Find out everything to know about CBD in Scandinavia, including what's legal, how to use it, what the benefits are, and where to buy it. Italy and Sweden: court decisions on low-THC cannabis products On 30 May 2019, Italy’s highest court, the Court of Cassation, published a note of information on the legality of selling low-THC
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Everything to Know about CBD in Scandinavia
Disclaimer: this article was not written by a medical professional. Please consult your doctor before using CBD products.
Cannabidiol (CBD) has been creating a buzz in Scandinavia in recent years. The ingredient has popped up in everything from skincare to gummies and ingestible oils.
Many consumers reporting better sleep, pain relief, and less anxiety when using CBD products. As we learn more about the long-term impact of stress on our health, the purported benefits of CBD are appealing.
But even if CBD is gaining popularity, there are still concerns from consumers, research bodies, and governments alike. Since CBD comes from the same plant as cannabis, it has long been associated with marijunana and therefore has the same social stigma. Perception is slowly changing as consumers get more informed. That being said, there is a large knowledge-gap for the consumer who wants to try CBD.
Let’s dive into questions about CBD, including whether it’s legal in Scandinavia and what brands are available in the region:
What is CBD?
CBD, which stands for cannabidiol, is the second most prevalent active ingredient in cannabis. It has been hailed for its de-stressing and balancing properties, creating a movement in the wture cness sphere. This somewhat magical ingredient can be derived directly from the hemp plant or the marijuana plant, two different plants from the same species.
Hemp has been cultivated and used as a medical salve for relieving fever for centuries, so its benefits are no novelty. But in recent years, there has been a surge in interest in the natural plant-derived compound. CBD does not produce the psychoactive effects that make you feel “high,” unlike THC, the primary compound in hemp and marijuana plants.
Even if CBD and THC come from the same source, the effects produced are totally different. THC is the compound that gives you a high, while CBD does not. CBD interacts with the receptors of the endocannabinoid system in our body, purportedly resulting in a feeling of calm.
When looking at CBD products, you may encounter terms such as “full-spectrum” and “broad-spectrum.” Full-spectrum CBD has all the 400+ hemp compounds in its oils, including THC (usually in extremely small amounts). Broad-spectrum CBD has removed the THC compound completely. This is important to understand when purchasing CBD products. We encourage you to labels carefully and check a company’s third-party lab results to ensure the best quality of CBD, as well as your desired results.
What are the benefits of CBD?
Being an active, natural ingredient that boasts its de-stressing and healing benefits, CBD has been linked to reducing inflammation, pain, and sleeplessness to mitigate anxiety. CBD could therefore be an ideal natural alternative to relax after a stressful day and perhaps help us sleep better.
Since CBD was previously classified as a drug, it was difficult for researchers to conduct serious research on the topic. In recent years, research has really taken off and there are encouraging early results when it comes to, for example, easing anxiety symptoms.
The science behind CBD’s effectiveness for treating anxiety, pain, and insomnia is still in its infancy. There is not enough clinical proof yet and more research needs to be done to identify the benefits and prove CBD’s effectiveness.
CBD in Beauty Products
In beauty, CBD is currently one of the most talked-about ingredients on the market. Its properties are excellent for skincare: it is anti-inflammatory, moisturizing, and balancing. It is suitable for all skin types and is naturally derived. The healing and hydrating ingredient help the skin distress to look and feel its best every day.
Stina Lönnkvist, the co-founder of Swedish CBD beauty brand Mantle, had experienced the benefits of CBD before starting the brand. She was immediately hooked and wanted to share her knowledge of the potential powers of CBD. There was no premium brand in Sweden at that time, so she saw the opportunity to create products with the highest possible quality and beautiful packaging.
“Both ingestible CBD and CBD beauty is definitely here to stay; this is only the beginning!” says Stina. She has seen a clear shift in people’s attitudes since starting Mantle and believes there is an important educational process that needs to take place to better understand CBD and how it is different from THC. “We can already see that it has become less stigmatized and more people are understanding the potential power of CBD,” she notes.
In Sweden, it’s a slow process, but the team at Mantle thinks it is inevitable that CBD will be more accessible in the future. It has the potential of being an integral part of everyone’s beauty and wellness routines.
While the majority of people can tolerate CBD, some side effects have been reported such as dry mouth, drowsiness, and reduced appetite. There are also reports showing that CBD can potentially increase the level of blood thinning or compete with other medications in the body.
“We always recommend consulting a doctor when taking CBD, especially if you’re taking medication or are pregnant/breastfeeding,” says Stina. “When it comes to the most common side effects, they mainly occur when taking too large a dose,” she adds.
According to a report from the World Health Organization: “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential. To date, there is no evidence of public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”
What to Know Before Buying CBD
A major purchasing concern for new CBD consumers is to find a high-quality product. Some products are marketed as CBD products while not even containing any CBD. This calls for more regulations and quality control.
Unfortunately, “weed-washing” is a problem in the industry; companies try to capitalize on the canna-beauty trend by having a product without any CBD at all. This is a real problem for serious players who are usually eager to have governments look into and regulate the market as false claims are detrimental to the industry trying to gain legitimacy.
The general advice to consumers is to carefully read labels and make sure formulas contain CBD, hemp CBD, full-spectrum hemp extract, phytocannabinoid-rich hemp oil, or hemp extract oil. It is important to buy goods from places you trust and learn as much as possible about CBD before purchasing.
Is CBD Legal in Scandinavia?
CBD products that contain more than 0.2 % THC are considered illegal under EU law. It is prohibited to import oils that have more than 0.2% THC. Even if products with less than THC 0.2% are legal on the EU level, the legality of CBD is still a gray zone in the Nordic countries.
CBD used as a beauty ingredient is legal in all EU countries following a decision by the European Court of Justice in 2020.
CBD in Sweden
In Sweden, CBD oil containing THC is considered a narcotic and is therefore prohibited. CBD oil without THC is covered by the Medicines Act and must be evaluated and approved as a medicine in order to be sold. Therefore, it is not possible right now to sell CBD oil, with or without THC, in Sweden without special permission. It is allowed in skincare products.
CBD in Iceland
In Iceland, Cannabidiol (CBD) products are allowed as long as they do not contain THC. Any CBD oil containing THC is illegal. CBD in skincare is fully allowed.
CBD in Finland
In Finland, CBD is considered a medicine according to the Finnish Medicines Agency. A medicinal preparation that contains CBD needs a prescription. Purchasing products containing CBD from abroad may be illegal. It is forbidden to import a preparation containing CBD into Finland without a prescription. CBD in skincare products is allowed.
CBD in Norway
In Norway, CBD is currently classified as a prescription drug. That means that in order to legally buy or possess CBD products (even if it contains little to no THC), you need a prescription. You can purchase CBD without THC legally online (CBD isolates). CBD in skincare is allowed.
CBD in Denmark
In Denmark, CBD is no longer on the list of euphoriant substances; therefore, you can buy it without a prescription. In the eyes of the Danish Medicines Agency, buying CBD over-the-counter or online is legal. All CBD products are legal only if they contain 0.2% THC or less. CBD in skincare is allowed.
Best CBD brands in Scandinavia
Swedish CBD Brands
Founded by duo Stina and Josephine, Mantle is a pioneer of premium CBD products in the Nordic countries. The luxurious aesthetics of the brand has earned it a cult following among cool Scandinavians. They have collaborated with some of the hippest beauty and fashion brands on the market, such as CRAY-ON Parfums and By Malene Birger. In their limited edition Dream Team Routine bundle, they have partnered with Ceremonia, the clean haircare rooted in Latinx Heritage, to offer everything you need to take care of your hair and face.
CBD i Stockholm
If you prefer to smoke your CBD, CBD i Stockholm provides CBD flowers in cute packaging with great flavors. All of their CBD has less than 0.2% THC, so it’s entirely legal. The taste is definitely similar to that of typical cannabis, and the effects are very strong, but without any high.
Nordic Oil has a great variety of products ranging from CBD gummies to CBD mouthwash and CBD oils. There is something for everyone in their great selection! With the highest quality standards, Nordic Oil’s CBD is produced from organically-sourced, non-GMO hemp from certified European suppliers and undergoes regular quality checks. No artificial chemicals or additives are added. They aim to bring premium CBD to everyone.
With names such as “Summer in Positano,” it’s hard not to be charmed by the smokable CBD buds that Zeb CBD offers. The buds contain 3,6%- 5.1% CBD and 0.17% THC and are 100% legal. The Sweden-based company’s vision is to create the best and purest CBD products at an affordable price. The quirky names and cute design makes it very accessible for all customers.
The idea of Hemply Balance came to its founder in 2015 after having spent significant time in California. He founded the company in Sweden a couple of months later to bring the best CBD products to Scandinavia. Their popular intimate wash hydrates and protects down there and the sweet packaging is a nod to the simple pleasures and beautiful addition to the bathroom shelf.
Naturecan is a leading actor in the CBD industry and is constantly staying up to date with the latest trends and innovations. Here you can find 40% CBD oil which is one of the highest on the market. There are also products for beginners and CBD gummies for every taste. If you fancy something sour or sweet, they got you covered. Their gummies are 100% vegan and contain broad-spectrum CBD.
Herbique is the new kid on the block of CBD skincare! Based in Stockholm, their skincare focuses on organic and natural ingredients from mother earth. Their philosophy is that skincare rituals should give us an opportunity to relax in our stressful lives. Their first product, the Awakening Elixir is a plumping serum that fights inflammation with powerful botanical ingredients such as CBD, Bakuchiol, and Vitamin C.
Danish CBD Brands
NatureCell produces high-quality full-spectrum oils where the CBD is extracted from the hemp leaves and is naturally activating the endocannabinoid system of our body. They believe that implementing CBD skincare and full-spectrum CBD oils into your daily routines will improve your well-being.
With their minimalist packaging and high-quality ingredients, the Styleroomliving products are easy to fall in love with. Created by salon owner and hairstylist Berit Kloster, Styleroomliving includes a CBD Multi Serum that is very hydrating and feels great against the skin. There is also a CBD hand cream, ideal for chapped hands in winter.
Luceo was born out of a love story, a trip to Barcelona, and a leap of faith. The couple behind the brand developed the products for two years before launching Luceo, which means “light” in Latin. Their popular Glow Balm is an ultra-hydrating moisturizer that works as a de-stressor for the skin. It is a super-soothing and rich formula packed with calming CBD. It can be applied on both the face and body and is suitable for sensitive skin types.
Icelandic CBD Brands
Imagined during the first year of the global pandemic and launched in 2021, the Icelandic brand Aesir CBD offers oils and skincare for CBD-intrigued customers. Their comfort on contact gel is formulated to provide cold-therapy pain relief using the best ingredients nature has to offer: cooling menthol and arnica instantly relieve pain and yerba mate, frankincense and CBD combats inflammation in the muscles.
Other CBD Brands Available in Scandinavia
The Body Shop
It’s interesting to see a mainstream brand such as The Body Shop hop on the CBD skincare train and launch a trio featuring the coveted ingredient. The soothing Oil-Balm Cleansing Mask has a wonderful texture and helps remove all dirt. Enriched with natural-origin CBD, vegan squalane, and hemp seed oil, the products restores the skin’s moisture levels and leave the skin feeling smooth and glowy.
Neurogan is passionate about cultivating the best quality CBD on the market. Their outdoor-grown, high potency CBD goods are perfect for beginners and more experienced users alike. Each artisan batch has been carefully selected with body and spirit in mind. Their full-spectrum CBD mints combine the classic peppermint flavor with outdoor-grown hemp to freshen your breath while supporting a sense of calm.
HO KARAN is a French CBD brand that believes in the healing powers of the cannabis plant. The holistic products are produced locally, with eco-responsible packaging and with low environmental impact materials. Their bestselling Detox Natural Deodorant does not contain aluminum salts and is a gentle and naturally effective deodorant that eliminates bad odors. The cannabis terpenes and zinc also have purifying properties, keeping your armpits fresh.
If you are looking for a hair kit that promotes hair regrowth, look no further. Truly’s Super Flower Bundle with shampoo and conditioner is formulated with hemp oil containing the fatty acids Omega 3, Omega 6, and Omega 9. These fatty acids and the proteins in hemp help stimulate hair growth. Hemp oil has been shown to energize the hair follicles and stimulate hair to grow by increasing blood circulation in the scalp.
Endoca’s vision is to make non-psychoactive cannabinoids, principally CBD, available globally to people who need ache relief. Their raw hemp oil drops in 1500mg is a full-spectrum formula containing all the goodness you’d want from a CBD product. It is potent, all-natural, and made using a special innovative extraction process with no chemicals and full traceability. This method maintains the whole plant’s healing properties and guarantees a high-quality product.
Italy and Sweden: court decisions on low-THC cannabis products
On 30 May 2019, Italy’s highest court, the Court of Cassation, published a note of information on the legality of selling low-THC cannabis. This followed attempts to prosecute entrepreneurs who were openly selling cannabis flower and other extracts. The products were marketed in a way to avoid the attention of law enforcement by using labels such as ‘collectors item’ or ‘not for consumption’. The sellers claimed that these cannabis products contained less than 0.2 % THC (the main psychoactive chemical in cannabis) and therefore were not controlled under the narcotics law. The Italian Law 242 of 2016 states that cultivation of certain varieties of hemp plants containing less than 0.2 % THC is permitted without any licence, and the plants could be used to produce various specified products including food and cosmetics. The court’s note of information stated that ‘the marketing of Cannabis sativa L. and, in particular, of leaves, inflorescences [flowers], oil, resin, obtained from the cultivation of the aforementioned hemp variety, does not fall within the scope of application of Law 242 of 2016’, which exhaustively lists the products that may be marketed. Therefore, sale and marketing to the public of products derived from cannabis is an offence under the Italian drug control law ‘unless the products are in practice devoid of narcotic effects’ (‘privi di efficacia drogante’). It is not yet known how this last phrase will be interpreted.
Sweden’s Supreme Court says CBD oil containing THC is a narcotic preparation
On 18 June 2019, the Supreme Court of Sweden ruled on a case involving possession of ‘CBD oil’ extracted from industrial hemp. Under Swedish law industrial hemp, defined as any variety of cannabis eligible for EU support, is exempt from the narcotic control laws. However, the oil contained THC (the concentration was not determined). THC and preparations containing it are covered by the narcotic control laws. The offender was charged with a minor case of possession of a controlled drug (a preparation of THC). The court ruled that, while industrial hemp is exempted from coverage, preparations made from it that contain THC are not exempted, and are therefore included in narcotic control laws.