US $24.3 million
|2020 Market Size
|2025 Market Size
|Largest CBD Product Types (2020)
|Key Distribution Channels
US $24.3 million
US $109.6 million
Cartridges- US $15 million (62%)
Cannabis Social Clubs, Smoke Shops
Spanish regulations around CBD remain muddled and have left the market in limbo. The European Commission's reclassification of CBD as a Novel Food sparked authorities in Spain to start cracking down on CBD-infused edibles in Cannabis Social Clubs, the key distribution channel for CBD in the country. The Spanish Agency for Consumption, Food Security and Nutrition (AECOSAN), later published a statement formally adopting the European Commission's Novel Foods policy, and requiring that companies that wish to market ingestible CBD products go through the authorization process to be legally sold in Spain, thus their legal sales are now on pause in this market. However, the sales of external-use topicals as well as vapes, both of which fall outside Novel Foods policy, are continuing through other channels as well as e-commerce.
Beyond Novel Foods, COVID-19 will have a significant impact on Spain's CBD market in 2020 and beyond. In the immediate term, Spain's declared State of Emergency (March 14, 2020) and resulting lock down caused the closure of Cannabis Social Clubs, effectively removing the majority of legal cannabis - including CBD - access in the country for a period of time. Beyond 2020, considering the country's past struggles and unemployment rates during economic crises, it can be assumed that Spain will experience COVID-19 aftermath worse than most of the other European countries and will take several years to recover, which will suppress disposable income and tighten budgets, thus hampering the growth of the CBD market overall.
In Spain, cannabis cultivation to produce flowers or to extract any cannabinoid, regardless of the THC content, is subject to the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Medical Products (AEMPS)’s authorization. To receive the approval of the AEMPS for the cultivation of cannabis for medical, scientific or research purposes, the applicant needs to provide documentation regarding the cultivation, origin of the seeds, the CBD and THC content of the plants to be produced, the land plots and facilities to be used, and the security measures to be adopted.
Spain lacks any state-specific regulation regarding the use of cannabis as food, but on March 25, 2019, the Spanish Agency for Consumption, Food Security and Nutrition (AECOSAN) published a statement about the use of cannabis and cannabinoids as food, recognizing that food exclusively made from seeds, such as oil, hemp protein and hemp flour could be legally marketed in the EU due to the principle of mutual recognition. However, it stated that this EU principle cannot be applied to justify authorization of products that are considered Novel Foods under European regulations. Thus, any company that wishes to market an ingestible product that contains cannabinoids must submit an application and go through European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) processes to have these Novel Foods authorized prior to marketing them.
Initially, products that had been legally marketed before January 1, 2018 were meant to have a grace period to get their applications in. However, following AECOSAN's statement, several shops in Spain were raided and CBD oil-based products were confiscated. Furthermore, on April 18, 2019, Spain issued a notification to the Community Rapid Alert System for Food and Animal Feed (RASFF) regarding biscuits and chocolates that contain non-authorized cannabis derivatives from the Netherlands, with AECOSAN claiming labeling violations and disregarding the transitory period previously granted.
In Spain, cannabis cultivation, regardless of its percentage in THC, is subject to the prior authorization of the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Medical Products (AEMPS). AEMPS has granted authorization to five companies to cultivate cannabis with THC content lower than 0.2% for research purposes (Alcaliber S.A., DJT Plants Spain S.L., Phytoplant, CIJA Preservation S.L., and the Polytechnic University of Valencia), two authorizations for the production of medicinal marijuana, and one for educational purposes.
Cannabis Social Clubs have been the main distributors of CBD products, but due to recent European regulatory changes and resulting raids, CBD ingestibles are being taken off the shelves pending the circulation of Novel Foods-authorized product starting in 2021 or later. Smoke shops have been allowed to continue carrying CBD vapes, and external-use topicals are permitted as well, but given the dubious and still-evolving regulatory environment for CBD products in Spain, the market is highly fragmented, with no clear market leader.
Founded in 2014, Harmony is headquartered in Spain but its products have gotten much better traction in thriving CBD markets outside the country - many with less complicated regulatory structures and enforcement practices (such as UK, Germany). As a primarily vape-driven company, it is expected to weather the Novel Food and COVID storms successfully, given that vapes are not ingestible (and thus not subject to Novel Foods), vape products remain accessible under lock down as tobacco and vape shops have largely been deemed "essential" and remained open, and e-commerce is thriving worldwide.
Based in Vancouver, Canada, the company signed an agreement in March 2019 to market and distribute CBD-infused beauty and wellness products in Spain under the brand of a popular Mexican singer-songwriter, Thalia Sodi.
This list is not exhaustive, a number of additional companies have a strong foothold in Spain. For detailed profiles of various companies thriving in the country and region, see our European Competitive Landscape Page.
While CBD products such as oil and infused edibles were previously sold at Cannabis Social Clubs, the crackdown on CBD products by Spanish authorities in response to new European regulations has resulted in many CBD consumables being taken off of shelves. Many online platforms still sell these products and ship to Spain. One example is Alchimia, which sells marijuana seeds, gardening tools, and cannabis-related products in their brick-and-mortar stores but sells CBD products (in addition to cosmetics products) only online. Currently, external-use CBD products and vapes are still permitted for use and formally sold in Spain, and as such continue to be carried in some brick-and-mortar retail channels, including tobacco shops which have remained open as "essential" vendors under COVID-19.
Given that the regulatory status around topicals and vaping are the most lenient in Spain, the two product formats will dominate the country's legal CBD space until Novel Food authorizations permit more formats (eg tinctures/oils, capsules) to re-enter the market. Cartridges and e-liquids will take the lead, accounting for 62% of the market in 2020, while topicals make up the second-largest category, with a projected market share of 38%.
Source: Brightfield Group 2020