Is CBD legal in Spain? This highly beneficial product has been through quite the legal process, and even the Spaniards aren't quite cure if it's legal. CBD was entirely legal in Spain. Today, the only legal CBD products are topicals and cosmetics. CBD foods are prohibited. Read our legal guide to CBD in Spain here.
Is CBD legal in Spain?
Is CBD legal in Spain? Cannabidiol, better known as CBD, is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that Cannabis Sativa L plants produce. Recently, more seed banks have been working on breeding strains with high amounts of CBD. You can now find plenty of specific cannabis strains that contain plenty of this cannabinoid but can’t be legally grown due to the fact that they also produce THC.
This particular cannabinoid isn’t psychoactive and has many different medicinal properties, which is why it’s in the spotlight right now. However, there have been conflicts in Spain regarding the cannabinoid from March 2018 onwards, which is when CBD products began to be prohibited and removed from shelves if marketed for human consumption (ingestion, smoking etc.).
To understand what exactly is going on with CBD in Spain, Europe and around the world, let’s have a look at the main organizations in charge of regulating and overseeing what products can and can’t be sold.
Is CBD legal in Spain? | Regulating Organizations
The WHO (World Health Organization) is part of the UN (United Nations) and is one of the main authorities when it comes to regulating products and discussing health benefits and risks. They currently operate in six different regions: Africa, Europe, South Asia, Eastern Mediterranean, Western Pacific and the Americas. The office that regulates European legislation is known as the Europe Regional Office (EURO).
The WHO essentially deals with health coordination, promotion, prevention and intervention policies on a global scale. In regards to the topic at hand, Cannabidiol, the WHO issued a statement confirming that CBD does not create a chemical addiction, it does not produce negative side effects and it does indeed contain an incredible amount of beneficial properties.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is in charge of investigating and analyzing any possible risk associated with food safety in the European Union. If you read between the lines, it’s clear that this particular organization is the one responsible for removing food-related CBD-rich products from Europe, and therefore Spain. In Spain, the organization in charge of regulating the EFSA’s decisions is called the AECOSAN (Agencia Española de Consumo, Seguridad Alimentaria y Nutrición).
The AEMPS (Agencia Española de Medicamentos y Productos Sanitarios) is an organization that’s in charge of regulating products that may, in the future, be commercialized as food products or dietary supplements in Spain. In this regard, they have yet to register CBD as a product that’s safe to consume. This means that it can’t be sold as a food product or a product to be ingested. The EFSA de-authorized the legal sale of CBD, so these two organizations seem to be on par with their regulations.
The legal loopholes regarding CBD in Spain allowed it to be sold until the EFSA gave the signal to remove all CBD-rich food products or products designed for ingestion from the market. This has caused quite the confusion and stir among national CBD producers, as many aren’t quite sure as to the legality of it.
Can I sell CBD for nutritional uses in Spain?
Well, it would seem that according to the start of this article, CBD has been banned in Spain by the relevant authorities. However, keep in mind that CBD isn’t even on the list of products regulated by the Spanish authorities that decide exactly what is and isn’t nutrition. This means that technically it isn’t legal nor illegal.
Thanks to the free commerce regulation of the EU and the European Justice Court, CBD-rich products can be acquired in Spain as nutritional products. However, they must be imported from a country in the EU in which CBD can be legally consumed and sold as nutrient supplements. The organization involved must simply garner the relevant information regarding the legality of CBD in the country of origin, making sure that it can be legally sold in the country where it was produced.
Is Cannabidiol (CBD) legal in Spain?
In Spain the use and production of CBD-rich products is entirely legal as long as the product is designed for topical use only, for example skin care products and medicinal balms and oils. The agency in charge of regulating topical CBD products is the Medicines Agency.
How & Where to Buy CBD in Spain 
Research shows that the cannabis business in Spain could reach $16.6 million by 2028, but the European Union’s restrictive and unsynchronized laws could delay this.
Spain is a member of the European Union (EU) and organizes its hemp industry following the EU rules. The country allows farmers to grow industrial hemp with less than 0.2% THC, but laws around CBD are now stricter.
Until recently, you could buy CBD products over the counter without any issue. Things changed in 2018 after the EU confirmed the validity of the Novel Food Regulation.
Novel foods are items that haven’t been consumed significantly in the EU before May 15, 1997. This regulation includes hemp-derived CBD sold as supplements and food products.
Today, the Spanish CBD market is as chaotic as never before.
Read our guide to discover what type of CBD products are legal in Spain and how to buy CBD without stepping out of the legal area. You’ll also find information about brands operating in Spain and tips on how to shop for top-grade CBD.
Summary: Buying CBD in Spain
- Hemp-derived CBD with less than 0.2% THC is legal over the counter
- Currently, the only legal CBD products sold in Spain are cosmetics and topicals
- CBD in food and food supplements falls under the EU Novel Food Regulation and is prohibited in Spain
- CBD manufactured in-Spain can be marketed only if it’s labeled with “product for external use”
Best CBD Oil in Spain:
Amma Life CBD Oil
£0.05 – £0.07
Bluebird Botanicals Hemp CBD Oil
$0.07 – $0.14
CBD BioCare Full Spectrum CBD Oil
500 mg – 3500 mg
$0.04 – $0.12
Elixinol CBD Oil Tinctures
$0.07 – $0.10
Endoca CBD Oils
€0.08 – €0.09
Infinite CBD Isolate Droppers
8.33 – 166.67 mg/mL
$0.03 – $0.06
A Brief History of Cannabis Laws in Spain
Arabs were the first to bring cannabis to Spain in the early 8th century. They were already acquainted with cannabis’ psychoactive use and influenced Spaniards to start using marijuana.
In 1150, Spain was still under the influence of Muslim forces, who introduced hemp in Spain to make paper. The first hemp mill was founded in Alicante, contributing to the use of hemp for textiles, clothing, and cordage in Spain during the 12th century.
Historical findings from the medieval castle of Cornella de Llobregat prove that the recreational use of cannabis prevailed during the 13th century. Chemists analyzed the bowl of a pipe discovered in the castle and found cannabis remnants, verifying that Spanish Christians smoked cannabis in the Middle Ages.
Evidence from the same period shows that hemp cultivation increased throughout the Iberian peninsula, where hemp was used for textiles, clothes, rope, and sails for the Spanish ships.
In 1492, Christopher Columbus sailed from Palos, aiming to arrive in Japan for commercial trade for the crown of Castile. His three ships arrived in America instead, carrying 80 tons of hemp.
On his second trip to America, Columbus’ ships brought hemp seeds along with sugar cane, rice, wheat, vines, and orange trees.
From the 16th to the 18th century, the Spanish kings prioritized hemp cultivation, and hemp was used for rigging, food, candles, rope, clothes, and medicine. The hemp tradition continued throughout the 18th century, and farmers were producing hemp for the navy.
In the 20th century, Spanish hemp was considered to be of high quality — the hemp from Valencia and Alicante was highly valued for its suitability for making fine fabrics.
Although Spain signed several international conventions that controlled cannabis cultivation, the country didn’t ban hemp. With the rise in the popularity of synthetic fibers, hemp cultivation almost disappeared in 1972 but was reintroduced in 1999 as a result of the European Union’s subsidies for hemp and flax cultivation.
The Difference Between Hemp & Marijuana
Both hemp and marijuana are cannabis plants, and they’re usually differentiated by their recreational (marijuana) and industrial (hemp) use. However, the main difference between hemp and marijuana is their THC content. THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is a cannabinoid present in both hemp and marijuana, associated with its psychoactive effects.
In Europe, marijuana is any cannabis plant that contains more than 0.2% THC, although the THC threshold can vary from one country or region to another (in most parts of the world, the THC legal limit is 0.3%).
Marijuana usually contains high amounts of THC (up to 30%) and is therefore consumed for its psychoactive properties.
European countries consider hemp to be any cannabis plant with a THC concentration lower than 0.2%.
Hemp is differentiated from marijuana not just by its THC content, but also by its purpose of use — it’s mainly used for commercial and industrial products (food, animal feed, paper, clothes, rope, bioplastics, and biofuel), and CBD extraction.
Unlike marijuana, hemp doesn’t induce a psychoactive high because it contains only traces of THC.
Is CBD Legal in Spain?
Hemp-derived CBD with less than 0.2% THC is permitted only for external use.
In January 2018, the European Commission announced the Novel Food Regulation. Member states of the European Union aren’t obliged to implement this regulation in their national law but can do so at their discretion.
The regulation controls the placement of novel foods on the European market and requires authorization from the European Commission for their legal sale.
A novel food is any food that hasn’t been significantly consumed by Europeans before May 15, 1997. The EU Novel food catalog includes hemp-derived CBD.
Before the regulation, you could find various CBD products on the Spanish market. After the Spanish government decided to implement the new rule in the national legislature, AECOSAN (The Spanish Agency for Food Security and Nutrition) and the Ministry of Health ordered companies to stop the marketing and sale of CBD for human consumption.
This ban removed all CBD foods and dietary supplements from the shelves, leaving CBD cosmetics and topicals as the only legal CBD products in Spain. CBD made in Spain can be marketed only as a “technical product” or “product for external use.”
IMPORTANT: AECOSAN doesn’t permit online purchases of CBD products labeled as health foods.
How is Hemp Cultivation Regulated in Spain?
As a member state of the EU, Spain allows the cultivation of EU-certified hemp with less than 0.2% THC for fiber and seeds for food.
Farmers who want to grow hemp for CBD extraction must be licensed by the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products (AEMPS).
How to Buy CBD Products in Spain
If you want to buy CBD in Spain, you can choose from a wide range of products that fall within the legal frame. You’ll find many CBD products for skin care and the treatment of different skin conditions.
When shopping for CBD, it’s best to make your purchases at specialized CBD shops, or cosmetics, pharmacies, and health stores to avoid any legal trouble. While those are the safest options, there are still businesses that operate illegally, selling banned CBD products — refrain from purchasing CBD from such brands.
Another popular option is to buy online — you can choose from hundreds of stores that sell excellent CBD products.
Now let’s see which option will fit your needs the best, and how to shop for CBD in Spanish stores and online.
1. Buying CBD Online in Spain
Online stores offer many privileges — from affordable prices to broad product selection and the convenience of shopping in your own time from home.
Online stores usually abide by the legal rules due to various international laws.
Just because a retailer operates online doesn’t mean they don’t understand international CBD regulations. It’s their brand and reputation on the line, after all — many business owners can’t afford to run the risk of legal troubles or wasted products.
This doesn’t mean that there are no online frauds, but you’ll quickly recognize them once you learn how to buy high-quality CBD — we’ll share a few tips right after this section.
Shopping for CBD online has many benefits.
First, you have an ocean of brands and products to choose from. Online stores value their customers’ opinions, and most of them have a review section where you can check customers’ feedback.
However, take the reviews with a grain of salt and a dash of skepticism — everyone experiences products differently. There are even some companies that are known to buy positive reviews.
If you want to learn more about a particular product, it’s best to contact the retailer and ask for details.
Thanks to the nature of online stores being 24-7, you can shop from the comfort of your home.
Now let’s see what the obstacles of buying CBD online are. Honestly, there’s not much that would make you avoid online shopping, but it’s good to know the downsides.
Online stores sometimes don’t ship to your country, meaning you’ll have to use a mail forwarding service to shop online. We’ll explain how mail forwarding works once we round up the tips on buying CBD.
When shopping for CBD online, you must be careful with the product choice. If you import something illegal, customs will seize your product or worse.
Pros & Cons of Buying CBD Online in Spain
- Online stores have affordable prices
- You can choose from many stores and thousands of products
- Most online stores operate safely and within the legal frame
- You can read product reviews
- Online stores are available 24/7
- Some brands don’t ship to your country
- Your product can be seized if it’s not allowed in your country, and you could end up in legal trouble
2. Buying CBD In-Store in Spain
You can shop for CBD in-store in almost every major Spanish city — Bilbao, Madrid, Barcelona, and Valencia.
As we’ve said, despite the ban on CBD foods and dietary supplements, many businesses continue to work and supply customers with various CBD goods.
You should be careful when shopping for CBD — it’s not just about legality, but also about the quality of the product.
Most businesses that sell banned CBD operate illegally, which means that no one controls the products’ safety. On the other hand, if you’re shopping for CBD cosmetics and topicals, you can choose from many reputable brands that abide by quality regulations.
Shopping in-store has both its benefits and downsides.
One great thing about physical stores is that they have knowledgeable staff that can help you find the right product.
Most stores have a pleasant shopping atmosphere with carefully curated products. Another positive thing about buying CBD in-store is that you can have your product right after you pay.
However, if you’re a thrifty person and you value your time and money, in-store shopping is not the best choice.
Shopping in-store is generally more expensive because of the overhead costs of running a physical store (lease, staff, utilities, store upkeep). On top of this, physical stores generally operate within standard business hours, which means you need to align your schedule to drop in and shop.
Pros and Cons of Buying CBD In-Store in Spain
- You can find hundreds of products in Spain’s largest cities
- Most reputable brands operate legally and offer high-quality CBD
- You can ask the staff for advice
- Physical stores have pleasant atmosphere
- You can take home your product immediately
- Physical stores can be expensive
- Shopping in-store is time-consuming
- Constrained to fixed store hours
- You can get stuck in a line
Tips on Buying High-Quality CBD in Spain
1. Read about the product before you buy it.
The abundant CBD options can distract you from what’s supposed to be your primary focus — the purpose of use and quality of the product.
Always make sure you’re well informed on the product’s content and benefits. Spanish authorities don’t allow CBD foods and supplements, meaning you shouldn’t buy a product that contains such labeling.
2. Shop from reputable brands.
Avoid retailers that you’ve never heard of but have caught your attention with a social media ad or a flashy website.
Many new brands are trying to get the attention of new customers, but not all of them operate legally and safely. Such risks could cost you your safety and money — to avoid this, shop from reputable brands that can guarantee for their product’s quality.
3. Only buy CBD that comes with a Certificate of Analysis.
CBD packages should always come with a quality control test certificate conducted by a third-party lab. This document proves that CBD is safe for use.
NOTE: AECOSAN prohibits the online purchase of CBD products sold as health food.
How Mail Forwarding Works
Found a product you’re interested in, but the company doesn’t ship to your country?
This is where mail-forwarding services come in handy.
1. Create your account
Mail forwarding companies operate in different regions of the world. For example, if you want to shop for CBD in Europe, a good option is Skypax. If the CBD brand you like operates in North America, we recommend Shipito’s services.
Once you’re on the company’s website, sign up for an account and go through the steps. The mail forwarding company will provide you with a local address — you will need this to place online orders.
2. Place your CBD order
Once you have your account and the local address, you can make your CBD purchase. Assign the address you were provided with as the delivery address for the order.
The local address serves as a shipping destination, but once your CBD arrives at this address, the mail forwarding staff will change the stamps and send the package to your door.
Before you make a purchase, it’s best to have a general idea of how much would cost you to use a mail forwarding service so you can plan your budget.
Here are Skypax’s mail forwarding rates
|Tier of Service||Sign up Fee||Annual Fee||Average Shipping Fee|
|Standard Membership (If you only need the service every once in a while)||£12 setup ($15 USD)||None||£30 ($36 USD)|
|Premium membership (If you order CBD frequently and want protection on your packages)||£0||£90 ($110 USD)||£30 ($36 USD)|
Skypax also has a concierge service — where they can place the order for you if you provide them with details about the product you need.