Laws and Regulations

The Future of CBD in Japan

Written by Antonio DeRose

Japan is known to have some of the most prohibitive laws on cannabis when compared to other countries in East Asia. Although, this comes as no surprise, considering the entire region has a general opposition to anything considered to be a drug. Despite laws on cannabis becoming more liberal in other countries, law enforcement in Japan has increased cannabis-related arrests.

Cannabidiol, (CBD), on the other hand, is legal in Japan and starting to gain popularity. According to the New York Times, expert analysts are estimating the annual demand for CBD in Japan could be $800 million by 2024. This huge potential growth is being forecasted because of several ideal demographics of consumers the country has to offer. [1]

Japan is the third-largest economy in the world. The population has more older-aged adults and senior citizens than most other countries. Japanese society is super health conscious and the demand for health supplements is extremely high. CBD is already marketed as a supplement for healthy living, making Japan a perfect market for CBD products.

Governmental acceptance of CBD has only recently been swayed. In January of 2021, Japan’s Healthy Ministry held a panel to investigate the use of cannabis and CBD. Medical evidence and the societal impact were evaluated. The final report was released in June. It did not mention medical cannabis but did recommend that trials of pharmaceutical medications derived from cannabis be allowed for studying their medicinal efficacy.

There’s no question that the consumer market conditions are perfect in Japan. Enough to potentially position Japan as being a future leader in CBD sales and consumers. At the same time, government officials are still being cautious about cannabis in general. This is likely to change quickly as the global landscape of CBD and cannabis is continuing to expand at a rapid pace. As more countries legalize medical cannabis in East Asia, like Taiwan and South Korea, Japan is likely to do the same.



1- Dooley, B, et al. Japan Stays Tough on Cannabis as Other Nations Loosen Up. New York Times. 2021, Oct 27.

About the author

Antonio DeRose