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CBD Legality in the UK
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CBD Legality in the UK

Posted: December 12, 2018

CBD is a widely misunderstood cannabinoid that is part of the cannabis family. Until recently, CBD had been confused with psychoactive compounds found in cannabis such as THC. Unlike THC, CBD does not produce any sort of buzz, high, or intoxicating effects. CBD does, however, produce results that consumers can't seem to get enough of. Results ranging from helping relieve stress, depression, and anxiety to helping with conditions such as chronic pain, muscle spasms, and more are reported by CBD consumers. One of the biggest concerns with consumers of CBD is the legality of CBD in the UK.

The Reclassification of CBD in the UK

CBD was not classified as a medicine in the UK until January of 2017 when the British Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency made the announcement, they were reclassifying CBD as a medicine. In 2018 the United States of America made a similar move when President Donald Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill which removed industrial hemp from the Controlled Substance Act in America. Suddenly within a matter of a few short years, industrial hemp can now be traded as a global commodity. In the UK any business wishing to sell CBD products as a medicine must first obtain marketing authorization or a product license to do so legally.

In a loophole that many CBD companies are choosing to use to avoid this process, CBD products are labeled as food supplements or nutrition additives. This still allows companies to sell CBD products under current regulations as long as they do not make any medical claims. Quality medical CBD products will always have certified lab testing to accompany them. These products are put through a series of stringent testing to determine their potency and purity. These products typically cost more than CBD products labeled nutrition additives or food supplements.

Percentage of THC Matters for the Legality of CBD

In the United States of America industrial hemp is classified as a variety of cannabis containing 0.3% THC or less. Anything above this and you don't have hemp. CBD derived from industrial hemp is legal in the UK as long as it comes from EU-approved industrial hemp cultivars.

The UK also has an even stricter qualification for industrial hemp as it must contain 0.2% THC or less. Currently, it's only industrial hemp derived CBD that is legal for general consumers or the general public to purchase. If you're looking to obtain CBD derived from medical cannabis in the UK the good news is that the government made an announcement in 2018 that doctors now can prescribe medical cannabis in the UK.

It's important to remember that when you consume a CBD product, you should never feel a buzz or feel intoxicated. If you do, you should report the product because there could be issues with the manufacturing process that need to be addressed.

The Most Recent Changes in Legality of CBD in the UK

In February of 2019, The European Food Safety Authority made an announcement regarding CBD in the UK. In an official press release they stated the following in regard to the legality of CBD in the UK within food products.

“The new guidance now states that: “Derived products containing cannabinoids are considered novel foods as a history of consumption has not been demonstrated.” The guidance further clarifies that cannabinoids obtained from other plants or developed synthetically would still be considered novel. This means that foods with cannabinoids could be off the European market for three years--the typical time it takes for an ingredient to gain novel food status--or potentially longer depending what actions the UK government takes.”

The Legality of CBD is Improving Globally

CBD legality is improving in the UK as more people are purchasing the products and authorities there are seeing no issues. The pot leaf which to the untrained eye looks just like the leaf of an industrial hemp plant has had a very negative stigma attached to it. Industrial hemp is the non-intoxicating cousin to medical cannabis. During the prohibition of cannabis industrial hemp was caught up in the mix.

Thankfully as we lay the groundwork for the next thousand years of this millennium we have started as a society to acknowledge the potential medicinal and therapeutic attributes cannabinoids from cannabis potentially hold for patients and consumers. This is a path that if continued will undoubtedly help usher in a happier, healthier, greener future in which society could stand to thrive and cultivate a more conscious awareness of this widely misunderstood plant.