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
Buying CBD in Japan: What You Should Know 
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
- CBD extracts and products that are THC-free and made from hemp stems are legal in Japan
- The interest in CBD in Japan is increasing steadily, and laws are expected to become friendlier in 2020 and beyond
- Refrain from purchasing CBD products that contain any THC — it’s prohibited and severely punished by Japanese officials
- You can shop for CBD in local stores, or you can order online if you live in Japan
- 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.
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.
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.