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Is CBD legal ?

is CBD legal?

Is CBD Legal in the UK? A 2021 update 

Everything you need to know about buying (and selling) legal CBD products in the U.K

Ruby Deevoy


From the outside, looking in, the CBD oil industry seems pretty plain sailing. It’s a booming business worldwide, with millions upon millions of regular users and a net worth that is expected to reach to reach €150 billion by 2025! But despite the fact that CBD fans are in abundance, and there are a hell of a lot of benefits to be had in terms of economic growth, the truth is that the lay of the land remains a little shaky – in the U.K, anyway.

is CBD legal in the UK

Image by Jhon David    is CBD legal in the UK?

In short, CBD is legal in the U.K – and quite rightly so! There are now well over 41,000 studies looking into cannabis and our in-built endocannabinoid system, supporting a wide range of potential uses, as well as an unblemished safety record. The World Health Organisation states that CBD poses no public health risk or abuse potential and that it is safe and well tolerated in both humans and animals. The UN have even said that the cannabis plant (the THC-rich flowers of which are currently available as a legally prescribed medicine on the NHS and via private clinics) has undeniable therapeutic value. Yet still there are multiple factors at play which makes the legal waters surrounding cannabis (or hemp) derived CBD a little murky. But we’re here to clear things up as best we can!

Is CBD legal in UK? – a 2021 update

What’s the deal with CBD oil? Is CBD oil legal? A lot has changed already this year. Here’s an overview…

CBD law UK

Image by Chrystal Weed        CBD law UK

Novel Food Regulations

Up until the 31st March 2021, the CBD market was fairly unregulated – which, while allowing for a wide range of great products and cannabinoids available to buy, also meant that there were many oils out there that were substandard or supplying levels of cannabinoids that are not in accordance with the law.
 
Now, all existing CBD companies have submitted detailed applications to the Food Standards Agency so their CBD products can be classed as ‘novel food supplements’ - putting the onus on businesses to demonstrate safety and quality in order to remain on shelves.
 
When a company submits a Novel Food Application, products are then sent for full analysis. Tests include:
 
  • Full chemical analysis
  • Stability Testing
  • Microbiological Testing
  • Toxicological Evaluation
  • ADME Evaluation
what is CBD tested for?

IWhat is CBD tested  for?.

In many ways, this is great news. By regulating CBD products like this we’re being lead out of the ‘wild west’ and into territory where every CBD oil available has been thoroughly tested and grown using organic methods. This is something that is absolutely vital for ensuring customer safety, as cannabis (or hemp) is a ‘bio-accumulator’, meaning that any chemicals used to grow the plant or to treat the soil will be absorbed into the stalks, leaves and flowers used to make CBD oil – and no one wants that in their system! 

However, out of the 803 applications received, so far only 42 have been approved (with 317 still being assessed), so we have yet to see the toll this will take on the industry as a whole – particularly on smaller, independent businesses.

Is CBD without THC legal in the U.K?

A number of cannabinoids, including THC, remain illegal in the U.K unless prescribed, despite the fact that the CBD molecule (cannabidiol) and a wide variety of others can be used in accordance with the law. Illegal cannabinoids include:
  • THC
  • THCV
  • CBN
These are all considered ‘controlled substances’ by the Home Office. However, they have all been well studied and are readily used in countries where cannabis is legal, for a variety of reasons. In the U.K the maximum legal limit of any of these compounds is up to 0.3% per product.

Is Hemp Legal to Grow?

Is Hemp legal to grow?

Image by GreenForce staffing        Is Hemp legal to grow?

Although the largest cannabis (hemp) farm in the world is located in the U.K. it’s crops are sent off to other countries to be used as medicinal cannabis. The plantation is owned by GW Pharmaceuticals, and over two million cannabis plants have been produced since it was first opened in 1998.

Reading this, you might imagine that U.K growing laws are fairly straightforward,  but unfortunately this isn’t so…

Are Hemp Flowers Legal to Grow, Buy and Smoke?

can I grow hemp in the UK?

Image by Chrystalweed.    can I grow hemp in the UK?

Hemp (a variant of the cannabis plant which contains little to no THC) can be grown in the UK with a Home Office license. However, this license is very hard to get and only gives permission to harvest the stalk, fibre, leaves and seeds from the plant. The flowers must be destroyed. 

This presents a problem for producing high quality CBD oil, as it’s really the flowers which are most abundant in cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids. And it also means that selling hemp flowers is technically illegal. However, as they don’t contain any controlled substances, it’s not illegal to buy or consume them. Confused? Don’t worry. Everyone else is too!

 Is CBD Legal to Import?

The short answer is yes - and this offers a solution for the aforementioned issue! CBD oil derived from the whole plant can be processed, produced and imported from other countries where cultivation and harvesting is approved such as Guernsey, Switzerland, France, select American states and Colombia, which is where all Dermactiva CBD and cannabis seed oil comes from!

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