The European Union’s top court ruled that CBD derived from the entire industrial hemp plant is not a narcotic, thus the French ban on marketing hemp-derived CBD products contradicts EU law. The court ruled that CBD is not a narcotic drug as “it does not appear to have any psychotropic effect or any harmful effect on human health”. The decision taken on Thursday by five judges at the EU Court of Justice in Luxembourg, included a landmark interpretation of the 1961 U.N. Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs that cited “the purpose and general spirit” of the treaty in excluding CBD from its jurisdiction. The ruling which would open new business avenues for low-THC cannabis producers outside the highly regulated pharmaceutical channels in Europe, would significantly affect the efforts by some EU countries to limit the sale of CBD. Under current laws, many CBD products are sold in a legal grey area. In France, the law only allows commercial use of the fibre and seeds of hemp, not the flower. Industrial hemp contains less than 0.2% of the psychoactive cannabinoid THC. The court ruling stated that the French ban on CBD products is in contradiction with EU law on the free movement of goods. The EU court made it clear that “a decision to prohibit the marketing of CBD, which indeed constitutes the most restrictive obstacle to trade in products lawfully manufactured and marketed in other [EU] member states, can be adopted only if that risk appears sufficiently established,” and urged the national court to “assess available scientific data in order to make sure that the real risk to public health alleged does not appear to be based on purely hypothetical considerations.” The court order also mentioned that synthetic CBD, which has the same properties but is not produced using the entire cannabis plant is not banned in France. The court gave out the ruling in relation to the prosecution in France of KanaVape, a company that exports CBD oil made from whole hemp plants. KanaVape co-founder Antonin Cohen stated safe market development was not possible due to lack of clear regulations on CBD, “It is fundamental to develop strict quality standards in the interests of consumers in order to avoid the circulation of dangerous products.” He added, “my goal is to improve access to the benefits of plants, in a legal and secure environment.” Robert Jappie, a legal partner, called the ruling “a big win” for the CBD industry, and said, “by confirming that there was no scientific evidence to suggest that CBD has a harmful effect on the human body, the court has made it very difficult for the European commission to pursue their proposed classification of CBD as a narcotic.” According to the World Health Organization, CBD is “generally well tolerated with a good safety profile” and there is no evidence “of any public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD”. Recent yeara have witnessed a significant growth in the use of CBD oils, creams and other products for the purpose of relieving stress and anxiety and to reduce inflammation.