Current CBD Oil Market in Germany
Much to people’s surprise, a Cologne Administrative Court in Germany ruled that CBD oil or drops are medical products.
CBD drops or CBD extract are considered drugs with this decision which means they must be approved by the BfArM. In English, the BfArM is the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices and is similar to the U.S. FDA.
The court ruled this way because it said CBD’s nutritional value is still not known. In addition, the court said the CBD company could not prove CBD could be included as a dietary ingredient as opposed to medical treatment. The company sells two types of CBD oils and brought the complaint to court based on a BfArM finding in 2019 that said CBD oils should be medicinal products because they produce a pharmacological effect. Though this current Cologne Court ruling is at the state level and not the federal level, it could have far-reaching consequences due to setting a precedent.
CBD oil products are already sold in various German shops. If other courts use this ruling as a precedent, the sales of CBD products are at risk. Kai-Friedrich Niermann is a cannabis attorney in Germany. He said, that
“The ruling of the Cologne Administrative Court poses a significant risk to the CBD market in Germany if further authorities and courts refer to BfArM and the ruling.”
Interestingly, the European Court of Justice ruled in 2020 that CBD is not a drug. The current Cologne Administrative Court ruling made before the European Union Court of Justice ruling follows the BfArM’s 2019 decision about CBD. Many people see this as a step backward. The good news is that there are ongoing applications submitted to the European Commission requesting approval of CBD ingredients as novel foods. This indicates there is no concern with the pharmacological effects of CBD.
Some of the difficulty is because THC and CBD are prescribed by doctors and used non-medically. Once again, this case notes the importance of controlled clinical research on CBD and its effects. CBD will now be treated as a drug in Cologne until proven otherwise through new court cases.