Cannabis sativa, hemp, is a fashionable plant, not only for its usage, but also for its controversy in the past few years. The cause of debate are its derivatives, cannabinoids and in particular tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).

THC is well-known for its psychoactive properties, which make Cannabis an illegal drug in most countries. On the other side, CBD is currently being studied for its calming and anti-inflammatory effects, becoming an interesting product in the present market.

Hemp legal situation differs inside the European Union countries, causing a clearly lack of harmonization and standing in the way of its free commercialization, for instance:

-          In Spain, seed sell is authorized, but plant extracts or parts of the plant such as leaves, or stems are not allowed.

-          France rules that all products based on cannabidiol must demonstrate absence of THC residues to be approved.

-          Italy presents a similar regulation, where seed and seed oil are permitted, but with less than 0,2% THC provable content.


In turn, at European level hemp and some of its derivatives are accepted (seed, flour, and oil from seed), if THC content never surpasses 0,2%. But extracts from the plant and cannabinoids are considered novel foods not authorized, since there is no history of food usage before 1997 and mutual recognition is therefore not applicable to justify its commercialization.

EFSA (the main authority in food safety in Europe) is evaluating a request of CBD usage of 130 mg/day in food supplements, that in case of being positive would imply an implementing act from the European Commission, since EFSA has no legislative power, it just gives favorable or unfavorable opinions on an issue.

We will follow the hemp situation carefully, given that its acceptance could mean a great change in the sector as we know it.