November 30, 2019

Is CBD Oil Legal in Italy? (Update October 2020)

By Brian Cusack

With the many benefits attached to CBD Oil, it seems pretty obvious that it should be legal in every country of the world. Yet, there is a buzz on whether CBD is legal in many countries of Europe, one of which is Italy. Many people are curious to know whether it is lawful to use CBD oil in Italy. People travelling to Italy from other countries are especially interested in knowing if they can carry CBD oil into Italy without getting arrested.

Laws regulating CBD is constantly changing in Italy and this has led to controversy over the use of the substance especially for medical purpose without a proper prescription. The murky areas of the laws surrounding marijuana pave way for the debate on the legal status of CBD and its products.

What then is CBD and CBD oil?

CBD, a short form for Cannabidiol, is one of the most active ingredients of Cannabis Sativa plant which is also known as marijuana or hemp. After delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD is the second most active ingredient in marijuana. It has been proven that CBD does not have any psychoactive effect as present in THC. Therefore, CBD does not make people high. In essence, it is very unlikely to abuse CBD even in its purest form.

There are thousands of products derived from CBD like vapes, extracts, and even gummies but CBD oil is the most popular. CBD oil is the purest form of CBD as it is a direct oil extract. You must know that CBD oil is different from hemp oil with a non-significant amount of CBD. That is, hemp oil does not have any cannabinoid which is present in CBD oil.

The chemical components in CBD oil vary greatly depending on the process of extraction and the chemicals present in the plant. Similarly, CBD is a legal alternative to medical marijuana with none of the side-effects that are associated with the latter. The continued studies on CBD have increased the buzz around it over the years.

What benefits are derivable from the use of CBD?

The benefits accrued to CBD use are extensive though most of the claimed benefits have not been proven scientifically. However, due to the increased interest in natural medicine, CBD has been legalized by many and the government of Italy is not left out. Also, the absence of side-effects in the use of CBD unlike THC makes it more acceptable by many.

As shown by the production of a drug, Epidiolex using CBD in the US, it can be used to cure a seizure disorder caused by Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome. While CBD has been approved for the treatment of epilepsy in both adults and children above the age of two, it must be used as a last resort. There are other claims on the diseases that can be cured using CBD oils however we cannot discuss them as according to the HPRA in Ireland we cannot discuss potential medicinal benefits.

What is the Legal Status of CBD Oil in Italy?

Yes, CBD oil is legal in Italy. Since CBD oil is one of the derivatives of cannabis, it is essential to give a brief insight into the history of the legalization of cannabis in Italy. The legality of cannabis has been a back and forth issue in Italy since the 90s. While cannabis was legalized and tagged “soft drug” in 1990 when it carried non-criminal penalties, it was classified as “hard drug” in 2006. In 2013 cannabis was legalized and made available to the people for industrial and medical purposes only.


With the legalization of CBD, the government realizes that the prize of imported CBD is high, so, the military was authorized to cultivate hemp but the regulation on its use was still considerably high. To increase the quantity of CBD oil produced in the country due to its medicinal advantage, the government eventually legalized the cultivation of hemp by the general public in with Italian Law Number 242 made in 2016 which resulted in the “green gold rush”. Italian law number 242/2016 provided that it is legal to cultivate and produce industrial hemp as long as the THC content is not more than 0.6%.

However, there is a ceiling on the level of THC that must be present in CBD oils to be legal, even if it is for medical purposes. When CBD was first legalized, the amount of its THC component must not be more than 0.2% but it has since been increased to 0.6%. It is still unlawful to use CBD oil with more than 0.6% THC even if it is for medical reasons unless there is specific and direct instruction from a doctor. Nevertheless, you can get CBD without the doctor’s prescription in Italy as long as the hemp content is below 0.2% in both online and offline stores and pharmacies.

In May 2019, a new Supreme Court of Cassation’s ruling was made to prohibit cannabis derivatives except for the ones without “narcotics effects”. This has created confusion among the growers on CBD, however, the ambiguity of the law created loopholes. This is because there is no clarification on whether CBD oils with 0.2% to 0.6% THC have the level of narcotic effects that will make it deem unlawful. The law indeed has many grey areas which if not addressed will continue to create confusion. As such, many people continued to plant, buy and sell CBD oils in Italy today despite the legislation.

The verdict

Unlike most European countries, Italy has fewer restrictions on the use of CBD oil, however, due to wide drug abuse among its populace, the government is seeking to regulate the use of CBD products and that includes CBD oils and other consumables. However, when you think about the current legal status of CBD oils in Italy, you must keep in mind that as long as it does not have a “doping effect”, then it is legal. However, the current position of the government is not favourable towards the consumption or use of CBD oils that have more than 0.2% THC.

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