On October 17, 2018, recreational cannabis became legal in Canada.  At the same time CBD was added to the prescription drug list (PDL) meaning that there is currently no way to license CBD as a natural health product (NHP).  In response, CHFA has created, an advocacy campaign that supports removing CBD from the PDL in order to license it as an NHP.  Following is a summary of CHFA’s most frequently asked questions pertaining to cannabis products. 


Question: What is CBD and what is it good for?

Answer: CBD is one of many cannabinoids (chemical compounds) naturally found in the cannabis plant. Unlike Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD does not produce a ‘high’. CBD has a long history of safe use for prescribed and self-identified medical conditions and research into its benefits for ailments such as pain, sleep, stress and nausea is growing.  

Question: Is CBD safe?

Answer: As CBD has minimal side effects and does not produce a ‘high’, the World Health Organization concluded that it has a good safety profile and there is no evidence of any public health-related problems associated with CBD use. 

Question: Where can I buy CBD?

Answer: Legally, you can only purchase CBD through:

  • A provincially licensed recreational retailer;
  • A licenced producer if your doctor provides you with  a ‘medical document’; or
  • A prescription drug. 

Question: Can I buy Natural Health Products (NHPs) or cosmetics containing CBD?

Answer: No. Health Canada has added phytocannabinoids such as CBD to the Prescription Drug List which means that isolated/concentrated CBD cannot be legally sold in self-care products such as NHPs or cosmetics.  

Question: What is CHFA’s position on access to CBD?

Answer: CHFA believes that in a Canada where cannabis is available for recreational use, Canadians should also have access to safe, effective and high quality NHPs containing CBD, to benefit their health.  We feel that Canadians who want to get well should not have to hunt for CBD among recreational products made to get you high.

Question: If I can still buy CBD through my provincially licensed cannabis store or through my doctor, why should I be concerned that it’s not allowed to be sold in NHPs?

Answer: For many Canadians, finding a doctor who supports cannabis use for health purposes can be difficult. Furthermore, CBD products that are available in recreational cannabis stores, are not labelled for health use – they do not provide you with information about how much to take or important risk information. In addition, they can unintentionally expose you to THC. NHPs are regulated by Health Canada for safety, efficacy and quality and are required to provide you with key health product information.

Question: Can I still buy hemp products?

Answer: Hemp containing products that contain less than 10ppm THC and do not contain isolated or concentrated CBD or make health claims specific to CBD, will continue to be allowed to be sold in Canada. 

Question: Can I import cannabis health products from the U.S. or other countries from online?

Answer: No. Cannabis containing health products such as CBD would not be eligible for personal importation. 

Question: What steps are needed so that CBD can be purchased as an NHP?

Answer: CBD must be removed off The Prescription Drug List by showing evidence that the product is safe for consumption as a natural health product.

Question: I want access to CBD-containing NHPs. What can I do about this issue? 

Answer: CHFA supports access to CBD containing NHPs in Canada and is actively engaging MPs and policy makers in Ottawa to discuss the implications of adding phytocannabinoids to the Prescription Drug List, but you can help too! Head over to; it’s a public campaign launched to help Canadians inform their MP about the importance of access to CBD as a natural health product. Write a letter to your MP and share with your social networks too!

Question: I own a health food store, can I sell recreational cannabis?

Answer: Each province and territory has their own rules on how recreational cannabis can be sold within their respective jurisdictions. Some provinces will allow the sale of cannabis only through federally licensed retailers, while others will allow licensed private retailers, or both. To become a retailer of recreational cannabis, you must meet specific criteria to obtain a licence. For more information about cannabis in each province and territory, click here

Question: Who can I contact if I have a question about CBD-containing health products?

Answer: Questions related to the overall approach to the regulation of cannabis should be submitted to  

For more information on the use of cannabidiol (CBD) in cannabis and hemp products under the new Cannabis Act, read the Government of Canada's fact sheet here