CBD Hemp Oil Laws In South Africa - 5 Things Business Owners and Importers Need to Know

On May 23, 2019, Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi, the Minister of Health, excluded Cannabidiol (CBD) from Schedule 7. This means that CBD has finally become fully legal in South Africa. The long anticipated change signifies the dawn of a multi-million dollar industry in South Africa. However, there still are certain limitations that you have to be aware of to sell CBD Oil in South Africa legally.


Read on to find out the 5 Things Business Owners and Importers Need to Know about CBD Hemp Oil import, laws and regulations in South Africa.

1. What is the legal limit of THC in CBD products in South Africa?

The maximum allowed concentration of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in South Africa is 0.001%. Essentially meaning that the products you import to South Africa should be THC-free. That limits the types of raw materials for import to three options:


1) BIOTA WS Complex - Proprietary Water Soluble CBD Products.

2) THC-Free Broad Spectrum Oil / CBD Distillate.

3) +99% Pure CBD Isolate.


Not all CBD extracts are THC-free. In order to ensure that the products you are importing and selling in South Africa do not exceed the legal limit of THC, you have to receive a certificate of analysis from your supplier, including a cannabinoid potency test. The lab results should come from a reputable, accredited, independent laboratory. Make sure that your CoA is 'full-panel' - meaning that in addition to cannabinoid potency analysis, your product is tested for heavy metals, residual solvents, microbiological contaminants, and pesticides. Sadly, the majority of suppliers, particularly in the United States, choose not to conduct a full analysis of their products, and that is a dangerous trend. Products containing heavy metals in excess of the standard limits are toxic and should not be consumed.


2. What is the legal limit of CBD in South Africa?

The maximum allowed daily dose of cannabidiol (CBD) in finished products is 20 MG per day. This particular limit is often overlooked or simply ignored. However, selling or buying finished products containing more than 20 MG CBD per day is an offense that will result in legal consequences.


What CBD products are legal to sell South Africa?

1) All CBD tinctures, capsules, gummies and topicals based on BIOTA WS Complex - Water Soluble CBD.

2) Up to 300MG (per bottle) CBD tinctures, capsules, topicals, gummies based on THC-Free Broad Spectrum Distillate and +99% Pure CBD Isolate.


Unfortunately, 20 MG of CBD per day is generally considered to be a very low dose, particularly in oil-based products which are only 1% to 15% bioavailable (meaning that your body actually only absorbs between 1% and 15% of all the CBD in oil-based products). However, BIOTA WS Complex products are 100% bioavailable and are in full compliance with the regulations in South Africa. A true water-soluble cannabidiol product, which is not based on nano-technology, is the ideal solution in markets where the level of CBD is tightly regulated.


3. What are the limitations of Health Claims on CBD Products in South Africa?

As in most places around the globe, using medical claims on the labels of CBD products is not allowed in South Africa. To this day, despite numerous clinical studies showing clear potential of CBD being effective in managing symptoms of various conditions ranging from chronic pain to Parkinson's and epilepsy, thousands of overwhelmingly positive consumer testimonials, CBD products are not officially proven to treat or cure any medical condition. Conclusive double-placebo controlled medical trials are required to be able to make specific medical claims. Medical trials can take up to 15 years to conclude. Hence why more cautious language has to be used on CBD Oil Labels. Instead of using specific medical claims, phrases such as 'General Health Enhancement', 'Boost of overall wellbeing' or 'relief of minor symptoms' (which are not linked to any particular disease), are to be used in all marketing material surrounding CBD products. It is of utmost importance for any CBD distributor in South Africa to be cautious about what claims they are making on the labels of their Cannabidiol-infused products.


4. Is all CBD legal in South Africa?

The changes to the legal status of cannabidiol (CBD) products in South Africa is only effective for 12 months. The exemption from Schedule 7 will expire on 15 May, 2020, unless, of course, it is renewed. Considering the massive buzz, investment and business activity surrounding CBD products that rose immediately after the legalization of CBD, it is safe to believe that the exemption will definitely be renewed. However, stranger things have happened before (Novel Food Status of CBD Products in Europe), so CBD Oil business owners should be aware of the turbulent regulatory nature of the industry and keep in mind that if this exemption is reverted, CBD will no longer be legal to sell.


5. How to make sure you are getting the best CBD Oil?

Not all hemp products can be beneficial. If not made right, a CBD oil tincture can be dangerous to one's health. When you begin your search for CBD raw materials or finished products for import, you should make sure that your supplier:


1) Is GMP Certified. Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) certification is one of the most important certifications that a CBD Manufacturer should have. GMP ensures that products are produced and handled according to the highest quality standards.


2) Uses US-Grown Hemp. The hemp grown in the United States is recognized internationally as some of the best CBD-Rich industrial hemp in the world. You should make sure that your supplier uses domestically grown hemp without the use of pesticides or herbicides.


3) Is able to provide a Certificate of Analysis from a 3rd party. Every product and every single batch of that product must come with a certificate of analysis from a reputable 3rd party laboratory. It is vital to receive and examine a CoA of your product before starting to sell. CBD products made in subpar facilities may contain residual solvents, heavy metals, and other toxins, that can cause severe medical problems to your customers.

The exemption signed by Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi signifies a new wave of natural healthcare businesses with a good cause in South Africa. Cannabidiol (CBD) industry is booming across the globe, with sales expected to exceed $22 billion by 2022 in the United States alone. Maintaining the highest quality standards and an affordable price point is the way to grow a successful CBD business and contribute to the well-being of those in need.

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