Is CBD legal in the United Kingdom?
CBD legality is a slightly complex issue in the UK, as Europes leading marketplace for CBD extracts there has been a huge growth in the CBD industry over the past decade. The legality for selling CBD depends on the product category you intend to sell. Cosmetics require a cosmetics product safety report. Vape products should comply with non-nicotine e-liquid regulation. CBD Oils and other extracts that would be consumed as food supplements should comply with novel food regulations. As of 13th February 2020, new products on the market require a Novel Food application. Products on the UK market before 13th February 2020, require a validated submission or approved novel food application by 31st March 2020. All CBD related products need to be in compliance the UK’s drug legislation.
Overview of drug laws in the United Kingdom
The UK Misuse of Drugs Act (MDA) with its subordinate regulations prohibit the supply of certain psychoactive cannabinoid substances depending on which part of the cannabis plant has been used. To aid understanding of the legislation the Home Office produced general guidance in relation to the supply of products containing CBD titled ‘Drug Licensing Factsheet-Cannabis, CBD and other cannabinoids. The factsheet explains ‘some products may, in limited circumstances, be considered ‘exempt’ from control, notwithstanding their ‘controlled drug’ content… The exemption is a three-limbed definition but for the purposes of this note the relevant limb is ‘(c)’, “…provided (‘c) no one component part of the product or preparation contains more than one milligram of the controlled drug…’
This is a citation found in the following document: Government_Chemist_Guidance_on_Analytical_Limits_for_Controlled_Cannabinoids_in_Specified_Products_Containing_Cannabidiol
Which, in turn, directly refers to the UK Misuse of Drugs act, section 37, found here: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1971/38/section/37
And to the UK Govt factsheet on cannabis products, which can be found here: UK government factsheet on cannabis products
Legality of Industrial Hemp
It is legal to grow hemp in the UK, but you will need a licence issued by the Home Office, allowing you to grow what is classified as a “controlled substance”. It is still considered a restricted crop under the Misuse of Drugs Act, Pre-Brexit policy stated that only EU-approved seeds, with a THC level of less than 0.2%, could be planted. Post-Brexit, this could change in the coming years.
Legality of Medicinal Cannabis
The term “medicinal cannabis” is used to refer to any form of medication that contains cannabis. On the 11th of October 2018, the government announced that from 1st November 2018, expert doctors would be given the authority “to legally issue prescriptions for cannabis-based medicines when they agree that their patients could benefit from this treatment”
Legality of CBD Products
CBD products are legal in the United Kingdom as long as they comply with certain rules. In 2019 all CBD products were classified as Novel food since they contained cannabidiol and other cannabinoids.
Food businesses should apply for authorisation of their CBD extracts and isolates to be placed on the GB market using the regulated products application service.
This is the only route to compliance for these CBD products, and no separate arrangement has been made with any specific business or industry sector.
The THC limit for CBD products sold in the UK based on the current drug laws is maximum 1mg per container this would equate to max 0.01% THC in a 10mL bottle.
Is Full Spectrum CBD Oil Legal in the UK
Full spectrum CBD oil contains all the minor cannabinoids, acidic cannabinoid, terpenes and flavonoids. If it is sourced from EU certified hemp it will have a maximum of 0.2% THC which for the UK will make it illegal as it is over the allowed 1mg per container. The maximum legal sized container would be 0.5 mL which is technically impractical.
Is Broad Spectrum CBD Oil Legal in the UK
If a Broad spectrum CBD oil has had the THC levels reduced to a maximum of 0.01% THC then, it could be considered legal in the UK if sold in 10mL volume bottles. The company selling must comply with the necessary novel food regulations.
Is CBD isolate oil legal in the UK
CBD Oil made with CBD isolate is legal in the Uk as it is typically Zero THC. CBD Isolate is considered novel in food so any company selling Isolate based CBD oil would need to comply with the novel food guidelines as set down by the FSA. Isolate oils blended with an MCT carrier have a viable route to market through cosmetics registration, thus avoiding novel food complications
Is cold pressed CBD oil legal in the UK
Cold pressed CBD oil would not be considered novel in food due to the production method. It would still need to comply with the THC guidelines to make it legal to sell. This would mean the hemp that it is made from would need to have extremely low THC levels for it to comply with the current THC regulations.
No part of this article should be taken as legal advice.
Please check with a lawyer in the United Kingdom as to the current status of cannabis, hemp and CBD (Cannabidiol). Rules and regulations change regularly.