Is CBD legal in Switzerland ? Overview of the situation in 2023

Nov 5, 2022

In Switzerland (and other countries), products containing cannabidiol (CBD) have gained in popularity and consumers start to include them in their own consumption. The CBD market has been growing rapidly and many CBD brands have launched their own cannabis products in the last few years.

Most consumers buy a CBD product for personal use as they believe it might have benefits for their overall wellness, which are increasingly recognised by scientific research. Unlike THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), one of the many other cannabinoids present in cannabis plants, Cannabidiol does not cause any “high” or intoxicating effects, unlike the THC molecule. Therefore in Switzerlan, CBD is not subject to the narcotics act as the active ingredient is not considered as a psychoactive substance.

However, this does not imply that all types of CBD products can be legally sold in the country. Since 2017, the cannabis consumption is legal at federal level in Switzerland, under the mandatory condition that it has a very low THC content, namely a maximum of 1%. Other European countries will have lower threshold for buying CBD legally.

In a podcast broadcasted on RTS radio in February 2022, the cantonal chemist Patrick Edder highlighted the results of a surprising study: nearly 85 out of 100 CBD products in Switzerland are deemed to be non-compliant or illegal. The CBD industry was mainly found guilty to have placed Cannabidiol oils as food products on the market. The maximum limit of THC in food (or any other psychoactive substances for the matter) is indeed very low and most CBD products were above the treshold.

It is therefore essential to choose your CBD shop carefully in order to buy hemp products 100% legally in Switzerland and avoid any problems. Products sold on uWeed are not only guaranteed 100% Swiss quality but also guaranteed CBD legality. We do not sell high-THC content or marijuana products but only legal CBD products (or different cannabinoids), arising from cannabis plants grown with love by Swiss hemp farmers.

Is CBD legal or is it considered as a drug?

While scientifc research continues into the various effects of CBD on human health, CBD is legal in Switzerland since 2017. Since then, it has proven to be very successful and a wide range of wellness products have emerged. Sales of CBD items are legally allowed in Switzerland if they contain less than 1% THC and do not cause psychotropic effects. In this sense, CBD cannabis is legal and is neither considered as a drug or listed as a narcotic. It is also allowed to grow cannabis at home, using CBD seeds, under the same condition.

However, if a control were to reveal a THC level higher than 1%, the product would be considered as a narcotic. You should know that our country is more flexible than France or the rest of Europe, applying a maximum THC level of 0.3% in CBD edibles. This allows for better ratios and less suppression of cannabinoids, essential for the entourage effect.

Low-THC cannabis is governed by different laws depending on the category of finished product in which it is used. In order to provide an overview on the regulations for products containing cannabidiol, the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) and Swissmedic (Swiss Agency for Therapeutic Products) have published a document to better understand the obligations around CBD.

Please refer to our article on the legal framework surrounding cannabis in Switzerland to learn more about the legality of cannabis in Switzerland.

CBD oil

Products containing tobacco substitutes

The Federal Court has established that a hemp product containing CBD in not per say considered as a tobacco substitute within the meaning of the Federal Law on Tobacco Taxation. Therefore, as a consumer, you do not pay tobacco tax (a hefty 25%) when you consume CBD flowers or CBD Cannabis. This gives Swiss consumers confidence in the benefits of this molecule.

Is CBD cannabis legal in Switzerland?

The consumption of CBD flowers or herbs is completely legal. However, its THC content must remain below 1%, and its marketing must be announced to the FOPH.

This is more commonly referred to as “cannabis light”, “legal cannabis” or “CBD cannabis”.

As a reminder, any advertising suggesting any beneficial effect of tobacco products on health is prohibited (art. 17, para. 2 OTab). Discover without further delay our online sale of hemp flowers, available in fast delivery!

On uWeed, buy CBD products from reputable brands at attractive prices!

Is CBD resin legal in Switzerland?

Resin, because of the trichomes and its association with cannabis, was explicitly prohibited, even with CBD levels below 1%. The Federal Council had noted a high concentration of CBD and therefore preferred to ban it. Since 1 August 2022, CBD resins are again 100% legal in Switzerland. This follows the change of the Swiss law on medical cannabis (read more about the law here, in German, French and Italian only).

uWeed offers you the widest range of CBD hash and resins in Switzerland.

CBD foodstuffs

Cannabidiol, or “Cannabis Light” to some, falls into the category of new kinds of Novel Food. CBD lovers can take the time to drink a good cup of hemp tea. Feel free to visit our page dedicated to the different forms of low-THC cannabis-based hot drinks and hemp teas.

Although the cannabidiol-containing products on sale on uWeed are all legal and free of narcotic-like substances, according to the analysis of the cantonal chemists, many non-compliant products are circulating on the Swiss market.

Although the legislation is now more flexible, the reasons for this were due to the lack of authorisation of CBD as a product to be ingested. Moreover, the responsibility also lies with the manufacturers. Many edible references contained too much THC, which made it impossible to circulate on the market.

CBD Food

“Novel Food” authorisation

For foodstuffs whose human consumption was negligible in Switzerland and in the EU Member States before 15 May 1997, an authorisation issued by the OSAV or the European Commission is required. For example, an infusion of Cannabis sativa, made from the leaves of the hemp plant, is not considered to be a novel food in the country. Any manufacturer wishing to produce, import or distribute an infusion obtained from cannabis must therefore prove that the production was consumed in significant quantities before 15 May 1997 and that it is therefore not considered a novel food.

The European Union has authorised the marketing of CBD cannabis food products at the end of 2020, classifying them in the Novel Food catalogue.

The level of THC in CBD foodstuffs

Consumer safety is a priority for the Swiss Federal Council. Therefore, it regularly monitors the release of THC-based products onto the market. The law stipulates that the level of THC contained in a CBD-based foodstuff must be strictly lower than 2mg/kg (kg of finished product, based on dry weight).

Cannabidiol cosmetics

The sale of high CBD content cosmetics is permitted provided that the non-harmful nature of each ingredient contained in the product is explained in a comprehensive product safety report. You can therefore find many legal CBD creams and cosmetics available for delivery on our site.

CBD Cosmetic Products

Chemical products with CBD

In the absence of Novel Food authorisation, placing CBD oils as ingestable Foodstuff is illegal. Many CBD oil producers have put their range of oils on the market by including them in the category of chemical products, notably as aromatic fragrance oils.

On 29 March 2022, the authorities wished to put an end to this practice by forcing Cannabidiol oil brands to add a denaturant to their ingredients. This was put in place to prevent these products from being ingested orally by the public.

As of 30 September 2022, all CBD oils placed on the market as a chemical product will have to add a denaturing substance. Their nature is typically non-toxic, but must make ingestion difficult or impossible.

CBD-based pet food

Just like CBD tea or herbal tea, CBD pet food is legal, although it is subject to the usual controls. If the THC content is less than 1%, you can give it to your dog or cat without worrying. Beware though, cats have a very low tolerance to terpenes, so there are special CBD oils for our feline friends. Also note that CBD products are forbidden for animals producing milk for human consumption (cows, goats, etc.). Take a look at our CBD products for pets.

CBD-based therapeutic products

All medicines and medical devices are regulated by Swissmedic, the equivalent of the FDA (Food and Drugs Administration in the USA) in Switzerland. Given the ongoing research into this new type of cannabis, brands are not allowed to claim health benefits for these products. Each cannabis product that is meant for medical use or medicinal purposes will have to comply with these regulations.

CBD-based medicines: Epidyolex

On 28 June 2018, the FDA cleared the world’s first CBD-based single preparation (Epidiolex®). This preparation was also put on the market in Switzerland under the name Epidyolex® on 10 February 2021. It is a syrup containing 10% CBD and no THC. It is not yet reimbursed by the health insurance, but could soon be under certain conditions.

The manufacture and distribution in pharmacies of medicines containing CBD with THC

Medicines containing CBD can be distributed in pharmacies if they are authorised by Swissmedic. Various elements are required when applying for authorisation to market CBD-based medical products:

  • Complete and exhaustive documentation on the results of chemical and physical analyses.

  • Proof of microbiological and biological tests.

  • Results of toxicological, clinical and pharmacological tests.

  • Proof of the level of THC present in the product.

  • Proof that the medical products manufactured are of premium quality, effective on certain diseases and, above all, safe for consumption.

  • The document published by Swissmedic highlights that for the manufacture of CBD-based medicinal products, it is required to use CBD manufactured in accordance with the requirements of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP).

On the patient side, certain documents are also required in order to be allowed to consume CBD-containing medicines:

  • A medical prescription.

  • An accompanying survey by the prescribing doctor and transmission of the data collected to the FOPH.

Note that in all cases THC or CBD-based medicines are not reimbursed.