The simplest answer would be yes, it is. However the answer to that question is more complex than a simple yes. Although purchasing CBD products has become so accessible and the CBD market seems to be saturated with people selling their different products, there are still some requirements that need to be met for CBD oil to be legal. CBD and THC are the two major cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, so let’s start by identifying the difference if you are a newcomer to CBD oil and its use.

Clarifying the Fundamental difference between CBD and THC

Both CBD and THC can be found in the marijuana plant and both interact with the cannabinoid receptors present in every human’s body to help treat or limit the effects of various conditions.

Although both compounds are present in the same plant and both interact with the endocannabinoid system it is important to know that the compounds interact with different receptors in the brain giving them a different effect.

This may all seems very confusing, the main thing you need to know when purchasing CBD oil is that CBD is the no high element. THC is the psychoactive compound which produces the high associated with recreational marijuana use. They both have extensive research highlighting the benefits of CBD as well as THC for the body.

Drug Classification of CBD Oil in South Africa

Previous to 2019, the entire cannabis plant was classified as a schedule 7 substance, which can only be obtained through the Director-General of the National Department of Health in South Africa. CBD has since (Government Notice No. 756 of 2019 Medicines and Related Substances Act.) been reclassified. CBD is no longer considered to be in the same grouping as THC and has been rescheduled to schedule 4. This means you can be prescribed by a doctor and purchase from a pharmacy.

So how is it that CBD products can be found in petrol stations, online and vast number of stores. This is where the classification may get a little more confusing. The Minister of Health issued an exclusion to the notice which relates to CBD products extracted and manufactured in a certain way. If manufacturers can produce a CBD oil or product that is inline with these regulations, they are able to sell these products as a schedule 0 substance.

CBD as a Schedule 0 drug

These CBD products are completely legal and can be purchased online or over the counter at any store. The only requirement stipulated is that they comply with the exclusion issued by the Department of Health.

The requirements to comply with in order for a CBD product to be 100% legal are the following :

  1. CBD products must contain a maximum daily dose of 20mg CBD with an accepted low-risk claim or health claim; or
  2. The CBD products must consist of processed products made from cannabis raw plant material, where only naturally occurring quantities of not more than 0.001% THC and 0.0075% CBD are present.

Although the technical jargon may be confusing, the takeaway is to look on the products packaging and ensure that the daily recommended dose of CBD does not exceed 20mg, as well either having no traces of THC or the maximum 0.001% permitted to be classified as a legal CBD product.

Is purchasing products with THC legal in South Africa?

THC has remained a schedule 7 drug in the eyes of the law. This means that you are legally not permitted to purchase any CBD oil or CBD products that contain THC quantities exceeding 0.001%.

The interesting thing is that according to a judgment made by the constitutional court, you are however allowed to grow cannabis for personal use. So if you are in search of cannabis containing THC, maybe this is the best solution for you.

Can I Grow Hemp for Commercial Purposes ?

Unfortunately this isn’t possible as of yet. In order to legally grow hemp in South Africa for commercial use is if you acquire a special permit from the Department of Health and the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority. Obtaining this license in South Africa is a very costly and complicated process and should not be ventured into lightly. Although there are few instances currently where facilities have been granted a license, the only way to ensure you are purchasing and consuming legal CBD oil or products is through a GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice), approved facility. So this is another important thing to keep in mind when purchasing from any online or retailer.

Some final thoughts on CBD oil in South Africa

CBD products have shown to have incredible positive effects on many conditions including anxiety, sleeping patterns, inflammation and even appetite.

My hope is that the next time you ask yourself the question, is CBD oil legal in South Africa, you can have some further knowledge as well as the ability to confidently purchase your CBD product without the fear of breaking the law!

If you still have any concerns about delving into the world of CBD and all of its benefits, you can always speak to your local physician about it.