The miracle cure-all? Everything you need to know about CBD in the Netherlands

CBD in the Netherlands is hyped, affordable, and widely available.

Chances are that you have heard of CBD before. Or, at least, you know that it has something to do with cannabis — and aren’t there tons of health benefits too?

Well, my friend, we’re happy that you’ve surfed the digital waves right into our arms because we’ve got the ABC of CBD in the Netherlands for you: what it is, how it’s made, the laws surrounding it, the health benefits and uncertainties. 

Read on!

What is CBD?

CBD products come in all shapes and sizes. You can apply it to your skin as oil or inhale it by smoking a CBD-heavy joint. Image: Freepik

CBD is one of two main chemical components, called cannabinoids, found in the marijuana plant. It stands for ‘cannabidiol‘ and has seen a sudden rise in popularity since the mid-2010s. 

Why? Because, allegedly, CBD is a miracle cure-it-all substance that can help with issues as minor as mosquito bites up to anxiety, sleeplessness, or even cancer and Parkinson’s disease (more on that later). 

Because of these hailed health benefits, CBD products have been popping up all over the place. There are CBD-infused oils, chocolates, coffees and even face masks. In some especially hip cafés (or coffeeshops here in the Netherlands), you can order CBD-infused cakes or drinks.

Tip: We recommend CoffeeshopAmsterdam for some delicious CBD-infused cocktails and drinks, or CoffeeshopAmsterdam Café for a to-die-for CBD hot chocolate. 😍

What is the difference between THC and CBD?

While CBD is a chemical component present in the cannabis plant, it’s not the stuff that makes you high. 😮‍💨 In layman’s terms, CBD does not alter your brain chemistry — so you won’t be seeing any pink elephants after putting a couple of drops of CBD oil in your morning smoothie. 

That’s the doing of CBD’s bigger and flashier brother THC. (We really don’t recommend throwing that in your mixer instead of spinach.) 

THC stands for Tetrahydrocannabinol, and it’s the component in cannabis that has the psychoactive effects. 

Watch this funny video by The Daily Show with Trevor Noah that poses the age-old question: “They say it has all the benefits of weed but then without the high. But then what’s the point?!”

There are many misconceptions about the legality of selling, buying or using CBD in the Netherlands. That’s probably because there is already quite a bit of confusion regarding the legality of cannabis in the Netherlands more generally.

The rule of thumb is that cannabis in the Netherlands is decriminalised and tolerated, but it’s not legal. This includes CBD and all CBD products. 

What does that mean? Well, no one will bother you if you smoke or buy weed or CBD products in the Netherlands, but there is no law officially legalising the substance.

Good to know: CBD falls under the Dutch Opium Act, which distinguishes between soft and hard drugs. Drugs like ecstasy, cocaine, or LSD are considered hard drugs (List I) in the Netherlands.

Cannabis, on the other hand, alongside sleeping pills or sedatives such as Valium, is considered a soft drug (List II). Meaning, that it’s tolerated by the Dutch government and can be sold in specialised stores or coffeeshops — and this includes CBD products.

How does CBD work?

So, let’s talk science for a minute. The reason why CBD and THC affect your body and brain is that their chemical structure can bind to something called the endocannabinoid system (ECS).

The ECS is a cell-signalling system that runs throughout your body and influences a range of processes such as sleep, mood, appetite or memory. It is basically composed of a number of receptors that can send signals to your brain, such as “you’re sleepy” or “you’re hungry.”

Both CBD and THC can bind to the receptors present in the endocannabinoid system. CBD actually turns off the receptors that THC would usually bind to. 

So, instead of making you high, CBD tends to have calming effects on your ECS. The messages your brain receives are somewhere along the lines of “I am calm” or “I am at peace.”

Is CBD a miracle cure-it-all?

Okay, let’s get into the good stuff. While it’s not yet super well researched, there are many testimonies and a couple of studies that hail the alleged health benefits of CBD. 

This magic cannabinoid supposedly helps with a whole range of diseases and disorders. 

Most popularly, CBD is meant to help with anxiety and depression. But there are many more alleged health benefits.

CBD oil can even help out with allergies like hay fever, for example! It might. Image: Supplied

Here’s just a rough list of the conditions CBD might (or might not) help with:

  • Epilepsy
  • Chronic pain
  • Inflammation
  • Arthritis
  • PTSD
  • Diabetes complications
  • Skin health
  • Concentration issues
  • Sleeplessness
  • Long-COVID symptoms

And so forth. You can read about more benefits on SupMedi’s blog, where they discuss all things CBD.

Some (non-scientific) testimonies really seem like miracles. Just watch this video of a woman suffering from a developed case of Parkinson’s disease that compares CBD to her regular medication.

Okay, but what does the science really say?

Research on CBD and its potential health benefits is still in its early stages. This means that we don’t quite know yet whether or not CBD treats all the disorders and diseases that it’s praised to do — but the evidence is piling up.

Here are just some scientific studies and insights that’ll hopefully spark your curiosity.


CBD might lessen the churning anxiety feeling in your stomach. Image: Depositphotos

The New York Times says that out of 5,000 surveyed CBD users, 60% of them took the cannabinoid to help with anxiety.

Okay, but does it? Well, a 2011 study first hinted that CBD can help people with social anxiety disorder. Study participants took a public speaking test, whereby the control group was given a placebo and the other group was prepped with CBD oil.

The results were promising, showing that participants who took the CBD showed significantly reduced anxiety levels and improved the quality of their public speaking.

A review of eight recent studies on CBD and anxiety reported that overall the substance was ‘well-tolerated’ and there minimal ‘adverse effects.’

So, does CBD help with anxiety? Science says it might and in either case, there don’t seem to be any notable harmful side effects. So, why not try it out?


One of the most promising findings is that CBD might help significantly reduce epilepsy seizures. Especially in infants, children and young adults that show resistance to other, commonly used drugs.

According to Healthline, one study found that the group who received the CBD experienced a 44% reduction in seizures. Conveniently, the control group also experienced a 22% reduction.

A second study also found that the amount of CBD seems to make a difference in the frequency of seizures. With a daily dosage concentration of 20 mg/kg, patients experienced a 43% reduction in seizures. With 10 mg/kg epilepsy seizures were reduced by 37%.

These results are very promising and ongoing studies continue to investigate epilepsy treatment with CBD.

Pain reduction

Arthritis is a progressive conditions causing chronic pain in the joints. CBD might be able to help with that! Image: Depositphotos

Last (but certainly not least), CBD seems to help people who are dealing with chronic pain. From arthritis to easing the side-effects of chemotherapy or neuropathic (nerve) diseases — several studies seem to suggest that CBD can significantly reduce inflammation and constant, chronic pain.

However, more research is needed on this front. It will be interesting to see which insights on CBD this new field of research will bring to us in the future. 👩🏽‍🔬


Little did you know that CBD can also help you become a better athlete! That’s because of CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties, which can help you recover more quickly from this post-workout muscle pain.

While concrete evidence is still lacking, a targeted 2020 review of scientific studies and trials hint that CBD might be beneficial for athletic performance. Aching muscles? Applying CBD oil internally or externally might soothe your sore limbs. The same goes for minor injuries.

Is CBD safe?

One of the reasons why CBD is so promising is that the side effects are very minimal to non-existent. In the worst case, negative side effects reported were dizziness, nausea, dry mouth and low blood pressure. But usually, the substance seems to be agreeable with most people.

If you buy CBD products, be it oil, chocolate or coffee, just read the instructions carefully or check in with the person who sells it to you about how much you should take at a time.

Where can you buy CBD products in the Netherlands? 

Getting your hands on CBD products in the Netherlands, including CBD oil, is not an issue. You basically have two options: buying CBD products online or walking into one of 

the multiple shops that advertise them for sale. 

In the Netherlands, it’s not only coffeeshops that are allowed to sell CBD. As long as the THC level is kept below 0.5%, you can buy CBD legally across counters all over the country. 

Don’t be fooled, these CBD chocolates won’t get you high but they might soothe your headache. Image: Depositphotos

It’s important to know that there aren’t yet a lot of mechanisms in place that control and enforce the quality of CBD in the Netherlands, so it’s important to find a reputable company that you trust. 

If you’re in Amsterdam, we can recommend popping by Amsterdam Seed Center or When Nature Calls. These guys sell a whole range of high-quality CBD products, including oils, and the staff are happy to impart their wisdom to everyone, including newbies.

Top tip: Looking to order your CBD products online? We can recommend SupMedi! Their products are thoroughly tested by a GLP-approved laboratory to ensure top quality. From oils, supplements, and chocolates to soaps — their shop stocks pretty much anything your heart desires.

For example, their CBD melting tablets contain 30mg CBD per pill. They’ve also got CBD coffee and CBD oatmeal for the extra kick in the morning. Or do you fancy some bite-size CBD chocolates with 25 mg per piece? 😋 Check out for more.

Do you have any experience with CBD oil or other products in the Netherlands? Tell us in the comments below!

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in August 2019 and was fully updated in August 2023 for your reading pleasure.

Feature Image:Freepik
Freya Sawbridge
Freya Sawbridge
Freya was born in Edinburgh but raised in New Zealand (cue every person she meets saying “oh I have always wanted to go there but it’s so far away!”). A restless and curious nature has led her to move countries 5 times in the last 3 years in attempt to find a place she can call home. She contacted DutchReview on a whim and arrived in the Netherlands in summer 2019 to start her internship.

Liked it? Try these on for size:

What do you think?


  1. Eh no, I think 95% of the Netherlands populations knows what you are talking about. But off course this comment will be deleted as the people here don’t like critics. It is not the case here but if you dare to say an USA-ian is wrong, your comment will be deleted.

    You know: USA USA USA USA USA: we are the best country in the world!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Hey, I am Pascal from Elite CBD and I want you to say that this is a great article! It covers the basics of what CBD is and how it’s made, along with the legal landscape surrounding it. The article also explores the potential benefits of CBD for various conditions like anxiety, epilepsy, and chronic pain, while emphasising the need for further research.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

The latest Dutch news.
In your inbox.