Is CBD Oil Legal in South Africa?

Around the globe, millions of people use CBD oil due to the many health benefits it offers. However, in many nations, there is debate around the legality of CBD because of its association with cannabis.

In 2018, South Africa became the first nation in Africa to decriminalise cannabis. The judgement gave adult South Africans a constitutional right to grow, possess and use cannabis on private property, but the sale of cannabis products remained illegal.

CBD, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, is effective at treating a variety of health problems, but is CBD oil legal in South Africa? In 2018 it was still illegal, but since then, there have been drastic changes to the legality of CBD in South Africa.

CBD Oil in South Africa

When the Constitutional Court decriminalised cannabis, it was still a Schedule 7 substance under the Medicines and Related Substances Act of 1965. According to the act, substances listed in Schedule 7 offer no legitimate medical value to society.

However, in May 2019, South Africa made significant progress when the Minister of Health issued a notice that moved various elements of the cannabis plant to Schedules 4 and 6. CBD became a Schedule 4 substance, and THC became a Schedule 6 substance.

Substances in Schedule 4 and 6 are subject to the Medicines and Related Substances Act. By law, cannabis oil in South Africa that contains THC or CBD would require a prescription from medical practitioners.

However, the Minister of Health added amendments to CBD’s Schedule 4 status. The amendments referred to specific preparations of CBD. These preparations exempted CBD from the scheduling system of the Medicines Act. The exemption of CBD products had two conditions:

  1. Provide a maximum daily dose of 20mg of CBD or less
  2. The CBD product can’t claim to cure or treat specific conditions and must be advertised as contributing to a general health enhancement, health maintenance, or relief of minor symptoms.

Alternatively, the CBD products had to contain less than 0.001% THC and had to be made from raw cannabis plant material with naturally occurring cannabinoids. The exemptions were set to expire in May 2020 unless renewed.

In May 2020, the Minister of Health renewed the exemptions and made additional enhancements. CBD is exempt from the Medicine Act’s scheduling if CBD products :

  1. Act as a health supplement or as a complementary medicine
  2. Provide a maximum daily dose of 20mg of CBD or less
  3. Contain less than 600mg of CBD per package

Is CBD Oil Legal?

Person holding a CBD tincture bottle

The amendments removed all legal barriers to commercialise specific preparations of CBD. Suddenly, South Africans could purchase CBD oil without a medical prescription.

So, in a nutshell, CBD oil is legal in South Africa and here’s why. After the government moved CBD to Schedule 4, the exemption classified CBD as a Schedule 0 substance if producers and manufacturers adhered to the three conditions.

Schedule 0 substances are safe to use and can be purchased without a medical prescription. Due to CBD’s low risk, you can even purchase CBD oil for pets and CBD oil for children.

Unsurprisingly, everyone wanted a piece of the cake and a flood of CBD products entered the South African retail market. The exemption made it possible to buy CBD oil just about everywhere in the country.

CBD products come in many forms and are not limited to tincture bottles. You can get CBD in the form of creams, edibles, vape pens, and even CBD cannabis strains (if you grow the cannabis yourself!).

For those interested in growing their own CBD cannabis, a strain we really like is CBD Charlotte’s Angel. This strain has large yields, averages at around 15% CBD and less than 1% THC. It is the perfect choice for someone who wants to smoke cannabis, get the benefits of CBD and not feel the effects of THC.

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While you can legally purchase CBD oil in South Africa without a prescription, all value chain players, except retailers, must register with the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA). SAHPRA issues licenses that allow for the import, export, wholesale, and distribution of CBD products in South Africa.

The CBD products also have to be manufactured under Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) conditions. Once companies and businesses meet these requirements, CBD products can be distributed and retailed anywhere in South Africa.

A person holding up a cannabis leaf to sunset

Final Thoughts on the Legality of CBD Oil in South Africa

So, there you have it, CBD oil is legal in South Africa if the CBD products comply with SAHPRA’s regulations. However, some experts in the industry are wondering how the government plans on enforcing the regulations.

Regardless, you can find CBD oil that is legally available just about anywhere in the country. We believe that CBD is slowly destigmatising cannabis in South Africa. There is huge growth potential for South Africa’s legal cannabis markets and we believe that more recreational cannabis laws will be introduced by the government in the coming years.





1 Comment
  1. […] Note: In case you’re wondering if cannabis oil is legal in South Africa, we can assure you it most certainly is. You can read more about the legality issues surrounding cannabis and CBD in South Africa here. […]

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