One further step taken towards a regulated CBD market within the EU

Synthetic Cannabidiol (CBD) was previously the only cannabinoid approved as a cosmetic ingredient in European Union’s Cosmetic ingredients database (CosIng). Congratulations to the EU Commission on adding this important new entry: cannabidiol as an extract, tincture or resin of cannabis is now a legal cosmetic ingredient within CosIng. This regulation states that cannabidiol (CBD) can perform the functions of antimucilants, antioxidants, skin care products and skin protectants. This change is definitely another positive step in the development of a consistent regulation for CBD products in the EU and, of course, in the affiliated countries.

The CosIng database of the EU Commission contains all information on substances, ingredients and their purpose and function in cosmetic products. It contains their totality since the adoption of the Cosmetics Directive in 1976. It serves as a guide for all member states and is not legally binding. It is intended to harmonize product labeling in the EU and to support trade in goods.

This latest revision of the CosIng guidelines follows the recent landmark ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) that cannabidiol (CBD) is not a narcotic drug as defined in 1961 United Nations Single Convention at Narcotic Drugs and therefore may be freely traded between EU Member States.

Despite this positive development and cross-border harmonization, the respective authorities still call the shots and decide on any national legal requirements and regulations on CBD. In addition to the requirements of the EU Cosmetics Regulation, it is important to note that if you plan to manufacture, market or distribute cosmetic products containing CBD, you will still need to comply with the THC limit in your country. The fact is that many EU members have implemented their own CBD regulations, and these are not necessarily compatible with CosIng.

Nevertheless, such harmonization should be imminent because, unlike CosIng, the November 2020 ECJ ruling is binding on all EU member states. This means that EU governments that take action against the sale and marketing of CBD cosmetics will have to change their laws and regulations.

These legislative changes will not be immediate. Nonetheless, the ECJ ruling and the recent regulatory changes to CosIng represent important steps towards creating a more qualitative European CBD market, which could even facilitate the removal of international trade barriers.