History of CBD and Cannabis: Germany
In the twelfth century, famous German composer, mystic, and polymath Hildegard of Bingen wrote frequently about the beneficial properties of cannabis. More than any other public figure, Saint Hildegard has created a profound influence on the culture of cannabis use throughout Germany.
Over the centuries, a complex amalgam of international, political, and economic influences have shifted Germany’s relationship to cannabis.
Cannabis, CBD, and Germany
Cannabis cultivation, use, and trade dates back to at least 7,500 years in the Northern regions of Germany. Well into the nineteenth century, many southern German tribes used hemp in healing and birthing rituals, owing to its powerful pain relieving and anti-inflammatory effect.
In fact, it’s believed that cannabis use became widespread as early as the twelfth century among rural Germans. Both hemp and cannabis were believed to carry magical, medicinal, and industrial benefits that made it configure into a wide array of cultural practices.
First and foremost, hemp was recognized for its tensile strength, nutritious qualities, and fibrous roots. Hemp was used to create fabric, wartime composites, and other materials like ropes and fuel.
Hemp cultivation was only banned in 1982 due to growing international pressure. During this time, United States officials pushed the narrative that cannabis and all of its derivatives created both individual and societal degradation. German officials were put in a tense position, causing them to disavow all the positive properties of hemp.
More recently, both cannabis and hemp have started to edge into full legal standing in the country.
In 2008, a national conversation concerning the medical benefits of cannabis started. By 2016, the Cabinet of Germany formally approved legislation that would all terminally ill patients access to cannabis.
Now, many patients receive medical cannabis free of charge as long as they have a doctor’s prescription. Though the law originally applied to terminally ill people, many Germans with chronic yet not life threatening illnesses have found legal relief in government-sponsored cannabis.
Interestingly, Germany follows a decentralized model for all cannabis arrests. The national law concerning the illegality of cannabis use is relatively ambiguous since officers can choose to prosecute possession of their own volition.
Technically, officers are only supposed to intervene public cannabis consumption when it’s in “the public’s interest”. Currently, national law has not imposed any strict limits on the amount of cannabis that is considered legal to possess. In the eyes of the law, cannabis consumption is considered non-punishable self harm unless it’s performed around minors.
Aside from high THC cannabis, hemp has also seen a resurgence throughout Germany. Many health shops, cafes, and restaurants openly advertise CBD-infused foods. According to EU regulation, any cannabis product crafted with industrially certified hemp is legal to buy, sell, and trade.