The world is slowly being overtaken by a CBD craze, and the United Kingdom is not an exception. Many people are turning to CBD to find relief for many ailments, and even use this compound for improving the wellbeing.
However, the local laws make it very difficult to discern between what is legal and what is not, most people find this confusing. That is why I did the research on the legality of CBD in the UK, consolidated the results, and legal status, and below I present you with the findings. This was first researched in July 2019.
CBD Basics and the United Kingdom
The cannabis plants produce about 113 different cannabinoids, and among these the most famous ones are THC and CBD. THC has strong psychoactive properties and is a controlled substance per UK laws. But CBD does not have any psychoactive properties but has a great many beneficial effects on human health and wellbeing.
Even the WHO (World Health Organization) recognizes CBD as a relief for many health issues like cancer, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, and managing pain, anxiety, and depression. It has also been linked to losing weight, as CBD helps the conversion of fats and improved burning of calories.
CBD can be used in several different ways: like an oil tincture, as a vape liquid, a gel capsule, an edible, topical, as a suppository, or an oral spray. No matter the chosen way of taking CBD, the UK laws, even though confusing, are allowing the use of this compound as long as it is in compliance with EU standards.
Here are the answers to several usually asked questions about CBD use in the UK.
- Is CBD use legal in the United Kingdom?
This may be confusing to some, but here is the overview: The UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has said that products containing CBD used for medicinal purposes are a medicine. This means that people need a license to sell these products legally and the products need to meet safety, quality and efficacy standards. Still, the UK allows the use of CBD products that comply with EU standards – are derived from industrial hemp and have less than 0.2% THC.
- Can you import CBD oil in the UK?
While you can go to a country where CBD is legal and use it there, people can’t freely bring it home with them in the UK. This is only legal in case of people with a medical CBD license. However, as long as the CBD oil is in compliance with UK and EU laws, it can be delivered to you.
- Can you vape CBD oil in the UK?
Vaping CBD is one of the more popular ways of administering this compound. Also, there are many vape shops across the UK that sell CBD vape products, and the people selling them say that these are completely legal. Even though some may not like it, vaping CBD is actually legal in the UK, and no arrests have been made on such charges.
- Is cannabis oil legal in the UK?
Cannabis oil is different than CBD oil as it has a higher THC content, and it is completely illegal to use in the UK. The CBD oil that Britons can use should have less than 0.2% THC, and by definition, cannabis oil has a lot more than 0.2% THC. But in some cases, such as for the treatment of multiple sclerosis, people can be prescribed Sativex – a 1:1 synthetic THC and CBD product.
Also, patients that did not find relief from conventional medicine and can benefit from cannabis products can get a doctor’s prescription for such products. In the case of people with epilepsy, it has been proven that cannabis products can relieve the frequency and intensity of seizures, and KU physicians can prescribe these kinds of medicines.
United Kingdom CBD Laws
Lawmakers usually wrote very unclear laws, and this is so very true with the UK laws related to the use of CBD products. The MHRA has stated that they have an opinion that CBD products used for medicinal purposes in the UK and are medicine. But in the case of many British retailers, they have started selling CBD-based products labeling them as nutritional supplements, and they have effectively-rounded the legal constraints.
The claim that shops are selling CBD-based products has allowed the legal retail of these products, and sellers don’t advertise these as helping with medical conditions but advertise them as products that improve wellness. The positive thing is that the CBD products often sold in the UK are derived from industrial hemp and have less than 0.2% THC. This is the legal threshold, and CBD oils and other CBD-based products are legal to be sold and used in Great Britain.
Medical CBD is Safe and Legal to use in the UK
Obtaining a medical CBD license is one way of having access to top-shelf CBD products in the UK. But the process of obtaining a medical CBD license is tedious and often inconvenient. As of the time of writing this text, the only people in the UK that could get a medical CBD license are those who are suffering from rare, severe forms of epilepsy, people that are undergoing chemotherapy and are experiencing nausea, vomiting and pain and people that have spasticity from multiple sclerosis.
Obtaining a medical CBD license is almost impossible for other people, and most of the UK physicians have a strong attitude against the use of these kinds of products. That is why people are forced to look elsewhere for obtaining CBD products.
A chance for scamming the people
While the “nutritional supplement” of “food supplement” label can help retailers bring the CBD products closer to the people, this also leaves a lot of room for scams. The lack of standardizing, testing and mandatory labeling is a field for scammers and people looking to get rich fast by riding the CBD wave to take advantage of unsuspecting consumers that are looking for the benefits of CBD.
The medical side of CBD and THC has been long proven, and approving of the Epidiolex medicine, which is almost pure CBD for the treating of epileptic seizures is proof of this. Still, there were some instances where poor-standard oil was sold to people, and this contained synthetic compounds that partly mimic the effects of CBD, but are actually ingredients in the lethal cocktail drug spice.
Nevertheless, the only way people in the UK can get high-quality CBD products is by having a medical recommendation. There is an unofficial regulatory body for regulating one aspect of this business, a UK-based association known as Cannabis Trades Association or CTA. They work together with the British Government, the MHRA, and all sectors of hemp production in the UK and Europe to ensure consistent quality, and establish legislation that will benefit all sides.
For people in the UK who are looking to purchase CBD products, a good way to know which ones to buy is to look for producers that are registered with the CTA, as these companies uphold the rules, guidelines, and recommendations for standards, quality and purity of their CBD products.
To sum up
The use of CBD oil in the UK is legal as long as the CBD oil is in compliance with the UK and EU laws, meaning the CBD needs to be derived from industrial hemp and needs to contain less than 0.2% THC. The use of cannabis oil with higher concentrations of THC and CBD is legal for people that suffer from some debilitating medical conditions and have a prescription from a certified physician.
Seeing as the use of CBD oil is allowed in Britain, many retailers carry CBD products, but to avoid legal ramifications, they advertise these as nutritional supplements and usually lack consistency, detailed ingredients list and proof of origin. To make sure you get a good quality CBD product in the United Kingdom, it is recommended that you only buy products from manufacturers that are on the CTA list.