It is a very often occurrence for people to be confused when it comes to UK laws whether they are UK citizens or not – and the situation with the legality and regulation of CBD oils and products is no different too.
However, regardless of how confusing UK legal frameworks might be, all people need to do is find a reasonable source of information that will simplify things for them to know what they can’t and what they can do.
We bring you good news – you’ve found us. Here, you can find all the information that you can need regarding UK CBD laws.
So, to avoid the risk of being in the illegal zones of the UK legal framework, we created a thorough guide on the UK’s regulation of CBD laws. We’ve talked to experts and did our research, and here are the answers that you must have:
What type of CBD oil is Legal in the UK:
There wouldn’t be any confusion if CBD oils were illegal altogether, but the situation isn’t so simple. You probably already know that at least some CBD oil is legal, but for many, it is uncertain which.
After all, authorities in all EU member states now consider food, drinks, and supplements that have CBD in them as “novel food”
This is why the key regulation we need as an EU member country is the novel food regulation. Due to EU administrative procedures, many manufacturers of CBD products can complete an online application and get a pre-market authorization to produce CBD oil food, drinks, and supplements.
However, even if we know that the companies that sell CBD products can now get authorization for doing so, thus providing the CBD products on the legal British market, it is still pretty uncertain to many people which products can you buy, possess and use legally.
Because CBD products come in many forms, and these are the ones that are recognized by the official regulation:
- CBD snacks including energy bars
- CBD oils, capsules and oral sprays
- CBD gummies, mints and other sweets
- CBD infused tea, coffee, beer, and soft drinks
However, there is one really important rule regarding all CBD products on the market. Namely, although cannabinoids are listed as controlled substances under the Misuse of Drugs Act, the CBD is an exception.
Particularly, the CBD that has derived from an industrial hemp strain that is approved by the EU. This is because, for CBD oil and CBD products to be legal in the UK, they mustn’t contain more than 0.2% THC. Another requirement is that the THC mustn’t be easily separated from the whole product.
So, CBD oil is legal, but cannabis oil isn’t.
Is Hemp-Derived vs Marijuana CBD Legal?
As we mentioned before, for CBD to be legal, it must be derived from industrial hemp that has been recognized as such by the EU. And, it shouldn’t have more than 0.2% THC.
The only exception to products and supplements that are legal and contain THC are those who again, has been approved for use by the UK government, and they are only approved for the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
Clinicians who have certain specialties are only allowed to prescribe other cannabis-derived medicinal products thanks to the law that was brought in November 2018.
Otherwise, medicinal cannabis is unlicensed, and such unlicensed medicine can be solely prescribed when a patient has particular needs that cannot be met by traditional, licensed medicine.
The UK government explains this, saying that there aren’t enough drug trials to prove the effectiveness and safety of it.
So, to answer the question clearly, hemp-derived CBD that comes from industrial hemp is completely legal, whereas Marijuana with CBD derived from cannabis without the approved process of extraction isn’t.
Is CBD Oil Legal in England?
Since the Conservative Party was on the ruling seat in the UK, they were pretty strict regarding the issue of cannabis and CBD legalization. The Conservative Party’s influence was shown during the vote for the total decriminalization of processing, possession, and consumption of marijuana when the bill failed in 2018.
Still, it seems that even the Conservative Party is reasonable when it comes to the medical influence of CBD, which is why the UK government legalized medical cannabis in select cases under The Misuse of Drugs amendments and changes in the cannabis and license fees.
This 2018 bill changed things in England first and foremost, where CBD oil that is derived using the method we explained above is completely legal in England.
Is CBD Oil Legal in Scotland?
Since the introduction of the idea of CBD being helpful for health, there has been quite a bit of commotion among UK research institutions, and thus, the UK parliament.
However, it needed to be “beneficial to the human body” and this practically means that it needs to be recognized as such by the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) and the Food and Drug Administration as being a “dietary supplement”. It needs to be able to supply the body with beneficial compounds like vitamins, minerals, or fatty acids that are lacking.
So, as of November 1st, 2018 the UK, Scotland included, of course, the law we mentioned before was passed. It states that in Scotland, CBD oil, derived from either cannabis or hemp is legal for selling, possessing, distributing and using if the CBD oil has no more than 0.2% THC.
Is CBD Oil Legal in Northern Ireland?
Because UK’s government has jurisdiction over all parts of the UK, including Northern Ireland, it isn’t surprising to see that the same regulation has an effect on Northern Ireland just like it does in England and Scotland for example.
So, as long as the companies who have a special license from the Home Office to grow hemp, they are also allowed to sell it legally, following the other rules.
So, in Northern Ireland, just like in any other UK state, hemp can be used for multiple purposes. First, you can use it as a food supplement, but people and companies are using it for the textile and construction industries.
In Northern Ireland, you can purchase hemp seeds at supermarkets, but the CBD from the hemp – i.e. CBD oils can be found in specialized shops, and the local pharmacies.
There are many placed where you will be able to buy CBD in Northern Ireland. Just make sure you are buying an actual CBD product rather than just hemp seed oil – the seeds don’t contain CBD.
Is CBD Oil Legal in Wales?
We’ve concluded that CBD is completely legal in the UK, including Wales, since it cannot be used as an intoxicant. So, the CBD oils that are found in the local Wales pharmacies are completely legal and legitimate, thus, safe to use.
When in Wales or anywhere else in the United Kingdom, you can own, buy, sell and possess CBD oils that are within the limits of <0.2% THC.
In Wales, you can purchase CBD oils from local pharmacies and high street health chains who sell CBD, and you can also buy it online as well.
The restrictions that are set up in Wales and UK, in general, are for the manufacturers mostly, and these aren’t an issue for the CBD oil consumers.
CBD Legalization in the UK: FAQs
Although the legalization of CBD in the UK was a smooth process, it is a complicated one that requires extra attention. So, even if you know that in general – CBD is legal in the UK, there are particular aspects of the CBD legalization that the citizens need to know of to be in line with the news.
The following information that we’ll share with you is just some of the most important, yet, often confusing aspects of CBD and the activities revolving around it.
Is Full Spectrum CBD legal in UK?
If you are new to the whole CBD thing and you don’t think you know about the types of CBD, you probably need to read this part of our article.
First of all, we’d like to clear things up by clarifying that the cannabis plant contains both CBD and THC compounds in it. The CBD is what’s legal in the UK, whereas the THC can only be a legal compound of CBD oils in very small amounts.
Based on the way the companies process the CBD oil, there are two different types of it – Isolates and full-spectrum CBD oils.
The difference between CBD isolates and full-spectrum CBD products
The first ones – CBD isolates, are the CBD products that have nothing less than 100% pure CBD. The process of their preparation includes stripping away the compounds, the wax, chlorophyll and other by-products from the cannabis plant.
Full-spectrum CBD, on the other hand, is the CBD which is made using the whole cannabis plant and its by-products. It has the oils, the wax, the other compounds (including THC) and the chlorophyll, all of which are naturally found in the cannabis plant.
So, is it legal?
From this, you’ve probably concluded that isolates are completely legal to use according to UK regulations. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that full-spectrum CBD oils are illegal. There are ways in which full-spectrum products can be legal.
We previously mentioned that the product needs to have less than 0.2% of THC for it to be classified as legal and safe to use. This is why, manufacturers work hard on extracting the benefits of the whole hemp plant, and they grow it in specially licensed farms for it to live up to the standards that the UK regulations require.
Besides not having more than 0.2% THC, full-spectrum CBD oils must be made in such a way, that the THC mustn’t be easily separated from the oil – thus be subjected to misuse by consumers.
Lastly, for CBD oils in general, including the full-spectrum ones, it should be formulated as per the Human Medicines Regulations 2012, and any circumventing from these regulations is punishable according to UK laws.
Does CBD oil show up on a drug test in the UK?
When people need to be subjected to drug tests, they are often worried about using CBD oil, particularly because it can get them in trouble.
Even though drug tests aren’t meant for detecting CBD in the system, which is why those who are taking a completely pure CBD product wouldn’t have an issue with drug tests.
The use of CBD products is cleared by the World Anti-Doping Association in January 2018.
Still, the purpose of drug tests is tracing and detecting drugs, and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) may be found in some CBD products because drug test traces its metabolites. Sometimes, THC might be in a person’s system when they are taking CBD supplements, and THC is the psychoactive compound that gives people a high, and it is banned in both sports and work-testing programs.
Basically, people shouldn’t worry about this happening, since the law allows a “grey area” when it comes to using CBD products. After all, even the law allows the small amount of THC in these products – less than 0.2% to be exact.
Reputable and renowned brands are well-within these limits, and they have certificates to back up these requirements. Otherwise, they’d lose their license to sell the products in the first place.
However, even if people think that their CBD is THC-free (especially since they cannot possibly feel a “high” from it), we suggest double-checking the certifications and the proof that the brand has for it. Otherwise, you people are risking a lot – some even their careers.
Can a CBD drug test fail?
There are two ways in which a person might not get the results they desired when they are taking a drug test. In the case that this happens, there are two main reasons for it.
First, even if the package and brand say that they have no THC in their products, they might have traces of it. This is why it is suggested to buy your CBD products from reputable brands.
Second, some poor manufacturing practices might end up with your CBD product being exposed to cross-contamination with banned substances. Sometimes there might not be THC but other banned substances into their product. Again, the solution to this problem is the same – people should always buy CBD products from reliable manufacturers.
How to be absolutely sure that you won’t fail a drug test?
Besides avoiding unreliable products that are cheap and have a shady background, there are other precautions people can have in mind.
First, people should make sure that the package has a guarantee that the product is pure CBD and that it is THC free.
Second, if people don’t want to be sure that they won’t get in trouble on the next drug test, they should make sure that the company they are buying from can provide fully tested 0% THC products. There aren’t many companies like these, but with properly done research, they can be also found on the British market.
Can you take CBD oil on a plane in the UK?
The answer to this question is purely legal – international public law regulates this in a general manner but it is also important which country’s law has jurisdiction on the plane you are having.
So, if you are riding on a plane that travels in the UK, you can use CBD oil as long as it has less than 0.2% THC.
However, the situation is somewhat complicated when you have CBD supplements in the travel luggage when you are taking an international flight.
As we mentioned, this depends on the jurisdiction of law on the country where you are traveling to. Just because CBD is legal in the UK, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is tolerated in the whole world.
In many popular destinations, CBD might even be completely illegal, or even if it isn’t the acceptable amount of THC in your CBD might vary. So we suggest doing a bit of research or consulting an expert before you take your CBD on a plane.
For instance, what we can give you assure information is that the European Union considers hemp that is grown for fiber is legal when it has less than 0.2% THC. This is correlating to the UK legal frameworks, so, you might be able to take your supplement, but not anywhere in Europe.
The EU has very little power over the domestic legal policies of member nations. This is why they can vary, so you cannot take your UK-purchased CBD oil just anywhere. Here are some of the countries where you can travel and take your supplement without having issues when you pass customs:
- France – max 0.2% THC
- Spain – max 0.2% THC for domestic hemp
- Netherlands – Cannabis is completely decriminalized
- Italy – max 0.6% THC
- Belgium – Cannabis decriminalized for personal use
- Poland – No law enforced, CBD is entirely legal
- Switzerland – No law or policy in place
- Sweden – Hemp is not considered cannabis so entirely legal.
- Croatia – No limit regarding CBD
- Ireland – max 0.2% THC
- Cyprus – max 0.2% THC
- Greece – max 0.2% THC
- Slovenia – max 0.2% THC
- Bulgaria – max 0.2% THC
- Hungary – max 0.2% THC
- The Czech Republic – max 0.3% THC
- Estonia – CBD is entirely legal
Is making CBD Oil legal UK?
Although CBD is legal to possess, buy and use in the UK, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you can make it yourself. Only licensed CBD product manufacturers are allowed to make CBD oils and products, so in case you attempt to do it and get caught, you might be facing strict sanctions.
As we said before, the process of making the CBD is strictly sanctioned by the EU, so even if you have intentions of making CBD for your personal use, you shouldn’t do it.
Do you need a Licence to sell CBD in the UK?
Yes, for a company to be legally allowed to sell or produce CBD in the UK, they need to have a product license – which is a marketing authorization.
Otherwise, they are breaking the law and they are not legally selling supplying or advertising the CBD products.
There is a thorough MHRA statement regarding the UK CBD stockists and manufacturers, and this one is mainly important for the suppliers.
Moreover, if the companies want to sell CBD as a medicine, they will go through strict requirements and safety standards, as this sale is highly restrictive and requires different licenses.
Companies that have the intent of producing medicinal CBD, must meet strict criteria before being considered for an application to get a license, regardless of how low the THC content is. This comes as an effect of the fact that it is illegal to grow Hemp or CBD rich cannabis without another special license and approval from the UK home office.
So, in summary – the companies need one license for growing hemp, and they need a different license for actually selling it as a medical product.
Ever since the World Health Organisation (WHO) acknowledged the truth that CBD can be helpful for numerous conditions including Parkinson’s MS, Cancer, Diabetes, anxiety, depression and Alzheimer’s amongst others, the world went nuts to get their hands on some.
Knowing the legal frameworks and being informed about the regulations can always come in handy when you are making a CBD product purchase. After all, with all the different brands, companies and types of CBD oil, it is the only reason why people are confused about buying and using it.
So, we hope that our guide helped you know how to stay on the right side of the law, and we know that by being cautious enough, you can use it safely and without the risk of paying enormous fines.
Anyhow, we also suggest consulting a solicitor or a legal expert to get an in-depth analysis of your own CBD related situation.