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CBD 101 - Learn All You Need To Know

Is CBD Oil Legal in the UK?

The growing body of research around CBD, (along with the CBD merchants that seemingly opened up overnight) has, unsurprisingly, left many consumers wondering what the hype is about. 

CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of at least 119 known cannabinoids naturally found in the cannabis family of plants: Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, Cannabis ruderalis and all their hybrids. CBD by itself does not have any of the psychoactive properties that give you the “high” associated with smoking or ingesting marijuana. The still-illegal tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), another type of cannabinoid, is what causes the “high” effect.

Despite the increasing number of countries relaxing their laws against the use of cannabis, it continues to be an illegal class of drug in the UK, with narrow exemptions for medicinal use. While early experiments suggest that CBD may have promising pain and anxiety-relieving properties, CBD sellers have been careful not to claim specific health benefits due to insufficient clinical evidence. For now, CBD-based products are marketed as food supplements, topicals, tinctures and sprays.

The Legal Status of CBD in the UK

Much of the confusion around the legality of CBD stems from the common misinterpretation of existing laws. For instance, we know the Home Office prohibits the cultivation of any plant of the cannabis family, save for one exception — hemp, a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant. But this exemption still comes with restrictions.

Home Office policy states that “licences may be issued for the cultivation of cannabis plants with a low tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content for the production of hemp fibre for industrial purposes or the obtaining of seeds which are then pressed for their oil.” Note that the Home Office refers specifically to hemp fibres (from stalks) and seeds — leaves and flowers, which are controlled parts of hemp because of their THC content, must be discarded. To avoid confusion, the policy also says that licenses will only be issued to farmers cultivating approved seeds with a “THC content not exceeding 0.2%.”

This is where things can get murky. Both sellers and consumers can misinterpret the Home Office’s guidance to mean that it’s legal to supply CBD products if they have no more than 0.2% THC. However, the policy only applies in the context of hemp plants being grown for industrial purposes and has nothing to do with the CBD-based products being sold to consumers.

Legal Requirements for CBD Products

When it comes to CBD products sold for human consumption, Regulation 2 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 (MDR) states that CBD products are exempt from the Misuse of Drugs Act (MoDA) if they fulfil the following “exempt product” criteria:

  1. The product is not designed to administer THC
  2. The product is formulated in a way that any trace THC compounds cannot be easily isolated by accessible means or come at concentrations that can affect human health
  3. The product contains less than 1 milligram of THC per component part.

However, a study commissioned by the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis (CMC) found that only 38% of the test products contained the claimed amount of CBD and 50% had more than the legal amount of THC and other controlled cannabinoids.

As you can see, the legality of CBD products depends on the integrity of manufacturers and retailers. This makes it crucial to get your CBD oils, creams, balms, soaps and more from a reputable provider.

At Nutrivive, we provide our customers with the peace of mind knowing that they’re getting premium-grade and 100% legal CBD oil. Take advantage of our Try Before You Buy programme to get a sample shipped to your doorstep before you commit to a full purchase.