Is CBD Legal in the UK? Here's Everything You Need to Know

Posted by oran wellard on

CBD is a hot topic in the UK and for good reason. With its potential to treat everything from chronic pain to anxiety, it’s easy to see why people are interested in what this substance has to offer. And with legalization happening across Canada and many US states, it's no surprise that CBD is quickly becoming more popular in the UK too. But there are some things you should know before jumping on board.

What is CBD?

CBD is one of over 120 compounds found in the cannabis plant which have been identified as cannabinoids, including THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). Cannabinoids interact with receptors throughout our bodies - but most notably, they bind with cannabinoid receptors in both the brain and body known as CB1 receptors. These receptors are involved in regulating a number of different functions, including pain sensation, mood, memory, and appetite. Whilst CBD is not psychoactive like THC (and won’t get you high), it does play an important role in the endocannabinoid system - which is why so many people are turning to CBD oil for medicinal purposes.

How is CBD Extracted?

There are a number of different extraction methods for creating CBD oil, all of which have pros and cons. These include CO2 extraction, solvent extraction, ethanol extraction, and more - each with its own advantages and disadvantages in terms of purity, safety, price, etc.

CBD oils often come in the form of:

  • CBD concentrates (oils that contain 25% CBD and higher)
  • CBD isolates (pure CBD made into a paste, then pressed into a powder or slab)
  • Whole-plant extracts (which include not only cannabinoids such as CBD but also various terpenes and flavonoids etc.)

Whole-plant extracts are the best choice if you’re looking for a product that offers full-spectrum CBD. But do make sure that it contains no THC, otherwise, you will be breaking the law!

A Brief History of the UK's Cannabis Laws

The UK has a long and complicated history when it comes to cannabis laws. Many people wrongly believe that cannabis was made illegal in the UK in 1971, after the passing of the Misuse of Drugs Act (MDA). In fact, this is not true at all.

But let’s go back further into British history - way back to the 1600s when King James I of England passed The Virginia Company Act. This was the first law in English history made against cannabis, which stated that settlers were not allowed to grow the crop in their new territories in America.

In the following century, Britain all but banned cannabis when they sentenced a man called Samuel Caldwell to death for selling marijuana. However, this law was mostly unenforced until the 1900s, when the Dangerous Drugs Act became law in 1920.

In 1938, there were amendments made to the Dangerous Drugs Act which included stiffer penalties for selling drugs over a certain amount - including cannabis.

And it’s here where things get interesting... In 1966, experiments began on animals with THC (the psychoactive compound in cannabis). Scientists hoped that this research would prove the dangers of using cannabis to the public.

However, their findings seemed to indicate otherwise… With experiments concluding that it was definitely not harmful to users and even potentially therapeutic. It later became apparent that these results had been ignored because they did not fit in with the current views of cannabis.

This is where our next big event takes place… Fast forward to 1971, when The Misuse of Drugs Act was passed. This banned the cultivation and use of cannabis for any purpose - making it a criminal offense to have it in your possession, give it away, or sell/supply/transport it.  

However, it's now 2021. The cannabis industry is booming due to the legalization of CBD in different countries all around the world, including the UK.

Is CBD Legal in the UK?

The laws around CBD oil are complex and constantly changing, so it’s important to do your own research before trying any products. That being said, CBD is legal in the UK - but only if it's derived from hemp flowers or leaves/stems (not seeds).

If you're looking for CBD oil derived from hemp then your best bet is to look for a high-quality UK brand (like Nuhemp!). Always check the ingredients list to be sure that it's legal in your country, and make sure you're purchasing from a company with good customer service - CBD can be tricky! CBD oil from hemp is legal to buy and sell,  possess, and consume in the UK.  You don’t need a prescription for this kind of CBD.  

You CANNOT  buy CBD oil in the UK that is extracted from cannabis flowers or leaves/stems. This kind of product is still classed as a "controlled substance" under the Misuse of Drugs Act (1971).

What Does This Mean for CBD Users?

If you are caught with certain amounts of cannabis-derived CBD oil in the UK, you could face up to 5 years in prison. Possession of a class B drug carries a sentence of up to six months imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine. Obtaining or attempting to obtain class B drugs illegally is punishable by up to 14 years in prison. 

However, the Misuse of Drugs Act actually states that an exception is made for cannabis/cannabis resin from which the cannabinoids have been extracted. This means it is not a controlled substance under the Act. 

The restrictions are being enforced by the MHRA, which means that CBD oil is not legal to sell or possess in the UK unless it meets the following criteria:

  • Made from hemp flowers or leaves/stems ONLY.
  • Contains no more than 0.2% THC.

That's why it's important to find a reputable, hemp-based CBD oil like Nuhemp's - it's super-reliable and can be quickly ordered online.

So, while CBD is legal in the UK, only hemp-based products are likely to be considered low risk by the authorities (and therefore not prosecuted). This means that if you're using a cannabis-derived product then there's a chance that you could be prosecuted. However, this is highly unlikely as authorities tend to take a lenient approach when it comes to CBD products that contain minimal THC and can clearly show their method of extraction (For example CBD derived from hemp flowers sold in the UK contains 0.2% THC or less).

Will CBD Make Me Fail a Drug Test?

Hemp-based CBD products are not likely to show up on standard drug tests. This is because the standard screening does not usually scan for the presence of CBD (or Cannabidiol) - which is what you'll be using if you're using an extract derived from hemp flowers/leaves/stems. However, if you're using cannabis-derived CBD then it is possible that it could show up on a drug screen.

To be sure, contact your employer or the testing facility to ask them what they're screening for before taking any CBD products. Moreover, even with hemp-derived CBD, there are some circumstances under which it could be detected - such as if you take a blood test. Blood tests have the ability to detect even extremely small amounts of THC.

However, you should also be aware that every individual is different and metabolizes CBD at a different rate. This means that it's impossible to say whether or not CBD will show up on any given drug test. You can view our lab tests and product specs by clicking here.

What about Side Effects?

CBD  is generally considered to be well-tolerated and safe, with minimal unwanted side effects. However, there are some minor side effects that one may experience when using CBD oil - including changes in appetite, diarrhea, fatigue, drowsiness, or dry mouth. Most of these side effects can easily be alleviated by adjusting the dosage (in consultation with a doctor or healthcare provider if necessary).

However, if you notice any changes in behavior (which could be a sign of CBD oil side effects) please contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible.

Despite this, CBD is generally considered to be extremely safe and well-tolerated among users - especially those who purchase hemp-derived CBD from reputable vendors such as Nuhemp.

Can CBD Support My Illness?

It's important to note that CBD CANNOT treat or cure any illness. It can, however, help to reduce the severity of symptoms associated with certain illnesses.

There are many claims about CBD oil's ability to treat almost anything including depression, anxiety, pain relief, and even cancer - but none of these have been confirmed by clinical trials. Moreover, there has never been a single reported case of an illness being cured by CBD oil.

That's why it's extremely important to research the benefits of using CBD oil to manage your symptoms - just because somebody says that you can treat your condition with cannabinol doesn't mean that you necessarily will. Therefore, we strongly recommend speaking to a healthcare provider before spending money on CBD oil for medical purposes - especially if you have a life-threatening or serious illness.

However, if you're seeking to use CBD oil for the management of conditions like stress, anxiety, or depression then it's probably one of the best natural remedies that are currently available.

Final Thoughts

CBD oil is quickly becoming a popular supplement for people who are looking for natural, effective ways to manage their health. It is 100% legal in the UK, the US, Canada, and several other parts of the world.

Since it's derived from hemp rather than marijuana, CBD oil is completely non-psychoactive - which means that you won't feel "high" or experience any changes in mood or cognition after using it.

You should always ensure that you purchase CBD oil from a reputable vendor - and preferably one that offers third-party lab tests on their products. This is because some companies offer very low-quality oils (with a full list of contaminants) - which may not offer the benefits as advertised. For more information, check out our lab results and product specs.

Ready to get started with CBD? Everything that you need to begin using CBD is right here on the Nuhemp website. Simply click the "CBD Shop" link at the top of this page to start browsing our range of CBD products.

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