CBD Oil is legal in Canada, which means that depending on the circumstances, you can buy CBD products with and without a prescription. The Cannabis Act made a variety of cannabis-based products and CBD legal in Canada.
Do You Need Prescription for CBD Oil in Canada?
You can now legally buy CBD Oil in Canada from federally licensed producers. However, you need a medical prescription for CBD oil containing over 3% THC. You can also buy cannabis oil for personal use if it contains less than 0.03% THC. You will not need a prescription if you buy from retailers that are territorially or provincially approved.
In October 2018, the federal Cannabis Act ensured that it is now legal to use cannabis for both medicinal and recreational reasons in Canada. However, even though in 2018 they made it legal to buy and use cannabis for both recreational and medical purposes, it can still be hard to purchase life-changing CBD products in Canada.
When purchasing, you also need to specifically check your province or territory legislation. Each Canadian province and territory contains its own regulations on the possession and use of cannabis-related products. The regulations may be different from the national Canadian Cannabis Act of 2018.
With the changing regulations of CBD and cannabis products around the world for general consumers and prescription holders, it can become a little confusing. There isn’t always a clear definition that makes the regulation easily understandable for consumers.
On the 17th of October in 2018 Canadian government made the bold move to legalize cannabis. The Cannabis Act is a legal strategy that controls the possession, production, distribution, and sale of cannabis products within Canada.
The ground-breaking strategic move to legalize cannabis in Canada aims to:
- Allow legally approved access to clinically researched medical health benefits for certain patients and users.
- Prevent youths from accessing cannabis on the black market.
- Disempower illegal frameworks and defund criminal activity.
- Provide authorized access to legal CBD Oil and other cannabis products in Canada in order to enhance public health and safety and deter buyers from encouraging illegal activity.
Since When Is CBD Oil Legal in Canada?
From October 2018, it has become legal for adults over the age of 18 to:
Possess cannabis in public (up to 30 grams of dried ‘legal cannabis’ or other forms equal to 30 grams of dried cannabis as defined by the Cannabis Act)
Share dried cannabis from licensed producers with other legal adults (of up to 30 grams or equivalent. Legal age of use depends on the province and territories)
- Purchase cannabis products from a licensed retailer in your province or territory (dried, fresh, and cannabis oil). In provinces and territories without a regulated sales system, adults can still buy online from licensed producers.
- Register with Health Canada to grow cannabis plants for personal use. But home-grown cannabis plants must be grown from licensed seeds or seedlings, and there can only be a maximum of 4 plants per household.
- Make homemade cannabis food, drinks, and other products. But organic solvents cannot be used to alter the concentration of the cannabis product.
And then, in October 2019, cannabis food, edible products, concentrates and CBD Oil became legal in Canada for sale too. But whilst this looks good on paper, why is it still so hard to purchase quality CBD products legally within Canada? And why are consumers and medical users still confused?
Three Reasons Why It Is Difficult to Purchase Quality CBD Products in Canada
1. Territory and Province Laws Differ
Firstly, even though the Cannabis Act governs Canada, territory and province laws differ, which means that you need to double-check the exact laws governing the purchase of cannabis-related products in your region.
2. No Specific Mention of CBD Products Within the Legislation
There is no specific mention of CBD products in particular within the legislation yet. CBD products must apply to the new rules as they are a cannabinoid from the cannabis Sativa plant, like THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid.
The lack of clear reference to many of the new CBD products rolling out to consumers makes it hard for consumers to trust what is legal and what isn’t. Many consumers have admitted that they are still choosing to buy illegal forms of cannabis-related products and CBD in Canada simply to avoid punishment through confusion. But the legal reform is currently going to plan with Statistics Canada estimating that legal recreational sales overtook illegal sales in 2020 for the first time in history.
If in doubt, you can now buy products, including CBD products, legally in Canada if you purchase them from a government-approved licensed producer. The Cannabis Act will so specifically regulate CBD products.
3. Strict Ground Rules and Standards
The Cannabis Act lays strict ground rules and standards on sales, advertising, manufacture, distribution, and tracking during production to the sales process. Only federally approved and licensed producers are able to grow, process, and sell legal, medical marijuana.
Health Canada manages the authorization of legal, licensed producers. They established the Marijuana Medical Access Regulation (MMAR) in 2001, which allowed physicians to medically prescribe cannabis. At this point, it became legal to grow cannabis personally for medical reasons or purchase it for personal use through a licensed producer.
Health Canada rolled out the Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulation (MMPR). This allowed private businesses to become authorized to manufacture and sell cannabis for legal, medical reasons in 2014. Businesses that are authorized by the Marijuana For Medical Purposes Regulations are required to check that the consumer holds a physician’s legal, medical document (prescription) to approve the purchase.
And then, in 2016, the Access To Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR) came into effect. Users with a valid medical prescription for cannabis can now produce legal cannabis oils, edibles (such as gummies), and tinctures.
However, even though the sale and purchase of cannabis for medical and recreational purposes are now legal in Canada, the approval process is tough and rigorous for licensed producer applicants. As of April 2018, according to Statistics Canada, there were only 102 licensed producers.
The statistics do not show active companies. The registration simply signifies that companies are approved to manufacture and distribute cannabis-related products. This does not confirm if they were actively doing so at the time. But as of 2020, Statista reported that there are now 193 licensed producers of cannabis in Ontario alone.
Online Sales Are Booming
Since the beginning of 2019, the online sales of cannabis products for recreational and medical uses have been flourishing and booming, but with the lack of licensed producers to meet demands – production, manufacture, sales, and distribution have not always met consumer needs.
The recommendation is to obtain a prescription for medical marijuana if you are eligible. This helps to prevent any possible interruption to your medical supply, access to cannabis-related medicinal products, or CBD in Canada. New changes to the legislation have improved patient access to marijuana, which makes prescription the safest option for legal cannabis or CBD medicinal users.
How Much CBD Oil Is Legal in Canada?
As defined by the Cannabis Act, possession of 30 grams of dried cannabis is allowed in Canada. The Act defines equivalent conversions for other forms that may be possessed. 1 gram of dried cannabis is equated to 70 grams of liquid product or 0.25 grams of concentrates that can either be solid or liquid.
CBD oil would be regarded as a liquid product. Therefore possession of under 2,100 grams or 2,100ml would be legally allowed for public possession by recreational users.
Changes in the Cannabis Act in 2019 provided the space for more accessibility. Since 2019, licensed producers have been able to submit cannabis edibles and cannabis topical products for approval through Health Canada. And then, on October 17th, 2020, cannabis oil was removed from being defined as a separate product in the Cannabis Act. Depending on the oil’s intended use, cannabis oil products have now been reclassified into cannabis topical products, edible products, or cannabis extracts.
Is It Legal to Drive on CBD Oil in Canada?
Is driving on CBD legal in Canada? Well, this depends on the THC content of the CBD oil. If the oil contains the psychoactive THC cannabinoid, then this is strictly regulated in Canada under the impaired driving legislation, which has been in place since 1925.
If you drive under the influence of cannabis or other drugs in Canada, it is a criminal offence that can result in a fine, jail time or criminal charges.
What Are the CBD Health Regulations in Canada?
CBD products in Canada are still regarded as a legally controlled substance, but newer regulations within the Cannabis Act make it easier for medical cannabis or CBD users to access their medication. These include the removal of home storage caps for patients, meaning that patients can store any amount of cannabis (for personal use) at home.
And public possession for medical health cannabis users is now either 150 grams or a 30 day medical supply of dried cannabis or equivalent (depending on which amount is lower). In addition to the lowest quantity of their medical supply allowance, authorized patients with a physician-approved prescription are allowed an extra 30 grams of dried cannabis (or equivalent) designated for recreational cannabis allowances like other Canadian citizens.
This means that medicinal users with a prescription are now allowed to carry up to 2,100 grams of 2,100ml of CBD oil for recreational use, combined with their lesser prescription amount of either 150 grams or a 30 day supply of dried cannabis or equivalent.
If medicinal marijuana users aren’t able to grow their own cannabis plant at home, they can now also legally designate a caregiver to grow their plant on their behalf.
How to Get a Prescription for CBD Oil in Canada
In order to get a medical prescription in Canada, you must be:
- Over 18 years old (or 19 years old – legal ages vary depending on the territory or province)
- A Canadian resident
- Free of cannabis-related legal offences on your criminal record
Licensed medical physicians are able to provide a prescription for medical marijuana for a range of health issues, symptoms, or conditions such as:
- Chemotherapy treatments
- Muscle spasms that are related to multiple-sclerosis
- Chronic disease which causes insomnia, anxiety, and/or depression
- Weight issues or appetite issues as a result of cancer, AIDS, or HIV
If you feel as though you may benefit from becoming medicinal cannabis or CBD patient, then the first step is to talk to your doctor or trusted healthcare provider. Once standard treatments have been explored without success, they can then begin the process to authorize you as a marijuana medicine patient.
Is Travelling with CBD Legal in Canada?
Even though CBD is now legal in Canada, it is still a controlled substance, which means you also need to be aware of how travelling with CBD or cannabis-based products is regulated in Canada. As it stands, travelling in and out of Canada with CBD is a criminal offence.
Is Entering with CBD in Canada Legal?
CBD is a controlled substance, and you cannot enter Canada with any CBD products under any circumstances.
- It doesn’t matter how much cannabis or CBD you possess
- The rules apply even if you hold a medical prescription
- Even though you may be travelling to or from a country or area where cannabis and CBD are legalized, it is still illegal to enter Canada with CBD, cannabis, or any type of cannabis-related product.
Is Leaving with CBD Legal in Canada?
It is illegal to travel outside of Canada with cannabis or CBD products, even if you are travelling to a country or area where it is legal. CBD and cannabis are still illegal in the majority of countries. You cannot travel with any CBD or cannabis-related products. This includes products containing cannabis or CBD extracts, cannabis or CBD topicals, or cannabis or CBD edibles.
Is Travelling with CBD Legal in Canada?
You can travel within Canada with cannabis and CBD products. However, it’s important to research the cannabis and CBD regulations of the territory or province that you are travelling to or travelling through. CBD is legal in Canada, but each territory and province holds its own independent regulations from the federal Cannabis Act CBD.
For example, each territory and province holds its own independent legal age of adult use. Users are solely responsible for knowing the laws of each territory or province they are travelling through or to.
What Is the Difference between Hemp and Cannabis CBD Oil?
Before we dive deeper into the details of the differences between hemp vs CBD oil, let’s have a quick look at this explainer video:
The main differences between hemp CBD oil and cannabis CBD oil are the legal aspects of either plant and the regulations surrounding them. Users and consumers often use incorrect scientific terms, resulting in confusion between the terms hemp, industrial hemp, cannabis, and marijuana.
Hemp oil originates from the hemp strain of the ‘cannabis Sativa plant, and hemp plants do not contain as many THC cannabinoids as marijuana plants.
The Level of THC
Whereas cannabis oil originates from the cannabis plant, meaning the marijuana plant. Marijuana contains much higher levels of THC than hemp or industrial hemp plants. But the oil made from marijuana plants should also contain less than 0.03% of THC.
Industrial hemp, hemp, cannabis, and marijuana are not different species of plant. They are all strains of the ‘cannabis Sativa plant. So technically, they are all cannabis plants. However, there are different classifications of the ‘cannabis Sativa plant that are dependant on the plant’s characteristics, such as the level of cannabinoids, CBD (cannabidiol), and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).
The terms hemp, hemp plant, or industrial hemp describe a cannabis plant with a low level of THC. The THC level in industrial hemp or hemp is below 0.03%, generally deeming it inactive for psychoactive properties. The THC level is so low in hemp that it is unlikely to produce a ‘high,’ but in some instances, a sense of intoxication.
The terms ‘hemp’ and ‘industrial hemp’ are interchangeably and mean the same thing. Industrial hemp now widely grows to produce a wide range of products such as clothing, textiles, rope, stockfeed, paper, and more. You will also find industrial hemp for fuel, personal care products, and CBD products.
Whereas marijuana, cannabis, and weed – amongst other similar terms – generally describe ‘cannabis, Sativa plants that contain much higher levels of the psychoactive cannabinoid THC.
Even though growing your own cannabis plant and CBD products may be legal in Canada, we are still waiting for the Canadian government to update the legal cannabis regulations. They need to include clear guidelines for quality health products that may contain THC and CBD.
Until then, we will most likely hear users continuing to echo, ‘is CBD legal in Canada‘?
Cannabis and CBD becoming legal in Canada is a positive step towards allowing dispensaries and stores to provide regulated CBD products to medicinal users. And whilst we wait for the CBD regulations to undergo finetuning, CBD in Canada will continue to grow as a market that provides research-based medical benefits to approved users.