Used ever more often in cosmetic products, cannabidiol, or CBD is a molecule which can easily lead to confusion. What do international regulations say on its use? EcoMundo helps you understand the subtleties to keep in mind when using it in a cosmetic product.

Le CBD, ingrédient tendance en cosmétique : quid de sa légalité ?

What do regulations state?

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a molecule that can be found in the cannabis plant, as is THC (or tetrahydrocannabinol). Their major difference: CBD is said not to induce any psychoactive effect and is authorised in cosmetic products, in France provided that certain criteria are met, whereas THC does produce such effects and is banned in finished products.

CBD in Europe

The European Union provides little detail on the use of CBD in cosmetics. The cosmetics regulation CE 1223/2009 states that narcotics are prohibited in cosmetic products. Are considered narcotics substances listed in the New York Convention of 30 March 1961: in this list we can find cannabis, cannabis resin, extracts and tinctures. Are excluded the seed and leaves unaccompanied by the tops. Therefore cannabidiol can only be derived from the seeds or leaves not accompanied by the tops. Then, regulations vary depending on the country and can be more restrictive.

In France, a decree states that the fiber and the seed of cannabis sativa L. are authorised for culture, import and industrial use provided that the concentration of THC of the plant does not exceed 0.2%. For cosmetics however no trace of THC should be detectable in the finished product.

In other countries, such as Sweden, CBD regulation goes further and the only parts of the plant that are allowed are the subterranean parts and the seeds. Luxembourg, on the other hand, bases its regulation on that of Europe but indicates that only hemp seed oils from industrial plants with a THC concentration inferior to 0.3% are allowed (for cosmetic uses as well as food supplements, this time).

Swiss aligned its regulation with that of the European Union and authorises the use of seeds and leaves of cannabis not accompanied by tops, regarding CBD cosmetics.

In the rest of the world

In Canada, cannabis sativa seed oil is authorised with a maximum amount of THC of 10 μg/g. Note however that topical products with cannabis are not part of the cosmetic category. In Australia however, CBD as much as THC are entirely banned from cosmetics. In the United States, the legislation is still blurry, manufacturers should therefore be cautious: the FDA should prepare new provisions to counter this problem.

Be cautious with claims and formulation

In France, MILDECA (the inter-ministerial anti-drug and anti-addictive behaviour mission) detailed some points regarding cannabidiol and its use. Specifically, it recommends professionals to be careful not to promote cannabis (incitation to the use of narcotics).

Furthermore, beware to be very cautious with claims: no therapeutic claim should be asserted for cosmetics in Europe. It is of course also applicable to products containing CBD.

EcoMundo handles the verification and validation of your cosmetic’s formula, as well as that of your claims, in order to have a product in complete compliance with any regulation.

A popular ingredient

Since North America legalised recreational or therapeutic cannabis uses, it is less and less seen as subversive. It is now even more perceived as linked to the idea of well-being, or with a healthy lifestyle, when used in certain products, depending on the marketing choices of specialised brands.

With the democratisation of CBD in Europe, it has become more and more fashionable: it can be found in oils, body creams, hair conditioners, even in food supplements.

Wish to know more more about authorised ingredients in cosmetics?

For more information, do not hesitate to contact Sylvain de Backer or one of our cosmetics experts by phone: +33 1 83 64 20 54 for Europe or +1 (778) 234 1607 for North America or to contact them via our contact form, selecting "Cosmetics" as the purpose of your inquiry.

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