Norway’s Medicines Agency regulates CBD very strictly. CBD is considered an exempt medication and is available with a doctor’s prescription.
Despite CBD being a mainstream product throughout Europe, the Norwegian lawmakers have decided to maintain previous laws — keeping the sale and distribution of CBD-infused products tightly controlled.
What’s surprising is that CBD isolate (zero THC) is tolerated in Norway — but many people refrain from buying it due to strict customs regulations.
If you want to avoid getting lost in the tangled Norwegian hemp laws, read our complete guide and learn how to buy legal CBD in Norway.
Norway’s early hemp history (Roman Iron Age – 9th century) is centered around its religious use. Most European countries used hemp for food and fiber — but in Norway the history goes much deeper than this. Cannabis had a strong religious connection to the Vikings and pre-Christians living in the area.
In Norwegian folklore, hemp was a symbol of life and death — both newborns and the dead were dressed in hemp cloth at birth and funeral ceremonies.
One of the most famous ships from Norway’s Viking history — the Oseberg ship — indicates that Vikings used cannabis in rituals. The Oseberg ship was the burial site of two young women, who, when excavated, had Cannabis sativa seeds in their pouches.
The remnants of the two young women didn’t include any hemp clothes or ropes, and scientists take this as another indication that cannabis was mostly used for religious ceremonies.
However, later historical records (11th century) show that Norwegians used hemp for rope and sails for merchant and war ships. In the 13th century, the king placed a hemp tax. Later, in the 16th century hemp became a major cash crop for the Norwegians.
Hemp use in Norway increased in the 16th and 17th centuries but was mostly grown in Denmark due to better climate conditions.
The kingdom also imported large amounts of hemp from the Baltic countries and Italy. In the 19th century, Norway imported 18,000 tons of hemp and continued to purchase hemp from foreign countries until the end of the Second World War.
After World War II, the use of ships decreased, and hemp was no longer necessary. But there was another, more significant issue that caused hemp eradication in Norway. Conservative laws and the public association with recreational marijuana lead to the banning of all cannabis products in 1964.
Since then, the law hasn’t changed much — and cannabis cultivation remains illegal in Norway.
For hundreds of years, laws treated hemp in the same way as marijuana due to their similar appearance. While hemp and marijuana both belong to the Cannabis sativa species, they differ in phytochemical composition — most notably in the THC concentrations.
Marijuana is a term used to describe cannabis plants that have higher levels of THC — the main compound in cannabis that accounts for the psychoactive properties of the plant.
Norway doesn’t have a specific threshold for when cannabis plants are classified as hemp or marijuana. This is in comparison to the European Union, which considers any Cannabis plant with more than 0.2% THC by dried weight to be marijuana. Anything less is listed as hemp.
While marijuana cultivation and sale are prohibited in Norway, possession of up to 15 grams is decriminalized but still punishable with a €225 fine.
Under EU law, hemp includes cannabis varieties with less than 0.2% THC, and it’s legal for cultivation in most member states.
Hemp varieties are grown for industrial uses — fiber, building material, food products, paper, insulation, biofuel — and for medicinal uses for its high CBD concentrations without producing a psychoactive high from THC.
Norway is not part of the EU and has its own cannabis regulations. The government hasn’t allowed hemp cultivation for over five decades due to the unchanged restrictive law from 1964 and the association of hemp with marijuana.
As a non-member state of the European Union, Norway has different cannabis and CBD laws from the rest of Europe.
Norway outlawed hemp in 1964 due to its association with marijuana, and its status hasn’t changed since.
Contradictory to its harsh rules on cannabis cultivation, the Norwegian government made a proggressive change and announced their decision to decriminalize all drugs, including cannabis.
In Norway, the Medicines Agency considers CBD a drug, which means you need a doctors prescription to purchase it yourself.
Extracts from any cannabis plants in Norway are regulated under the UN Convention on Drugs and national drug regulations.
Although both laws have cannabis extracts listed as drugs, there are no approved CBD-based drugs in Norway, meaning your doctor would have to apply to the Medicines Agency for approval for medical CBD with up to 1% THC.
In 2017, Scandinavian countries started cooperating in the pharmaceutical space to establish CBD regulations and the import of medicines. Currently, the Norwegian Medicines Agency is working on a plan to set an upper limit on cannabis-based products, including CBD — this would clarify whether products with THC concentration below 0.2% would be considered drugs or not.
Until this is defined, you’re not allowed to purchase low-THC CBD (full-spectrum CBD products) without a prescription.
Some reports suggest you can purchase CBD isolate products (zero THC) online, but you must be careful when ordering your product — if it contains any trace of THC, customs will seize it and you can receive a law violation notice. The rules are strict, and many people who have imported CBD have ended up in legal trouble with customs.
If you want to purchase CBD in Norway, speak with a doctor about your medical condition or symptoms to obtain a prescription.
Your doctor must be licensed to prescribe medical CBD and must justify the reason for prescribing it.
Once the doctor decides you’re a good candidate for CBD, he or she can apply to the Medicines Agency for an exempt authorization for CBD with less than 1% THC. If the medicines authority confirms the permission, your doctor can contact a pharmacy, and they’ll order the CBD for you.
Currently, there are two CBD suppliers in Norway:
IMPORTANT: Don’t try to import full-spectrum CBD on your own. Even if it’s for medical purposes — it’s not permitted, and customs will likely seize your product.
As long as the authorities consider CBD a drug, you’ll be able to purchase it only with the assistance of your doctor and the approval of the medicines authority in Norway.
You can purchase CBD online without prescription, but it must be 100% free from THC (CBD isolate).
On the bright side, the cooperation between Nordic countries in the pharmaceutical space could bring a change soon. Once the states define the upper limit in cannabis-based products and the status of CBD products with less than 0.2% THC, you might be able to buy low-THC CBD without a prescription like you can in most other European countries.
A positive example of this is Denmark, where hemp-based CBD with less than 0.2% THC is no longer a medical-only product.
Denmark’s change in laws could influence its neighboring countries’ CBD regulations, including Norway.
Currently, you can make online purchases only if the CBD you’re buying is 100% THC-free.
Once the rules in Norway loosen, you’ll be able to shop for CBD with less than 0.2% THC from brands that operate online.
You may find that some brands won’t ship to Norway, even if the product you’re ordering is THC-free. Don’t worry — a mail forwarding service can help you get around this.
Mail forwarding services are an easy-to-use service for making online orders from foreign countries. We’ll explain how it works right after we share a few tips on how to buy high-quality CBD.
The only thing that kills the vibe about online shopping in Norway is that you’ll have to wait for your product and cross your fingers that customs won’t seize it (though they shouldn’t if it contains no THC).
Pros and Cons of Buying CBD Online in Norway
If you’re buying CBD with a doctor’s prescription, you don’t have to worry about the quality of the product you’re purchasing. Medical CBD sold in pharmacies must meet strict quality standards.
However, if you’re purchasing CBD online, there are a few things you should pay attention to before you place an order. Most important of all, you should know how to differentiate between top-notch CBD products and fake ones.
Here are a few tips on how to buy high-quality legal CBD in Norway.
If you want to make sure your CBD is of high-quality and safe for use, always ask the retailer for a Certificate of Analysis. The document confirms that the product is tested for quality and is free from contaminants.
Often, retailers who want to earn a quick buck will market their CBD product as the cure-all to every ailment. If you can sense that the retailer is more focused on presenting the CBD as a cure-all rather than being transparent about the product’s quality, don’t buy it. This is a good sign of a CBD scam or CBD company with low integrity.
Unless you’re buying CBD for medical use, your product mustn’t contain any THC. Shop for CBD isolate products and broad-spectrum CBD over full-spectrum products.
Sometimes, certain brands won’t ship their products to countries where laws are stricter or impose very specific rules.
Mail forwarding companies provide you with an address that the company will ship to. You can then use this address to buy CBD from companies that don’t ship to your country, and the mail forwarding service will redirect the package to your door.
Setting this service up is simple. Let’s go through the steps.
Go to the mail forwarding company’s website and register an account. The company will then give you a local address in the region where you want to buy CBD.
If you’re going to shop for CBD in the US, we recommend Shipito. Shipito operates in North America, and they can provide you with a US mailing address.
If your favorite CBD brand operates in Europe, you can register for Skypax’s service and get an address in the UK. Many mail forwarding companies are operating throughout the world, these two are our highly recommended companies.
You can make an online purchase right after you receive the local address from the mail forwarding company.
Place your CBD order and enter the provided address in the address field. Don’t get confused about using the address from the mail forwarding company — it has nothing to do with your home address and serves only as a shipping destination.
Once the CBD package arrives there, the staff from the mail forwarding company will change the stamps with new ones and forward the parcel to your address.
IMPORTANT: Mail forwarding companies work at discretion, but they can’t guarantee that customs won’t seize your product. Don’t spend your money in vain by ordering CBD with THC before the Norwegian laws authorize such products.
If you live in Norway, you’ve probably jumped through some hoops to find high-quality and legal CBD. If you haven’t — be ready to do so.
You can buy CBD with 1% THC from a licensed pharmacy, but the process to obtain medical CBD is complicated, and you’ll have to find a reliable and an open-minded doctor willing to help you obtain exempt permission.
The good thing is that you can purchase CBD isolate products and broad-spectrum CBD from online retailers. When shopping for CBD online, don’t forget to contact your retailer and verify that the product is 100% THC-free.
The Norwegian customs are rigorous, and they won’t turn a blind eye if they catch you importing CBD with THC — even if it’s just a trace.
We’re looking forward to the announced changes in law around low-THC CBD in Norway. Once the government sets new rules, we’ll update you.