Italians have enthusiastically embraced CBD. The year 2016 marked a major turning point in Italy’s cannabis history when the sale of products derived from industrial hemp became legal. Thanks to leeway built into the law, Italians were soon enjoying their version of CBD, known as ‘cannabis light’ which contained up to 0.6% THC. The cannabis light movement swept Italy by storm, generating an estimated 40 million euro in revenue, with shops popping up all over Rome–the Eternal City.
Since then, however, political turmoil and inconclusive legal changes have seen the ‘cannabis light’ market wither. Italians still enjoy and purchase CBD products, but there’s currently no clear consensus about what constitutes a legally acceptable quantity of THC. To play it safe, many Italian CBD retailers and consumers stick with products containing 0.2% THC or less.
This Leafreport guide will explore the range of high-quality CBD brands that are currently available in Italy, or can be shipped there. We’ll also unpack some of the complexities surrounding Italian CBD law, and provide pointers on shopping in the Italian CBD market.
CBD currently occupies a gray zone under Italian law. The past few years have seen Italian legislation moving back-and-forth with respect to CBD, resulting in a climate of legal ambiguity.
In 2016, law 242 ruled that industrial hemp or “light cannabis” as it is popularly known, was legal on the condition that the THC content was less than 0.2%. In accordance with this law, it was further elaborated that there was an acceptable threshold of THC concentration: if the total THC content is more than 0.2% but no more than 0.6%, there would be no liability borne by the grower.
This tolerance saw the rapid growth of the “cannabis light” market in Italy, with CBD products widely available over the counter until 2019. However, the inauguration of a more conservative government was linked to legislative attitudes towards CBD. In May 2019, the Italian Supreme Court of Cassation banned the sale of cannabis derivatives, including hemp leaves, flowers, resin, and oil. This law overshadowed the CBD market, but it didn’t explicitly categorize CBD as illegal as it excluded products that didn’t cause narcotic effects. There was no ruling, however, on what percentage of THC was permitted in CBD products.
A decree published on 28 October 2020 established that oral CBD requires further in-depth, technical and scientific studies, which must be carried out by the National Institute of Health (Istituto Superiore di Sanità) and National Council of Health (Consiglio Superiore di Sanità). Despite the rapid succession of legal changes, Italians can still order CBD online and purchase the CBD products in person. Many Italians choose to play it safe by ensuring that the products they buy fall beneath the 0.2% threshold, and refraining from buying products with higher THC concentrations of up to 0.6%.
CBD edibles are explicitly illegal in Italy. The European Commission added cannabinoids to the EU Novel Food Catalogue in January 2018. This EU rule considers CBD a novel food due to the lack of history regarding use as food before 1997.
A wide range of high-quality CBD brands from both Europe and the United States currently ship to Italy, so consumers have access to diverse products.
We’ve collated a list of some of the leading CBD brands available to Italian consumers. Each brand is ranked according to our comprehensive Leafreport rating system, with in-depth detail about the strengths and weaknesses of each brand also supplied.
Here’s the breakdown of our scoring categories, and our pick of the best CBD brands in Italy.
The Leafreport scoring system is standardized and calculated using our database, which collates third-party lab test results, prices, additional ingredients, extract types, and other relevant data. We add all of these up to find an overall score out of 100 points.
In particular, we evaluate brands on the following specific criteria:
Batch CBD has excellent accuracy with respect to product potency. Its products test below the acceptable 10% variance limit permitted.
Batch CBD derives CBD from organically-grown hemp cultivated in Wisconsin, United States. Their CBD products are also non-GMO, and pesticide-free.
Batch CBD products are available in tinctures, topicals, softgels, and gummies. There are also sampler packs for those who want to experiment with the range of products the brand has on offer.
The Batch website is visually engaging and easy to navigate. Each product page provides comprehensive information. There’s also an FAQ link located in the main menu.
Prices have an average price point of $.07, which is lower than average when compared to other comparable brands in the market that are also GMP compliant.
Batch CBD is based in Sussex, Wisconsin, and ships to Italy. The brand was established in 2018 as part of the Wisconsin Hemp Pilot Program. Headed by a group of friends who set out to offer premium-quality, sustainably-grown, CBD products, Batch is vertically integrated. Specialized chemists formulate each unique CBD blend, every hemp extraction is performed in-house, and an internal testing lab checks all products for supreme quality control. The brand additionally conducts independent third-party lab testing for all of their products, posting the available results on their website. Any absent test results for purity or potency can be requested from customer service, who provide any updated results not listed online.
While Batch CBD claims to be committed to organic hemp, there’s unfortunately no evidence supplied on the website of its organic status. Batch also has a very curated CBD offering that may not appeal to those who enjoy experimenting with a range of potencies, flavors, and formats.
While Charlotte’s Web third-party tests its products, many products had a 20-60% variance in CBD from the stated value on the batch label. This is well above the acceptable 10% variance level.
The brand only uses USDA certified organic hemp to produce its CBD products, grown in Colorado farms according to sustainable practices. All products are potency and purity tested.
Charlotte’s Web offers a wide selection of CBD products, including topicals, oils, gummies, capsules, pet products, and more. In addition, there are various flavor options, potencies, and sizes. They do not offer any vape products at this time.
The website has a very comprehensive FAQ page, and provides multiple ways to reach their care team. They also offer a 30 day money-back guarantee.
Compared to other CBD brands on the market, the prices for Charlotte’s Web products are average. The majority of their CBD ranges from $0.06 to $0.15 per mg of CBD. Consumers can also purchase bundles to save on bulk orders.
Charlotte’s Web is among the best-known CBD brands in the world. Based in Colorado and shipping to various locales worldwide, the brand was founded by the seven Stanley brothers. In 2013, the brothers achieved global media recognition after they developed a CBD tincture to help a little girl named Charlotte Figi, who had been diagnosed with a rare form of childhood epilepsy. The brand has since expanded, and now carries a vast range of CBD products, including oil, gummies, capsules, topicals, and pet products. All CBD used in the Charlotte’s Web range is derived from certified organic U.S. family farms. Some Charlotte’s Web products cannot receive USDA organic certification due to other ingredients used in production, such as the gel in the capsules. There’s also a THC-free range.
Some of the drawbacks associated with Charlotte’s Web is that information isn’t particularly easy to find on the website. Not much is revealed about the company, its founders, the provenance of the hemp, or the results of the potency and purity third-party tests. The information that is available is mostly confined to the FAQ section, which is a little overwhelming to navigate.
The brand publishes their third-party CoA (Certificate of Analysis) potency and purity tests religiously, providing consumers with reassurance about the quality of the CBD.
Lazarus Naturals recently earned USDA Organic Certification for its hemp. The brand has openly stated that it is dedicated to creating the highest quality crops in sustainable, environmentally-friendly ways.
Lazarus Naturals offers a decent selection of products ranging from standard to high-potency CBD. Their selection includes tinctures, topicals, capsules, coconut oil, RSO (better known as Rick Simpson Oil), isolates and even pet products.
The Lazarus Naturals website is aesthetically engaging and easy to navigate. It’s easy to find specific information, such as information about the founders and their vision for the brain. There are also useful resources for consumers who wish to learn more about the products and CBD in general.
The brand boasts a great price point when it comes to CBD–3 to 4 cents per milligram of CBD, which is significantly cheaper than other well-known, reputable brands.
Lazarus Naturals is a US-based CBD brand that ships worldwide. The brand was founded in 2014 with a vision of creating a ‘farm-to-front door’ CBD company so consumers knew that the products they were receiving were grown, manufactured, and packaged by one company, ensuring quality, potency, transparency, and consistency. This farm-to-front door model has also helped to keep the brand’s products affordable for individuals who may not otherwise have access to CBD. Lazarus Naturals also makes CBD accessible to diverse minorities by extending up to 60% off products for veterans, individuals on long term disability, and those living below the poverty line. Similar ethics are echoed in their cultivation and manufacturing standards: the brand holds both USDA organic certification, and B Corp certification.
One of the drawbacks associated with Lazarus Naturals is ironically also one of its strengths. Lazarus Naturals use kosher ethanol extraction. When ethanol extraction is not carried out cleanly, it can leave traces of solvent in the finished product. However, because ethanol extraction is usually cheaper, Lazarus are able to offer their products at a very reasonable price point. It’s also important to point out that Lazarus endeavors to clean its products of all trace residue of solvents. Ethanol extraction is not necessarily a bad extraction process–it’s simply a more dated technology. Lazarus Naturals, however, seem to be one of the few companies that are using this method successfully to produce clean CBD.
It’s easy to find information about the Plant People backstory. The website offers specific information about the company, alongside personal details about the founders who began Plant People with a shared vision of high quality, alternative methods of healing.
Plant People exclusively uses non-GMO, organic, FDA-registered, cruelty-free, clinically-formulated CBD products. All of their cannabis is sourced from organic farms in Colorado.
Plant People’s CBD product range is confined to tinctures, capsules, and topicals. They also offer products derived from medicinal mushrooms. While what is available is high quality, the CBD range is extremely focused.
Plant People provide active, friendly interactions over email. Their representatives are happy to answer questions, and are readily willing to share updated third party potency and purity results.
Plant People CBD products start at $.08 per mg of CBD and reaches up to $.23 per mg (for a face serum). This price range ranks their products at the more expensive end of the spectrum.
Plant People is a New York-based CBD and wellness company that ships to Italy. The brand prides itself on using hemp-derived CBD of immaculate provenance that is grown organically in Colorado. Plant People capsules are completely free of THC, rendering them ideal for Italian consumers who want to play it safe and avoid the cannabinoid. Plant People’s founders, friends Gabe Kennedy and Hudson Gaines-Ross, both have a background in plants, holistic wellbeing, and alternative medicine. The brand prides itself on absolute transparency and ensures all its third-party potency and purity test results are readily available. Plant People also upholds a policy of planting a tree for every product sold, and so environmentally positive practices form an integral part of the company.
While the third-party results are available online, some of them lack batch numbers, which makes it difficult to match them with the batch numbers on the products. Although a Leaf Report reviewer found that the lab results were almost identical to those printed on the label, the lack of batch numbers is unsettling, and detracts from the brand’s transparency to some degree.
Veritas Farms does not supply a great deal of background information about the founders. However, there is ample information supplied about their farming practices.
Veritas Farms are not USDA organic certified but do state they use non-GMO and organic farming practices. Their products undergo potency and purity testing via independent laboratories.
Veritas Farms offers a broad selection of products including tinctures, gummies, skin products, topicals, pet products, and capsules.
There are ample ways to reach the customer care team if you have questions or concerns. Detailed information is provided about their product range. However, the FAQ page is limited.
The price of Veritas Farm’s products is slightly higher than comparable CBD products, with their tinctures ranging from $0.10 to $0.12 per mg of CBD.
Veritas Farms is located in Pueblo, Colorado, and ships to diverse regions of the world. The brand grows, processes, and packages all of their products on site. Veritas Farms is particularly dedicated to ensuring the hemp is as organically and sustainably cultivated as possible. The hemp from which their CBD is derived is fed Rocky Mountain spring water and bespoke fertilizer that helps to bring balance to the local ecosystem.
One of the drawbacks associated with Veritas Farms is that it’s difficult to match up the product batch number to the third-party laboratory results. Not all of the products are tested for contaminants, and some of the products that have been tested for potency show levels beyond the accepted variance (which is 10%). The brand also uses ethanol extraction rather than CO2 extraction. CO2 extraction is becoming increasingly common as it is a cleaner extraction method.
In addition to the high-quality CBD brands listed above, there is a wide selection of other reputable CBD companies (including pet-focused brands) that ship to Italy. These include:
Italians can purchase CBD from online retailers or from physical stores.
Many Italians choose to shop for CBD online to access a broader range and review products and brands prior to purchasing. Online retailers also tend to offer more competitive pricing. There’s additionally an opportunity to learn about the brand and products at your leisure, and often engage in live chat with customer representatives.
If you do decide to purchase CBD online in Italy, it’s essential to check the product’s THC levels. Full spectrum CBD products shipped from the US often contain 0.3% THC, which exceeds the ‘safe’ 0.2% THC threshold.
There are also downsides to buying CBD online. Given Italy’s legal ambiguity surrounding CBD, it’s possible that customs can seize products–particularly those with higher concentrations of THC (0.2% THC and above). Another issue that can arise is that some brands may choose to not follow through with the order because of the murkiness surrounding CBD legality in Italy.
If shopping in person resonates more with you, there are numerous storefronts scattered throughout the nation Many are concentrated in Rome, and are often known as “cannabis light” stores. Some of the best-known stores include CBD Dispensary, Erba di Roma, which also sells coffee and snacks, and Joint 24: the well-known hemp and CBD 24/7 vending machines that are located in several busy districts of Rome.
While Italians have enthusiastically embraced CBD since 2016, the legality of the cannabinoid is currently unclear. At present, most Italians don’t seem to have an issue purchasing CBD so long as the THC content doesn’t veer towards narcotic levels (like 0.2% THC or above.)
There’s an extensive range of reputable CBD brands that ship to Italy, alongside storefronts that stock ‘cannabis light’. If you’re purchasing full-spectrum CBD from the United States, always check the THC content of the products you purchase to ensure it’s not too high–or stick to broad-spectrum products or isolates that are free of THC.