Is CBD legal in Austria?

Ist CBD in Österreich legal? 5 Read minutes

Yes! It is legal to purchase, possess and consume CBD products in Austria. However, the sale of CBD products that are labeled as food or cosmetic items is not permitted.

CBD products - such as oils or flowers - are therefore currently sold as pure aroma products. That's the short answer to this question.

However, the legal situation regarding CBD is not that easy to understand and is constantly changing. So let's take a closer look at the current status: What does the law look like from the buyer's perspective? What does the situation look like from the seller’s perspective? And what regulations are there regarding hemp cultivation and CBD on prescription?

Is CBD legal in Austria from a buyer's perspective?

From the buyer's and consumer's perspective, the situation is pretty clear: CBD does not fall under the Narcotic Substances Act. Purchase, possession and consumption are therefore completely legal. Or to put it another way: What you do with your CBD products after purchasing them is up to you. The only important thing is that the limit value for THC is not exceeded: THC is the intoxicating active ingredient in cannabis and is considered an addictive substance.

Are CBD flowers legal?

Accordingly, CBD flowers or CBD grass are also legal - as long as the THC value is below the limit of 0.3%. If necessary, the police can order a laboratory test if they want to check whether the flowers contain THC.

Our tip: Have an invoice or receipt from the purchase of the CBD flowers with you. This is not considered legal proof (just a laboratory test), but it seems more credible if you really only have CBD grass with you.

Are CBD drops legal?

Yes, CBD drops and CBD oil can also be legally purchased and consumed. As I said: CBD does not fall under the Narcotic Substances Act.

CBD in Austria: law from a retailer's perspective

During 2018 there was a real boom in CBD products. Foods and dietary supplements containing CBD were particularly popular.

The CBD Decree of December 2018

In this decree it was emphasized: According to an EU directive, CBD is considered a so-called “novel food”. This refers to novel foods that are not yet approved for human consumption. Accordingly, retailers are not allowed to sell CBD products and advertise them as food. From then on, CBD brownies were taboo.

What exactly is a “novel food”?

Perhaps to clarify once again what is meant by “novel food” and why CBD falls under it: These are new foods for which there is not yet sufficient experience in terms of tolerability and safety. Such novel foods must pass a safety test before they can be brought onto the market.

Novel food refers to all foods that were not used to any significant extent for human consumption in the EU before May 15, 1997. They must also fall into one of 4 categories.

That's why CBD is legal in Austria

CBD is considered a so-called “novel food” according to an EU directive. According to the Ministry of Health, CBD can be classified as a novel food. And since testing is still pending, CBD is currently not allowed to be sold as food.

By the way: Hemp products without significant amounts of CBD, such as hemp seeds or hemp seed flour, are not subject to these regulations. These are common foods that you can buy in a regular supermarket.

The current legal situation

The decree of December 2018 is still valid. This means that it is currently illegal for sellers to describe CBD as food. Most retailers have therefore replaced the labels and sell oils, flowers, etc. as aromatic products.

Now the only question that remains is: Can I grow CBD hemp that does not contain THC?

Growing CBD hemp in Austria

The answer to this question is: Yes, under certain conditions. Basically, the law states that any cultivation with the intent to obtain addictive substances is prohibited. The following is permitted: Possession of cannabis plants (regardless of the variety) that do not flower. Cultivation of THC-free industrial hemp if certain guidelines are followed.

The industrial hemp must come from the EU variety catalog, where all approved THC-free varieties are listed. In particular, the THC content must never exceed 0.3%. Since this is difficult for hobby gardeners to control, CBD hemp cultivation should be left to professional farmers.

There are now some fields in Austria where industrial hemp containing CBD is grown completely legally.

CBD on prescription in Austria

In Austria, CBD is generally not yet approved as an official medicine (so-called “functional medicine”) because its effectiveness is not considered sufficiently proven. However, there is still a legal way to have CBD prescribed: The doctor can give you a prescription for a preparation in the pharmacy, either for CBD oil or CBD capsules. However, in most cases the health insurance company does not cover the costs. Because the health insurance company does not consider the effect of CBD for most diseases to be guaranteed. An exception is certain forms of epilepsy, where CBD is approved as a medication at European level. Here, the health insurance company may pay for a CBD preparation from the pharmacy.

Summary - CBD legal situation in Austria

As you can see – the legal situation regarding CBD is relatively complex. Which regulations apply also depends on what you want to do with the CBD. The most important thing for you as a consumer is certainly: Buying and possessing CBD is legal. When consuming CBD in connection with driving, for example, separate rules apply. To provide a better overview of the individual regulations, we have summarized the current legal situation again in a table. Please note, however, that this is only the current status and that there are always changes.