The Rise of CBD Oil in Japan

The Rise of CBD Oil in Japan

From skincare to edibles — how CBD oil is growing in the Japanese market 


Despite its taboo status, cannabis, otherwise known as hemp, is penetrating the Japanese market due to its health and beauty benefits. 

While the possession of marijuana can lead to up to ten years in jail in Japan, the cannabis plant’s non-psychoactive cannabidiol (CBD) compound is totally legal to sell and purchase — and more and more people are doing so. From helping with chronic pain to maintaining glowing skin, CBD oil is transforming the way people view cannabis culture, particularly here in Japan.

Is CBD oil legal in Japan? 

CBD oil is legal in Japan and is a growing industry (excuse the pun), particularly in cosmetics and health industries. Former Miss World Japan Priyanka Yoshikawa just launched a CBD oil skincare brand and Michael Bobrove, founder and CEO of HealthyTOKYO, has been pioneering CBD use in Japan since 2011. 

Known for various health benefits like relieving chronic pain, halting seizures and calming down anxiety, CBD doesn’t contain THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive component that makes people “high.” Due to Japan’s strict marijuana laws, it’s a common misconception that CBD oil is also an illegal substance. Although both products are derived from the same plant, CBD oil that’s THC-free is legal here.

However, you should take caution if purchasing CBD oil from overseas, as laws and regulations differ in other countries where the product is manufactured. Although there’s a general lack of awareness regarding CBD and its advantages in Japan, this is expected to change and grow, especially in skincare and health industries.

CBD oil in skincare 

The presence of CBD oil in skincare and wellness has been expanding, and is predicted to have exponential growth in Japan. Yoshikawa, the first biracial woman to be crowned Miss World Japan in 2016, realized the benefits of CBD during her stay in the U.S. two years ago. Yoshikawa launched her own CBD-infused skincare line MUKOOMI earlier this year and opened its online store in May.

The brand name holds a powerful message, combining the words mukou (beyond) and miru (to see). The brand holds at its core the message to transcend standard beauty expectations and the products themselves are all-inclusive and gender neutral. Yoshikawa created the brand in collaboration with Shahdan Calcuttawalla, a global entrepreneur. 

When asked about why she decided to start a brand specifically focusing on CBD oil, Yoshikawa shares that CBD oil aligned directly with her values about “science, tradition and environment.” “Science is discovering the benefits of new substances and re-affirming the miraculous properties of traditionally used substances like CBD oil derived from the hemp plant,” she says.

“The latest skincare research proves that CBD can have great effects when applied to the skin. This natural extract is derived from hemp, which is called a ‘super plant,’ as it does much more to improve the Earth than most plants, such as putting nutrients back into the soil around it and making it more fertile.”

Tying together the concept of diversity with the benefits of CBD oil, MUKOOMI aims to be the go-to CBD skincare brand in Japan. Yoshikawa’s debut line includes a face cream, eye serum, skin serum and a hydrating facial toner. The line also features CBD oil isolate drops, which can be consumed directly or added to food and drinks.

How is CBD oil good for skin? 

CBD skincare products are still new to Japan, but their benefits outshine standard skincare products already on the market. “CBD-infused skincare has Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, which increase the production of collagen and keeps the skin hydrated by reducing water loss, while the antioxidants in the oil reduce redness and wrinkles, giving it anti aging properties,” Yoshikawa explains.

For first-timers, she suggests starting with the MUKOOMI face cream and MUKOOMI skin serum. “These are products that can be applied daily and people will start to see results from regular application,” she says. “So much of our skin’s health is directly linked to our mental health and that is why we have MUKOOMI CBD Oil Drops. I would highly recommend having a few drops throughout the day as it helps calm the mind, reduce stress and anxiety and reduce breakouts and other related skin issues.”  


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Health, wellness and where to buy CBD oil in Japan

Another space where CBD oil is seeing a boom is in health and wellness, where it can be added into your diet for a healthier lifestyle. Bobrove, whose company HealthyTOKYO spearheaded the introduction of legal CBD oil to the Japanese market, explains that “HealthyTOKYO has introduced premium quality CBD oil since 2016, when awareness of the product in Japan was still very low.

It was also the first business to sell CBD at Haneda airport, as well as a dedicated CBD shop in Harajuku. It has a generous product line that has been expanding over the years, and its products are now made in Japan. Its customers are a mixed bunch including Japanese customers, international residents and travelers”  


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Does CBD oil actually work? 

In terms of CBD’s benefits, Bobrove points out that companies are not allowed to make any claims for the effects that CBD oil can bring about. “HealthyTOKYO has compiled a solid and expansive source of information about clinical studies, user experiences and other substantiated data about CBD and its uses. CBD is well known overseas for its positive impact on pain, anxiety, sleep, epilepsy and a number of other ailments and issues. There are many ongoing CBD studies in the U.S., Israel, Europe and other places,” Bobrove says. 

As CBD’s popularity grows, Bobrove notes that there’s a need for producers to stay in line. “The awareness of CBD in Japan is certainly growing. The important thing for the Japanese market is that providers of CBD obey the law, do not make unfounded claims and provide quality products.”


How to use CBD oil

From vaping to edibles to capsules, there are many ways to ingest CBD. When it comes to CBD oil, the most popular method is placing drops under the tongue, known as sublingual administration. 

“Please be aware that not all CBD oils are the same. Always buy from a trusted source,” Bobrove says. “The amount of CBD required is often user-dependent and has very little to do with your weight or other factors you would logically consider. We recommend using CBD oil, rather than capsules or vape, as this is the easiest way to adjust your consumption and find the right amount for you.”

“Start with 10-15mg of CBD. Place the oil under your tongue, keep it in your mouth for 30 seconds and swallow. You can adjust the amount up or down to find the right number of milligrams that personally works for you. The amount of milligrams contained in a bottle of CBD oil should be clearly stated on the label.” 

HealthyTOKYO’s shops are located in Harajuku and Minami-Aoyama. The company also opened a vegan cafe in Haneda Airport, outside of security so anyone can visit, where a full line of CBD oil products, as well as CBD drinks and treats, are available. Products include CBD oils, edibles, capsules, creams and vape oils.

Check HealthyTOKYO’s website for more information about its products.