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Best CBD Company Reviews: Top CBD Oil Brands & Manufacturers [2021]
  • Austria

    CBD Friendliness

    Legal Grey Area — Legal Lean

  • Table of Contents

Austria had a nine-centuries long hemp culture and a liberal cannabis market, but in less than a year, Austria dramatically shifted its attitude towards cannabis. Amidst this change, the country’s CBD businesses and consumers are finding it difficult to adjust to the new laws.

So, how did this happen? What do the new laws mean for CBD?

In October 2018, the Austrian government applied the Novel Food Regulation and banned all CBD food and cosmetic products. This resulted in a loophole in the law and a messy market where many local businesses have since been struggling to survive.

The Novel Food Regulation classifies CBD as a novel food, i.e., food that Europeans haven’t consumed significantly before May 15, 1997. 

As a consumer, you’ll want to know what this means for you. The laws are tricky, and you can still buy CBD — but only particular products.

In this article, we’ll clarify this legal mess for you and help you learn how to find a reliable CBD retailer, and how to buy CBD in Austria. 

Summary: Buying CBD in Austria

  1. CBD in Austria is a subject of the Novel Food Regulation
  2. CBD foods, dietary supplements, and cosmetics are banned and companies cannot advertise medical claims for these products
  3. The CBD market in Austria is highly unregulated due to a loophole in the law
  4. Hemp flowers, extracts, and hashish with less than 0.3% THC sold as aroma products are not prohibited
  5. You can purchase CBD online and use a mail forwarding service if the retailer doesn’t ship to your country directly

Best CBD Oil in Austria

Number Product Total CBD Potency Cost per mg CBD Link

1

Reakiro CBD Oil

300 – 1500 mg

30 – 150 mg/mL

€0.07 – €0.08

2

Formula Swiss CBD Oil

300 – 2500 mg

30 – 250 mg/mL

€0.06 – €0.08

3

Nordic Oil Full-Spectrum CBD Oil (USA)

500 – 2500 mg

16.6 – 83.3 mg/mL

$0.07 – $0.08

4

Sensi Seeds CBD Coconut Hemp Oil

500 – 1000 mg

2 mg/mL (10 mg/serving)

€0.04 – €0.05

5

Hemp Bombs CBD Oil

300 – 4000 mg

10 – 133.3 mg/mL

$0.07 – $0.17

A Brief History of Cannabis Laws in Austria

The oldest cannabis record in Austria dates back to the Neolithic period at Voslau, Lower Austria. Evidence from the Bronze, Iron, and Medieval Ages, prove that Austrians used cannabis for centuries — There are even Austrian towns with names inspired by the crop, Hampstätten, and Hanfthal.

Modern-day Hanfthal is the location of the most famous Austrian hemp museum where you can learn about the country’s long hemp history.

It’s not just museums where you can discover the country’s hemp tradition. Many historians and authors have written about cannabis in Austria.

Austrian journalist and author, Hans-Georg Behr, has written several books about hemp. In one of them — Hemp is the Question: the Culture and Politics of a Drug — Behr explains the importance of hemp in Austria’s Medieval period.

According to several Austrian legends that Behr mentions in his book, virgins chased by the devil would hide in hemp fields. During the Dark Ages, people were influenced by these stories, and they lived in fear of the devil’s presence. To protect themselves, they grew dense hemp fields around their farmhouses.

Hemp cultivation in Austria reached its peak during the Second World War but declined shortly after the introduction of cheaper natural fiber alternatives, such as jute, sisal, and cotton. From 1969, Austria’s agricultural statistics no longer mentioned hemp.

The country reintroduced hemp cultivation in the mid-90s, after joining the European Union in 1995.

Today, hemp cultivation is legal with a government-issued license, and personal possession of marijuana is decriminalized.

The Difference Between Hemp & Marijuana in Austria

Hemp and marijuana are closely related — in fact, they’re actually the exact same species of plant. Both hemp and marijuana are classified as Cannabis sativa. The only difference between the two is the amount of THC produced in the leaves and flower buds of the female plants.

Different strains of Cannabis sativa have been developed over the years through selective breeding. We now have strains that can’t produce THC in any significant supply, which effectively eliminates any psychoactivity from the plant. These non-psychoactive strains are referred to as hemp — as long as they make up no more than 0.2% THC of the dried weight of the plant. 

Marijuana plants are Cannabis sativa plants that contain more than 0.2% THC. The average THC content in marijuana plants is 12%, but some strains can have a THC concentration as high as 32%.

CBD was completely legal in Austria until the government banned CBD as supplements, food products, and cosmetics in 2018.

Authorities were already discussing restrictions on CBD due to a highly unregulated market and amended the law shortly after the enactment of the EU’s Novel Food Regulation.

The Novel Food Regulation classifies CBD as a novel food — a novel food is any food that Europeans haven’t consumed in significant amounts before May 15, 1997.

The new law prohibits the sale of CBD products marketed for “promoting health”, as food (including dietary supplements) and cosmetics.

Currently, CBD lives in the legal grey area in Austria as retailers use a loophole in the law to market and sell CBD without violating the law. This grey area is more friendly towards CBD than it is unfriendly. The ban doesn’t include essential oils or raw plant extracts, and retailers continue to sell CBD labeled as aroma products.

You can legally purchase cannabis flowers, extracts, CBD teas, and hashish with less than 0.3% THC online and in-stores because they’re sold as aromatic goods.

NOTE: Don’t import prohibited CBD products — customs may seize your package. If shopping online, look for products with minimal THC content (less than 0.3%) in order to avoid this from happening.

How is Hemp Cultivation Regulated in Austria?

Cultivation of hemp with less than 0.3% for fiber, seeds, and leaves is entirely legal with a government-issued license.

Growing cannabis for the production of medicines and scientific purposes is legal only if carried out by the Federal Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs, Health and Consumer Protection (BMASGK), and under the control of the Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety (AGES).

How to Buy CBD Products in Austria

Due to Austria’s confusing CBD regulations, you should be cautious when buying CBD.

First things first, always look for a product that’s legal and safe for consumption. We’ll broaden this topic a little bit later.

The most popular place to buy CBD in Austria is online. Online CBD stores in Austria operated with great success before the novel food regulation, and their popularity increased even more after the law changed.

You will notice that there are hundreds of trustworthy online retailers who respect quality standards. Reliable online retailers can offer you plenty of options when it comes to CBD. 

On the other hand, keep in mind that some stores are nothing but online shopping scams. So, how do you differentiate between fake e-shops and reliable ones?

Tips on How to Spot Fake Online CBD Stores

1. The Store Has Discounts That Look Too Good to Be True

Yes, we all know that Black Friday or holiday season shopping comes with super deals, but if a CBD retailer offers you its product for an unrealistically low price, it’s time to step back.

Before you buy your CBD, research a few online stores and compare prices. Reliable brands and stores have competitive prices. The ones with drastically cheaper offers should make you think twice before you purchase your CBD.

It’s especially important to avoid the “free sample” scams. These are notorious in the CBD industry at the moment.

2. The Products Advertise Cure-all Claims

You’ll bump into online stores that claim CBD to be a miraculous panacea. Avoid buying such products at all costs, not just because they’re likely to be fake, but because Austrian authorities prohibit the purchase of CBD that contains health claims.

3. The Shop Sells CBD Products Without a Certificate of Analysis

Never buy a CBD product that doesn’t come with a document that proves its safety. A reliable brand should provide you with a Certificate of Analysis that shows the product is free of pesticides and toxins.

These tests should confirm the cannabinoid profile of the oil or CBD product, and prove there are no heavy metals, pesticides, or solvent residues leftover in the final product.

What Are The Benefits of Buying CBD Online?

  1. Online stores are cheaper than physical stores, and they have a broad choice of high-quality CBD products. Knowing that you can buy top-notch CBD for an affordable price is extra motivation to shop from the comfort of your home.
  2. Online retailers have well-organized shipping systems, meaning you’ll get your product delivered to your door.
  3. Most companies that operate in-country will ship your CBD for free. Companies that ship internationally may offer free shipping service for orders over a particular price point, while some offer free shipping on all orders.
  4. Online stores are more convenient — the internet is open 24/7, so you can shop for CBD, reach out to customer service, or explore CBD topics anytime you want, regardless of what time or day of the week it is. Once you make a purchase, the order will show up directly at your door a few days later. You really can’t beat this level of convenience. This is exactly why online eCommerce shops like Amazon are outpacing conventional big box retailers.

Online shopping for CBD is popular in Austria, and you’ll have the privilege to shop from reputable brands.

While online shopping seems like an almost perfect option, it has its downsides, too — not many, but it’s good to know the obstacles.

Pros and Cons of Buying CBD Online in Austria

Pros Cons
  • Online stores are usually cheaper than local shops
  • Online shops have a wider selection of CBD products
  • You can shop from anywhere and anytime
  • Many online shops offer free/affordable shipping
  • Online stores are practical and available 24/7
  • You can read customer reviews before you buy
  • Some unethical companies are selling poor-quality products or running scams
  • You might need to pay for a mail forwarding service  

You Can Also Buy CBD In Local Shops in Austria

The ban on CBD foods and cosmetics didn’t stop stores from conducting business.

While it’s good to know that you can purchase CBD from a local store, it’s a real drag always having to shop with skepticism. The loophole in the law encouraged some retailers to operate recklessly. Sadly, many shops will sell anything.

On the other hand, once you find a reliable retailer selling high-quality CBD, shopping in-store can be a pleasure.

When you’re shopping for CBD in a physical store, you can experience the product and ask the staff for recommendations. Another positive thing about buying CBD in-store is that you can have your product without any delay.

What’s negative about local stores is that they limit you with fixed working hours, so you have to squeeze in your shopping time in your schedule. Unlike online stores, physical ones have overhead expenses, and this is why their products tend to cost more. So, if you’re shopping for CBD in one of your local shops, be prepared to spend a little extra.

It’s up to you whether you’re going to shop for CBD online or from a local store. Currently, online stores seem to have a broader choice of products, and the risk of bumping into a fake or low-quality product is not as high as in local stores.

Once the laws become clearer, things will balance, and you’ll be able to buy CBD both online and in-store.

Pros and Cons of Buying CBD In-Store in Austria

Pros Cons
  • You can examine the product for design and quality
  • You can have your product immediately
  • You can ask the staff for recommendation and advice
  • Physical stores are more expensive than online shops
  • Physical stores have fixed work schedule and limit your shopping time
  • Many local stores don’t respect quality standards
  • The market is unregulated

How Mail Forwarding Works if You Live in Austria

A mail forwarding company can help you get your product to your door when you order from a brand that doesn’t ship directly to Austria. Mail forwarding is easy to use and requires only two steps.

Let’s take a more detailed look at how this works.

1. Register an Account

To register an account, go to the mail forwarding company’s website and fill in the required info. Once you complete this step, the company will provide you with a local address that you’ll use to place online orders.

The local address depends on where you’ll be shopping for CBD. For example, if your retailer is in North America, we recommend signing up with Shipito, and they’ll provide you with an address in the US.

If you want to shop for CBD from a European company, a good option is to use Skypax — this mail forwarding company uses an address in the UK.

2. Place an Order

Once you have the account and the local address, place your CBD order.

When you’re filling in the shipping information, enter the address you were provided with as the shipping destination. The package will arrive there, but the staff will change the stamps and forward the parcel to your door.

NOTE: Mail forwarding companies work with the utmost discretion, but they can’t guarantee that customs won’t seize your product if they consider it illegal. For this reason, refrain from purchasing prohibited CBD products.

Here are Skypax’s mail forwarding rates:

Tier of Service Sign up Fee Annual Fee Average Shipping Fee
Standard Membership (If you only need the service every once in a while) £12 setup   ($15 USD) None £30   ($36 USD)
Premium membership (If you order CBD frequently and want protection on your packages) £0 £90   ($110 USD) £30   ($36 USD)

CBD Brands That Operate in Austria

  • Reakiro CBD

    Location: Spain, Lithuania, & Poland

    • Lab Tested?

      Yes

    4.33 / 5

    About Reakiro CBD

    Reakiro’s CBD extracts are generally less expensive than its European competitors and it offers free shipping on every order. Read the full review now.

  • Sensi Seeds

    Location: Europe

    • Established

      1985

    • Lab Tested?

      No

    4.33 / 5

    About Sensi Seeds

    If you’re looking for quality European CBD, you can’t go wrong with Sensi Seeds. Here’s why we think this pioneer cannabis company is worth choosing.

  • Love CBD

    Location: Croatia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, and Slovenia

    • Established

      2014

    • Lab Tested?

      Yes

    4.5 / 5

    About Love CBD

    The UK is finally catching onto the CBD trend and Love CBD is one of the frontrunners. Check out our company review here!

  • Nordic Oil

    Location: Europe

    • Established

      2018

    • Lab Tested?

      Yes

    4.67 / 5

    About Nordic Oil

    Nordic Oil is a European CBD company with a long list of innovative and cleverly-formulated CBD products. Learn what makes this company special.

  • Formula Swiss

    Location: Norway, Switzerland, and some other EU nations

    • Established

      2013

    • Lab Tested?

      Yes

    4.33 / 5

    About Formula Swiss

    Formula Swiss doesn’t just make great CBD products — the company also has a hand in sustainability and EU regulation of CBD products. Learn about Formula Swiss here.

  • Hemp Bombs

    Hemp Bombs reveiw

    Location: United States

    • Established

      2016

    • Lab Tested?

      Yes

    4.5 / 5

    About Hemp Bombs

    Hemp Bombs is one of the largest CBD manufacturers in the world — offering a wide range of unique product types. Their E-liquids are especially great!

Final Notes on Buying CBD in Austria

Until recently, shopping for CBD in Austria was a real pleasure. The ease with which you could buy CBD is now replaced with cautiousness and strict laws. Fortunately, you can still buy CBD products as long as they’re labeled as aroma goods and don’t exceed the 0.3% THC limit.

Be patient, and do thorough research on brands and products before you spend your money.

The local CBD market in Austria may be chaotic and under the eyes of the authorities, but you’ll always have online shopping as a dependable option.

Happy shopping!

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