To understand CBD regulations in the UK, we need to delve into its origins. The CBD that is present in CBD oils in the UK market mainly comes from either “industrial hemp” or other strains of the cannabis plant.
Historically, industrial hemp was cultivated for its fibre to use in clothing, construction, and paper. But, in recent times, it’s been grown to produce CBD for use in food, food supplement, and vape products.
The CBD industry in the UK has only recently started to come into its own. Although CBD has been used as a medicinal product in the United States for quite some time already, the UK market is only starting to catch up now.
Recent changes have made CBD oil more accessible in the UK – you can now buy it in health stores and pharmacies. You can also buy premium CBD oil in bulk at different places. However, regulations are still foggy. CBD is legal in the UK, but CBD law remains a grey area for many, which causes a lot of confusion amongst the general public.
CBD Oil Regulations in the UK
Under the Misuse of Drugs Act, cannabis is listed as a Class B drug, but CBD isn’t listed as a controlled substance under the act. This leads many to believe that they can grow their own hemp or cannabis. However, this isn’t true – it’s illegal to grow your own hemp or cannabis in the UK. CBD producers in the UK are required to receive a license and permission from the Home Office to do so.
Similarly, you either need to sell CBD as a nutritional supplement or be a licensed medical distributor to sell CBD oil in the UK.
CBD Oil UK Law 2020
According to UK law, it’s legal to sell CBD oil. However, the product must contain no more than 0.2% THC, while the CBD content of a product doesn’t impact its legality. In other words, qualifying people/entities can legally sell high strength CBD oil as long as the THC level doesn’t exceed 0.2%.
This means that CBD oil containing just 4% CBD and the strongest CBD oil, that says contains 50% CBD must both conform to the THC limit of 0.2% in order to be legal.
Naturally, hemp plants have a much lower THC content and are therefore often used by British manufacturers in place of cannabis. Hemp plants are made up of less than 0.3% THC, which makes it easier for brands to conform to the 0.2% limit.
However, even when CBD products contain less than 0.2% THC, legally, they still cannot be sold as medical products according to UK law.
So what does this mean on a practical level? Essentially, brands can’t advertise their CBD oils as having any specific medical benefits. For this reason, the majority of CBD products sold in the UK are sold as health food supplements and can often be found in the dietary supplement section of a store, rather than among medicinal products, like painkillers.
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Tips for Selling CBD Oil in the UK
Here are some of the key factors to consider if you’re interested in selling CBD oil in the UK:
- Marketing Restrictions: As we’ve already discussed briefly, licenses for CBD products as medicine haven’t yet been granted. Therefore manufacturers can’t make claims about its alleged medicinal properties. In other words, if you’re selling CBD oil, you can’t make any health claims and are required to abide by the MHRA guidelines.
- Beware of THC: Currently, the legal limits set for THC are 0.2%. This is further complicated by a 1 mg THC limit per bottle or container, no matter what size. There’s a serious lack of consistency when it comes to CBD’s legal status in the UK with regards to THC.
Work with Trade Organizations: Since the CBD market in the UK is quite new and fast-moving, various trade bodies have emerged to establish a structure of “best practice” among members. The main one is the Cannabis Trades Association (CTA) – a non-profit that is dedicated to supporting CBD, hemp, and cannabis businesses in the UK. They can help to get your business off the ground while keeping within legal guidelines and producing safe, high-quality products.