April 7, 2021

CBD Oil In Canada – Legalities And International Shipping Problems

Written by - Mallory Milne

minute read

Canada legalized marijuana on October 17th, 2018. Canadians across the nation rejoiced, and started lining up at the dispensaries that had just opened up.

The joy was short-lived, however, as most quickly ran out of product.

While that situation has more or less rectified itself over the past 8 months, we are facing the same issue with CBD oil in Canada right now.

CBD is currently treated the same way here as marijuana is, and only available through a licensed provider. Like the fiasco we experienced with "legal weed", it is also in very short supply as customers rush to buy as soon as it hits the shelves.

When the Canadian government legalized marijuana, they made a statement that said that other cannabis products such as edibles and concentrates would be legalized approximately one year after marijuana was.

What remains to be seen is exactly what kind of rules and regulations they are going to attach to these products.

Cannabidiol(CBD) is one of the many compounds of the cannabis plant that has recently taken the world by storm.

With claims that it can help with multiple different diseases and disorders, it has been a product that everyone wants to get their hands on and try out for themselves.

CBD is available in a number of different ways. Gummies, skin care, vape juices, and lotions are just some of the things that are available online and in some stores.

Unfortunately for a great number of people, and not just in Canada but the rest of the world as well, CBD oil is not cheap, legal, or easily accessible.

CBD is not psychoactive, meaning it doesn't produce any sort of "high" or "stoned" feeling when consumed. Tetrahydrocannibinol(THC) is another of the compounds in the cannabis plant that is responsible for that.

Most of the legal CBD available comes strictly from the industrial hemp plant(part of the cannabis family, alongside marijuana). Hemp is naturally very high in CBD content, while being extremely low in THC.

So why then are we facing such legal issues over it? If it doesn't get you high, and comes with all sorts of benefits attached to it, why do we have to wait so long? Why are there people being arrested for it across the globe?

If Cannabis Has So Many Benefits, Why Was It Made Illegal In The First Place?


Marijuana wasn't always illegal. All across the globe, and in many cultures, cannabis goes back a long way as a medical treatment.

Egyptians, Chinese, Middle Easterns, Greeks, and many more used the plant in all sorts of ways. Some of the most popular uses for it was as a painkiller and anesthetic.

From 2900BC to present times, you'll find references to marijuana, and the various ways that it has been used.

Canada was one of the first countries to criminalize marijuana. This happened in 1923, and the United States wouldn't follow suit until 1937.

Before 1923 in Canada, doctors were able to prescribe marijuana for all sorts of reasons, and it was legal to sell in pharmacies and drugstores as long as it was labeled properly and regulated.

That all changed when the prime minister at the time, William Lyon Mackenzie, added marijuana, along with heroin and codeine, to the schedule of restricted drugs.

It took its place among the other restricted drugs that included cocaine, morphine, and opium.

Why did this happen? Early on in the 1920s, one woman, Emily Murphy, wrote a series of articles detailing how opium use was ruining Canadian youths.

Opium at the time was a big problem, and the Canadian government was working to prevent more Chinese immigrants from entering Canada and bringing in more of the drug.

Going on to suggest that young women who were hooked on drugs would sleep with these Chinese and give birth to "mixed race" babies, her articles were one of the things that led to the increased drug awareness in the public and the anti-drug movement that followed.

The exact reason that marijuana was added to the list is not known, and very few records exist on the matter. Murphy also wrote a book on the subject, The Black Candle.

The book only had a small section in it for marijuana, and mostly centered on the opium and cocaine problems that Canada was facing at the time.

Nevertheless, the articles, along with the book, had the effect of causing panic in many. Her views were such that marijuana caused people to become "raving maniacs" and they "are liable to kill or indulge in any sort of violence."

For 40+ years it would remain an immoral, illegal drug that was looked down on with disdain and disgust.

Enter the 60's


The 60s were a turbulent time, not just for Canada but for our neighbors to the south as well.

In the USA the threat of nuclear war and the assassination of J.F.K. were just one of the reasons thought to be behind the rising popularity of marijuana.

The nation was stressed, and using marijuana was just one of the ways to relieve these feelings, and relax a little.

At that time there were also many who were taking part in anti-establishment and anti-government movements. With marijuana being highly illegal, toking up was seen as just another way to stick it to the man.

Whatever the reason, marijuana became hugely popular and was used by many, regardless of race, age, gender, or social status.

It didn't stop at just smoking it. Anywhere you looked you could see the pot leaf on clothing, backpacks, spray painted on buildings. It became more than just a way to get high, it became a symbol of a revolution.

It would be another almost 60 years before it was legalized for recreational use, but before that it was legalized for medicinal purposes.

Slow Progress... But Progress Nonetheless


Medical marijuana became legal in Canada in 2001. It was available only by prescription, and only for the most extreme conditions.

Some of these included MS, spinal cord injury or disease, HIV/AIDS related problems, severe arthritis pain, and epilepsy.

People who were able to access this were originally restricted to homegrown marijuana, or straight from Health Canada, but this changed in 2013, and the program and regulations were remanded to reflect a more traditional system.

When elected in 2015, Justin Trudeau made some pretty substantial promises when it came to marijuana. Releasing a 106-page report to the public in December 2016, it detailed various recommendations when it came to the legalization of the plant.

It was to remain controlled, and only available through licensed providers, and grown only from those with licenses as well.

New laws, with stricter enforcement and penalties were to come into play regarding the sale to minors, impaired driving, and those selling with no license to do so.

The new laws came into effect on October 17, 2018, and marijuana in Canada was legalized for recreational use.

There are many that state that Trudeau's promise for legalization during his campaign for prime minister was the deciding factor that won him the election.

An unprecedented amount of youth turned out to vote, and the numbers suggest that it wasn't coincidental.

CBD oil in Canada still remains in the same class as marijuana, in that it can only come from a licensed provider.

The laws surrounding this are set to change at some point later on this year, but it remains unclear as to just what those laws and regulations will entail. One thing is certain, much stricter policies on it are going to be enforced.

While one can obtain CBD from sources other than these licensed providers, the industry is currently not regulated at all.

There are plenty of companies out there that jumped on the CBD bandwagon, and are producing products that are not organic, and as this report details, contain no CBD at all.

Always ensure that you're doing your research and following these guidelines before you buy.

Many CBD Companies Are Backing Away


Up until recently, quite a few of the most popular names in the CBD industry were available in Canada. This has become more of a challenge as Canadian border security has more strictly started enforcing the laws.

With packages being seized, or sitting in limbo, it has led to a lot of tension for many of these companies shipping here, and ultimately to the decision to suspend shipping to Canada indefinitely.

Unfortunately for those up north, this doesn't leave a lot of options.

Upon speaking with a few of these companies, we're told that as soon as the laws surrounding CBD up here change, along with border regulations, shipping here will resume. 

While that's great news, we still don't have an answer as to when that will be, and with the massive CBD shortage that's happening right now with the licensed providers, people in Canada are struggling to obtain it.

Where Can I Buy CBD Oil In Canada?

This brings us to our next subject, and one that will provide a spark of hope for some Canadians.

Since starting this whole process of educating myself and then others about the benefits of CBD and the impact that it can have on our health, we have been constantly searching for companies that follow only the best growing and manufacturing guidelines.

We've come across many so far, but the majority of these companies are either USA based, with the exception of a few other international companies.

The one area that Canada is seriously behind in is the number of companies that are producing quality CBD products. The US definitely has us beat on this one, and we have a lot of catching up to do.

Check out our top picks for CBD oil in Canada here.

There are still a few international companies that are delivering to Canada, but with the legal situation being what it is right now, and many backing away, you're taking a big risk as to if it's even going to arrive if you do decide to order from outside the country.

About the author 

Mallory Milne

Mallory is a mom of two, as well as the main content writer and owner of CBD Handle. She has been a consumer advocate and CBD user since 2018, and strives to relay accurate, easy to understand information and to educate others on the health benefits of CBD.


CBD legalization Canada, CBD Oil, CBD Oil in Canada, where to buy cbd oil in canada

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  • It is sad that the natural resources are still being overlooked but in that case I feel a strong pressure from the side of pharmaceutical companies..nothing new in there,it is business and money rule the world… these companies need sick people and they create chemicals to suppress disease effects not to solve the disease itself…and natural treasures like marihuana are highly effective therefore dangerous for this kind of business. thanks for that complex article

    • You hit the nail on the head there. It’s unfortunate that the world works this way, and I don’t see a change in that anytime soon. numerous people and groups in Canada are lobbying right now to take control away from the pharmaceutical companies, and make it widely available for all to purchase. I’m very much hoping they succeed in this. Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  • Wow, I never thought cannabis or marijuana had a lot of health benefits. Sorry to ask you this, but what’s the difference between cannabis and marijuana, are they the same?

    And by the way, are there side effects from using marijuana, the reason why its legalization got delayed for a long time?

    Since times have changed, I would probably have to research my country’s current state to discover whether the drug is already allowed or not.

    • Cannabis is a family of plants, one of which is marijuana, the other being hemp. They both belong to the cannabis family, but marijuana is high in THC and low in CBD, while it is the opposite when it comes to the industrial hemp plant. 

      There are some side effects to using THC, the main one being that it gets you “high”. That in itself is the biggest reason it has remained illegal for so long. Here’s an article that goes over sopme other possible side effects of THC.


      With the drug problem in the world growing worse year by year, the government was unwilling to legalize something that could potentially make the problem worse. With the research we now have available though, the benefits of the plant can no longer be ignored. 

      I would definitely look up the laws surrounding CBD and THC in your country before deciding to use either, it is still illegal in many places. Thanks for reading!

  • Hello Malory :), 

    As an active 420 user, i am glad i had the pleasure of being educated on this topic. Thanks for that.

    I think with time the laws on marijuana would be reduced around the world as it is still criinalised due to phobias and bias towards the plant. 

    i” share this with friends who i know would enjoy reading this post and ordering cbd oil when the laws become less stringent in canada.

    • Glad to hear you enjoyed the read, definitely feel free to share it. I’m also hoping in time it will become more of the norm, and not looked down on as much. We’ve come a long way with legalization, but there’s still a long way to go.

  • According to medical science and research weed are very good for health. Medical marijuana is safe and effective for body pain. BTW keep on writing, Great Job!

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