CBD Oil Japan


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CBD Oil Japan As a Hawaiian CBD brand, our products are sold in a lot of island hotels, resorts, spas and tourist hot spots. Given the large number of Japanese tourists visiting Hawaii CBD is a part of a rapidly growing industry that’s set for success. As more people seek to heal themselves holistically, will Japan join this growing market? CBD derived from hemp stems is legal, but the booming market is leaning towards friendlier hemp laws. Learn where to find CBD in Japan.

CBD Oil Japan

As a Hawaiian CBD brand, our products are sold in a lot of island hotels, resorts, spas and tourist hot spots. Given the large number of Japanese tourists visiting Hawaii (pre-pandemic and hopefully again soon), we are often asked about the legality of CBD in Japan. We’re happy to say that not only can you take any and all of our Hawaiian Choice CBD products to Japan with you, you can also purchase them in stores in Tokyo, Osaka and Fukuoka or have them shipped directly to you. However, not all CBD is legal in Japan. Please read on to learn what is and isn’t allowed in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Is CBD legal in Japan?

Yes, CBD is legal in Japan. However, CBD products cannot contain any THC. THC is the part of the hemp and cannabis plant that is psychoactive, which means it gets you high. In the United States, the legal limit of THC in CBD products is 0.3%. If you’re ordering CBD products from abroad or bringing them from another country into Japan, you need to be sure that they do not contain any THC. (Hawaiian Choice products do NOT contain THC and are therefore legal in Japan!)

How do I know if a CBD product contains THC?

Products marked as “Broad Spectrum CBD” or “CBD Isolate” do not contain any THC and are allowed in Japan. Meanwhile, “Full Spectrum CBD” products will contain trace amounts of THC and are illegal in Japan. (Hawaiian Choice only uses Broad Spectrum CBD/ Zero THC)

What’s the difference between Broad Spectrum and Isolate?

Broad Spectrum CBD starts as a Full Spectrum CBD oil. Then, all traces of THC are filtered out to below lab detectable levels. This method leaves the other beneficial rare cannabinoids (such as CBN and CBG) and terpenes intact for a richer more beneficial oil. A CBD isolate is just CBD. It does not contain any of the other beneficial plant compounds and is not believed to be as effective as a broad spectrum oil. CBD afficionados often compare an isolate to broad spectrum oil as a Vitamin C pill versus eating the whole orange. CBD isolates and Vitamin C pills are good for you, but you miss out on all the extra phytochemicals, flavonoids and antioxidants found in plant-based foods that are also linked to multiple health benefits.

How can I be sure that Zero THC CBD really means Zero THC?

Zero THC means that no traces of THC were found in third-party lab tests of the CBD products. Whatever CBD product you buy, make sure that you double check the company’s independent lab report results for the batch you are purchasing. You can find Hawaiian Choice CBD lab reports here.

Where can I find CBD in Japan?

CBD is sold in many different types of stores in Japan, from beauty bars to CBD specialty shops. For example, Hawaiian Choice is sold at luxury department store Daimaru Shinsaibashi in Osaka, LoFT Ginza (6-floors filled with curated lifestyle goods in Tokyo), CBD Shop Fukuoka, Beauty Library Aoyama, Flavorlife Aroma Shop and more. You can see our CBD store locator here.

Is it legal to buy CBD online in Japan? Can CBD be shipped to me in Japan?

Yes, it’s legal to buy CBD online in Japan and have it shipped to you as long as it does not contain THC. Hawaiian Choice offers free international shipping on all orders over $300. You can shop for CBD online here.

Can I take CBD products to Japan with me?

Yes, you can take CBD products to Japan with you but again, they cannot contain any THC at all. A lot of Japanese tourists find our Hawaiian Choice products in the dozens of ABC Stores in Waikiki, International Marketplace, Ala Moana Shopping Center and around Oahu as well as at Hemptuary, Down to Earth stores, and specialty stores.

Are all types of CBD products allowed in Japan? CBD tinctures, CBD gummies, CBD vape pens etc.?

Yes, all CBD products that do not contain any THC at all are allowed in Japan. Hawaiian Choice sells four different CBD oil tinctures, Relax, Relief, Focus and Active, as well as a Pet CBD Oil tincture. We also sell a CBD topical gel and vegan CBD jellies, which are like a tasty, grown-up version of the CBD gummy. We focus on the health benefits of our products and all are infused with organic or wild crafted Hawaiian fruits, essential oils or organic honey. All of our products contain broad spectrum CBD without any THC, so they can be bought in Japan or taken to Japan. We do not feel that smoking or vaping promote wellness in the same way and therefore do not sell Hawaiian CBD flowers to smoke or CBD vape pens.

How can I sell Hawaiian Choice CBD in Japan?

If you are interested in selling Hawaiian Choice CBD at your store or location in Japan, please fill out our wholesale registration form, telling us about your business and we will reply by the following day. You can find our wholesale registration form in English here. And, our wholesale registration form in Japanese can be found here.

What happens if you are caught with THC in Japan?

The penalty is high! But, remember you can easily find CBD products that you don’t need to worry about. So, there is no need to fear. Products with any amount of THC in them are illegal under Japan’s Cannabis Control Act. Possession can lead to up to five years in jail and a fine of up to $18,000. While that law is designed to prevent the use of cannabis as a psychoactive drug, do NOT risk having anything with any amount of THC in it. Lab tested broad spectrum CBD and CBD isolates are allowed in Japan. Just avoid full spectrum products or those that you cannot be sure contain Zero THC.

What is the history of cannabis and hemp in Japan?

Interest in CBD for health, wellness, relaxation and relief is growing rapidly in Japan but it is largely seen as a product coming in from the West. Meanwhile, cannabis (marijuana) is often seen as a counterculture drug. However, cannabis and hemp actually have a long history in Japan.

Pottery relics dating to the Jomon Period (10,000-200 B.C.) have been found containing seeds and scraps of woven hemp fibers.

Cannabis was revered for its cleansing properties and was used in Shintoism, Japan’s indigenous religion. Small bundles of cannabis leaves were burned to bless people and were put in doorways to welcome back the spirits of the dead during the summer Obon Festival.

Cannabis was cultivated all over Japan until the mid-20 th century and references to it can be found in ninja training and poetry. Cannabis-based cures, which were popular in China, were also available in Japan to help with pain and sleep. However, no one is sure if cannabis was smoked in Japan. Some believe that it was the poor man’s drug of choice as rice wine sake was expensive and was drunk only by the elite. But, there’s no hard evidence of it being smoked in Japan.

Hemp fiber was widely used for textiles, rope, parachutes and more during WWII. After the United States won the war, they brought their laws against hemp and cannabis to Japan. Washington had effectively outlawed cannabis in United States in 1937 and put the Cannabis Control Act into place in Japan in 1948.

Some hemp farms were allowed to continue to operate but only with hemp containing very low amounts of THC. The number dropped from 25,000 farms in 1950 to fewer than 60 these days.

As interest in hemp, CBD and even cannabis grow in Japan, more people are researching the history of the plant and promoting its historical roots as well as its health and wellness benefits. There’s even a cannabis museum – Taima Hakubutsukan – which is dedicated to preserving the history of cannabis in Japan. You can read about the museum, its founder and learn more about the history of cannabis in Japan in this article from The Japan Times.

Why Japan’s CBD Market Is Poised for Growth in 2022

How Is Always Pure Organics Contributing to the Changing Cannabis Narrative?

Green Zone Japan Partnership

Project CBD Aims to Educate

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the history of cannabis in Japan?

What are Japan’s laws surrounding cannabis?

Why does Japan have such strict cannabis laws?

How is Japan’s CBD market set for growth in 2022?

What challenges does the Japanese CBD market face?

How is Always Pure Organics contributing to Japan’s change of opinion regarding cannabis?


As with most CBD markets, Japan’s CBD market is still recovering from historical stigma. Although the compound has certainly made strides in the wellness sector, many consumers remain uncertain about its purported benefits. Nonetheless, the CBD market has emerged among the most promising in Japan. Despite stringent regulations, the Japanese market is showing signs of growth, and, more importantly, public opinion is slowly shifting in favour of CBD. This article looks into the Japanese CBD market, its history and its future.

Experts estimate the global cannabis industry will be worth approximately $19.89 billion in 2021, with CBD, or cannabidiol, being a significant part of this sector. In 2019, the CBD market was valued at about £2.8 billion, with experts predicting it to reach £80 billion by 2026. The US and UK are among the largest CBD markets to date, with many people turning to plant-based supplements to benefit their well-being.

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Since the 2020 pandemic, consumers are taking a more holistic approach to health, including mindfulness, nutrition and exercise. In addition to this, cannabis-derived products are thought to provide a natural way to self-soothe. Consumable CBD, such as gummies, oil, capsules and tinctures, has become a popular choice for reportedly reducing symptoms of anxiety, depression, pain, and sleep improving sleep disorders.

Here at Always Pure Organics, we have taken steps to introduce wholesale and white label CBD into the Japanese market and to educate the public on the potential benefits of CBD. Alongside organisations such as Green Zone Japan and Project CBD, we hope the public will consider a future where CBD is welcome.

It may come as a surprise that Japan has a rich history associated with the cannabis plant despite strict laws and varying public opinions. In this article, we outline why Japan’s CBD market is expected to grow despite having some of the strictest cannabis laws in the world.

The History of Cannabis in Japan

Before the prohibition of cannabis and Japan’s defeat in World War II (WWII), hemp, a variation of cannabis, was a sacred plant used across many mediums. The earliest use of cannabis dates back to the Jomon Period (10,000 BC – 300 BC), where archaeologists discovered seeds and fibres in the west. These specialists suggest that people used cannabis fibres for clothing, fishing lines, and bowstrings. In fact, many experts would say that cannabis was one of the most important crops in Japan.

Cannabis held deep spiritual significance in Japan’s indigenous religion, Shintoism. Hemp signified purity and fertility; people would use the plant in various ceremonies and rituals. For instance, brides wore cannabis veils to showcase their qualities, and priests would wave bundles to ward off evil spirits.

Some other uses of cannabis included making ropes, paper crafting, eating hemp seeds, and making oil. Interestingly, Ninjas would jump over cannabis plants to improve their jumping because the plants grew so fast; standing tall, they made the perfect training ground. Hemp farms were immensely common and a vital part of the economy. Cannabis-derived products could be brought from Japanese drug stores until the early 20th century to treat muscle aches, pain, and insomnia.

With such a deeply embedded history, it’s hard to believe how cannabis suddenly became a widely demonised plant. In fact, after WWII, the public thought cannabis was a dangerous drug with little benefit. So, the question remains, what happened?

How Cannabis Changed After WWII

During the 1940s, the Japanese military sought cannabis to provide necessary materials for ropes and parachute cords for the Asia-Pacific war. The plant soon became classified as war material. However, after Japan’s 1945 surrender, everything began to change. Since the United States had made cannabis cultivation illegal in 1937, they planned to do the same in Japan. As the nation was under US control, they began to adopt American attitudes towards cannabis and passed the 1948 Cannabis Control Act. More than 70 years later, this law has remained untouched, controlling what was once one of Japan’s most sacred plants.

If someone is found in possession of cannabis, the punishment is a maximum of 5 years, with growers facing up to 7 years in prison. Alongside these prison sentences, the same laws apply to research. Japanese scientists must travel abroad to study medical marijuana, making it increasingly challenging to change how the public perceives cannabis products.

It’s difficult to determine the reason behind the cannabis prohibition. Some say it was a ploy to take control away from the military, while others believe it destroyed the cannabis fibre market and made way for America’s synthetics instead. Either way, US campaigns eventually changed public opinion and succeeded in turning opinion against cannabis.

Where Does Japan Stand On Cannabis Now?

Japanese cannabis regulations have remained unchallenged for several decades, despite the global shift towards plant-based remedies, like CBD. In today’s political climate, introducing cannabis-related products into society or medicine is a sensitive topic. In the previous section, we discussed the Cannabis Control Act, which may see someone in prison for up to 7 years for cultivating cannabis. Since the passing of this act, some hemp cultivation has remained legal but under stringent regulations. Only licensed farmers can grow hemp, and unfortunately, the numbers show how difficult it is to obtain a valid license. In 1954, there were over 37,000 hemp farms, decreasing to just 37 in 2016.

Over the years, negative cannabis campaigns were shared across Japan and successfully changed public opinion. Despite new global research into the benefits of CBD, the current stigma around cannabis-related products is a massive hindrance for the CBD market.

Is CBD Stigmatised in Japan?

CBD is a hemp-derived compound that may trigger various effects in the body and mind. Scientific studies have suggested that CBD may interact with our Endocannabinoid System (ECS)—a cell-signalling system that facilitates cell communication. With its potential influence on the ECS, CBD may lead to better sleep, less pain, improved cognitive functioning, and reduction of mental illness symptoms—to name a few.

As CBD originates from a variation of the cannabis plant, it is often associated with the intoxicating effects of marijuana. More specifically, the compound THC. Unlike CBD, when someone consumes too much THC, it may cause a “high” sensation.

The stigma around CBD often comes from a lack of awareness around how CBD is sourced and extracted. Its association with cannabis and THC is where the stigma may overlap. That said, THC is not inherently negative, as some countries approve medical marijuana when prescribed by a medical professional.

As the laws surrounding cannabis and cannabis-based products are so severe, it is common for people to look at the plant negatively. However, attitudes towards cannabis (certainly CBD) may be changing.

Is Japan’s CBD Market Likely to Grow?

The CBD industry has been growing globally as the world focuses on sustainable, natural health remedies; but, does that mean Japan will follow suit?

There is potential for the CBD market to flourish, primarily due to the changing attitudes and long history of cannabis in Japanese culture. As most of the world embraces the unique potential of cannabinoids, more funding is directed towards cannabis and CBD research. It is easier to share the possible health benefits with people in Japan with additional studies, especially as cannabis research is currently prohibited in the country.

Between the rich history, potential new research, and possible changing laws, Japan is set to spike in the CBD industry. However, there are some challenges to address before this happens.

What Challenges Does the Japanese CBD Market Face?

There are several hurdles to jump over before the CBD industry see’s real growth in Japan. Firstly, the previously discussed stigma surrounding cannabis poses an issue as the people of Japan may not be open to introducing a cannabis-derived product onto the market. That said, as attitudes are changing, there is an increasing demand for high-quality CBD.

Since becoming legal to sell in 2016, the industry has relied on imported CBD due to strict manufacturing laws. Unfortunately, despite having a growing audience, importing CBD into Japan is difficult at the least. The Narcotics and Psychotropics Control Act regulates which substances are allowed into the country. While this law doesn’t specifically apply to CBD, it does ban THC and THC-related substances. There are regulations in the US and UK that allow a maximum percentage of THC in the final product; however, it’s a different story in Japan. Exporting CBD to Japan comes at a high cost, and unfortunately, most consumers can only afford low-strength CBD products.

Although there is some discussion that the Cannabis Control Act may change, the Japanese government has considered a new law. While the Cannabis Control Act punishes those who possess or cultivate the plant, the new law may allow arrests for anyone smoking or ingesting cannabis.

Where There Is a Challenge, There Is Opportunity

Navigating these challenges may be difficult, but they do present an opportunity. With Japan’s long, rich history of cannabis, the plant was a vital part of their culture way before the Cannabis Control Act came into play. This background presents an opportunity to educate people on the past and break down the stigma around cannabis. If we can begin to do this, it could make way for CBD market growth.

Currently, getting CBD in Japan is challenging and limited. Due to high export costs and strict laws, cannabidiol products have a high retail price making them inaccessible to the broader public. Unfortunately, the more affordable options contain such a low strength that it’s likely not to have significant results.

How Is Always Pure Organics Contributing to the Changing Cannabis Narrative?

Here at Always Pure Organics, our objective is to stimulate global acceptance of and access to cannabinoids. As we expand into the Japanese CBD market, we aim to provide Japanese consumers with the highest quality cannabidiol products and research projects. Making CBD accessible is proving to make a massive difference in many people’s lives. That’s why we have partnered with Green Zone Japan and Project CBD to help aid the rise of Japan’s CBD industry and provide accessible CBD to the people.

Setting up in Japan has provided us with a prime opportunity to change how the Japanese CBD industry operates. Not only will we be able to offer faster delivery, but we aim to make high-strength CBD affordable for the majority. While CBD is available in Japan already, strong, effective doses are expensive. This is an issue we aim to address in our partnership with Green Zone Japan. By providing the clinical trials with consistent, trustworthy CBD, we are taking a step towards a future where CBD is accessible for those in need.

Green Zone Japan Partnership

Green Zone Japan noticed the lack of CBD and cannabis research available in Japan and set out to change that. They are a Japanese medical cannabis advocacy group aiming to provide up-to-date science to Japanese medical professionals and the general public. Through social networks, their website, and seminars, Green Zone Japan plans to educate people on CBD and CBD therapeutics. In our partnership, we are supporting their project for children with intractable epilepsy in Japan.

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In an interview, Naoko Miki of Green Zone Japan reported on a 6-month old boy with epilepsy. His mother explained that they tried CBD, but it wasn’t effective. The family contacted Green Zone Japan for advice and eventually joined the clinical trial. With therapeutic doses of CBD, the patient’s seizures stopped. We support these trials to provide continued treatment to these patients whose quality of life depends on it. This collaboration has allowed us to support approximately 30 patients since June 2020; 7 patients found their seizures completely stopped by our THC Free Distillate. With consent from their primary doctor, we support the patients’ access to therapeutic level doses of CBD at a reasonable price.

In the same interview, there was a discussion about potential government-approved trials for 2022, along with a change in criteria. The Japanese government is yet to prioritise regulations for THC levels in CBD, meaning the current guidelines are vague and hard to follow. What’s more, there are many initiatives to push CBD products into the non-medical category, including food supplements and cosmetics. This potentially significant step may open a gateway for new products and brands, stimulating market growth.

Together we hope partnerships like this help the CBD industry to grow despite high import costs. As laws may alter, CBD becomes widely accepted, helping make affordable, higher doses available to the public.

Project CBD Aims to Educate

Alongside Green Zone Japan, we are supporting Project CBD in their mission to educate Japan on the history of CBD and its potential therapeutic benefits. Green Zone Japan is creating a Japanese version of Project CBD’s website, where together, both organisations update it with new research and findings. By sponsoring these organisations and spreading the cutting-edge research to approximately 130 million Japanese-speaking individuals, we believe it could be the catalyst to make CBD popular across Japan.

It’s important to note as Always Pure Organics breaks into the market as a white label CBD company, it opens doors for high-strength and high-quality CBD to be distributed across Japan.

Final Thoughts

Japan’s CBD market may be poised for growth in the coming years, but with wavering public opinion on cannabis, strict laws, and high import costs, it’s safe to say there are some challenges to consider. That said, our partnerships with Project CBD and Green Zone Japan recognise exciting opportunities to help fund, educate and supply Japan with effective CBD.

With such a rich history associated with cannabis, it’s a shock that this heritage is mostly forgotten. These programs intend to share the country’s cannabis culture while de-stigmatising it and sharing science-led data. In all, medical CBD is the gateway to greater acceptance. It will work as a stepping stone to educate people and work towards a future where cannabis-based products are welcomed in Japan.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the history of cannabis in Japan?

Japanese culture has a long history with cannabis; at one time, it was considered one of their most important crops. Before the Second World War, people used cannabis to make paper, clothing, rope, bows, and oil. However, it wasn’t only a valuable crop; cannabis had a significant spiritual meaning in Japan’s indigenous religion. Priests would wave bundles of the plant to ward off evil spirits, women wore cannabis veils as a sign of purity and fertility, and shrines were decorated with it. Cannabis weaved its way into every fibre of society, providing practical and spiritual tools.

In the 1940s, cannabis became war material as the military created parachute cords and ropes. Although, when Japan surrendered in 1945, the US introduced new laws, and everything changed.

What are Japan’s laws surrounding cannabis?

Since the late 1940s, when the US took control, the Cannabis Control Act has been in play. This law dictates that if someone possesses cannabis, they can face up to 5 years in prison. Whereas, if someone cultivates the plant, they can face up to 7 years in prison. Anyone found to go against his law is shamed as Japanese culture perceives cannabis as a dangerous drug. Alongside this, the Narcotics and Psychotropics Control Act bans any THC or THC-related substances into the country. While it doesn’t prohibit CBD, it makes exporting CBD into Japan complicated and costly.

It’s easy to believe that with the global attitude shift towards sustainability and natural remedies, that Japan may follow suit. While there is promise for this to happen, the law prohibits cannabis research, making it increasingly difficult for the current studies to have an impact.

Why does Japan have such strict cannabis laws?

When the US took control over Japan, they began to implement their ideas and attitudes into Japanese culture. In 1948, the Cannabis Control Act passed, starting the demonisation of cannabis plants. Due to America’s enforcement, they campaigned against the cultivation and use of cannabis and eventually changed public opinion. For over 70 years, this law has remained unchallenged, prohibiting the cultivation, possession, and research on cannabis. Despite the world becoming more accepting of hemp and cannabis, Japan’s laws persist.

How is Japan’s CBD market set for growth in 2022?

Since there is such a rich embedded history and relationship with cannabis, there is a fantastic opportunity for education. Programs such as Project CBD teach people to form their own educated opinion rather than following a possibly outdated law.

CBD is already gaining serious traction across the globe. In the US, the CBD market is predicted to reach $1.8 billion by 2022, with the UK now worth £690 million. With new research developing continuously, more people in Japan are questioning their cannabis laws and joining this plant-based revolution.

What challenges does the Japanese CBD market face?

Since the late 1940s, Japan’s attitudes have changed due to US control, new laws, and negative cannabis campaigns. Over time, Japanese people adopted these values, and the post-war movements were a success. As the cannabis laws haven’t changed for over 70 years, there are a lot of restrictions and critical public opinions.

Fighting the stigma around cannabis and CBD is a huge hurdle to overcome if the cannabidiol market is to grow. What’s more, cannabis research remains prohibited, forcing Japanese scientists out of the country to study it. Finally, while CBD is not necessarily illegal, THC in all forms is. Therefore, exporting CBD products is expensive and largely inaccessible to the majority of the public.

How is Always Pure Organics contributing to Japan’s change of opinion regarding cannabis?

Here at Always Pure Organics, we aim to drive global education, research, and distribution of cannabis-derived products. This is why we partnered with organisations such as Green Zone Japan and Project CBD to supply high-quality CBD to supplement their CBD education programs and make CBD more accessible.

As we establish ourselves in the Japanese CBD market as a white label CBD company, we can provide premium-grade wholesale cannabis-based products. By sponsoring the organisations mentioned above, we are keen to be part of the movement that makes CBD and cannabis-based products accepted in Japan. As regulations change, we hope to be the number one CBD business for bulk ingredients, bespoke CBD oils and products, and white label CBD items.

Buying CBD in Japan: What You Should Know [2020]

Historically, cannabis has held immense significance in Japan.

Unlike many other countries that used cannabis mostly for recreational purposes and fiber, Japan treated it as a sacred plant. Cannabis had a major role in Japanese symbolism, tradition, religion, and medicine.

Yet, despite 10,000 years of continuous use, cannabis became prohibited in Japan a few decades ago.

How did this happen?

war, politics, and international relations, of course. But times are changing in Japan once again.

Today, hemp and CBD are legal under strict rules, but Japanese citizens are finding it easier every year to find CBD supplements.

In this guide, we’ll take a brief look at the history of cannabis laws in Japan and discuss the current regulations on CBD and hemp products. Perhaps most importantly — we’ll discuss how to buy high-quality CBD products from brands that operate or ship CBD to the region.

Summary: Buying CBD in Japan

  1. CBD extracts and products that are THC-free and made from hemp stems are legal in Japan
  2. The interest in CBD in Japan is increasing steadily, and laws are expected to become friendlier in 2020 and beyond
  3. Refrain from purchasing CBD products that contain any THC — it’s prohibited and severely punished by Japanese officials
  4. You can shop for CBD in local stores, or you can order online if you live in Japan
  5. You can use a mail forwarding service to buy from international brands that don’t ship to Japan

Best CBD Oils in Japan

Ananda Hemp Broad-Spectrum Zero THC CBD Oil


Elixinol CBD Oil Liposomes

$0.13 – $0.20

Medterra Isolate CBD Oil

$0.04 – $0.07

Formula Swiss CBD Oil

€0.06 – €0.08

Reakiro CBD Oil

€0.07 – €0.08

Hemp Bombs CBD Oil

$0.07 – $0.17

A Brief History of Cannabis Laws in Japan

The history of cannabis in Japan begins in 10,000 BCE. The first findings were seeds and woven fibers used for clothes, food, bowstrings, and fishing nets and lines.

Hemp was of great importance to prehistoric Japanese people, and it’s mentioned in the most famous collection of poems — the Manyoshu (8th century).

Besides its many uses, the plant was also a symbol of strength and persistence. The Japanese would often tell their kids about hemp’s ability to grow tall and strong, encouraging them to do the same and to persist no matter what.

The popularity of this symbolism led to the creation of Asa-no-ha, a fabric made from cannabis leaves used for children’s clothes in the 18th century.

The Japanese also used hemp fiber for building shrines. There was a strong belief that cannabis is a sacred plant inhabited by the gods. Priests would use cannabis leaves to expel evil spirits and to bring purity in the shrines.

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What’s interesting about cannabis’ history in Japan is that there’s no evidence of people smoking cannabis, but many documents confirm cannabis use in medicine. Various medicinal books and old ads from the 20th century demonstrate people treating muscle pain, asthma, allergies, and insomnia with cannabis.

During the Second World War, the Japanese military forces needed rope and cord for the ships and parachutes. When Imperial Japan surrendered in 1945, the US entered the country and took control over many government policies — including Japan’s agriculture. Shortly after the occupation, the US government imposed cannabis prohibition.

Although the ban was to “protect the public from drugs,” some history and economy experts believe that America intended to close the well-developed Japanese cannabis industry to open the doors to new American artificial materials.

With the implementation of the Cannabis Control Act (1948), Japan’s cannabis farms were nearly wiped out, leaving many farmers deprived of their right to grow cannabis for their survival.

Today, low-THC hemp is grown mostly for fiber, food, and CBD extracts, while marijuana is strictly prohibited with severe penalties for those using or possessing it.

Why Is It Important to Differentiate Hemp from Marijuana?

After being used for centuries throughout the world, hemp became plant-enemy number one for many governments in the 20th century. But what led to this?

Hemp and marijuana are both cannabis plants, but they have one key difference — their THC concentration.

THC is the primary psychoactive compound of cannabis, and while highly concentrated in marijuana, it’s found in exceptionally small amounts in hemp plants — which means hemp can’t get you high.

In most of the countries, marijuana is considered any Cannabis sativa with more than 0.3% THC (0.2% in Europe). Any plants that contain 0.3% THC or less is considered hemp instead.

However, Japan’s Cannabis Control Act focuses on the plant’s parts, regardless of the THC content. The act prohibits the use of cannabis leaves and flowers but excludes the seeds and the stem. This is because even marijuana plants don’t produce psychoactive concentrations of THC in the stems.

Cannabis products made from hemp stems or seeds that don’t contain ANY THC is legal for purchase without a prescription in Japan.

You’re not allowed to use recreational cannabis products in Japan. If you get caught with any amount, you will receive a severe penalty.

Is CBD Legal in Japan?

Japan is one of the most ambitious players on the Asian market — CBD is unrestricted and available at airports, cafés, restaurants, beauty shops, and pop up stores. However, THC is still illegal, and CBD products must be 100% free from the psychoactive compound.

Although quite liberal in comparison with the other Asian countries, Japan applies strict rules on CBD. Besides the ban on THC, CBD can be extracted only from the hemp stems, but there’s a silver lining — the law doesn’t mention an upper limit on CBD in these products.

The principles of integrity are deeply rooted in Japanese tradition, and laws around CBD require companies to implement meticulous quality and safety standards. This is an on-point advantage for you as a buyer because you can indulge in high-quality CBD products such as CBD cosmetics, food and beverages, topicals, vape juices, and oils. The Japanese government takes steps to protect CBD users by making sure companies are following the rules.

The same can’t be said for CBD companies operating in the United States of Europe, where the industry is a bit of a wild west.

In summary, CBD products are legal in Japan as long as they’re made from cannabis stems or seeds, and don’t contain any measurable levels of THC.

How to Buy CBD Products in Japan (Legally)

CBD is not a brand-new concept in Japan — it’s been slowly progressing into the mainstream over the last few years. There are fortunately a few different ways you can buy CBD products in Japan.

The rapid market growth and the high demand for CBD indicate that low-THC CBD could be legalized soon. However, it’s best to abide by the current laws when shopping for CBD, so you don’t fall into any trouble.

Japan is not as restrictive as you may assume — you can shop for CBD isolate products and broad-spectrum CBD both in-store and online.

Many countries that apply strict rules prohibit CBD imports, but Japan’s officials didn’t want to create an oppressive market. Instead, the government allows experienced foreign brands to introduce their CBD products on the market, following the country’s rules.

The best place to buy CBD products in Japan at the moment is online. Here you can shop from hundreds of different suppliers and have your products shipped to your address in Japan.

Alternatively, you can purchase CBD products at various local shops and stalls in Japan.

Buying CBD Online in Japan

If you do a little research, you’ll find many decent brands selling high-quality CBD on the Japanese market.

It seems that both online and local stores have found their customers — The Japanese love to shop for CBD online, and they also enjoy spending time at local cafés savoring different CBD-infused drinks and sweets.

When it comes to buying CBD oils, topicals, and beauty and wellness products, it’s best to shop at online stores. Online, you can choose from various domestic and foreign brands.

If you’re buying CBD from a foreign brand, ask the retailer about the ingredients and THC content in the CBD extract used.

You’re not allowed to buy CBD with THC or CBD extracted from hemp flowers or leaves. If you do so, customs will seize your product — you risk prosecution if you get caught importing a product with THC.

Other than this legal matter, you shouldn’t bump into any serious obstacles. Buying CBD online is convenient because you can choose from thousands of products sold at an affordable price, and you can shop at your convenience.

If you read through local magazines and websites, you’ll notice that many suggest shopping from Japanese brands. This may sound “patriotic,” but it has nothing to do with it. It’s sensible advice — domestic brands produce CBD abiding by the local rules.

On the other hand, foreign companies create products that can satisfy the international market, and a large portion of their goods contain traces of THC or CBD extracted from hemp flowers.

Don’t get discouraged — there are foreign brands that produce top-notch CBD products intended for strict markets like the Japanese.

Some brands, however, won’t ship their products to Japan, but you can use a mail forwarding service to get around this. We’ll clarify how mail forwarding works a little bit later.

Advantages & Disadvantages of Buying CBD Online in Japan
  • You can choose from thousands of products from reputable brands
  • You will save money and time — online stores have reasonable prices, and they operate 24/7
  • You can contact the seller for product details
  • You can choose between domestic and foreign brands
  • Rules on CBD quality are strict, so there’s a lower risk for scam
  • There’s a risk of customs seizing your product
  • You might need to use a mail forwarding service

Tips on Buying High-Quality CBD Products in Japan

There are thousands of CBD products to choose from, but not everything is safe. Even in the most regulated markets like the Japanese, you can spend your money on a low-quality CBD if you’re not careful.

There are several factors that you should consider when shopping for CBD. Let’s take a look at the most important ones.

1. Consider If There’s Any THC in the CBD Product

The Japanese law doesn’t tolerate THC under any circumstances, and you should always shop for either CBD isolate products or broad-spectrum CBD.

Pay attention to this when you’re shopping for CBD in a foreign country. Most brands that sell worldwide have CBD products with low amounts of THC. Opt for their 100% THC-free CBD.

2. Ask About the Origin of CBD

If you were buying CBD somewhere in Europe or North America, your only worry would be the origin of hemp. The environment where hemp is grown affects the quality of CBD.

However, when shopping in Japan, you shouldn’t forget that you can purchase only CBD that’s extracted from hemp stems. Besides the hemp quality, you should consider what parts of the plant were used for the extraction. Never pay for your CBD before the seller ensures you it’s legal in your country.

3. Stay Away From CBD Products With Exaggerated Health Claims

CBD is known for having many benefits, but it’s not a cure for all ills. Some companies might try to sell it to you as such just to earn some quick cash. If a CBD product sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

4. Buy CBD From Reputable Brands

CBD’s popularity brings many new brands to the market. However, it’s best not to buy from a brand that still hasn’t established its reputation, because you can never be sure of their products’ purity.

On the other hand, brands that have been present on the market longer tend to fulfill their customers’ expectations. Reputable brands care for consistency, and they wouldn’t risk selling you CBD of questionable quality.

How Mail Forwarding Works

Mail forwarding companies can provide you with a local address in the region where you want to shop for CBD.

You may wonder how this is useful to you. Well, it’s simple — some brands may decide that they can’t ship CBD to your country, and your only option is to use a mail forwarding service to get ahold of this product.

The mail forwarding company will receive your parcel at a warehouse and redirect it to your home address.

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