Swiss company CBD420 has engineered marijuana with almost no THC, but finds complex regulatory hurdles in different European nations.
Sativa hybrid strain Blue Dream was the best selling marijuana strain in legal states Colorado and Washington in 2015, and its potency is sometimes as high as 24 percent THC. But a Swiss grower has created a strain called “BlueDream” that has virtually no THC, and is trying to get this CBD-only weed into stores all over Europe.
Technically, BlueDream does have a trace of THC, with 0.2 percent of the psychoactive cannabinoid in its composition. But that’s low enough that it can be sold in Switzerland and France, and the Guardian reports that this low-THC marijuana may become available in more European countries.
“There is a loophole that lets us bring it on the market,” says Jonas Duclos, whose company CBD420 grows and markets BlueDream. That loophole is that Switzerland allows products with up to 1 percent THC content, and France allows the 0.2 percent threshold of BlueDream.
But the United Kingdom doesn't allow products with any THC, not even the smallest trace. CBD, on the other hand, is not a controlled substance in Europe — but it cannot be marketed as “medicine” without a special license from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
This means medical products are marked as “nutritional supplements,” which can be puzzling for consumers.
“There is considerable confusion about the legal status of products which contain cannabis extracts such as cannabidiol,” York University lecturer Ian Hamilton told the Guardian. “Suppliers of these products were instructed by the MHRA to remove any products they were selling until the appropriate licence was obtained. But this will leave many people who use these products unsure if they are breaking the law or not.”
CBD420 plans to sell its CBD oil in the U.K. and is targeting Italy as the next country in which to sell their CBD cannabis flower.