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CBD Rules and Regulations: A Timeline

CBD Rules and Regulations: A Timeline

While the cannabis plant has been around for thousands of years, research on the subject is still in its infancy. There has been a recent surge in studies as interest in its components, including cannabidiol (CBD) increase. However, cannabis and its components have always been under strict regulation because of the government’s concern for the public’s health and safety.
Regulatory bodies such as the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S. have been extremely slow to approve cannabis and products derived from it. In this article, we are going to explore the history of the rules and regulations regarding CBD and where the law stands on the subject today. Keep on reading to discover how CBD regulations have evolved over the years.

What Is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a compound of the cannabis plant known for its therapeutic properties and many health benefits. It works with the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) in our bodies to regulate hormones, maintain homeostasis, and more. Unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive and does not induce psychoactive effects. It may be used to help with illnesses like chronic pain and is available in various forms, including gels, sprays, oils, foods, drinks, and patches.

Timeline of CBD Rules and Regulations

CBD rules and regulations vary from country to country. Here, we have outlined the essentials of CBD regulation in some of these countries.

United States

The United States enacts the Marijuana Tax Act, making cannabis illegal. While medical use was allowed, the strict regulations surrounding it made this almost impossible.


The Supreme Court ruled that the Marijuana Tax Act violated the Fifth Amendment, struck it down, and made it legal at the federal level.


The Supreme Court’s decision is reversed as the United States passed the Controlled Substances Act. This classified marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug and prohibited all use, including use for medical purposes.


The Controlled Substances Therapeutic Research Act was passed in New Mexico and recognized the medical benefits of cannabis.


California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana by passing Proposition 215.


Washington, Alaska, and Oregon legalize medical marijuana.


Maine legalizes medical marijuana.


Nevada, Colorado, and Hawaii follow suit by legalizing medical marijuana.


Vermont and Montana legalize medical marijuana.


Iowa, Kentucky, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, North and South Carolina, Utah, Wisconsin, Missouri, and Utah legalize CBD.


In 2018, the FDA approved treatment for an oral CBD solution called Epidolexto treat seizures caused by Dravet Syndrome, tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC), and Lennox Gastaut Syndrome (LGS). To date, it is the only CBD product approved by the FDA.

It should be noted that legality in the U.S. is still somewhat vague. According to the U.S., hemp is a legal agricultural product while regular cannabis is not. While purchasing CBD products is legal in many states, selling them is not. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), CBD with less than 0.3% THC is no longer banned. However, specific regulations vary from state to state and have to be addressed on an individual basis.


The federal Cannabis Act passed in October 2018 made both medical and recreational marijuana legal. However, it could only be sold by authorized retailers and medical companies that were federally licensed.


Australia allows therapeutic use of cannabinoids as a prescription-only medication. However, this is only permitted for those over the age of 18, and the maximum dose allowed is 60 mg/day. Pharmacists are also permitted to sell a maximum supply of 30 days. As of 2020, Epidyolex has been approved for treating seizures caused by the Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome and Dravet Syndrome.

New Zealand

In 2017, the government removed restrictions so that cannabidiol could be prescribed to patients. In December 2018, the Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Amendment Act was passed, eliminating cannabidiol’s status as a controlled drug and making it a prescription medicine.

European Union

In December 2020, the European Commission came to the decision that CBD should not be considered a drug. Instead, it is regarded as food under the EU Novel Food Regulation.

United Kingdom

Until 2017, cannabidiol products used for medical purposes were classified as medicines by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). As a result, marketing was not allowed without regulatory approval. In 2018, cannabis oil became legal to buy and sell provided that it contained no more than 1 mg of THC and was not advertised as having any medical benefits. January 2019, however, saw the UK Food Standards Agency classify CBD products as novel foods. As such, products containing CBD have to be authorized for sale.
Currently, those who produce CBD products need a license from the UK Home Office and are obligated to label products per the Food Supplement Regulations of 2003.As a result, companies cannot sell CBD flowers and buds, even if the THC content is within the permitted limits. All CBD foods and drinks require a Novel Food Application and premarket authorization. This applies to everything from oils and sprays to coffee, tea, and mints. Additionally, CBD-infused cosmetics have to come with Cosmetic Product Safety Reports, while vape products containing CBD must comply with General Product safety Directive (GPSD) 2001/95/EC.
Since the March 31st 2021 deadline only CBD products with a validated application are allowed to stay on the shelves.

CBD Regulations Mandate Testing

As with any product, ensuring customer safety is of the utmost importance. That’s why governments in countries like the UK require thorough testing of CBD products and comprehensive reports before approving products for sale. That’s where IFS Laboratories come in. We offer independent CBD testing services worldwide and ensure your product is independently and thoroughly tested. Our analytical testing involves everything, from cannabinoid profiling and terpene analysis to heavy metals testing and shelf life and stability testing.

We can test various products, including balms, oils, creams, vapes and e-liquids, food supplements, lotions, and more. Furthermore, we’re UKAS accredited and highly trusted by industry professionals all over the globe. Check out our comprehensive analytical services here and reach out to us here for further information. We’re more than happy to answer any questions to help get your products approved for sale. We look forward to hearing from you.