Is CBD legal in Kenya?

A gavel with a white background

Understanding Cannabidiol (CBD)

Cannabidiol, commonly known as CBD, is one of the many compounds found in the cannabis plant. Unlike THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the main psychoactive compound in marijuana that gives the high sensation, CBD is not psychoactive. This quality makes CBD an appealing option for those who are looking for relief from pain and other symptoms without the mind-altering effects of marijuana or certain pharmaceutical drugs.

Legal Status of CBD in Kenya

The legal status of CBD in Kenya is a topic that has raised considerable interest and confusion. This is due to the contrasting laws and regulations surrounding the use of cannabis and its derivatives, including CBD. Let's delve into the specifics.

Kenya's Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act

In Kenya, the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Control) Act of 1994 is the law that governs the use and possession of drugs. According to this Act, cannabis is classified as a narcotic drug. The law prohibits the possession, sale, and use of any form of cannabis, including CBD, without a valid prescription from a licensed medical provider.

Exceptions to the Rule

However, the law does provide for certain exceptions. The Act stipulates that the Minister of Health may issue licenses for the cultivation, import, export, manufacture, sale, and distribution of drugs classified as narcotics for medical and scientific purposes. This means that, theoretically, CBD could be legal in Kenya if it is used for medical or scientific purposes and the necessary licenses have been obtained. However, obtaining such a license can be a challenging and lengthy process.

Enforcement of the Law

Despite the strict laws, enforcement of cannabis-related offenses in Kenya is inconsistent. While some individuals have been prosecuted for possession of CBD, others have been able to use it without interference from law enforcement. This inconsistency can lead to confusion about the actual legal status of CBD in Kenya.

Traveling with CBD

If you're considering bringing CBD into Kenya, it's important to understand that the country has strict drug trafficking laws. Importing CBD without the necessary licenses could potentially lead to criminal charges.


In conclusion, the legal framework surrounding CBD in Kenya is complex and can be confusing. According to the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Control) Act, CBD is classified as a narcotic and its use, possession, and sale are prohibited without a valid medical prescription. However, there are exceptions for medical and scientific use, provided the necessary licenses have been obtained. Enforcement of these laws is inconsistent, which can lead to confusion. If you're considering bringing CBD into Kenya, it's crucial to understand the potential legal implications and consult with a legal professional before doing so.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.