The market for CBD products, such as cosmetics and lifestyle products, is finally starting to grow in Japan. The Japanese CBD market grew rapidly in 2022, with total sales of around €120 million. As a result, Japan’s largest cosmetics & lifestyle trade show “Cosme Tokyo 2023” also featured significantly more CBD brands for the first time. Many well-known beauty companies have been on the trail of the trend for some time and for the first time increasingly offered CBD products in their Japanese portfolio.
Nevertheless, CBD products still represent small niche products in Japan at the moment. The aversion and prejudice against cannabis are still quite strong there. Cannabis has been a banned substance for many decades, and the penalties for cannabis use are comparatively high. Possession of cannabis for personal use is punishable by up to five years imprisonment and additional heavy fines. Cannabis use for pleasure among adults is very low. It is believed that only about 0.2% of the Japanese population (ages 15-64) use cannabis for pleasure purposes.
Hemp and hemp products are still considered dangerous drugs by many Japanese. This is especially the case among older and rural populations. However, slowly these prejudices are beginning to soften. Especially among younger Japanese living in urban areas, the use of CBD products has become popular in recent years. Especially among health-conscious Japanese consumers, market shares are on the rise.
Read more about the Japanese CBD market and find other important cannabis news with the Hempim mobile app.
Currently, the cultivation of hemp and the extraction of CBD are still subject to severe restrictions in Japan
Cannabis has been regulated by a cannabis control law since 1948. In general, CBD products are legal in Japan. But companies have to be careful about what they sell and how they extract CBD from the plant. Unlike many countries in the Western world, Japanese laws strictly regulate CBD products and their use. Therefore, domestic brands usually import their CBD from Europe or the US.
However, even when importing, strict rules prevail. It must be proven that the products are not only THC-free, but furthermore that CBD has only been extracted from stems and seeds. However, this situation could soon change. The Japanese Ministry of Health is expected to review current cannabis legislation this year. This could make it easier for domestic companies to produce and import domestically grown CBD products and open up new market opportunities.
Japan also wants to legalize medical cannabis
One of the first steps towards the legalization of medical cannabis in Japan concerns the approval of Epidyolex. This is a pharmaceutical CBD oil for certain types of epilepsy. It has already been approved for use by the European health authorities as well as the U.S. FDA. Medical approval, as has happened in other countries, will also help improve the image of legal cannabis.
Although the Japanese CBD market is still in its early stages, there are high growth opportunities due to increasing demand, especially for better sleep and pain relief. The market has quadrupled in a few years, from €28 million in 2019 to €120 million in 2022, but has lacked investment and active presence from larger companies due to legal uncertainties. The change in legislation expected in 2023 will change this.
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First published in HanfJournal, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
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