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The term CBD refers to the cannabidiol molecule. It is found in the cannabis plant in varying amounts, along with some 200 other molecules known as cannabinoids, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). The latter represents a family of active ingredients found in cannabis. The best known cannabinoid is THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).

Each of these cannabinoids interacts with neuroreceptors. While THC causes psychotropic effects, CBD has no narcotic effects. According to the latest scientific research, its interaction with the body seems to be limited to feelings of well-being. In fact, it does not act on the same receptors as THC.

According to various research studies, the benefits of CBD come from its action on the endocannabinoid system (ECS). “This system is involved in key biological processes such as sleep, appetite, pain and memory”, says the University Hospital of Geneva’s (HUG) website.

The legality of CBD

Since 2011, cannabis containing less than 1% THC is not regulated by the Swiss Narcotics Law (LStup, SR 812.121). CBD, per se, is also not regulated by this law because it has no psychoactive effect.

Moreover, the cannabidiol content of cannabis and its derivatives is not specifically regulated for the time being, as it has a reputation for being a “universal remedy”. This means that as long as a product – oil, flower or herbal tea – does not exceed the 1% THC threshold, it is legal, regardless of its CBD content.

Legality in Europe

There is currently no EU legislation on cannabis. Each EU country is therefore responsible for drawing up its own laws on the subject. This explains the differences that can be found when crossing borders. One thing remains clear: most countries surrounding Switzerland are less tolerant of cannabis. For example, in France, Germany and the United Kingdom, only hemp containing less than 0.2% THC can be cultivated. In Italy, the theoretical limit is also 0.2%, but a margin of error of up to 0.6% THC is tolerated.