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can i take cbd to japan

Is CBD Legal in Japan?

While there is a basic pattern amongst most countries that have legalised CBD products, Japan does things a little differently. While CBD is legal in Japan, the products sold in the country have to be made specifically to keep within unique legal guidelines.

The Asian CBD market is an interesting one in general, with CBD being illegal to purchase in mainland China and Hong Kong, but many of the CBD products that are sold around the world being produced in China .

But what about Japan? The rules here differ greatly from those in China, and Japan is in the midst of something of a CBD boom. But how does the legality around CBD in Japan actually work?

CBD Law in Japan

Essentially, CBD is totally legal in Japan and has been since 2016. However, if you intend to take your CBD products into the country for any reason, it is worth being very aware of the small print.

Unlike most other countries with legal CBD sales and consumption, where trace amounts of THC (usually between 0.2% and 0.4% depending on the country) are acceptable, THC is 100% illegal in Japan, in all circumstances.

Travelling into Japan with any products with THC content at all is likely to be classified as drug trafficking, and that is a charge that you really don’t want to deal with!

CBD products that are sold in Japan, whether homegrown or imported, are formulated to contain no THC at all.

The Japanese CBD Revolution

If you’re familiar with Japan, you probably know that if something is trendy globally, it’s probably uber-trendy in Japan. That’s certainly the case with CBD.

The Japanese market has captured the attention of international CBD producers due to the rapid rise of the market, which is said to be growing at nearly 100% year-on-year .

CBD shops are popping up all over the country, and CBD is also available in non-specialist shops. Cafes will sell you CBD coffees, while mini-markets carry CBD ice teas and other drinks.

CBD basically couldn’t be more accessible in the country at this point, but due to the strict THC laws, it is heavily advised to only consume products in Japan that you have bought in Japan.

Other Asian Country Laws

Asia is a clusterfudge (that’s a word now, you should all start using it immediately) of different laws and regulations, on extreme ends of the spectrum, from legalised CBD in Japan, to the shocking case of a doctor given the death sentence (which is currently being reviewed, but has had a concerning lack of additional information in the last two years) for giving CBD products to patients in Malaysia.

CBD has been legalised for medical purposes only in South Korea, while Thailand legalised medical marijuana back in December 2018 and as for Indonesia, yeah, don’t take CBD to Indonesia.

Basically, if you’re travelling around Asia, if you are not sure about the rules, don’t buy anything unless you know categorically it is legal to do so. That’s a rule that covers all cannabis products, not just CBD. Drug laws can vary a huge amount in the region.

That being said. If you fancy embarking on some cannabinoid tourism, and checking out the CBD scene in various countries around the world, then we highly advise putting Japan on that list.

It isn’t rare for Japan to be at the forefront of evolution, and while we are used to that being more in technology, the country is leading the charge when it comes to CBD too.

With products available all over the country, in multiple different stores and outlets, and an increasing number of international producers looking towards the region, if we can’t refer to Japan as the Mecca of CBD yet, it doesn’t feel like it’ll be too long until we can!

What’s your opinion on CBD in Japan? Is it the Mecca of CBD? Why not let us know in the comments for the chance at a 10% lifetime discount on all our products!

The products we sell do not have proven health benefits. While research is being carried out, these products are not, and should not, be considered to be medical products.

Any information we give in these articles is taken from scientific research, but should not be considered as a statement of fact. Links and information included in these articles do not reflect the opinion of Plant & Hemp. Any link to scientific studies is for information only, and not intended as a proof of any specific fact, or to validate any specific opinion.

We are simply bringing you the information needed to make an informed decision on what you want to use CBD for, and what you are comfortable using our products for.

CBD products should not be used as a replacement for any prescribed medication, under UK and International Law.

CBD products that are sold in Japan, whether homegrown or imported, are formulated to contain no THC at all. Purchase is currently legal…

How to export your CBD products to Japan

Always Pure Organics explore what regulations in Japan companies need to adhere to if they want to export CBD products to the country.

Recreational and medical cannabis are already legalised in some European countries and states in the USA, and the scientific research about cannabis has been progressed rapidly in these regions. In Japan, CBD products and related products are also increasing in popularity, however, the source of CBD, cannabis, and the usage of this plant is strictly regulated by antiquated legislation. Because of this environment, the Japanese CBD market is still lagging behind compared with other countries.

Recently, some, even those in Japan, have come to understand how cannabis can benefit our day to day lives, with new CBD businesses now starting to appear in Japan to take advantage of this new opportunity.

For anyone wanting to start a CBD business in Japan, there are a number of laws and regulations that must be adhered to. There are two laws related to cannabis and psychotropics; the Cannabis Control Act and the Narcotics and Psychotropics Control Act.

Cannabis Control Act

The Cannabis Control Act has been in force in Japan since 7 July, 1948.

This act specifies ‘which cannabis can be used, who can handle cannabis, and who cannot handle cannabis’ all of which are defined and regulated. Though some amendments have been made, this act itself has not been changed for more than 70 years.

Narcotics and Psychotropics Control Act

In this act, the handlers, the license, export and import regulations, manufacturing, distribution, storage, and disposal rules are all defined and regulated.

At first sight, this law is not applicable to CBD or cannabis products. However, this law specifies ‘narcotics, narcotic raw materials, psychotropic drugs, psychotropic drug raw materials, stimulants, and stimulant raw materials list’, and synthesised THC and related substances are also listed. Although the act only refers to synthesised THC, THC derived from natural sources cannot be differentiated and consequently all THC and related substances are banned in Japan.

These two laws are the greatest barrier to importing CBD products into Japan, and importers of CBD products are responsible for complying with these laws and submitting all necessary documents to the authorities prior to importing CBD products from outside of Japan.

CBD product importers should have a detailed knowledge of these laws and must prepare and present the proper documents to the authorities every time they import CBD products into the country.

Other regulation to consider

If importing CBD based food and cosmetic products, the importer should check the laws and once again prepare all required documentation in advance.

Food (food ingredient)

For all foods imported for the purpose of marketing, import notifications need to be submitted to quarantine stations under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW). If the import is judged as being legitimate as a result of an examination and inspection at a quarantine station, a certificate of notification for importation of foods is returned to the importer. Then, the importer makes an import declaration at customs by attaching this certificate to the declaration form. When the import is permitted, the importer is allowed to transport imported foods out of a bonded area. The importer is required to comply with regulations on food labelling, etc. when selling imported foods.

Documents Required for Making Notification
  • Written notification for importation of foods
  • Documents to be attached vary depending on item name, country of origin, processing method, etc.

For CBD products, an ingredient list and a food production flow chart are required. This applies not only to the CBD itself, but for all other ingredients included in the product as well, because some food additives used in other countries might not accepted for food use in Japan.

Cosmetics (including skincare products)

In Japan, cosmetics are categorised as a product which has some effect on the structure and function of the skin. Therefore, these products are regulated under the Act on Securing Quality, Efficacy and Safety of Pharmaceuticals, Medical Devices, Regenerative and Cellular Therapy Products, Gene Therapy Products, and Cosmetics (abbreviated to the Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Act).

Regulated by this Act, cosmetic imports are subject to several procedures before importing may be permitted. Cosmetics can be imported by the license holder, who is manufacturing (production) and distributing cosmetics.

For CBD cosmetics to be imported, they must be registered in Japan by the above license holder beforehand. The license holder needs to prepare the various quality information sheets to get the product registered. So, the license holder may request that you share certain information, such as all ingredients and the quantity, INCI names, preservatives names and content, and so on. The reliable license holder may also request to have quality tests undertaken for the product in Japan to see if it is really safe, since cosmetics are regulated under cGMP. Only after the products have been registered, can they be imported.

In essence, if you want to export your CBD products to Japan, please prepare well and establish good communications with your importer to ensure smooth import.

Keishin Matsumine

Registered Pharmacist, Director GENPUHO CO., LTD.

Always Pure Organics explore what regulations in Japan companies need to adhere to if they want to export CBD products to the country.