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Is CBD Legal in China?

It’s no secret that China is a country with some of the strictest rules and regulations regarding all drug-related substances - CBD is no exception. While many countries around the world are starting to understand the potential benefits of cannabidiol, and are making efforts to legalize it, this is a pretty difficult topic when it comes to questions such as “is CBD oil legal in China?”. Worry not, though - we’ll discuss all of the details in the chapters below.

Is CBD Legal China: Background
CBD Oil China: China state.

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CBD China - Is it Legal?

No, anyone asking “is CBD oil legal in China?” should know that neither hemp, nor cannabis-derived CBD products aren’t legal within the country. This is true both for medicinal and recreational use, alike. The only legal products are those that come from state-approved shops - they relate to skincare products, and are completely THC-free.


CBD China - Is it Legal to Buy Online?

No, you cannot purchase CBD in China online. This is a big issue for anyone wondering is CBD oil legal in China - since such products are strictly illegal, this extends to online purchases, as well.


CBD China - Is it Legal to Buy Offline?

Yes, it is kind of legal to purchase CBD oil China offline. This has to be done in some specific, state-approved shops, though, and the products have to be completely THC-free. Not the best news if you’re wondering is CBD oil legal in China!


Is it Legal to Grow Hemp in China?

Yes, actually, it is legal to grow industrial hemp in China, if you are a licensed farmer and follow all of the rules and regulations that are in place within the country.

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History of CBD in China

As noted in the introductory part of the article, if you’re wondering is CBD oil legal in China, or where could you get yourself CBD in China, you’re in for some disappointment - the country in question is far from being a liberal one in this matter.

Thing is, China has always had a history of possessing some of the strictest laws towards cannabis and cannabis-derived products. That said, it’s also one of those countries that don’t really care to differentiate between hemp- and cannabis-derived CBD - if it has THC in it, it’s out of the question.

CBD China: the Great Wall of China.

Things aren’t as simple as that, though - while CBD isolates are completely THC-free, you’d still get yourself into trouble using or carrying such CBD in China. You see, those who are asking “is CBD legal in China?” should also note that only THC-free skincare products fall into the “legal” category.

Ya… That’s not ideal. It’s also one of the main reasons why, when it comes to CBD China, the country is seen as an Amber-Red or a Red one.

China - An Amber-Red / Red Country

Each state in the US has a color prescribed to it by the CBD enthusiasts living in the country. There are 4 colors in total, and each of them represents a specific type of outlook that a state could have towards the topic of CBD. While the system was created with US states in mind, we can actually use it while talking about questions such as “is CBD oil legal in China?”, too.

The purpose of the color-coding system is pretty simple - it’s there to help people distinguish just how strict or liberal a specific state or country is towards CBD. Naturally, the colors don’t tell the full story, but they do serve as a good “first impression”. They are, as follows:

  • Green countries. All types of CBD products are legal, for all types of purposes.
  • Amber countries. Hemp-derived CBD products are legal, and the country has a favorable outlook on cannabis-derived products.
  • Amber-Red countries. Hemp-derived CBD products are legal for a specific type of use, and the country has a negative outlook on cannabis-derived products.
  • Red countries. All CBD products are illegal.

So, those are the main colors that people mention when discussing the legalities of CBD in different countries around the world. But what answer does it provide to the question “is CBD oil legal in China?”, though?

Well, to be honest, as far as CBD China goes, the country is somewhere in the middle of Ambre-Red and Red countries.

At first, it looks like a no-brainer, right? I mean, practically nothing relating to CBD is legal in China, so it’s a definite Red country!

Well, this is actually where it gets a bit tricky. You see, there is a single type of products that are, in fact, legal within the country - those that are completely free of THC, and that relate to skincare.

Hemp Seed Oil - Don’t Get Tricked!

One of the biggest aspects with which you might get tricked (either intentionally, or not) if you do look for CBD oil China has to do with hemp seed oil.

The thing that you have to keep in mind here is that hemp seed oil is not the same as hemp-derived CBD oil. The two types of products are often marketed in some very similar fashion, but that’s simply misleading.

CBD China: a Chinese lantern.

Hemp seed oil (or simply - hemp oil) is extracted from the seed part of the hemp plant - it has very low concentrations of actual cannabidiol inside of itself. Even if you were to find and buy yourself hemp seed oil, it would be the same as if you’ve just bought coconut oil.

This is something that many people asking “is CBD oil legal in China?” overlook, or simply are not aware of. As you can probably tell, it only adds to all of the confusion and misunderstandings.

Medicinal VS Recreational

One more topic that we should probably cover before moving on and talking about CBD acquisition in China is the differences between using CBD for medicinal and recreational purposes.

Using CBD for medicinal purposes is often considered to be the “right way” to go about it. Since CBD is proven to have some positive effects on the human body[1] and mind time and time again, in some countries (especially the US), using CBD for medicinal purposes is actually a very popular concept.

This usually involves a doctor’s prescriptions, marijuana programs, and so on. A completely different situation would be using CBD for recreational purposes, though.

CBD China: Shanghai.

If you’re using CBD for recreational purposes, you’re basically doing so without the interventions of doctors, physicians, or anyone in between.

In any case, for anyone wondering “is CBD oil legal in China?”, the unfortunate reality still remains the same - you won’t be able to use CBD products in this country for neither medicinal, nor recreational purposes.

Where to Buy CBD Oil in China?

Granted that we’ve already figured out that the answer to the question “is CBD oil legal in China?” is a strongly negative one, it’s safe to say that you can’t really buy CBD products in the country. There are a few very minuscule exceptions, but the general idea is still the same.

That being said, if you ever travel abroad, or if the laws in China change and you receive some more positive answers to questions like “is CBD legal in China?”, it’s worth to at least mention the different options that you might have in this regard.

Generally, you could buy yourself CBD products via two different methods - from a local shop or pharmacy, and online. While most people do naturally go with the latter option, let’s take it a step at a time and discuss the offline route, first.

Buying CBD Offline

While you can’t buy CBD oil China from your local shop in the country, you are, in fact, able to purchase other CBD products that belong to a very specific niche.

As mentioned earlier in the article, when we were discussing the question is CBD legal in China, residents of the country are able to buy CBD skincare products within the country’s multiple shops. That said, the products have to be derived from the industrial hemp plant, and contain no traces of THC.

In general, though, buying CBD offline, from a shop, isn’t the best way to go about it - most people prefer to take the alternative, online approach.

Buying CBD Online

So - the online alternative.

If the laws within China become more accepting of foreign brands selling their CBD products here, there’s the potential for Chinese citizens to have a huge industry open up to them. Naturally, it will always be a better idea to buy your products from trustworthy and reliable online brands than from some shady local stores.

If you buy CBD oil China online (when and if it becomes legal, that is), you’d get great quality products for some rather affordable prices. Remember - you’d be purchasing the CBD straight from the providers themselves!

Now, in the event that CBD products in China do become legal, let me quickly tell you about some of the leading CBD industry brands - perhaps you’ll be able to check them out?

Charlotte’s Web - Potent Products and Isolates

Charlotte’s Web deals in some of the more potent CBD oils - full-spectrum ones. That said, the brand also sells CBD isolate oils, too - these are going to be products that do not contain any THC in them. If the answer to the question “is CBD oil legal in China?” does become a positive one, it’s definitely a brand worth checking out!

Charlotte’s Web CBD oil prices go from $74,99 up to $188,99.

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CBDistillery - MCT Carrier Oil

CBDistillery is a high-end CBD brand. The company is very respected in the industry, and that’s not without reason, either - it sells top-tier CBD products that are made from US-grown hemp, and independently tested by third-party labs. Also, the company uses MCT coconut oil as the carrier oil for the CBD - arguably, it’s the best carrier oil around!

CBDistillery CBD oil cost from $30 up to $260.

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cbdMD - Broad-Spectrum CBD

cbdMD provides customers with broad-spectrum CBD products. They are going to be quite potent, since they’ll be filled with multiple other cannabinoids, and not just CBD. That said, the oils are also going to possess no more thanundetectablelevels of THC. A very interesting option indeed! 

The costs for the cbdMD oil ranges from $29,99 up to $339,99.

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So, to recap, it’s important to keep in mind that, as of writing this article, the answer to the question “is CBD oil legal in China?” is a definiteno”. You can’t use or possess any CBD products within the country, unless they are approved by the government, and contain no THC - currently, this would only encompass skincare products.

If you’d like to try out CBD when (if?) it becomes a bit more legal in the country, do make sure that you purchase the products from only the most reliable brands in the industry!

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Scientific References

1. Mélissa Prud’homme, Romulus Cata, and Didier Jutras-Aswad: 'Cannabidiol as an Intervention for Addictive Behaviors: A Systematic Review of the Evidence'


While every effort has been made to make sure this article is as accurate as possible, it is not intended to provide legal advice. Since legal situations might rapidly change, we advise you to discuss any legal concerns with an expert, lawyer or relevant legal advisor in your local jurisdiction, or visit your state's .gov page for the most up-to-date information.


Is CBD oil legal in China for medical or recreational use?

If you’re trying to find out is CBD oil legal in China, the unfortunate news is that such products aren’t legal for either of those types of uses. The only CBD products that are, in fact, legal within the country are those that relate to skincare, and are THC-free.

Is cannabis-derived CBD oil legal in China?

Definitely not. Neither cannabis- nor hemp-derived CBD products aren’t legal in China. CBD China, in general, is a pretty difficult and touchy topic - any and all CBD that comes from the cannabis plant is definitely far on the negative side of the spectrum

Will I get in trouble with the police if I use CBD products in China?

Yes, you definitely will. It does not matter whether you’ll have some hemp- or cannabis-derived CBD products, all of them are still going to be strictly illegal within the country. The only exception here is CBD that’s in THC-free skincare products.

What is the overall legal situation of CBD within China?

China has a pretty solidified history of possessing some very strict outlooks on any and all drug-related substances. Cannabidiol is no exception - while there are efforts to make the laws regarding CBD China as lenient as possible, while there’s THC in the mix, it might not be an easy task to perform.

Is it worth purchasing CBD oil in a brick and mortar store?

No. While some countries have a huge variety of different stores that sell CBD products, you should always resort to purchasing your CBD online, from well-known and respected product providers. This way, you’ll be able to rest assured that the products are up-to-standard and fall into the legal guidelines.

Can you grow hemp with the intent to extract CBD in China?

Yes, but there are some very strict regulations that farmers have to follow. Still, it is possible to grow industrial hemp within the country, if you do follow those rules and are a licensed farmer.