Is CBD Oil Legal to Use in the UK?
CBD oil is a concentrated substance extracted from the cannabis plant. The oil is increasingly gaining popularity due to its wide range of beneficial properties and medical applications.
Many studies now claim that CBD oil helps controlling an array of medical conditions. Such as: epileptic seizures, menstrual-related issues, arthritis-related pain, general pain, and symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, only to name a few.
Despite its varied benefits and curing properties, CBD Oil remains a somewhat controversial topic in society. Many people are still unsure about where exactly this oil derives from, where it is procured, and whether it is legalized for consumption or not.
The main reason behind all the chaos and confusion is the lack of awareness and knowledge regarding the differences between Hempseed, Cannabidiol, and the Cannabis plant.
So, this post intends to clear the air on that matter. Let us first closely understand these terms and their real chemical nature and effects on the human body. Then, let us have a look at the UK Law to understand where the authorities stand.
Read all the post to finally have clarity on the subject!
What is the Cannabis plant, CBD, and Hempseed?
Hash, weed, pot, marijuana, etc. The cannabis plant has a lot of names given by popular slangs. The reason behind cannabis' psychotropic effects (I mean, what makes you “high”) is the Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC for short.
THC is one of the most prevalent chemical compounds found in the plant on its natural state. This is the very substance that makes the usage of cannabis plant illicit and illegal, yet quite popular.
However, THC is only one of the many cannabinoid substances. We call cannabinoid each one of the chemical composts found in the cannabis plant. They are this many and, obviously, they can vary a lot about their effects and medical applications.
This diversity can be a gold mine for medicine progress and, thus, need a lot more research and tests. Also, it is utterly important that people be educated in the matter, so they can understand the possibilities on this field.
Cannabidiol, or CBD for short, is the name of a set of substances that are also present in most Cannabis plant species. To be clear, there is approximately 120 different species of the cannabis plant beyond the popular Cannabis sativa.
Apart from THC, the cannabis plant offers more than 100 chemical compounds, including the cannabis products known as CBD. They are extracted from the flowers and leaves of the plant which merely contain 0.2% of THC, making the compound non-toxic.
In a few words, CBD cannot make you high. Because of that, CBD is rather put under the “food supplement” basket and it is not a controlled substance. That means you can take it before driving, for instance.
As the name suggests, Hempseed oil is extracted from the seeds of the hemp plant, one of the species of the cannabis plants. The extracted oil is generally used as a food supplement for wide range of health benefits.
The hemp seed oil contains a relatively low level of THC which makes the oil suitable for consumption without prescription.
Is CBD Oil Legal in the UK?
Now that you are familiar with the terminology, we can proceed the discussion. Further, it is vital to understand the rules and regulations that are currently affecting the production and commercialization of cannabinoids such as THC and CBD oils.
The laws regarding the legality of cannabis oil are different in every country, which some being more progressist than other. The UK Law has established its own ground rules which define the legitimacy of CBD oil.
Let us start with the short answer: yes. CBD oils are legal for consumption in the UK as they are classified as food supplements. To reach the market, cannabis producers must comply with a lot of regulations to ensure it is not disrespecting the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
As for the THC, since it is the main psychotropic substance in the cannabis plant, it is a different story. Also, according to the UK’s Drug Law, the cannabis plant is considered illegal to use as it contains a high amount of THC it and the misuse of the drug act.
To use other words, the plant in its natural state is illegal and considered to be an illicit drug. It means the UK Law does not allow the recreative use of the cannabis species, as does the Canadian law, for instance.
The UK law does not define hemp oil as an illicit drug and, beyond that, states it is a good source of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. Because of that, the hemp oil is widely used as a dietary supplement that helps in the overall improvement of general health.
When it comes to the consumption of CBD oil, the legality is defined through the THC levels on the final product. That said, the current law in the UK states that CBD oil which contains less than 0.2% of THC is legal to use. Above that, it cannot reach the market.
What does The Medicine and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) have to say about CBD?
The Medicine and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency is an executive agency of the Department of Health and Care in clinical trials in the UK. The rules and opinions passed by the agency apply to the whole country.
The MHRA has a key role in the UK in protecting consumers of health products, improving public health, and supporting scientific research, development, and innovation in its field. So, the agency has the final word on how the CBD stand in the UK legal framework.
The last MHRA statement was published in the last months of 2016. It defines products containing cannabidiol (CBD) as medicinal ones. The agency also provides regulatory guidance to any company that wants to commercialize CBD-based medicines.
So, the MHRA states that the consumption of CBD oil is acceptable for medical purposes only. Cannabidiol oil which merely contains traces of THC (less than 0.2%, as explained above) will be considered legal for production, supply, advertising, and sale.
Those products, however, still need a license to ensure they are compliant and safe for people. The license also shows consumers in the market they are buying from a compliant source.
In a nutshell, CBD oil is legal in the UK and can be consumed for medical purposes if it matches a few regulations. The only thing you must repair, so you ensure you are complying with the law, is the THC levels on the product.
Also, we suggest you to always buy from trusted sources. Mind that companies need licenses to operate in this industry. So, do your homework and find out if everything is as it is supposed to be.
The list of medical conditions that find treatment with CBD-based therapy is endless. The most common are anxiety issues, depression, arthritis, pain, sleep deprivation and many others. Soon, as research develops, more possibilities will be discovered.
If you are suffering from any medical condition above, remember CBD is an option. It is approved for use, and it may help you with chronical issues. Of course, THC and high street medicine may have a few side effects. However, they are safe in small amounts.