Is CBD legal in Canada & Where to Buy it

In this buyer’s guide, we’ll reveal our choice of the best CBD products available in Canada. We’ll also simplify Canadian law surrounding CBD, and provide you with insider tips on purchasing CBD in Canadian stores or online.
Written by 
Emma Francis Stone, Ph.D.
&
Camille Gillain, Lawyer.
|Check IconMedically reviewed by 
Eloise Theisen, RN, MSN, AGPCNP-BC.
|Last Updated:

Here are our key findings:

  • CBD is legal in Canada, but is controlled by extremely strict regulations.
  • Canadian provinces and territories are responsible for determining how cannabis is distributed and sold within their jurisdictions.
  • A wide range of CBD products are legal in Canada, including edibles, extracts, and topicals.
  • CBD brands in Canada must undergo a costly, extensive application process in order to enter the market. As a result, the CBD brands available for purchase in Canada are largely Canadian.
  • Cannabidiol is subject to the regulations outlined in the Cannabis Act. The Act and its regulations do not distinguish between CBD derived from industrial hemp and CBD derived from cannabis with greater than 0.3% THC.

Canada is notorious for having one of the most strictly regulated CBD markets in the world. Cannabidiol and products containing CBD are subject to the same rules that apply to cannabis. These rules are outlined in the Cannabis Act, which marked the legalization of both recreational and medical cannabis in 2018. While cannabis and its cannabinoids are entirely legal in Canada, the market is subject to very tight controls.

Individuals who wish to grow, process, manufacture, or sell CBD products must complete applications and be licensed to do so. There are also stringent rules in place regarding the importation of CBD products into Canada. As a result, only a limited number of CBD brands can be found in the Canadian market, most of which are Canadian. The costs associated with applications and extensive licensing can also drive CBD prices up.

In this Leafreport guide, we’ll reveal our list of the top five CBD brands available in Canada. We’ll also share a complete list of all the US and European brands that ship to the region, and clarify some of the more complex Canadian legislation surrounding the sale of the cannabinoid. Lastly, we’ll give you the lowdown on shopping for CBD in Canada.

The best CBD products in Canada

Despite the strict legal framework that controls the sale of CBD products, a reputable range of North American and European brands ship to Canada.

We’ve evaluated the full list of brands available using our Leaf Report rating system to arrive at the top five most reputable CBD companies. Our findings are listed below.

First, however, here’s a brief breakdown of the categories we assess.

Leafreport’s scoring categories

Our rating system calculates scores according to the five criteria listed below. We add the scores across the five categories to create a total score out of 100.

Here are the five categories that we judge:

  • Transparency, Accuracy & Reputation evaluates whether the brand carries out third-party testing, the results of their testing, and the ease with which consumers can access these results. We also check the brand’s reputation, and whether details regarding their hemp cultivation and manufacturing processes are readily available.
  • Hemp quality analyzes if the ingredients used in the CBD formulations are vegan, non-GMO, USDA organic certified, or derived from sustainable sources. We’re particularly interested in finding out how the brand cultivates their hemp.
  • Product variety checks out the range of different products and delivery formats on offer. We also check if there are variants such as different concentrations or flavors available.
  • Customer experience explores how easy it is for customers to navigate the website, ask questions, make a purchase, and access critical information about the products.
  • Price and discounts analyze value for money. We’ve averaged out the price per milligram of CBD across all CBD brands, so we can compare the brand’s price point against the industry at large. We also check out whether the brand offers any special discounts.

Lazarus Naturals

Lazarus Naturals

Overall ScoreRead Review
94out of 100
Score Breakdown
Transparency, Accuracy & Reputation
27/30
Hemp Quality
25/25
Variety of Products
16/18
Customer Experience
14/15
Price & Discounts
12/12
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Lazarus Naturals was founded by Sequoia Price-Lazarus, who shares his backstory and vision for Lazarus Naturals on the brand’s website. Lazarus Naturals has an excellent reputation. The brand gives extensive details about their cultivation and manufacturing processes. They also support a number of social justice, environmentally-friendly initiatives.

Hemp QualityIcon
Hemp Quality
25/25

All Lazarus Naturals products are made with CBD derived from USDA-certified organic hemp that has been cultivated in Oregon on farms owned by the brand. The CBD is derived using a clean, safe, ethanol extraction process.

Variety of ProductsIcon
Variety of Products
16/18

Lazarus Naturals offers an array of products, including CBD gummies, edibles, topicals, tinctures, gels, capsules, pet products, and their well-known Rick Simpson Oil (which is a versatile, full-spectrum CBD oil).

Customer ExperienceIcon
Customer Experience
14/15

The brand’s website is simple, well-organized, and aesthetically engaging. There are abundant resources available for curious CBD consumers under the ‘Learn’ tab, and a clearly-structured FAQ that covers the most common questions consumers have.

Price & DiscountsIcon
Price & Discounts
12/12

Lazarus Naturals products are more affordable than comparable organic CBD brands. Their products have an average price of 3 to 4 cents per milligram of CBD, while the industry average is approximately 7 cents per milligram.

From its humble origins as a stall at a local Oregon farmers’ market, Lazarus Naturals has since become a trailblazer within the CBD industry. The brand distinguishes itself from many competitors with its extensive purity and potency testing. According to the website, all products are subjected to multiple rounds of potency and purity testing both prior to processing and after extraction. Each product is then put through a third round of testing carried out by a third-party testing facility. All test results are readily available on the brand’s website in a comprehensive list format. The brand also uses USDA certified organic hemp in its CBD products–a point of difference in a market where many brands claim to use organic hemp, but provide little evidence. Consumers will also appreciate how user-friendly the website is. Products are arranged not only by delivery method, but also by benefit. Products are sorted by pain management, sleep health, stress relief, and more.

If there are any disadvantages associated with Lazarus Naturals, it’s that the brand doesn’t offer any product guarantees. Refunds are determined on a case-by-case basis. However, given the brand’s excellent track record and satisfied customer reviews, this may not represent a concern for many consumers.

Bloom Hemp

Bloom Hemp

Overall ScoreRead Review
89out of 100
Score Breakdown
Transparency, Accuracy & Reputation
29/30
Hemp Quality
25/25
Variety of Products
13/18
Customer Experience
14/15
Price & Discounts
8/12
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Bloom Hemp offers abundant information on their website about their cultivation and manufacturing processes, and their team members. They’re also very transparent about the potency and purity of their hemp, sharing their third-party tests on their website.

Hemp QualityIcon
Hemp Quality
25/25

Bloom Hemp uses non-GMO and USDA certified organic hemp in their CBD. According to the website, all aspects of their process follow sustainable principles. The brand uses ethanol extraction to extract CBD from hemp.

Variety of ProductsIcon
Variety of Products
13/18

Bloom Hemp has a select range of full-spectrum and THC-free products available. The brand has tinctures, topicals, softgels and concentrates on offer–but no edibles or gummies.

Customer ExperienceIcon
Customer Experience
14/15

When Leafreport reached out to Bloom with some questions regarding their farming and manufacturing practices, we received a response from a real person in minutes. The brand’s website is easy to navigate, and the shopping experience is straightforward and intuitive.

Price & DiscountsIcon
Price & Discounts
8/12

Bloom has an extremely reasonable price point compared to many other organic CBD brands. The majority of products are priced from $0.07 to $0.10 per milligram of CBD which is less than most USDA-organic CBD product lines. They also offer 50% off for veterans.

Bloom Hemp is a Colorado-based CBD brand that ships to diverse countries, including Canada. The brand states on its website that its mission is to empower communities to live happier, healthier lives through hemp. To carry out this vision, the brand cultivates its hemp according to organic, sustainable principles. All manufacturing is carried out in GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) and ISO (International Organization for Standardization) certified facilities, confirming that Bloom Hemp is following appropriate protocols. It’s also important to note that Bloom Hemp designates individual products on its website with USDA organic certification–so consumers can easily see which products fulfil USDA organic criteria. For CBD shoppers with a social conscience, Bloom plants a tree every time a purchase is made.

When Leafreport made a purchase from Bloom, we found that some of the products were missing batch numbers, and we had to request the certificates of analysis (CoAs) from customer service. When we analyzed the certificates, some of the CBD products had CBD variance levels above the acceptable limits– which may be a concern for consumers who want to achieve precise dosing.

Leaf Remedys

Leaf Remedys

Overall ScoreRead Review
88out of 100
Score Breakdown
Transparency, Accuracy & Reputation
28/30
Hemp Quality
19/25
Variety of Products
14/18
Customer Experience
15/15
Price & Discounts
12/12

Leaf Remedy subjects its products to both third-party potency and purity testing. When Leafreport ordered a range of products from the brand, all the products we screened passed purity testing. Potency tests, however, showed mixed results with some products displaying CBD levels higher or lower than the accepted variance levels.

Hemp QualityIcon
Hemp Quality
19/25

Leaf Remedys source their hemp from farms in Colorado. On the brand’s website, they state that their hemp is naturally grown. On their website, Leaf Remedys also emphasize that their products are gluten-free, vegan, and use ingredients that are as natural as possible. However, there is not a great deal of information available about the brand’s cultivation practices, or whether the hemp is grown organically.

Variety of ProductsIcon
Variety of Products
14/18

Leaf Remedys offers an attractively-packaged range of products. Their range includes broad spectrum, full spectrum, and isolate formulations in tinctures, topicals, gelcaps, gummies, and a pet edible format.

Customer ExperienceIcon
Customer Experience
15/15

The Leaf Remedys website is well-organized, aesthetically engaging, and easy to navigate. It’s very straightforward to locate lab reports and ask questions.

Price & DiscountsIcon
Price & Discounts
12/12

Leaf Remedys prices range have an average price point of $.05, which is lower than other brands in the market. The brand also offers a rewards program where regular buyers can receive benefits from making frequent purchases. There are also weekly sale items.

Leaf Remedys is a Colorado-based CBD brand that ships to Canada. The brand offers a total of 12 products, but these products cover the major bases, with tinctures, gummies, topicals, cooling gels and capsules. Within the product offering are items that claim to deliver specific therapeutic benefits, such as focus-oriented capsules and sleep-formula softgels. Another strength is that within this select product range, consumers can choose from full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or isolate products. Customer reviews are also readily available providing insights into each product and its perceived effects. The brand follows a sub-zero extraction method using a food-grade ethanol-based method that is clean and safe.

One of the omissions that stand out on the Leaf Remedy’s website is a lack of information about the founders behind the brand, the farms where the hemp is cultivated, and growing and manufacturing processes in general. It’s very difficult to gain a sense of the brand’s background and approach to producing CBD. The FAQ is also very sparse, with only a few questions answered.

Naturecan CBD

Naturecan

Overall ScoreRead Review
85out of 100
Score Breakdown
Transparency, Accuracy & Reputation
22/30
Hemp Quality
22/25
Variety of Products
14/18
Customer Experience
15/15
Price & Discounts
12/12
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There’s abundant information on the website about the vast team behind NatureCan, and the diverse sustainability initiatives that the brand supports. The company is a member of the ACI, which is a trade organization committed to developing and nurturing a safe, well regulated CBD market in the UK.

Hemp QualityIcon
Hemp Quality
22/25

When it comes to the provenance of the CBD used in NatureCan products, the brand states that everything is traceable from the seed to the final distilled oil. The brand’s hemp is grown in Oregon, and the website claims that their hemp strains are unique because they contain high levels of CBD, minor cannabinoids and terpenes, without THC. There is no mention, however, that the hemp is certified organic.

Variety of ProductsIcon
Variety of Products
14/18

NatureCan offers a diverse range of broad-spectrum CBD products that are available as tinctures, softgel capsules, edibles, topicals, pet chews, vape juice, and beauty items. The tinctures are available in a wide range of CBD concentrations (from 5% to 40%). There is also CBG oil on offer.

Customer ExperienceIcon
Customer Experience
15/15

NatureCan offers a virtual customer chat, email, and a straightforward webform that allows the consumer to easily connect with a customer service representative. For the most part, the website is clearly structured and easy to navigate.

Price & DiscountsIcon
Price & Discounts
12/12

On the US NatureCan site, the product range has an average price point of $.14 per milligram of CBD, which is higher than comparable brands (the average across all brands is $.12). There are bundles available, and discounts for students and essential workers.

Naturecan is a UK-based CBD brand that ships to Canada. The brand has some innovative points of difference that help to distinguish it from other companies in the CBD market. For example, there’s a CBD dosage calculator designed to help consumers determine the most effective dose of CBD for their therapeutic needs. Naturecan also has a more diverse range of CBD products than many competitors–if you’re on the hunt for CBD-infused skincare, for example, the website has products on offer such as CBD-infused acne pads, lip balms, and clay face masks. Consumers more inclined towards edible products may appreciate the range of CBD-infused peanut butters (including milk chocolate CBD peanut butter) brownies, and cookies. Product diversity is one of the brand’s strengths. Another clear strength is the range of useful, practical resources on the Naturecan website. New CBD users will likely find the guidance on starting doses, how to consume CBD tinctures, and the differences between delivery methods useful.

If there’s one area that Naturecan could improve on, it’s making their third-party tests more accessible. NatureCan carries out third-party potency tests and some purity testing for its products. However, it’s challenging locating the certificates of analysis for each product on the website as there’s no centralized hub. It would be great to see the brand facilitate access to purity and potency tests for all products.

MaxCBD Wellness

MAXCBD Wellness

Overall ScoreRead Review
82out of 100
Score Breakdown
Transparency, Accuracy & Reputation
28/30
Hemp Quality
22/25
Variety of Products
9/18
Customer Experience
15/15
Price & Discounts
8/12
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There’s very little information supplied about the founders of MaxCBD or their backgrounds. On the “about” page, there’s a panel of experts who are ready to answer questions from consumers in the form of a “free consultation”–however, there’s no detail supplied about what their particular expertise is. Some of the expert’s images appear to be stock images, which undermines the brand’s transparency somewhat.

Hemp QualityIcon
Hemp Quality
22/25

On the MaxCBD website, the brand claims to use the purest, cleanest and most natural CBD extraction methods, to create the highest-quality broad-spectrum organic hemp derived oil that contains no solvents, no heavy metals, and no pesticides. However, there’s a lack of detail about farming practices, manufacturing processes, their proprietary extraction method or organic certification.

Variety of ProductsIcon
Variety of Products
9/18

MaxCBD offers a more limited range of products, with 16 items available in total. That being said, there is a diversity of delivery methods including oils, collagen-infused face creams, salves, gummies, tinctures, capsules, and a DNA kit that enables customers to receive precise advice on CBD dosing based on their individual genetic makeup.

Customer ExperienceIcon
Customer Experience
15/15

MaxCBD Wellness offers a comprehensive FAQ available on the website that covers the most common customer questions. There’s also a live chat available. All purchases are honored by the Trust Max Program, which allows customers to return products that they are unsatisfied with.

Price & DiscountsIcon
Price & Discounts
8/12

The brand’s products range from $39 up to $249, which equates to an average price point of $.34 per milligram of CBD. This means that Max CBD has higher-priced CBD products than other comparable organic brands on the market. However, it’s also important to point out that MaxCBD has some specialized products, including the DNA kit and collagen-infused face cream, which drive the average price up.

MaxCBD Wellness is a Florida-based CBD brand that claims to retail world-class CBD products. The brand states on its website that all MaxCBD products use pure, clean, natural CBD extraction methods, and that extraction is carried out in facilities that conform with quality standards and adhere to US law. However, none of these claims are supported with GMP or USDA organic certification, and there’s very little specific detail supplied which is somewhat unsettling. One of the brand’s points of distinction is that it offers a very high-end range of CBD products, including a unique DNA testing kit for consumers. Once completed, this DNA test purportedly allows the consumer to receive exact dosage recommendations for CBD. MaxCBD also offers a specific pain relief CBD range for consumers looking to target pain.

If there are any limitations associated with MaxCBD Wellness, it’s that the third-party purity and potency results are not readily available in a centralized hub. Rather, the results are scattered through the main website. When Leafreport checked some of these reports, two products tested below the acceptable 10% variance limit, and one product tested above the potency variance allowed.

Canada exemplifies a legal, highly regulated CBD market. In 2018, Canada became one of the first countries in the world to completely legalize medicinal and recreational cannabis with the passage of the Cannabis Act.

The Act governs the sale and consumption of both CBD and cannabis in Canada. CBD and any products that contain CBD are subject to all of the rules and requirements that apply to cannabis under the Cannabis Act. This includes both CBD derived from industrial hemp plants, and CBD derived from other varieties of cannabis with more than 0.3% THC.

While cannabis and CBD may be legal at a national level, each province and territory in Canada determines how cannabis is distributed and sold. They set rules for where stores are located and how they must be operated.

Anyone planning on producing or selling CBD in Canada must have a processing licence. The importation of CBD from other countries also requires a permit. This legal framework means it can be very challenging for new companies to enter the market, or for overseas brands to sell in Canada. On the flipside, Canada has a unique CBD industry with many brands found nowhere else in the world. Regulation ensures that the quality of Canadian products is generally very high, but products can be pricier to reflect the extensive, costly application processes.

As a result of this controlled legal framework, the vast majority of CBD products available in Canada are grown and processed on Canadian soil. Canadian consumers who prefer to purchase products manufactured overseas may find their orders seized or confiscated by customs.

CBD brands that ship to Canada

For Canadians looking for CBD products from further afield, a select range of American and European CBD companies ship to Canada.

While this list may look limited, it contains many reputable brands. If you’re curious about accessing independent reviews of these companies and their products, take a look at our brand search tool.

Where can I purchase CBD in Canada?

Buying CBD in Canada is fairly easy. Products are available over the counter in a range of stores, including specialized dispensaries. Major cities like Vancouver, Toronto and Quebec have a range of physical storefronts where you can shop for diverse products including topicals, edibles, tinctures, beauty products and more. Staff in these stores are usually very informative and can assist customers with their queries.

Canadian stores only stock brands that have been approved by the Canadian government, however. As mentioned earlier, most products available in Canada are made by Canadian companies that have undergone an extensive application process to enter the Canadian CBD market.

Buyers who are looking for a range of CBD products from global retailers will need to explore shopping online. Online shopping does boast a range of benefits, however. Online shoppers can access a more diverse range of brands and products, often at more competitive prices. If you’re new to CBD, you can take your time browsing, comparing prices, products, formulations and customer reviews.

Regardless of whether you buy products in store or online, it’s always advisable to do your due diligence. At present, one of the most effective ways to quickly judge the quality and safety of a product is by checking their third-party lab reports, or certificates of analysis (CoA).

Third party testing means the product’s potency and/or purity has been checked by an independent body. Potency tests assess if the item contains CBD and other cannabinoids within acceptable variance levels, while purity tests demonstrate whether the product contains harmful levels of contaminants.

Independent reviews can also offer valuable insights. Check out Leafreport’s brand search tool, where you can access comprehensive reviews about diverse CBD brands to help inform you.

Summary

Canada shows that a legal CBD market can also be highly restrictive and controlled. The tight regulations enforced by Canada’s Cannabis Act mean that CBD brands must meet high quality and safety standards. However, these regulations also limit the range of products available, and drive prices up.

Canadian consumers who would like to access a greater range of CBD products can order online from a handful of American and European CBD companies. However, the Canadian government requires a permit for the importation of CBD products, so there is a risk that any orders made without a permit could be seized by customs.

In short, CBD shopping in Canada is a unique experience, with many benefits for consumers, but some challenges too.

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Dr. Emma F. Stone is passionate about plant medicine and the potential it holds in transforming the current medical paradigm. She has written extensively for Leafly, Weedmaps, Flowertown, Psychedelic Science Review, and contributed to industry reports and fact sheets detailing cannabis medicine, dosage, and delivery methods for diverse conditions. She’s currently working on a book exploring plant medicine and its uses.
Camille Gillain graduated with honors in international and European law from a prestigious law school in France. With a master's degree in this field, Camille is a consultant for several companies and individuals on specific legal issues. With a critical and analytical mind, she has conducted several academic researches and had the opportunity to have an experience at the United Nations. As the head of two companies in France, Camille divides her time between France and abroad.
Eloise Theisen
Eloise Theisen
RN, MSN, AGPCNP-BC
Eloise Theisen is a board certified Adult Geriatric Nurse Practitioner who specializes in cannabis therapy. For over 20 years, Eloise has worked primarily with cancer, dementia and chronic pain patients. In the last 6 years, Eloise has focused her efforts on cannabinoid therapies. Eloise has worked with over 6500 patients to help them effectively treat age-related and chronic illness with cannabis.

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