If you’ve been closely following the CBD oil UK law state of affairs, there is a reason why you have landed on this article: confusion. Well you’re not alone with this feeling as many people are confused. On the one hand, organisations such as MHRA are turning a blind eye to the growing demand for CBD-related products. However, major high street retailers are banking bags of money each day due to their distribution of CBD supplements.
Are these retailers breaking the law? Or is CBD oil legal in the UK? This article will, to the best of my ability, attempt to answer those questions. So without further delay, let’s get this breakdown started.
Well, is it legal?
Right, let’s cut to the chase and deal with the question you’re here for: Is CBD oil legal in the UK? Well the answer is, in simple terms, yes. It is an authorised substance in the United Kingdom. However, don’t think you can suddenly stock up on oil supplies. While the answer is ‘yes’, there’s an undeniable ‘but’ that follows along. This is because the situation is currently a complicated, muddled up mess which isn’t likely to be cleaned anytime soon.
Why obtaining regular CBD oil in the UK is a difficult process
In recent months, various well-regarded UK media outlets reported that CBD oil – and medicinal cannabis in general – would be available in 2019 via prescription. Well, this is true. As stated in the Home Office’s factsheet regarding CBD and other cannabis-related products: “Specialist Doctors can prescribe CBPMs [Cannabis Based Products for Medicinal Use in Humans] without requiring a Home Office licence to lawfully write a prescription.” This means if patients need cannabis treatment, this is what they will receive.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid was a large factor in this becoming a reality. It was his decision to change the UK’s position on using cannabis-based medicinal products. Previously legislation meant it all fell under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, yet now those afflicted by an applicable medical condition can receive cannabis-related treatments.
With that said, this doesn’t mean CBD oil is easily attainable. In fact, it is pretty much the opposite. Going back to the aforementioned sentence – ‘if patients need cannabis treatment’ – there should be a specific emphasis placed on the word ‘need’. As Javid put it, cannabis treatments are only to help “patients with an exceptional clinical need”. He also added the new legislation was not the first step towards recreational use of cannabis in the UK.
Because of this approach, it makes legally obtaining traditional CBD oil a difficult process for UK residents. The ‘exceptional clinical need’ is one where no other lawful medicinal treatment – other than cannabis – will help the patient. If a specialist clinician doesn’t deem your case suitable for medicinal cannabis, you won’t receive any CBD oil.
Yet if you pop into a local supplement store like Holland & Barrett, you will find the shelves lined with products that boast CBD. When you know the previous information, however, there’s only one question that pops into your brain: Are these CBD oils ‘on the level’?
CBD oil: the high street retailer alternative
Well if you haven’t guessed already, high street retailers sell CBD oil which isn’t of the traditional kind. This means they have a significant difference between CBD medicinal items found in places such as Holland and the USA. Although in this case, ‘different’ doesn’t equal bad.
So what is the variance between CBD oil from high street retailers and dispensaries?
Well UK retailers are manufacturing their oil not with marijuana, but rather via an active CBD compound which is present in hemp. The reason behind this decision is, if you have hemp which contains less than 0.2% THC, it does not become affected by the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. This, ultimately, makes it legal to produce and distribute in the UK. If any CBD oil contains higher levels of THC, it is only available through a prescription – or via illegal means (which isn’t recommended, of course).
For retailers to sell CBD oils legally, they also need to jump through another hoop. As the MHRA acknowledged the therapeutic benefits of CBD oil back in 2016, they painted a clear picture: if a company is selling CBD oil based on their medicinal benefits, these products need to receive the correct licensing to be classed as a medicine. This is why sellers do not advertise CBD oil for their medicinal purposes. Instead, they classify them as ‘nutrition supplements’. Their medicinal benefits remain, obviously, but this loophole means they don’t have to go through the trouble of acquiring medical licensing for CBD oil.
Sadly, certain CBD oil distributors are taking advantage of its current popularity. As hemp-based CBD oils essentially only need to meet the ‘less than 0.2% THC’ requirement, it doesn’t mean they have to meet any other conditions. As a result, some UK retailers have been accused of cutting corners and simply procuring hemp seed oil, botting it up, and slapping a ‘CBD oil’ label on the bottle.
Where to buy CBD oil in the UK
With this in mind, how is it possible to source a trustful CBD oil supplier, one that will deliver a product which isn’t watered down and/or lacking the medicinal qualities you seek? First of all, the Cannabis Trades Association (CTA) makes a commitment in providing memberships only to CBD oil suppliers that offer products which “say what they are and are what they say”. So if a UK supplier isn’t listed as a CTA member, forget about purchasing from them. CBD Shopy is an example of a UK retailer who is registered with the CTA and only retails products who’s manufactures are registered with the CTA check-out their review of the best CBD oils in the UK.