products should be legal in Mexico as long as they contain 0.1% THC or less by weight. 


Central & South America

Unfortunately, many Central and South American countries aren’t the most CBD-friendly. Legal, medical use has spread throughout the region, but only a handful of countries allow open use, including:

  • Jamaica
  • Colombia
  • Uruguay

Most other countries either restrict CBD use to approved medical patients or ban it entirely. Even if CBD is legal for medical use near you, it’s likely that only certain products fit the bill. That means you might need to shop locally for available options that comply with your country’s regulations. 


CBD is legal in many parts of Europe. Few countries have banned it, but lots are still on the fence about what kind of cannabis products are allowed. On the flip side, countries like Germany and Switzerland have begun regulating marijuana for recreational use.

The problem with CBD in Europe, then, is not that it’s banned but that there are many smaller countries with unclear legislation. This fact makes it difficult for manufacturers to regularly supply products to certain parts of the continent. It also means that many online sellers opt not to ship to the EU or other areas of Europe. 

Some countries that have approved CBD for open use include:

  • United Kingdom
  • Netherlands
  • Bulgaria
  • Sweden
  • France
  • Denmark
  • Poland

Countries that have historically or currently severely limited or banned CBD use include:

  • Italy
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Spain
  • Hungary
  • Croatia
  • Ireland

Again, these lists are just a glimpse at the full picture.


Africa is arguably the continent with the least clear regulations for CBD. Many African nations simply don’t have regular access to imported cannabis goods. As a result, it’s not as common to see CBD here as often as you might in other parts of the world. 

South Africa has approved CBD for open use, but countries like Egypt, Kenya, and Nigeria don’t allow CBD of any kind. Be sure to look into the rules that apply to your country if you’re interested in buying cannabis.

Asia & Pacific Islands

Medical use is the norm in most Asian countries. CBD is completely banned in Vietnam and Singapore, but larger nations like Russia and India are more ambiguous. And while mainland China doesn’t outlaw CBD, the territory of Hong Kong has its own rules and regulations to consider. 

Australia & New Zealand

Cannabis products are still tightly regulated in Australia and New Zealand. This includes hemp-derived CBD, which has only recently been made accessible to some medical patients. 

CBD legality in these countries looks a lot like medical marijuana in the U.S.; you need to have a valid reason to purchase even hemp-based products. And while you might not need a prescription, you will need official approval to access your goods. 

A Note About CBD International Shipping Rules

So, if CBD is illegal in some areas, legal in others, and ambiguous in plenty more, how do you navigate buying it? If it’s your first time buying CBD, make sure you take the time to do your homework. Find out if CBD is legal in your area, and if it is, ensure that it’s legal for everyone to use. 

It’s typically easier to buy quality CBD products online. Shopping on the web allows you to preview brands, see certificates of analysis, and get the scoop on whether a product is worth the money. But shopping for CBD online isn’t possible for people in all countries, at least not if you’re buying from a seller located abroad. 

Likewise, it’s possible that specific shipping regulations or bans might apply to you, even if CBD isn’t illegal where you live. As a result, we here at The Green Dragon CBD don’t ship internationally. As much as we’d love to share our products with the world, we recognize that international legislation is muddy at best. 

The Bottom Line

CBD is widely accessible in the U.S. and many surrounding nations, but it’s not as readily available in some parts of the world. As more research on CBD and cannabis in general progresses, it’s likely we’ll see some changes to existing rules. If you live in a country where CBD is restricted or illegal, don’t worry – you may still be able to buy it near you. 

We understand it can be frustrating to be unable to access the medicine or support you need. But even if you can’t buy products now, you can be an advocate for legislation reform in your region. The Green Dragon CBD will always be here as your source for the best cannabis products on the market. If you’d like to learn more about whether CBD is accessible to you, we invite you to reach out for a free consultation with our team. We’d be happy to help you talk through your options.

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