US $77.5 million
|2020 Market Size
|2025 Market Size
|Largest CBD Product Types (2020)
|Key Distribution Channels
US $77.5 million
US $135.9 million
Flower - US $34 million (48%)
Gas Stations, Supermarkets, Pharmacies
As cannabis products that contain less than 1% THC (a very generous allowance) are considered legal CBD products, Switzerland's CBD market is highly unique in Europe. Between the highly restrictive medical cannabis market, and availability of CBD products in many and varied retail outlets with few restrictions in terms of products types, the CBD market has been particularly well-positioned to take off among consumers seeking cannabis derivatives as tobacco substitutes or wellness products. However, all CBD products are subject to categorization and must abide by laws and regulations corresponding to that category. Failure to do so results in products' being banned from sale in the market.
As is the case in neighboring countries in Europe, both Novel Food regulations and COVID-19 are expected to have short and long-term impacts on Switzerland's CBD market. The market will experience a significant hit in 2020 due to retail closures, fears around smoking, and budgetary concerns, but will begin to bounce back in 2021 and should see the negative impacts of these phenomena reduce over time, even giving way to a more robust formal market resulting from Novel Foods.
Switzerland has a progressive approach regarding CBD regulations and consumption. The country is willing to push limits and explore the plant’s potential, which creates an encouraging, sustainable, and predictable legal landscape for businesses. Unlike other European countries, Switzerland allows legal CBD products that contain less than 1% THC, which permits for products that provide a broader range of medicinal benefits and and wellness properties. CBD products that contain more than 1% THC are allowed, but only with a medical prescription, and the commercialization, use, production, or possession of these products outside the medical cannabis regulatory structure is considered a criminal offense.
When it comes to CBD products in the mainstream market, there are certain rules that must be adhered to:
One must be at least 18 years old to buy CBD products, as with tobacco and alcohol
Businesses cannot make specific health promises related to CBD products
Although it is not prohibited, driving under the influence of CBD is advised against by Federal Office of Public Health
Though its approach to CBD regulation is more liberal than that of many other European countries, there are some unique limitations on the Swiss market. All CBD products are subject to a categorization system, and each category carries specific laws and regulations. CBD-containing products include: raw materials such as cannabis buds or powder with a high CBD-content, extracts in the form of oils or pastes and ready-to-use products such as capsules, food supplements, liquids for e-cigarettes, tobacco substitutes, scented oils, chewing gums and ointments, some of which are offered as personal care products. These products may be placed into one of the following six categories, and once assigned to a category, the corresponding related Swiss legislation is applied:
Utility articles (CBD-containing liquids for e-cigarettes)
Specific regulations applicable to different types of CBD products can be found here. End products are classified on a case-by-case basis, taking composition, intended use, dosage, etc. into consideration. Different enforcement authorities are responsible for control of each product type. Products for which there is no specific applicable law are covered by the Federal Act on Product Safety.
It is possible to market tobacco substitutes with CBD if they have less than 1% THC content. Tobacco substitutes must satisfy the requirements applicable to the smoked tobacco products that they replace. Therapeutic properties may not be claimed. These substitute products are considered tobacco products and are subject to tobacco tax.
Switzerland was an early mover in the CBD space, and has a generous cap on the amount of THC permitted in products (up to 1%), which has allowed a great deal of companies to begin operations there and thrive - with many successfully expanding throughout Europe. The number of manufacturers operating in Switzerland has grown by hundreds per year since 2016, with both distributors and and consumers continuing to adopt CBD in different formats, which has catapulted the industry into the country's mainstream. Successful local brands pride themselves on the quality of their product and reputation of Swiss product overall.
Although a handful of popular companies, such as Koch & Gsell (Heimat) and Cibdol, occupy a large portion of Switzerland's CBD market, there are hundreds of other companies registered with the Federal Customs Administration and the market remains quite fragmented.
The company previously manufactured tobacco cigarettes, launching its tobacco-and-hemp cigarettes in 2017, and pure-hemp pre-roll cigarettes containing less than 1% THC content in 2019, through their brand Heimat. Koch & Gsell partnered with Coop, one of the largest Switzerland-based co-op grocery chains, to sell the cigarette product, and sales have scaled rapidly - beginning the CBD cigarette craze in the country. In addition to being one of the first companies worldwide to manufacture and sell CBD cigarettes, selling through Coop gives Koch & Gsell AG access to potentially over 2,000 grocery store locations throughout Switzerland. The initial product launch took place in 700 stores, with a price set at just under $20 USD - over double the average price of a regular pack of tobacco cigarettes.
In 2018, the company launched a CBD flower product designed to be an alternative to rolling tobacco, and began selling it in the supermarket chain Lidl - one of the largest supermarket chains in Europe, with roughly 100 stores in Switzerland and over 10,000 stores worldwide - positioning it well to gain traction among consumers and expand throughout the region. Beyond CBD flower, the company sells CBD tinctures, balm, and gum.
JKB Research SAs brand CBD420 is a domestic cultivation and manufacturing company in Geneva, Switzerland whose products can be found in nearly 1,000 tobacco shops across the country, as well as in France, Belgium, and online. Its e-commerce site receives traffic from countries throughout the region.
Founded in 2014 and among the first to apply for Novel Foods authorization, the company offers CBD oils, creams, and supplements from 'prime European hemp'. The company's line of oils, capsules and skincare products is available in Switzerland, Netherlands, online retailers in the UK and can be shipped across Europe. Cibdol prides itself on its strong quality assurance practices from soil to sale, marketing centered on "Swiss purity", and unique product types (vitamins, balms for skin conditions). It also invests heavily in customer relations, providing support before, during, and after consumers purchase their products.
Canada-based MPX International's Holyweed brand offers organically-grown CBD pre-rolls (20% or more CBD, <1% THC) with 24-hour delivery in Switzerland.
This list is not exhaustive, a number of additional companies have a significant foothold in Switzerland. For detailed profiles of various companies thriving in the country and region, see our European Competitive Landscape Page.
The most common outlet for the purchase of CBD or hemp products is tobacco shops, by a significant margin. As mentioned above, the brand CBD420 alone sells products in approximately 1,000 tobacco shops across the country. Swiss consumers can also purchase CBD products through a variety of other brick-and-mortar retailers, including grocery outlets, cosmetic stores, head shops, CBD specialty stores, etc.
Grocery outlets and supermarkets in particular continue to be a popular channel through which consumers can purchase CBD, with sales beginning in two popular grocery chains - Switzerland-based Coop and Germany-based Lidl - in 2018. More so than in much of the rest of Europe, CBD flower is extremely popular among the Swiss, often used as a substitute to rolling tobacco, though other products are thriving as well. Coop in particular has noted other hemp products it has carried, such as tea, beer and oil, have seen high demand in the past. Coop and Lidl store locations that sell CBD flower alone represent over 20% of total supermarket chains in Switzerland by number of stores, thus these types of outlets represent a massive opportunity for manufacturers to expand their consumer reach, especially with diversified product offerings.
An extremely wide range of CBD products is available in the Swiss market, but inhalables lead the way by far. Since Switzerland considers smokable hemp products a tobacco substitute, CBD cigarettes can be found in supermarkets, gas stations, and CBD-specific retail shops throughout the country. CBD retail shops tend to carry the widest range of CBD products, but pharmacies and supermarkets also offer topicals, tinctures, capsules, and some offer edibles as well. For instance, Lidl (a chain of 100 stores in Switzerland) and Swiss supermarket chain Coop (with 2,000 stores throughout the country) both carry CBD cigarettes in an increasing number of stores.
Source: Brightfield Group 2020
CBD brick-and-mortar and e-commerce shops have begun to offer all forms of product, including: flower, pre-rolls, vaping liquid, tinctures, topicals, edibles and even soft drinks. Several companies initially offered only CBD flower and oil products, but have expanded their offerings to include - most commonly - vapes and topicals like transdermal creams. In addition, producers in Switzerland have been manufacturing CBD products for pets at an ever-increasing rate.
While COVID is expected to somewhat dampen the popularity of smokable products due to associated respiratory risks, these effects will be largely limited to 2020 and the Swiss flower and vape industries are expected to continue to thrive both during and after the crisis. Because these product formats have gained so much traction in Switzerland, they will continue to dominate, as ingestibles such as oils (tinctures) and capsules must overcome the barrier of Novel Foods regulation and in the meantime and will lose inertia.