Is CBD Legal in the UK? The UK’s CBD Law Explained

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Is CBD legal in the UK? It’s a contentious question that’s not totally clear cut.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is everywhere from CBD novel foods like gummies to topicals, skincare and muscle balms. Of all the formats CBD oil, sometimes called CBD hemp oil is the most widely known and purchased.

The number of CBD oil users in the UK is well over a million and growing. You can see why there is such interest in what CBD oil is all about and its legal status. CBD oil suppliers UK and abroad are acutely aware of the changing legal landscape and need to stay on top of it to ensure their products remain on the shelves.

Is CBD oil legal in the UK?

While many people know the source of CBD is the cannabis plant, for it to be considered legal in the first place the harvest needs be of the Cannabis sativa L industrial hemp variety.

Hemp and Cannabis plant classification

Products sold as the best quality CBD oil UK are not always what the marketing message would have you believe. A common misconception with marketeers and many consumers is in the EU & UK 0.2% THC ( tetrahydrocannabinol ) threshold. They interpret this to imply that a final product with less than 0.2% THC is legal. However, the % only relates to harvested plants and not final products.

Good news for EU farmers; the THC level of 0.3% on harvest from January 1st 2023. This will increase the range of approved seeds for EU agriculture but again will not change approved level in final products.

More than 1mg of THC in CBD oil; the product is deemed illegal in the UK

When it comes to THC in final products UK law is very clear on this one.

There are 3 elements in order for a CBD product to be an exempted product from classification as a controlled product.

  1. the purpose of the final product is not to administer THC;
  2. THC is not detected or in trace amounts, therefore cannot be recovered by readily applicable means or in a yield which constitutes a risk to health; and
  3. product contains no more than 1 mg of THC.

The last point is regularly misinterpreted as 1mg per dose. What it actually means is a bottle or container whether 5ml or 50 litres makes no difference. More than 1mg THC in the final product irrespective of size requires a controlled drug license or it’s illegal to be sold on the UK market.

Trace amounts of THC are likely even in best quality CBD oil UK as it’s difficult to completely isolate CBD. However, trace amounts do not make a product illegal or harmful to health. The majority of research would indicate that cannabinoids and terpenes are potentially more beneficial together than isolated.

CBD oil medical claims

Companies selling CBD oil legally in the UK cannot make beneficial medical claims. There are marketeers that will go out of their way to bend the law and make a quick sale on unsuspecting consumers.

If a brand is claiming direct medical benefits, beware. Some consumers desperate for results want to believe the hype, and marketeers know it. They will claim their products will treat or cure various health and medical conditions. If you spot this no matter how tempting you’re best to steer clear.

Companies are only allowed to advertise CBD as a food supplement and make no medical claims. You can see more on this over on the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) site or the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

CBD Novel foods UK

CBD oil suppliers UK and overseas are watching the classification of CBD Novel Foods UK closely. This is perhaps the biggest threat to legality of CBD products on the UK market. The purpose of novel food validation is consumer safety. Novel CBD food products are subject to food laws and it falls to the FSA and local authorities to enforce the legislation.

Applications for authorisation of CBD food products are required where they are considered novel food, having no history of consumption before May 1997. With most CBD oils currently on the market falling into this category, they almost all require a validated novel foods application to remain in the market legally.

However, at this time a handful of brands have submitted or have indicated their intention to submit a novel food application. The authorities are allowing some to remain on the market while their applications are assessed. There are currently no approved CBD novel food applications. None. This point remains the biggest threat to legality of most CBD products on the UK market.

CBD Product Classification

Clearly any product that differs significantly from its plant source is considered novel food. In CBD terms this includes synthetics, enriched or isolated products, including the isolate hybrid Broad spectrum CBD oil. Additionally extraction methods plays a big part in whether a CBD product is considered novel. At this time there is only one type of CBD oil that does not fall under the scope of Novel food legislation, that’s mechanically cold pressed CBD hemp oil.

Mechanically cold-pressed CBD oil

Much like how high quality extra virgin olive oil is produced, using only mechanical means of extraction, organic cold-pressed CBD oil is not considered novel. It is an exempt wholefood supplement. The word CBD in this case relates to the buzz word everyone is searching for, in reality it contains all the compounds of the whole hemp plant without chemical alteration.

To summarise; CBD oil is currently legal in the UK where it is derived from industrial hemp and has a THC content of less than 1mg in the total product. If it is extracted by any other means, other than mechanically cold pressing then it most likely falls into the category of CBD novel food UK. While the novel foods legislation is yet to be fully enforced, it represents the biggest threat to legality of most CBD oil products on the UK market.

Best CBD oil to try

CBD oil 1000 mg. Best CBD oil UK and Ireland Seshat Botanicals is one of the very few brands with a food safe notified CBD Hemp oil. Mechanically cold pressed; our organic cold-pressed CBD oil is clearly one of the best quality CBD oil UK or anywhere else.

Third party lab tested for quality and safety. Experience CBD in the true sense of its most potent full spectrum form; organic cold pressed cbd oil. Each drop is chemically unaltered phytocannabinoid-rich hemp oil. Total CBD oil 1000mg (CBD & CBDa), and other naturally occurring cannabinoids, terpenes, organic vitamins and micro nutrients. The best CBD oil to try is food safe and Legal in the UK.

You may also like enjoy our article on the differences between Hemp seed and CBD oil.

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