It is only in the last few years that the UK’s CBD industry has really come into its own. While CBD has been used as a medicinal product and as a dietary supplement for some time in the US, the UK is still racing to catch up.
Recent changes have seen CBD oil become much more accessible within the UK. It is now possible to purchase CBD supplements in both health food stores and pharmacies. There is also a new trend that has seen many vape stores covering their windows with posters advertising their CBD products.
Despite CBD oil now being something that you can easily be found up and down your local high street, many people still do not know whether CBD oil is actually legal in the UK. CBD oil UK law remains a gray area for many, causing confusion and an unfair stigma around CBD oil in the UK.
Let’s take a closer look at UK law and find out exactly what is legal and what is not.
Cannabis Legalization in the UK
Under UK law, marijuana is still considered a Class B drug, carrying a prison sentence of up to five years if you are found in possession of the drug and up to fourteen years for supplying or growing cannabis. It is this harsh categorization of marijuana that causes confusion for many in the UK, believing that CBD products fall within the same category.
Cannabis oil UK is, in fact, very different from CBD oils and other CBD products due to its cannabinoid breakdown. Cannabis plants contain hundreds of different cannabinoids that are very rarely mentioned, with most people only really being aware of CBD and THC.
CBD and THC have very different effects on the human body. THC is the primary cannabinoid that you will hear of when purchasing recreational weed in places such as Amsterdam and US states where it is legal. THC causes the psychoactive effects that people associate with cannabis, as well as many of the potential adverse effects that put people off of trying recreational weed.
Many people utilize medical marijuana in the UK for all sorts of useful benefits.
THC is illegal under UK law and is still considered by many in the same light as other class B drugs such as ketamine, amphetamines, and barbiturates.
CBD Oil UK Law 2020
Under UK law, it is legal to sell CBD oil UK products; however, they must contain no more than 0.2% THC. Any product that contains more than 0.2% THC is deemed illegal and is considered to be a cannabis product and a class B drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
The precise CBD content of a product has no impact on whether it is considered legal or illegal. This means that CBD oil containing just 3% CBD and one containing 40% must both conform to the same THC limit of 0.2%.
Hemp plants have a much lower natural THC content and are, therefore, very often used in place of cannabis plants by British manufacturers. Hemp plants contain less than 0.3% THC, making it easier for UK brands to ensure that their products conform to the UK’s THC limit of 0.2%.
The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has recognized CBD as a medicine in the UK, although this is subject to strict regulations. It has also acknowledged that CBD oil has therapeutic potential.
However, according to CBD oil UK law, even when CBD products do contain less than 0.2%, they are still not allowed to be sold as medical products legally. In practical terms, this means that brands cannot advertise their CBD products as having any particular medical benefits.
This is the reason that most CBD products sold in the UK are sold as a health food supplements and often found within the dietary supplement section of a store, rather than among other medical products such as painkillers and anti-inflammatory medications.
Purchasing CBD in the UK
Purchasing CBD oils and other products has never been more comfortable in the UK, there are now many health food stores and pharmacies that sell CBD products. All of the CBD products that you find for sale in UK stores contain less than 0.2% THC meaning that they are entirely legal to use.
The CBD oils and other CBD related products that you find in stores such as Lloyd Pharmacy and Holland and Barrett are sold as nutrition supplements, rather than as health care products. What might seem like a strange choice of labeling allows these stores to sell CBD oil legally, acting almost like a loophole in the law?
The key is that companies such as Holland and Barrett cannot advertise potential health benefits or list particular health conditions. It is entirely legal, however, to sell CBD as a dietary supplement.
When shopping for CBD oils in the UK, it is essential to check the ingredient list, as some companies do not actually use CBD extract derived from hemp or cannabis plants. In place of CBD, some companies use hemp seed oil, claiming that their oils are of a higher quality as they are guaranteed to contain absolutely no THC. What they fail to mention is that hemp seed oil also does not contain any CBD.
Companies that only use hemp seed oil are essentially taking advantage of UK law, and the low THC limit, which has led to people wrongly believing that hemp is a superior product compared to cannabis as a health product.
Hemp seed oil is no more than a carrier oil, in the same way, that coconut oil is, and should be paired with CBD in order to actually have a positive impact on a person’s health.
Top CBD Brands in the UK
Provacan is an online brand, based in the UK, and are an excellent place to start when shopping for high-quality CBD products that actually contain CBD. All of Provacan’s CBD products conform to UK law, containing less than 0.2% THC, ensuring that they are 100% legal to use.
All of Provacan’s products have been carefully designed to deliver high-quality CBD supplements at affordable prices. As it is illegal to sell CBD products for medical purposes in the UK, Provacan CBD oils are marketed as dietary supplements.
When shopping with Provacan, you are able to choose from a range of different strength oils, allowing you to use the right dose of CBD to suit your own individual health care needs. Provacan CBD oils start at a low 300mg dose and increase in strength up to 2400mg of CBD.
Provacan CBD oils are made using full-spectrum CBD oil, which has been derived from organically grown hemp plants. Full-spectrum CBD means that you are able to benefit from all of the naturally occurring cannabinoids within hemp plants without having to worry about consuming more than 0.2% THC.
Celtic Wind Crops
Celtic Wind CBD oils are available from Lloyds Pharmacy, making them one of the few CBD brands that can be purchased in a physical store. Celtic Wind was the first CBD brand sold by Lloyds Pharmacy, chosen for their high-quality CBD and guaranteed THC free formula.
Lloyds Pharmacy sells Celtic Wind products as a dietary supplement in line with UK law. The products are legal to purchase and use in the same way that other supplements are.
Celtic Wind stands out among other UK brands as they sell both CBD isolate and full-spectrum CBD oils. Customers can choose between products that contain pure CBD isolate with all other cannabinoids having been removed and full-spectrum CBD providing a wide range of health-enhancing cannabinoids.
Celtic Wind understands the importance of their customers being able to choose the right strength oil to suit their individual needs and therefore offer their CBD oils in a range of different strengths. The choice available when shopping with Celtic Wind and the ability to go into a physical store where the staff is on hand to answer your questions really makes Celtic Wind stand out from other CBD brands.
Smart CBD is another online UK based brand whose CBD products all contain actual CBD, rather than hemp seed oil. Smart CBD is focused on delivering high-quality CBD products that have been created using sustainable growing and production methods. Smart CBD is working to shape the future of the CBD industry, showing that an environmentally friendly approach is possible.
All of Smart CBD’s products are made using organic hemp, which has been sourced from farms that share a similar ethos as Smart CBD. Smart CBD has carefully formulated its CBD oils so that they only contain two ingredients CBD and hemp seed oil, which acts as a carrier oil.
Smart CBD aims to cater to everyone’s individual health needs with a number of different strength oils available for purchase.
CBD Oil Laws in the United Kingdom: Final Thoughts
UK law can feel confusing at first, but once you understand the difference between THC and CBD, it starts to become much brighter. It is not, in fact, cannabis itself that is illegal under the UK but actually the cannabinoid THC. When shopping for CBD products, it is important to check their THC content, anything containing more than 0.2% THC is illegal to use within the UK.
It is rare to find CBD products for sale within the UK that contain more than 0.2% THC as the punishment for selling such products is not worth the risk. Even more importantly, when shopping for CBD products, it is essential to check the ingredient list and ensure that the products you are purchasing actually contain CBD and not just hemp seed oil.
Hopefully, with time, the UK will adjust or at least make their laws clearer so that they are more comfortable for consumers to understand. A better understanding of the differences between THC and CBD and their legal status within the UK will also help to remove the stigma that sadly still exists around CBD.