CBD legalisation in UK

Posted by Adam Haider on Feb 3, 2020 12:06:28 PM
Adam Haider


CBD is legal in the United Kingdom, reason being it does not have THC, a controlled substance as per the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.  EU-approved industrial hemp strains comprise no or negligible THC and when CBD is derived from them, it is considered completely legal.

As far as CBD oil is concerned, it must have a maximum of 0.2% THC, which should not be easily separable. Cannabis oil with a greater THC content is banned in the UK.

Industrial hemp was earlier grown for the use of its fibre for the manufacturing of paper, clothing and construction. It is now being cultivated to prepare CBD, which in turn is used in food and vape items. 

Rules & Regulations vis-à-vis CBD

The UK regulatory environment is presently in limbo and government departments are trying to formulate new guidelines. Consequently, other regulations such as those concerning cannabis, food safety, vapes, cosmetics etc. are being taken into consideration.  

The labelling of a CBD product must have no medical claims and talk about manufacturer details, CBD content, THC presence and other ingredients used.    

THC & Its Legal Limit

There is lack of clarity regarding THC's legal limit in CBD oil as well as other related products in the UK. The 0.2% cap is related to the growing of hemp and is not applicable on CBD items manufactured through high-quality extraction techniques. So, don't be surprised if you do not find this on the labelling of CBD oils, drinks and capsules. Ideally, a CBD product should not contain any THC at all.

Legal Grounds for THC limit

In the absence of explicit rules, other drug laws such as Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, 2001 and 2010 determine the legal basis for THC limit.

'Exempt product' status states that any pack of a CBD product must not have more than 1 mg of THC. Fulfilling this condition though is tricky. Hence, businesses are required that they mention 'No THC' or 'Not Detected' on the CBD items that they sell and turn to an accredited lab conducting a certified THC test wherein the detection limit is 0.01% or lower.


MHRA is the health authority in the United Kingdom that keeps issuing periodic statements on the regulatory status of both CBD and other products containing cannabinoid. It maintains that expert guidance is a must where CBD is used for the treatment of a medical condition.

Cannabis is presently a controlled drug in the UK as per the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 but chances are doctors may soon begin to prescribe medicines derived from this substance.  

Other Facts

  • Licenses for the use of CBD oil as a medicine are yet to be issued; however, one can sell CBD products, provided no claims are made about the medical benefits.
  • Cannabis oil, with a greater THC content, is used for treating epilepsy and is understandably banned in the UK.
  • Sativex, which has THC and CBD in a ration of 1:1, got approval from the MHRA for the treatment of multiple sclerosis.

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Topics: investment, medical marijuana, CBD, medical cannabis, cannabinoids