Updated for 2020: Is CBD Oil Legal in the UK?

With a rapidly increasing interest in the use of CBD oil, there has been much confusion around the legal status of the supplement. Its association with marijuana has meant that it’s not always been made clear to the public how or why CBD oil is different.

Although CBD is derived from the same family of plants as marijuana, CBD oil is not treated the same in law.

CBD oil is 100% legal to buy - providing certain conditions are met. Here’s what you need to know about buying CBD oil in the UK and the legal requirements.

In a Nutshell

While marijuana still remains a very controversial subject, the use of CBD oil is very different.

It is totally legal to buy CBD oil in the UK, providing the THC content is less than 0.2%. You will find some CBD oil which has an even lower THC content - which can be useful for individuals who are particularly sensitive - but 0.2% is the maximum permitted by law.

When you buy CBD oil you should be able to clearly see the amount of THC labelled.

CBD oil on its own won’t make you high, or create the feelings of relaxation and euphoria that marijuana is associated with. This is produced by THC, the element which is currently illegal in quantities of more than 0.2%. THC is a controlled substance as defined by the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

Growing Your Own

CBD can be extracted from either hemp or marijuana plants; the former contains no THC but the latter can include very high quantities of up to 30%.

Even though hemp plants only contain trace elements of THC, it is still not legal to grow your own in the UK unless you hold a licence.

To grow hemp or sell CBD oil in the UK, you must comply with the following regulations: 

  • All CBD producers must hold a licence from the Home Office
  • The product must either be sold as a nutritional supplement or you must hold a licence to be a medical distributor
  • All labelling must comply with The Food Supplements (England) Regulations 2003
  • A Cosmetic Product Safety Report (CPSR) is required for CBD cosmetics
  • CBD vaping products must comply with the legislation on non-nicotine vaping e-liquids

Changes to the Law

From March 2021, a hotly contested law is being introduced which will mean all products in the UK containing CBD must be approved under a Novel Foods Application.

This classifies CBD as a novel food, meaning there is no long-term data on its effects. Many in the industry have disputed this, pointing to the use of hemp which was one of the earliest crops humans harvested. So far the arguments have been unsuccessful, and barring any radical change of heart, from 2021 all UK CBD oil will either have to be granted a licence or removed from the shelves.

Watch this space

CBD oil is such a hot topic that legislation and knowledge are changing all of the time. Bookmark this blog to stay up to date with the latest developments on the subject.