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The United Kingdom has witnessed a gradual increase in the consumption of CBD products over the past few years. If you go shopping for CBD products in most markets in the UK, you can find products like CBD oil, CBD drinks, CBD vape liquids, CBD flower, CBD topical, etc.
As the number of CBD products and their consumption continue to increase, the legality of some CBD products remains questionable among potential consumers, retailers, manufacturers, and other stakeholders who don't love conflicting with the law.
For instance, most UK citizens are still unsure about the legality of the CBD hemp flower, which is gaining ground in the UK market.
For this reason, we have outlined various aspects of CBD products, including the legality of the CBD flower, so that you don't violate any legal regulations regarding their use and sale.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the most dominant compounds in the cannabis or hemp plant, accounting for 40% of the total extract. It is one of the 113 cannabinoids found in hemp-cannabis plants.
Clinical studies show that CBD has therapeutic benefits as it may help with conditions such as movement disorders, pain, anxiety, cognition, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and many more. However, the effectiveness of some CBD products is still unclear, calling for additional human researches to ascertain their therapeutic benefits.
CBD may be consumed orally, through smoking, or vaping, or taken topically by spraying it on the cheeks or applying as a cream. Contrary to what many people think, CBD products do not have an intoxicating effect, which may be the case with the cannabinoid delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
The different CBD products are supplied in capsules, CBD oil, dried cannabis, or liquid prescription solution.
Is CBD Legal in the UK?
CBD is legal if it does not contain more than 0.2% THC. THC is a controlled substance in the UK, under the Misuse Of Drugs Act, and selling or consuming CBD products with more than 0.2% THC amounts to a violation of the standing regulations and may attract legal penalties.
The law further stipulates that the CBD products must come from the industrial hemp strain rather than the marijuana strain. The reason behind this regulation is simple. Industrial hemp contains less THC and more CBD, while the marijuana strains have more THC that would need to be removed during the extraction process.
Contrary to many people's thoughts, being legal does not mean that everyone can produce, manufacture, and sell CBD products. Indeed, the law imposes multiple requirements that you must comply with to handle CBD and its products legally in the United Kingdom.
To produce CBD, a brand must obtain a license from the UK Home Office. Otherwise, it would be illegal. Additionally, you should be a registered distributor to sell CBD as a health or nutritional supplement.
Besides the licensing, the CBD products you are handling must conform to the safety regulations set to control the manufacturing and the use of CBD products in the UK. For instance:
If you handle vape products, they must conform to non-nicotine and e-liquid regulations for quality. On the other hand, CBD cosmetics must display the Cosmetic Product Safety Report to be considered valid. Further, the CBD food supplements must be labelled according to the food supplement regulations enacted in 2003.
The latest test legislation regarding the handling CBD as a novel food requires you to obtain premarket authorization before you engage in the production of the CBD Novel Foods like:
- CBD snacks/edibles
- CBD gummies, sweets, and mints
- CBD oils, sprays, and capsules
- CBD infused drinks and beverages like beer, tea, and coffee
Types of CBD Products You May Find On the Market
As mentioned earlier, there is an influx of CBD products in the market, some of which are legalized while others are not. Below are examples of the CBD products you are likely to find out there:
CBD vape, sometimes called the CBD e-liquid or CBD vape juice, refers to liquids containing the CBD that is vaporized using CBD Vape Pens . The CBD is distributed through the bloodstream after inhaling the vapour into the lungs.
CBD vapes contains a variety of other ingredients, dependent on the brand and manufacturer.
Examples of these ingredients include:
Some of the most popular forms of CBD found in products available on the UK market include CBD isolate, CBD distillate, broad-spectrum and full-spectrum CBD. Although they all contain the cannabinoid CBD, they each contain varying cannabinoids and other compounds found in the hemp plant. You can find out more about the differences in the article “What is CBD? The Facts About CBD”.
Terpenes are compounds found in plants that are the fundamental ingredients of the essential oils that give plants their scent and flavour. Terpenes work with cannabinoids to increase, activate, and even decrease the effects of other cannabinoids like CBD.
Carrier oils and solvents
Carrier oils, or solvents are used to dilute other oils and aid in “carrying” them into your blood stream. These often include:
- Vegetable glycerin (VG)
- Propylene glycol (PG)
- Vitamin e acetate;Which has over the past 5 years been a cause for alarm when it comes to vaping safety. Learn more on Vitamin e acetate and why it’s been found to be dangerous.
Aside from vitamin E acetate, several solvents used in CBD vape oil have the potential to be harmful. Unfortunately, there is just not enough known about the effects of these solvents and our lungs.
Amphora uses only natural, organic CBD distillate, and adds flavoured and unflavored terpenes for added health benefits. We do not add any carriers or solvents in our CBD vape cartridges, so you can enjoy pure CBD without the added worry.
Is CBD Vape Legal in the UK?
Yes, CBD vape is legal in the UK as long as its CBD extract is deduced from the hemp plant and it contains not more than 0.2% THC.
CBD edibles are the foods that contain the CBD from the hemp plant. Examples include CBD snacks, CBD gummies, and CBD-infused drinks like tea, coffee, and beer. As mentioned earlier, manufacturers of these foods must contain a pre-authorization from the respective authorities before they engage in manufacturing the foods.
The sellers or distributors of CBD-rich foods should also conform to the laid regulations lest they violate the law.
As the case with the CBD vape, CBD edibles are legal as long as their CBD extract is from the hemp plant and has less than 0.2% THC.
CBD Oil Drops
Cannabidiol oil is an oil extracted from the hemp plant. Anecdotal reports by some users indicate that Cannabidiol oil can help to aid pain, inflammation, stress, and improve mood.
Various studies have also confirmed the therapeutic benefits of Cannabidiol oil. For instance, the research conducted by FDA in 2018 found that the purified form of CBD oil (Epidiolex) was effective in treating two types of epilepsy.
CBD oil drops are taken by mouth through the sublingual method absorption, which involves placing one or several CBD oil drops under the tongue and retaining it there for 30 to 60 seconds to absorb CBD into the bloodstream. There is no right dosage for CBD oil that fits everyone’s needs as CBD dosing is individual to everyone. It’s important to start low and slow, and journal how to feel. Stop increasing dosage once you’ve achieved the effects you were looking for.
Though CBD oil can be extracted from any part of the hemp plant, including the flowers, the stem, roots, buds, the law governing the use of the CBD products in particular on which parts of the hemp plant can legally be used to make the products. That is why you will find CBD oil from some features like the CBD flower considered illegal in the UK.
Is CBD Oil Legal in the UK?
Yes, CBD oil is exempted from controlled substances under the misuse of drugs act of 1971. However, its validity holds only if the CBD is derived from hemp strain approved by the European Union (EU) or has less than 0.2% THC content.
CBD topical refers to any cream, balm, salve, or lotion that bears CBD as its constituent element and is applied on the skin surface. Anecdotal reports from some CBD topical users indicate that the cream can aid with various skin issues like inflammation, joint pains, muscle pains, sprains, and pains in other parts of the body. Perhaps, that could make you think that the cream has psychoactive THC.
That is not, however, the case. Instead, the CBD in the cream utilizes the cannabinoid receptors, which are highly concentrated on the top layers of the skin to activate the endocannabinoid system. The CBD then works on the cannabinoid receptors in your dermal and epidermal skin layers to alleviate inflammation and pain. The reduced pain and inflammation bring some calmness to your mind.
CBD topical is legal in the UK, as the manufacturer is licensed, and the CBD contents in them are extracted from legal parts of the hemp plant.
CBD Flower/ Hemp Flower
CBD flower is the sprout of the hemp plant, which contains less than 0.2% THC. It is similar to compliant CBD oil in that it includes the least THC and a high concentration of cannabinoids.
The CBD flower is collected from the field, dried, and then treated to prepare the flower for consumption. It is mainly consumed through smoking or vaporizing. Besides smoking and vaporizing, you can cook the flower with the food or use it to create CBD oil, tinctures, vape, and topicals.
With high CBD potency, low THC levels, and broad applicability, you would expect the CBD flower to be legalized in the UK. That is, however, not the case. Indeed, CBD flower is not legal in the UK under the current regulations.
The fact that the CBD in the extract comes from a restricted part of the hemp plant nullifies the application of the CBD flower for use despite its high concentrations of CBD.
In the UK's misuse of drugs act of 1971, the CBD flower is defined as 'cannabis,' regardless of the little amount of THC that it contains. If you are found handling the CBD flower illegally, you may face five years imprisonment or more depending on the quantity of the CBD flower you may be caught with.
However, the flower is 100% safe. It’s only prohibited because it comes from a restricted part of the hemp plant, something which has raised many questions among CBD consumers.
Compliance And Lab Testing Of CBD Products
Before handling CBD products, brands must comply with existing regulations. This may include obtaining the necessary licenses and undertaking lab tests to assure their consumers are aware of the validity and quality of their CBD products. After all, you need to trust your CBD brands products' purity, efficacy, and safety.
Besides effectiveness and quality, LAB testing CBD products ensures that your products do not exceed the stipulated THC concentration (above 0.2%), which is illegal.
As a rule of thumb, you should research a brands CBD products certified lab reports to avoid potentially buying illegal products and to ensure you’re getting what you pay for.
In a nutshell, the lab tests are necessary to:
- Prove the purity of the CBD products- most consumers want proof that the CBD content in the products is 100% pure and safe. The CBD product label may indicate this, or the brands website.
- To prove that the product does not contain any THC as most people don't want to experience the resulting high effect.
- To win customer confidence and trust by compliant CBD brands.
Guidelines for Lab Testing Of the CBD Products
As mentioned above, it is essential to find CBD product testing before purchasing your CBD product. Since self-product tests may be biased, many brands hire a third-party laboratory that conforms to the local laws and produces accurate information for the end user.
Though each laboratory has a unique set of elements that it tests in CBD products, there is a list of components that your laboratory may test before handing over the product information for during manufacturing. Examples of these compounds include:
- Cannabinoid percentage
- Terpene testing
- Pesticide screening
- Analysis of heavy metals
- Mycotoxin analysis
- Moisture content
- Solvent residuals
- Yeast and mould count
- Foreign substance analysis
Below are various questions that people have asked about the CBD Flower:
No. CBD flower is not legal in the UK. However, some people sell the product as a food supplement in dispensaries, CBD oil shops, and other outlets. This is illegal, though and illegal for customers to possess.
Where Can I Buy CBD Flower, UK?
You can buy CBD Flower online or physically in the CBD oil outlets and other licensed CBD products dealers. However, handling CBD flowers is illegal in the country and may attract unfavourable legal penalties if caught.
What Is The Current CBD Flower UK Legality?
According to the CBD flower UK law, the handling of CBD flowers remains illegal. That means it is unlawful to produce, sell, and buy CBD buds UK.
As you can see, CBD flower is not legal in the UK. However, there is a number of CBD products that are legal and can help you get the benefits you can get from CBD flower. Examples of these legal CBD products include CBD vape, CBD edibles, CBD oil drops, and CBD topicals. Remember to know your area’s regulations and check your CBD products lab testing results prior to purchase.
Written by | Infused Amphora Team
The Infused Amphora Team is dedicated to creating resources to educate and engage consumers on the growing evidence of CBD benefits and the extensive health and wellness properties of CBD Oil.
Contributor | Angus Taylor CEO