Cannabidiol (CBD) Cosmetics in China: Regulation and Market Analysis

A little story shows the attitude of China government regarding the Cannabidiol (CBD) Cosmetics in the current circumstances.

On October 17, Canada launched the second wave of full legalization of Cannabis (Cannabis Act), and cannabis products such as edible products, beverages, spices, concentrates and atomized tobacco, hookah, etc., are legal. On the same day, cannabis-containing foods, ointments, and external products in Canada were legally marketed one after another.

In response the legalization may affect the China mainland and put pressure on the inspection of Custom, the local Chinese consulate in Canada issued a reminder to remind Chinese citizens to identify cannabis products, “The citizens of China should fully aware of the harmfulness of the Cannabis products may be caused. And try to identify cannabis products from Health Warning Messages on product packaging and whether to indicate the content of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), etc. Please avoid buying, holding, eating or carrying products containing hemp ingredients without your knowledge and entering the country, thereby violating relevant Chinese laws and regulations. ”

Although the policies are against the CBD cosmetics come into China, the market reacted in the opposite direction.

Just two days before Canada issued the decree, Chinese daily chemical company Yunnan Baiyao spent 730 million Hong Kong dollars to subscribe for its holding subsidiary Wanlong Ltd. And Wanlong following to announced that it would use the funds for the industrial cannabis business. In addition to Yunnan Baiyao, domestic pharmaceutical companies such as Kang Enbei and Kunyao Pharmaceutical Group are all deploying CBD cosmetics this year.

Generally speaking, the markets reacting is reasonable and predictable based on the enormous potential markets of CBD cosmetics. According to a report by Wall Street investment bank Jefferies, the global total value of the CBD market will reach $ 25 billion in the next ten years. As early as last year, there was a wave of CBD in the A-share market. As of the beginning of this year, more than 10 A-share listed companies were involved in the field of industrial cannabis. This upsurge even caused industrial hemp cultivation permits worth more than millions of dollars.

Therefore, the situation of CBD cosmetics in China becomes interesting. Just like the 100m metre dash, government’s policy is the starting pistol to hold the fully prepared players to join the race.

To be fact, certain parts of hemp source ingredients are allowed to be used in Cosmetics in China. The “ Inventory of Existing Cosmetic Ingredients in China (IECIC 2015) ” was released by the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) clearly includes following Cannabis ingredients.

 

Chinese Name INCI/English Name
大麻(CANNABIS SATIVA)仁果 CANNABIS SATIVA FRUIT
大麻(CANNABIS SATIVA)叶提取物 CANNABIS SATIVA LEAF EXTRACT
大麻(CANNABIS SATIVA)籽油 CANNABIS SATIVA SEED OIL

 

And for the results, more than 500 types of cannabis related products were manufactured by local brands and entering the markets since 2018.

In the meantime, this is important, an imported Cannabis-related cosmetic are successfully notified in the National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) cosmetics filling system.

If you go through the older database and the current filling system, you can find out the authority rarely approved the imported cosmetics which claimed the cannabis-related products, not even the ingredients are allowed according to IECIC 2015. This signal clearly shows the attitude of the government is changing.

 

Although it is not CBD cosmetics, bottom-line is if you want to sell cannabis-related cosmetics in China, we suggested you can import the products that contain ingredients listed above to get into the markets first.

 

To the fact, most of the local brands just did the same way through e-commerce channel. The following picture shows the screenshot from Tmall.com with cannabis-related cosmetics. From the selling data, you can find the top seller has 22,000 sales last month with CANNABIS SATIVA LEAF EXTRACT masks which claim to reduce Acne. But for the rest of the products, it only has a few hundred sales. It shows the market on the consumer side is still warming up.

Back to the regulation, since the Cannabidiol ingredient is not listed in the IECIC, in the current stage the CBD cosmetics are clearly can not sell into China.

Since China is founded in 1949, the government has adopted a tough policy on illegal drugs. Until today, the cultivation and use of cannabis have been strictly prohibited, and smugglers may even face the death penalty. (only Yunnan province resume planting in 2010).

At the level of national advocacy, even for cross-border e-commerce which is not regulated by Cosmetic regulation yet is still CBD free.

The oversea travelers have a slight chance to bring the cosmetics inside china but with very high risks to be inspected by Customs.

Currently, the consumers only can reach the CBD cosmetics in two ways: Oversea travelers and “Daigou” business. If you search the CBD oils in Taobao.com, you still can find some of the Daigou sellers are selling the CBD products.

In conclusion, CBD cosmetics are not easy to be accessed by Chinese consumers due to the strict law on Cannabis products. Although, Chinese consumers are still building the recognition for the products, few Cannabis-related products such as the products containing CANNABIS SATIVA FRUIT, CANNABIS SATIVA LEAF EXTRACT, CANNABIS SATIVA SEED OIL is fully legal and can be put on the markets to build relationships with consumers in the first stage. CBD cosmetics in China are still a long way to go due to the government attitude but we believe it only a matter of time the policy will loosen after the international markets are matured and ready for Chinese markets.

 

 

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