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Japan CBD Cosmetics

Cannabidiol or “CBD” cosmetics are rapidly gaining popularity in Japan.  In 2013, Japan accepted its first import of CBD oil products.  Soon thereafter, Japanese companies imported and sold various types of CBD products – including cosmetics.  Beginning in 2019, Japan’s overall CBD industry noted significant growth.  The Yano Research Institute valued Japan’s CBD market at US$133 million in 2021 and projects that Japan’s CBD market will grow from US$341 million in 2023 to US$592.3 million in 2025.*   

Increases in Japan’s CBD product and cosmetics sales may be tied to relaxed laws governing both the use and sale of CBD products.  For CBD cosmetics in particular, increased sales are likely the result of Japanese consumers’ recent perceptions that CBD products have health benefits. 

Nonetheless, increases in the use of Japan’s CBD products must be balanced with the social stigma associated with the illegality of cannabis.  In 2022, Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) established a Cannabis Control Review Subcommittee to examine legislative reforms concerning cannabis.  Possession of cannabis in Japan was first criminalized in 1948 and remains illegal.  Laws prohibiting cannabis are strictly enforced.  CBD products that contain even trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are illegal; companies and individuals that import such products can face criminal prosecution if any amount of THC is detected. 

As with other CBD products, some of the challenges for manufacturers of CBD cosmetics sold in Japan continue to be changing people’s perceptions that using such cosmetics may be illegal or result in an altered state of consciousness.  Japanese consumers interested in learning more about “cannabis-derived ingredients” are likely to be more interested in CBD cosmetics that are applied to the skin than CBD products that may be ingested.  Consequently, we expect Japanese CBD skin care cosmetics to see the largest sales increases.  From 2021 onwards, CBD cosmetics sales could grow at year-over-year rates as high as 160-200%.

Although U.S. exporters must ensure compliance with all Japanese laws concerning CBD cosmetics products, Japan offers commercial opportunities in this rapidly growing sector.  Some of the CBD cosmetics currently available in the Japanese market include CBD hair serum, CBD gummies, and CBD oils for skin and nails. 

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