In the past few years, more and more people have started purchasing cannabidiol, or CBD. Even though the potential benefits of CBD is often discussed, few people understand the rules and regulations behind it. In fact, you may even begin to wonder if the CBD products you regularly use are legal or not. Now with CBD becoming such a well-known supplement, it is time to make sure what you are purchasing is safe.
So, is CBD oil legal in the UK? Let’s find out.
What is CBD?
Also called cannabidiol, CBD is a compound found in cannabis and hemp. Unlike another chemical called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which has psychoactive effects, CBD does not make you feel high.
Cannabis plants contain over 100 different cannabinoids, or chemicals that can act on the cannabinoid receptors present in the human body through the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The cannabinoid receptors can affect the way neurotransmitters communicate with the body, and these impacts often result in beneficial outcomes, such as less pain and anxiety.
Why and How is CBD Used?
CBD has gained a lot of popularity due to its versatility. Reports have found that CBD can help ease effects of stress-related conditions, anxiety and depression, schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and even promote general health and wellness.
While more testing needs to be done to tell whether CBD truly is as beneficial as presently believed, the research results have been promising. There is also plenty of anecdotal evidence.
That said, licences for CBD oil as medicine have not yet been granted. Therefore, manufacturers cannot make any claims about medicinal benefits right now.
Certain allowances have been made within the UK government for CBD to be sold. Right now, there are hundreds of products out there to try if you are looking to start using CBD.
Here are some ways CBD oil is used:
• Tinctures: A highly concentrated method for taking CBD where a few drops are taken sublingually (under the tongue). This lets the CBD absorb directly into the bloodstream for rapid effect.
• Capsules: Pre-dosed capsules take a lot of the guesswork out of using CBD. These are a great option for people who don’t want to use oil and want a slightly extended release of CBD.
• Edibles: Gummies, liquids, and other snacks that have been infused with CBD oil. Like capsules, the effect of edibles is not felt immediately.
• Topical Creams: People who have skin conditions, arthritis, and muscle pain may find that rubbing CBD on the affected is soothing. The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD works quickly.
• Vaping: CBD e-liquids are available. If you have a lung condition, it is best to consult with your GP before starting with inhalants.
But with all these options, one must ask, “Is CBD really legal in the UK,” and if so, are there are limitations or restrictions in what can be purchased?
Is CBD Oil Legal in the UK?
Currently, yes, but there is a lot of confusion about what is legal, regulated, and considered illegal. Presently, CBD oil is legal within the United Kingdom if the product has less than 0.2% THC, which falls under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
Cannabis is still listed as a Class B substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act, but CBD is not. Because of this, some people thought to grow their own hemp or cannabis to extract their own CBD. However, this is an illegal action. You cannot do this. In order to produce CBD in the UK, you must first receive a licence and permission from the UK Home Office.
Similarly, anyone who desires to sell CBD must either be a licence medical distributor or have CBD to sell as a nutritional supplement. If CBD is going to be sold as a supplement, it must be packaged in accordance with the Food Supplements Regulations 2003.
As of 2020, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) designated CBD as medicine within the UK, but this introduced stricter regulations.
Legal Limit of THC
Currently, there are two laws that discuss the levels of THC in cannabis and hemp products. Since THC is still considered an illegal drug, the less you have of it in a product, the better. Hemp-derived products, such as hemp seeds and hemp oil, must have less than 0.02 per cent of THC.
The standard changes if the CBD has been extracted using CO2 or a solvent, since this would mean that there should be no THC at all. This includes CBD capsules, oils, edibles, and e-liquids.
CBD as a Novel Food
As of February 2020, the European Commission and the Food Standards Agency of the UK requires any food or drink or supplement that contains CBD to have a “novel food” marker. A “novel food” is any food that has “not been consumed to a significant degree by humans in the EU before 15 May 1997, when the first Regulation of novel food came into force.” For foods to pass as a novel food it must not be a risk to the public in any way, not be nutritionally devoid or disadvantageous, and not mislead users.
Purchasing CBD in the UK
While the restrictions and laws might makes purchasing CBD oil in the UK seem difficult, it is not. If anything, you will find a more vast and varied supply of CBD products than ever before. Although all CBD products contain less than 0.2 per cent THC, they are entirely legal and easy to buy.
When you go shopping for CBD products, remember to check the ingredients list. Look for CBD extract from either hemp or cannabis. Do not purchase a product using only hemp seed oil, as this will have a low concentration of CBD.
It has only been a few short years since CBD, or cannabidiol, was introduced to the UK, but the industry has flourished immensely—even under strict regulations. Now, with recent changes as of February 2020, CBD oil is more accessible than ever before. You will now see CBD supplements in the windows of pharmacies and food stores. So, if someone was to ask whether CBD is legal in the UK or not, you can confidently tell them yes!
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