Many countries would like to believe that their exports and sales of CBD make them the “cannabis (or CBD) capital of the world,” but the market changes too often to nail down exactly where in the world that is. Amsterdam, Netherlands has long been viewed as the cannabis capital… Until someone learns that the Netherlands has rather strict, foreboding laws on actual cannabis consumption.
However, cannabis is a very general term. This article focuses on CBD, or “cannabidiol,” a cannabinoid of cannabis. CBD is the non-psychoactive, but still quite popular, sibling of THC. Most countries tend to be more lenient about CBD due to its lack of any “high” it gives, yet finding information about it online can be quite the task. This article will hopefully clear up some confusion.
Sidenote: laws and regulations for cannabis-based products are constantly changing, so make sure you are up-to-date with your current time regulations. This article was initially created in early 2023, so who knows what might change in the future!
The United States (by importation)
New York, California, and Colorado are some of the USA’s biggest consumers of CBD products. One may even say that they are CBD capitals. (Of the US, at least.)
Washington State was the first to legalize medicinal marijuana, while California was the first to legalize recreational marijuana. CBD was believed to be as “bad” as marijuana at some point, but regulations loosened long before the restrictions on THC did.
California and Colorado are two of the most well-known CBD and cannabis states. A trip to Denver, Colorado will show stores with little souvenirs boasting about legal, recreational cannabis. California is, meanwhile, a massive state with an equally as massive population, dedicated to progression.
Ireland has many stereotypes, just like every other country. Drinking, having a good time… potatoes.* But, what about CBD? Because, after a hard day’s work, the stress can always be eased by a little bit of CBD. And, wouldn’t you know it, Ireland accepts CBD.
Ireland views CBD as a recreational supplement. Just make sure you’re having your CBD in Ireland and not Northern Ireland… the north, a part of the UK, has stricter regulations.
In 2020, Switzerland was one of Europe’s top consumers of CBD, measuring in at 33% vs the 16% European average. In 2017, cannabis consumption was legal, as long as the THC content was 1%. CBD products can be bought similarly to tobacco products, with the buying age starting at 18 years old.
Switzerland CBD products, however, cannot be labeled as medicinal or supplemental and must only be advertised and sold for recreational use.
Despite the likes of Bob Marley being associated with Jamaica and Marijuana, Jamaica is relatively new to the concept of recreational cannabis. For many, many years, cannabis was demonized and thought to be evil. The mere presence of it would be cause for someone’s arrest.
Today, anything from weed-dedicated hotels to weed-dedicated tours are a highlight among Jamaican tourists. There are people who specifically vacation in Jamaica to experience cannabis in such a cannabis-friendly country.
China (by hemp production)
China is currently the biggest producer and exporter of hemp products. Clothing and rope hemp are some of the top products they produce. This does not, however, include many cannabis products, such as cannabinoid oils. In fact, in China, CBD is outright banned and legal action will be used against anyone who disobeys the law.
Several Asian countries have strict rules against cannabis, with China at the head simply due to its massive presence in the continent.
As of 2019, India has been producing and exporting cannabis for billions of dollars (USD). Unlike China, India promotes CBD for medical use, long revered as a therapeutic drug and supplement.
Everything is Changing
Everything, indeed, is changing. More countries are approving the use of cannabis and, by extension, CBD. There are volleys of miscommunication screaming all about hemp, with no distinction between a rope, non-psychoactive cannabinoids, and the “big bad” Mary Jane (marijuana), herself.
So many laws are just twisted versions of what those in power want their country to believe. Whether it be because of fear, power, or not enough education, the demonization of cannabis continues.
And, remember… feeling stressed and anxious sometimes calls for a bit of something extra. There’s no shame in that! Just be yourself, and feel good.
*I do not condone stereotyping, but, technically speaking, Ireland once had a very strong relationship with potato farming.