Public Health Service


Determination of maximum content limits for THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) in foods

Regarding the import and distribution of foods containing hemp ingredients or hemp products:

The European Union has not yet prepared any legislation that would have the aim of securing a uniform approach of all EU member states towards the matter of hemp products or foods containing hemp ingredients, and does not show to have any such plans for the future. Therefore, each member state is left alone to decide its approach to the matter, based on social, legal and other principles that apply within that country.

It should be noted that there is a misunderstanding that Regulation (EU) 1307/2013 allows THC to be present in any hemp product at levels up to 0.2%. This provision, in Article 32 of the Regulation, states that: " Areas used for the production of hemp shall only be eligible hectares if arieties used have a tetrahydrocannabinol content not exceeding 0,2 %". The limit of 0.2% (= 2000 mg/kg) in this provision does not apply to foodstuffs. The limits are set by National Decree 189/2018 (Κ.Δ.Π. 189/2018).

In Cyprus, the Pharmaceutical Services of the Republic have in December 2016 categorised CBD as a pharmaceutical product. Therefore, any request/application for the trade of CBD products in Cyprus should first be submitted to the Pharmaceutical Services. The Environmental Health Services shall examine any request/application for the trade of a CBD product only under the prerequisite that this has been examined beforehand by the Pharmaceutical Services and the Pharmaceutical Services have in writing declared that the concerned product is not deemed to be a pharmaceutical product. Generally, this might occur only in cases where the product is not a concentrated CBD product and contains CBD only as a very small percentage of the product.

Please also note that on the 6th of July, 2018, a national decree has been issued by the Government of Cyprus (Κ.Δ.Π. 189/2018), whereby maximum contents of THC are set for foodstuffs, as follows:

10mg/Kg for edible oil products
5mg/Kg for edible seeds and flour
0,2mg/Kg for other foods and drinks, excluding soft drinks and non-alcoholic beverages
0,04mg/Kg for soft drinks and non-alcoholic beverages

There is an obligation for food business operators to ensure for each batch of each product that the THC % is below the acceptable limit, as stated in the national decree. This is achieved for each batch by performing analyses on a sufficient number of laboratory samples by an accredited laboratory using a reliable method. These samplings and analyses must also take into account the heterogeneity between the various varieties of industrial hemp in terms of THC and CBD content.

The producer and supplier of the raw material must be reliable, comply with the legislation for the production of industrial hemp as well as with the rules of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP). Among other things, there should be concern for proper selection of seeds, proper cleaning / rinsing of seeds from possible contamination prior to milling, etc.

For each product, in addition to the laboratory analyses, the food business operator must hold relevant documents giving product specifications, including the raw materials and other ingredients used in the preparation of the product and their percentage as an ingredient.

In addition to the above, hemp products and food products containing hemp ingredients are required to comply with the EU legislation on novel foods, in particular Regulation (EU) 2015/2283.

Industrial hemp seeds do not contain THC by nature. The presence of THC in industrial hemp seeds and seed flour and oil is due to the contamination of the seeds with traces from other parts of the industrial hemp plant which naturally contain THC (particularly leaves and flowers) during the process of plant harvesting, sorting, etc. Foods and food ingredients derived from the leaves or flowers of industrial hemp, are very likely to contain THC in a concentration higher than that set in the National Decree 189/2018.

Extracts from the hemp plant do not have a proven history of consumption to a significant degree by humans in the European Union before 15 May 1997 (there is proven use before this date only for hemp seed as such, flour from hemp seed and hemp seed oil). Therefore, if an extract from the hemp plant is to be used in foodstuffs, it is a prerequisite that it has been approved as a novel food/novel food ingredient according to the provisions of Regulation (EU) 2015/2283 on novel foods. No such approval has been granted to date and these extracts are not included in the EU Novel Food Catalogue. For your information, here are relevant EU websites: where you may insert the word “Cannabinoids” in the box next to "Quick Search".


Thus, even if a product does not contain any amount of THC or CBD, it shall be considered as non-compliant with food legislation in the EU and Cyprus if it contains any ingredient derived as an extract from the hemp plant.

Where industrial hemp extract is used as a flavouring in foodstuffs, it must be approved beforehand, in accordance with the requirements of Regulation (EC) No. 1334/2008. Pending the approval of hemp flavourings, it shall be determined on the basis of all the available scientific data that the flavouring does not pose a risk to the safety of the consumer's health and that its use does not mislead the consumer and actually has an aromatic function in the food.

Public & Environmental Health Services
Ministry of Health
April, 2022

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Last Modified:
08/02/2021 03:29:12 PM
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