In the UK, it is absolutely illegal to own, produce, distribute, or sell cannabis. This is one of the main reasons people get confused about the legal status of cannabis-based products and CBD oil regulations in the UK.
Most people don’t fully understand what CBD is and therefore what the UK regulations say about it. So let's clear that up for you:
CBD based products are completely legal in the UK as long as they contain no more than 1mg of any controlled substance, such as THC, and they also meet all relevant UK food safety and trading standards.
We will cover more on these topics later in the article and just so you know all Beliebis products comply with all UK regulations!
In March 2018, the World Health Organization announced through a report that it is safe to use CBD for humans and animals.
Ever since the race to legalise the use of CBD has started across the globe, each country has come up with its own sets of regulations.
To understand the laws and regulations regarding CBD in the UK, you must first understand what CBD oil is.
What is CBD Oil?
Cannabidiol or CBD is a compound that can be found in every cannabis plant. It is one of the few generally accepted chemicals that are naturally present in both the cannabis plant and its close cousin, hemp.
What makes hemp different from cannabis is the percentage of THC present in them. Tetrahydrocannabinol/THC is the chemical that gives marijuana its psychoactive and intoxicating properties. So if you ingest cannabis, THC is what makes you “high.”
However, hemp plants are low on THC. This low percentage of THC is what mainly distinguishes hemp from cannabis or marijuana.
Most CBD used for making products is generally derived from the hemp plant, although you can also get CBD from the cannabis plant.
Hemp plants are identified as cannabis plants that have less than 0.2% THC in them when they are harvested and dried. It is this percentage that many people mistake for the legal level of THC allowed in CBD products, however, this is incorrect and is currently set at 1mg THC per product.
The Difference between CBD Derived from Hemp and Marijuana
- As mentioned before, CBD can come from various types of cannabis plants. Since both THC and CBD are compounds found in the plant, you just get them in different proportions depending upon the strain/type of cannabis plant.
- The strains of cannabis considered marijuana have high levels of THC. These generally have a lower concentration of CBD. So any oil derived from marijuana will be rich in tetrahydrocannabinol, which will be used for its psychoactive qualities.
- So if you are using a marijuana-based oil, your purpose will be mainly to achieve that euphoric high it gives. The United Kingdom prohibits the use of cannabis for recreation. The compound is only allowed for limited medicinal use only when prescribed by specialist doctors.
- However, CBD oil UK laws are different from the general cannabis laws. You can use CBD oil (and other products) in the UK as long as it has less than a certain amount of THC(1mg).
- As it is entirely possible to make CBD oil from marijuana, the main difference between oil from hemp and marijuana is the percentage of CBD/THC in them. Some people do use CBD oil with a higher percentage of THC in places where it is allowed to experience the benefits of all the plant's compounds.
The Different Types of CBD Oil
CBD oil and CBD compound-based products will contain a certain form of CBD. These forms can be separated into three separate categories:
In our 1000mg full-spectrum CBD oil UK or any other full-spectrum product, you will find most of the chemicals naturally existing in the hemp plant. Think of it as hemp extracts in their purest form. You are getting CBD but also the other compounds that exist in hemp.
For example, CBG or Cannabigerol is one such cannabinoid that can be found in hemp. CBG interacts with receptors and helps regulate sleep and appetite. It also helps relieve pain, so if you use a full-spectrum CBD, you will get to reap its benefits along with those of CBD.
You will also have access to CBG, CBDV, CBDa, THC (less than 1mg per bottle), etc. This trace amount of THC that exists naturally in hemp will be available in full-spectrum CBD products.
However, some full-spectrum CBD won’t be allowed in the UK. The CBD oil UK laws have a specific amount of THC that is acceptable, anything above that is illegal.
Broad Spectrum CBD oil has all the compounds present in hemp but with no trace quantities of THC detectable.
If you want CBD oil and products that have all the advantages of cannabis (terpenes, flavonoids, cannabinoids like CBDa, CBG, etc) without any THC. You can try entry-level broad-spectrum products like our cannabidiol oil 500mg or 1000mg both available in 10ml.
Since broad-spectrum CBD has an extremely low or non-detectable level of THC, it is not against the CBD oil UK laws. The THC in these CBD products is negligible and won’t cause any psychoactive reaction or "high".
CBD isolates are what they sound like, the CBD has been isolated from all the other materials and compounds in the cannabis plant.
Therefore, it is a concentrated CBD powder or crystals in its purest form, usually upwards of 99% pure.
People who are wary of the psychedelic properties of THC or who are drug tested regularly at work or in competition will opt for isolate powders.
The main reason why people opt for CBD isolate over full or broad-spectrum is to avoid THC altogether. Another reason to opt for CBD isolate is that it has very little flavour, making it a great choice for edibles and drinks, for example.
The major drawback of using CBD isolate powder is that you will not get to enjoy the perks of the other chemicals present in hemp. With isolates, you will miss out on the other cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, etc.
If you are planning on using CBD as a regular supplement, you must be aware that having CBD frequently may make you grow tolerant to it, which will lead to you needing more of it over time or reducing its effects.
The more you use, the more you might need, so you should control the quantity of CBD you take and possibly take tolerance breaks once in a while.
Is It Legal in the UK?
The United Kingdom parliament passed a law in 2018 that legalised the use of non-intoxicating cannabinoids such as CBD, CBDa, CBG, etc. So it is completely legal to use CBD in Great Britain. The CBD oil UK laws dictate two crucial points:
- UK CBD manufacturers or brands must comply with Trading Standards and where applicable, the FSA Novel Food Regulations. All CBD food supplements in the UK must be related to a submitted Novel Foods Dossier. Currently, this list is limited; however, more companies will be added as their applications are verified. Find out more in our guide to CBD Novel Food regulations here.
- CBD products must also comply with the Misuse of Drugs Act. This means they must be exempt and cannot contain more than 1mg of THC or any other illegal cannabinoids. The amount of THC present in the product has to be approx. 0.01% in a 10ml bottle and approx. 0.003% for a 30ml bottle.
Guidance on the Legal Limit
There is a limitation for the amount of THC that can be present with the CBD. THC is a psychoactive stimulant and hence not considered safe for free consumption in the UK. Recently, THC-containing cannabis was given limited freedom for prescribed medicinal use.
As mentioned before, CBD products with more than 1 mg of THC can’t be used in the UK.
- In the UK, CBD products are food supplements. They are not prescribed medicine. You cannot consider them as medicinal cannabis products.
- Since they are not considered medicinal products, sellers cannot make any medical claims about their uses. Even if they are bought and sold for their health benefits, sellers cannot promote their products as medicine. This is why most sellers use customer reviews and testimonies as a promotional tool. The labelling cannot have any medical claims.
- The labelling must state the CBD content, the complete ingredient list, and the manufacturer details (must include where it was produced and sourced from).
- The THC content must be less than 1 mg. The recommended limit is 0.01% or less.
- You cannot buy or sell CBD flowers or buds as it is still completely illegal.
- You cannot grow hemp in the UK without a licence from the home office. It is illegal for UK residents to grow hemp for personal use.
CBD is Classed as a Novel Food
Back when the UK was under the European Union, CBD was classed as a novel food. To understand what this means, we must first understand what novel foods are.
What Are Novel Foods?
Novel foods are any consumable food that doesn’t match the criteria of food or food ingredients that have been traditionally produced and have been safely eaten before in the countries of the EU before 15th March 1997.
Novel food items need to go through research and must be scientifically proven as safe for human consumption. They have their own regulations that must be maintained while buying and selling them.
After Brexit, the novel food regulatory framework has been passed from the European Union authorities to the UK FSA (Food Standards Agency). For a smooth transition, the same regulation standards of EU novel food have been kept unchained.
CBD Companies & the FSA Novel Foods Regulations
To manufacture CBD, companies need to submit a Novel Foods Application to the FSA. You should never sell CBD products without getting approval from the Food Standards Agency first, as it will be illegal to do so.
This process can be lengthy and quite expensive, so many companies avoid the process and sell CBD products illegally. Remember that it can be potentially dangerous and highly illegal to buy CBD products that have not been approved by the FSA.
Ensure that you buy CBD products from companies that have submitted the application and received approval.
CBD Oil-based Products
These days you can find many products that contain CBD in them. From supplements to makeup, you can find it all. Here are a few major categories of CBD products you can find in stores:
This is the most commonly used CBD product in the market. CBD oil is made of a base of carrier oil infused with CBD extract. CBD oil is the only product that you can use in multiple ways.
You can use it as a supplement orally and you can also apply it topically to an affected area. Many people add CBD oil to smoothies, soups, salads, coffee, etc.
CBD tinctures have extracts in a base of alcohol. The alcohol has a strong, bitter taste and so does the concentrated CBD compound. Due to the bad taste, people don’t generally add tinctures to their food. They take tincture under the tongue, which also happens to be one of the quickest ways of ingesting CBD.
Most CBD powders are isolates. The powders only have CBD in them and are often used as supplements that you add to smoothies, coffee, and other drinks. You can also ingest CBD isolate powder sublingually, taking it under the tongue and holding it there for a while. This is another quick way of taking CBD.
People also use these to make CBD edibles at home. You can add this to your ingredients for making baked goods. You can also add it to hemp flowers and smoke or vape it (with a dry herb vaporizer).
Isolate powders are very universal regarding use. You can mix it with a carrier oil and apply it to your skin. Mixing it with carrier oils when you eat it or applying it helps your body absorb it better.
It is also commonly used in the production of CBD vape/e-liquids.
You can find CBD capsules that you can take as supplements. A lot of people use these capsules at night before going to bed, to help them relax and sleep better.
A small dosage of CBD could actually have an energizing effect on you. So experiment to see what works well for you!
You can find many types of CBD edibles. There are many types of CBD-infused food items such as baked goods, chocolates, candies, etc.
Gummies are the most popular as they taste amazing and are easy to carry and eat. People can keep gummies on their desks in the office and they don't look odd eating them, unlike how you might look taking CBD oils at work!
There are a few ways you can use vaporizers to take CBD. For starters, you can find CBD vape juice. You can use it in your standard vaporizer to ‘vape’ the CBD juice. You can read more about vaping here.
You can also use hemp flowers as herbs in a dry herb vaporizer, as mentioned before. You can also smoke these flowers; however, smoking is not great for your lungs and overall health.
Using a vaporizer has the ability to control the temperature and keep the herb from combusting. This prevents the release of toxic chemicals and is why it is considered much safer than smoking.
Hemp flowers have become quite popular to use in this way, however, they are still illegal according to the CBD oil UK laws.
Toiletries & Cosmetics
CBD has become quite a common ingredient in many toiletries (often vegan and cruelty-free). You can find shampoos, conditioners, shower gels, handwash, etc.
Some of the first CBD-containing items that were made for topical use were creams and ointments, which could be applied to problem areas. It has gone from creams to now cosmetics.
You can find compact powders, primers, eye shadows, tampons and even lipsticks with CBD in them now.
A point to note regarding CBD cosmetic regulations is that the FSA Novel Food rules do not apply. The usual rules regarding cosmetics do, including the need for a Cosmetic Product Safety Report and notification to the UK Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS).
UK regulations state that CBD products are legal in the UK, as long as the THC levels stay within 1mg per product. Since CBD is considered a novel food, it is crucial to buy quality products from companies that have received or are currently seeking approval from the UK FSA.