All you need to know about CBD in the United Kingdom

uk cannabis leagality

A roadmap to CBD in the United Kingdom

  • CBD products are legal throughout the United Kingdom
  • CBD products sold in the UK contain less than 0.2% of THC
  • CBD products are being sold on the UK high street
  • Industrial hemp can be legally grown in the UK under license from the Home Office
  • CBD market in the UK offers a variety of products

Is CBD legal in the United Kingdom?

The legality of CBD in the UK is an often-debated topic, with many arguing CBD products should be fully legalized, and those arguing otherwise. While the existing laws on CBD in the UK might be confusing, its legal status is clear – CBD is completely legal throughout the UK.

There are no restrictions over the use of CBD since it is not a controlled substance. There are 63 industrial hemp strains the EU has approved, and if CBD is extracted from those, that makes it 100% legal. The law regulating this was adopted in 2017 and how long it is going to stay remains to be seen, since Great Britain is no longer an EU Member State.

 The current law in the UK recognizes CBD as a medicine, allowing many people to use it legally throughout the UK. In November 2019, the NHS even approved cannabis-based medicines, Epidyolex and Sativex, used to treat multiple conditions. Sativex is the first cannabis-based medicine licensed in the UK following clinical trials.

 When discussing the legal status of CBD in the UK, it is important to consider THC. THC, just like CBD, is a hemp-derived compound, however, unlike CBD, THC is psychoactive and causes a high. This quality is what makes it illegal in many countries throughout the world, including the UK. THC is a controlled substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act. The current law dictates that all CBD-based products should not contain more than 0.2% of THC. If that is the case, they are illegal. Since 1 November 2018, specialist doctors are legally permitted to prescribe CBD products which contain more than 0.2% of THC.

 While CBD-based products are legal, cannabis oil is not. The current law makes it illegal to possess, buy, and sell cannabis oil in the UK. This is because cannabis oil usually contains significantly higher content of THC than CBD products.

 The same regulations are enforced throughout England’s counties: Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Bristol, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Cheshire, Cornwall, Cumbria, Derbyshire, Devon, Dorset, Durham, East Riding of Yorkshire, East Sussex, Essex, Gloucestershire, Greater London, Greater Manchester, Hampshire, Herefordshire, Hertfordshire, Isle of Wight, Kent, Lancashire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Merseyside, Norfolk, Northamptonshire, Northumberland, North Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Rutland, Shropshire, Somerset, South Yorkshire, Staffordshire, Suffolk, Surrey, Tyne and Wear, Warwickshire, West Midlands, West Sussex, West Yorkshire, Wiltshire, Worcestershire.

Where to buy CBD products in the United Kingdom?

The CBD market in the UK is relatively new, but nevertheless rapidly growing. Much like in the rest of the world, CBD is gaining popularity in the UK as well. Over the past two years, the CBD market grew from £100 million to £300 million, following an exponential increase in the number of users from 250 thousand to 1.3 million.

 Because of the fact that the UK is still new to CBD, it can be rather challenging finding a reliable retailer which would ensure not only the quality and safety of CBD products but also their legality.

While an increasing number of brands are selling their own CBD products, it is important that consumers do their due diligence in doing research on the most reputable and trustworthy brands and learning about their products. That is the only way to ensure that what you buy is a quality CBD product.

Every CBD manufacturer is obliged to test their products at third-party laboratories, which are not associated with CBD producers or sellers. Furthermore, the manufacturers are obliged to provide an appropriate Certificate of Analysis (COA) at the customer’s request.

 With the growing demand for CBD, there is a growing supply of CBD products provided by physical and online stores. Perhaps the biggest evidence of this lies in the fact that CBD is being sold on the UK high street.

Is it legal to grow industrial hemp in the UK?

Growing industrial hemp in the UK is subject to strict regulations. Industrial hemp can be legally grown under the license from the Home Officer. While CBD is not considered a controlled substance, industrial hemp is because of its association with illegal strains of cannabis.

 The strict regulations dictate that industrial hemp can only be grown to harvest the seeds and stalks. The flowers must be disposed of and destroyed. This means that the CBD found in products bought in the UK is not extracted from the industrial hemp grown in the UK. The industrial hemp where CBD is sourced from is imported from Europe and the United States.

 To legally grow industrial hemp in the UK, you must be registered as a commercial enterprise and obtain a license for a farm on which you will grow it. Additionally, the current legal framework does not allow farmers and agricultural businesses in the UK to grow their income and compete with their international colleagues. In an attempt to change this, CBD businesses in the UK have created the UK Hemp Association, which petitions for a change in the legislation and opening up hemp agriculture in the UK.

What CBD products are sold in the UK?

CBD oils

CBD oils are by far the most sought-after CBD product. The CBD market in the UK offers a variety of CBD oils ranging in potencies. CBD oil is made by diluting CBD, previously extracted from industrial hemp, with a carrier oil such as hemp-seed oil or coconut oil. One of the reasons why it is the favorite product of many is the fact that it is suitable for different methods of consumption, the most common being sublingual because of the high absorption rate.

 CBD capsules

CBD capsules are made by suspending CBD oil in a gel capsule. They are consumed just like any other capsule or a pill. Consumers who do not want to be bothered by measuring out their daily dose of CBD opt for capsules. They are not only easy to consume but also very discreet.

 CBD oral sprays

CBD oil spray is diluted with a carrier oil and can sometimes contain additional flavors. It is taken orally by spraying it into the mouth, where mucous membranes absorb it quickly and deliver it into the bloodstream.

 CBD infused foods and drinks

CBD edibles are not only a very convenient way to get your daily dose of CBD but are also very delicious. The CBD market in the UK offers a variety of CBD infused foods and drinks. You can find gummies, mints, sweets, CBD infused tea, coffee, beer, and soft drinks.

 All of the products listed above require a “novel food” application, following the regulation adopted by the EU on 13 February 2020. According to the regulation, novel foods require premarket authorization by the European Commission. The EU regards the products infused with CBD and CBD supplements as “novel food”. As defined by the European Commission, novel food is (…) food that had not been consumed to a significant degree by humans in the EU before 15 May 1997, when the first Regulation on novel food came into force.

CBD cosmetics

CBD cosmetics is enjoying growing popularity as a healthy and organic alternative to traditional cosmetics. Unlike most beauty products, which contain chemicals and toxins which have a long-term negative impact not only on our health but also the environment, CBD cosmetics are organic and have actual benefits for the skin. The CBD market in the UK offers something for everyone, from creams and balms to bath salts. All CBD cosmetics require Cosmetic Product Safety Report (CPSR), ensuring safety and high quality of the products.


Disclaimer: While we do our best to
provide our customers with accurate and updated information, however, we
are not legal experts. The information provided below is based on our
independent research and should not be taken as a legal advice.


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