Is CBD legal in the UK?

is cbd legal in the uk

Is CBD legal in the UK?

Summary:

  • CBD oil and other products are fully legal in the UK, as long as they are produced from approved industrial hemp and contain less than 0.2% THC.
  • CBD oil isn’t legal for everyone, however. You must be 18+ to buy it. 
  • At Naturecan we provide fully legal, fully compliant CBD products.

Are you wondering whether or not CBD is legal in the UK? If so, you’ve come to the right place. In this article we’ll be taking a close look at CBD’s legality in the UK — beginning with the fundamentals before addressing more complex CBD-related legal questions. Enjoy!  

Cannabis Sativa, the hemp plant, has been considered one of the more prominent remedies in medicinal treatments for centuries.

Why? Largely due to its major active ingredient, CBD. Also known as cannabidiol, CBD’s therapeutic potential means it’s made a comeback in recent years.

Cannabidiol is one of the 140 cannabinoids found in hemp. It is the main ingredient required for the production of CBD oils, edibles, and vapes, all of which are hemp-based products.

CBD is a popular natural remedy to alleviate a variety of health problems, although the strongest available evidence is in the area of epilepsy and other neurotransmitter-related problems.

CBD may also be beneficial to those with chronic pain, nerve pain, back pain, rheumatoid diseases, mood problems, and sleep problems. Large doses of CBD seem to have a profoundly uplifting effect; research has linked such doses to lower levels of anxiety, addiction, and insomnia.

For a more detailed exploration of CBD’s potential benefits, check out the articles below:

is cbd oil legal

Is CBD legal in the UK?

Consumer CBD (as distinct from medically prescribed CBD) is legal in the UK, provided it is derived from an industrial hemp strain that is approved by the UK and comprises less than 0.2% THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, a controlled substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.) Additionally, companies selling consumer CBD products MUST have applied for a UK Government FSA (Food Standards Agency) Novel Food Licence before 31.03.21, in order that their products can legally remain on sale in the UK.

CBD oils available at Naturecan all contain THC levels of less than 0.01% which is 20 times lower than the legal limit. This removal of THC from our CBD products is confirmed by external laboratories and a certificate of analysis can be found under each of our CBD products.

CBD regulations in the UK

Selling CBD products that have been manufactured outside of the country is only legal provided they do not contain any THC or CBN. Although THC is illegal, a maximum level of 1mg is allowed per container. However, CBD buds and flowers are strictly prohibited even if they have a THC level of less than 0.2% and have been manufactured from an EU-approved origin.

CBD as a novel food

CBD was declared to be a novel food back in January of 2019 in the EU and was added to the Novel Food catalogue. Although the novel food catalogue does not enable all products within it to be legal, it allows authorities to make decisions on the safety and the legality of the products in the catalogue and make decisions based on their safety for consumption. CBD products are illegal to be sold for medicinal purposes since it falls under the category of novel foods. It is a food supplement and legally can only be taken as one in the UK.

What is a novel food?

Novel food is defined as food that was not consumed to any significant degree in the EU before 15 May 1997 when the first novel food legislation entered into force. ‘Novel Food’ can be newly developed, innovative food, food produced using new technologies and production processes, as well as food which is or has been traditionally eaten outside of the EU. 

The underlying principle of Novel foods is that they must be safe to consume, properly labelled so that they do not mislead customers into purchasing something undesirable, and if a novel food intends to replace a pre-existing food, it must provide the same nutritional value as the food being replaced so that customers are not at a disadvantage.

is cbd oil legal in the uk

When — and why — CBD isn’t legal

With an increase in the popularity of CBD over the past few years, questions are being raised about the legality of the product which may differ from country to country. As yet CBD isn’t legal for those under the age of 18 to purchase, though parents are free to purchase it for their children. Nor is it legal if it contains detectable levels of THC. CBD products may only contain THC levels of less than 0.2%; if any product contains more than the legal levels of THC it is considered to be marijuana, an illegal Schedule 1 drug.

Where can I buy legal CBD in the UK?

At Naturecan we go above and beyond the UK’s legal standards for CBD oil. How so? By complying with all Novel Food Application standards. 

The UK Food Standards Agency Novel Food Application dossier requires Naturecan CBD Distillate to undergo toxicology testing, very similar to that of a pharmaceutical product.

A further set of ADME studies must be undertaken to assess the absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion of CBD in the body after consumption. It is also essential to submit stability studies so that the consumer can be assured of the validity of the expiry date on Naturecan products.

We also go the extra mile when it comes to how our CBD oil is made. To learn more about our extraction process, check out our article: How is CBD oil made? Extraction process explained.

Is CBD legal in other parts of the world?

CBD is legal in other parts of the world where mostly a maximum of 0.2% of THC is allowed to be present in CBD products, such as Hungary, France and Greece. Some countries also allow a maximum of 0.3% of THC in their CBD products, however, such as Austria and the Czech Republic. 

Is CBD legal in Europe?

Europe has the world’s second-largest CBD market and almost every country in Europe has made CBD legal, provided the levels of THC do not exceed 0.2%, although the laws around CBD are becoming more and more restrictive.

Is CBD legal in France?

Following a ruling by the European Court of Justice, CBD products are legal in France. However they must not contain more than 0.2% of THC.

Is CBD legal in Italy?

Law 242/2016 states that only “depotentiated” cannabis, i.e. cannabis containing less than 0.2% THC, may be legally cultivated. It also indicates a whole series of uses permitted by law. With THC removed, the main element of light hemp is therefore CBD, which is not technically a prohibited substance. 

Is CBD legal in Germany?

Germany was one of the first countries in the EU to legalise cannabis. In 2017, the government amended its laws on narcotics and exempted hemp and CBD from the definition of dangerous substances.

Since then the government approves of the sale and consumption of cannabis and its derivatives like CBD oil. Therefore CBD products are legal in Germany according to letter b under the item Cannabis in Annex I to Section 1 (1) BtMG, if they originate from cultivation in countries of the European Union with certified seeds (commercial hemp) or if their content of THC does not exceed 0.2%

Now cannabis should also soon be legalized in Germany. This plan was laid down by the SPD, Green and FDP parties in their coalition agreement. There is no exact date yet for when the controlled sale of cannabis will be allowed in Germany.

Is CBD legal in Spain?

Yes. If a CBD product is marketed in a country within the EU, provided that it contains less than 0.2% THC, it can be sold in Spain.

In Spain, there is no law which prohibits the production or consumption of CBD. In 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled that CBD is “not a narcotic” and stated that: “A Member State may not prohibit the marketing of cannabidiol (CBD) lawfully produced in another Member State when it is extracted from the Cannabis sativa plant in its entirety and not solely from its fibre and seeds.”

Is CBD legal in Portugal?

The sale of CBD in Portugal is legal if it is imported, in which case it follows European Law and EFSA Regulations. If CBD products contain less than 0.2% THC, they are registered as CBD with Health Ministry. If they contain more than 0.2%, they are classed as cannabis.

Is CBD legal in Denmark?

As of 1 July 2018, cannabis products with a THC content of 0.2% or less are no longer considered narcotics in Denmark. However, rules on medicines and foods, including dietary supplements, still apply.

Cannabis products sold in stores or online may or may not be legal, depending on the product’s content, use, country of origin, production conditions etc. As consumer CBD is considered a dietary supplement in the EU, every product must comply with the rules on food and food supplements. If the cannabis product is a medicinal product, it must comply with the rules in the Medicines Act or in the Act on the Experimental Scheme with Medical Cannabis.

is cbd oil legal in denmark

Is CBD legal in Sweden?

In Sweden, any CBD product containing less than 0.2% THC is legal to buy from an international store. It is not legal to sell products offline in Sweden, nor is it legal to sell from a Swedish warehouse.

Is CBD legal in Greece?

CBD production in Greece is growing, after a recent change to the country’s drug laws. CBD oil is now legal so long as it is extracted from hemp and has less than 0.2% THC content. CBD oil containing more THC can only be legally obtained with a prescription (this is classed as medical cannabis). Recreational use of cannabis containing more than 0.2% THC is still not legal and is considered substance abuse. However, the cultivation of cannabis is permitted for certain purposes.

Is CBD legal in Russia?

Although it’s legal to grow hemp for commercial reasons in Russia (as of 2020), CBD lies in a legal grey area. While the extraction of CBD from hemp is still illegal, cannabis possession is regarded merely as a misdemeanour if the quantities involved are small.

Russian legislation does not specifically mention CBD, so it is possible that owning CBD may be treated as cannabis possession. CBD that is advertised as a treatment for various health conditions may be classed as cannabis medicine, which is also illegal in Russia.

Is CBD legal in Poland?

Poland has no regulation on CBD. The applicable legislation recognises only the difference between (non-fibrous) cannabis and fibrous hemp (depending on the content of THC). CBD is not a controlled substance provided that it is derived from cannabis that contains no more than 0.2% THC.

Is CBD legal in Hungary?

According to the general European Union regulation, CBD products with a THC content not exceeding 0.2% are legal in Hungary, so their use is not against the law. Hungary follows EU regulations, so CBD products can be legally marketed and consumed.

Is CBD legal in Switzerland?

In Switzerland, cannabis products containing less than 1% THC can be legally distributed and consumed. It is the only country with a 1% THC threshold.

Recreational cannabis use may also be legalised in the future. An amendment to the Narcotics Act, in force since May 15, 2021, has permitted pilot trials involving the controlled dispensing of cannabis for “pleasure purposes”. These trials aim to provide a scientific basis for legal regulation in the future.

Is CBD legal in Croatia?

CBD products are legal in Croatia, as in most European countries. For a CBD product to be legal for sale and use, the THC content must be less than 0.2%.

Is CBD legal in the Netherlands?

In 1999, the Opium Act, which prohibited the use of soft drugs made from hemp and hard drugs like cocaine, was amended to make the production of hemp for the hemp fibre market legal in the Netherlands.

Since then, the cultivation of hemp containing less than 0.2% THC has been considered legal, and the plant is mainly used to produce textiles, rope and building materials. As CBD is present in hemp plants, it falls within the regulations of the Opium Act. However, Dutch legislation states that CBD products containing less than 0.2% THC are legal.

is cbd oil legal in the netherlands

Is CBD oil legal in Lithuania?

According to the general European Union regulation, CBD products with a THC content of less than 0.2% are legal for sale and consumption in Lithuania.

Is CBD legal in Turkey?

CBD use is a legal grey area in Turkey. On January 25, 2016, Turkey began processing license applications to produce, import, export, distribute and hold cannabis (Cannabis sativa). In Turkey, there are no regulations that mention CBD products specifically. While there are regulations regarding narcotics, CBD is not classified as a drug.

The application process for a license to manufacture, import, or export hemp differs depending on the location of the applicant’s premises. The cities of Amasya, Antalya, Çorum, Rize, Sinop, Samsun, Tokat, Ordu, Burdur, Kayseri, Kastamonu, İzmir, Uşak, Bartın, Yozgat, Zonguldak, Kütahya, Malatya, Karabük are where cannabis production can be done, provided that permission is given and a a license is granted by the Official Gazette.

To legally import CBD products into Turkey, an FDA license is required. However, Naturecan does not import its products, but rather delivers them from e-commerce sites to customers.

Is CBD legal in Asia?

CBD is restricted throughout Asia, although laws vary from country to country. For example, CBD is legal in Japan and Hong Kong provided that products do not contain any traces of THC, whereas Singapore strictly prohibits the use of all cannabis products.

Is CBD legal in Taiwan?

CBD (cannabidiol) is not a restricted medicine in Taiwan, but a general medicine that can be legally purchased for personal use. The Food and Drug Administration officially announced on 7th May 2020 that it is not considered a restricted drug.

Currently, medicines containing CBD are not generally approved for sale in Taiwan. People who are assessed by doctors and have been granted a prescription can apply for the import permit of CBD pharmaceutical products for personal use, according to the FDA.

We suggest that you apply for the import permit of CBD for personal use on the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration’s website before purchasing CBD-related products on our website; if you do not apply for it in advance, you may purchase the product first and then submit a supplementary application in the event of a random inspection by the Taiwan Customs.

CBD cannot be stocked or sold in physical stores in Taiwan. People can only purchase it from overseas for their own use.

The THC content of CBD products must legally be lower than 10ppm (0.001%). If THC is higher than 10ppm, it is considered as restricted medicine and not legal for personal use in Taiwan.

Is CBD legal in Japan?

In Japan, products containing CBD that has been extracted and made exclusively from mature cannabis stems and seeds are not classified as cannabis under the Cannabis Control Law, and therefore may be legally consumed, provided that they do not have any THC content.

By contrast, CBD products sourced from other parts of the cannabis plant (e.g. leaves, spikes, branches or roots) are classed as cannabis and therefore illegal.

is cbd oil legal in japan

Is CBD legal in China?

No. It is not legal to use, purchase or sell CBD products within mainland China. This applies to both medicinal and recreational use, alike. Given that such products are strictly illegal, this extends to all online purchases as well.

Is CBD legal in Hong Kong?

Yes, but CBD products cannot contain THC at any concentration. CBD is legal in Hong Kong as it is not prohibited under the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance. On the other hand, cannabis, cannabis resin, and certain other cannabinoids, namely THC and cannabinol (CBN), are classed as dangerous drugs controlled under DDO. Products containing THC or other dangerous drugs at any concentration are regulated under DDO.

Is CBD legal in Indonesia?

NoUnder Indonesian Law No. 35 of 2009 concerning Narcotics, cannabis and its derivatives are listed as Class 1 narcotics (very dangerous). Naturecan Indonesia does not sell any products containing cannabis or its derivatives, including CBD.

Is CBD legal in Malaysia?

No. In Malaysia, cannabis and cannabis extracts are classed as dangerous drugs under the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952.  Under the Drugs and Cosmetics Control Regulations 1984, any cannabis-based products intended for use in human medical treatment must be registered before they can be manufactured, sold, supplied, imported, owned or administered in Malaysia. Naturecan Malaysia does not sell any products containing CBD.

Is CBD legal in the Philippines?

In the Philippines, CBD is only legal for patients who have a special permit from the FDA. From December 2019, terminally-ill patients may apply for a special permit from the FDA for the compassionate use of CBD oil. The Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) is still considering the use of cannabidiol-based medication with not more than 0.1% THC content but pending approval. Naturecan Philippines does not sell any products containing CBD.

Is CBD legal in Singapore?

No. In Singapore, cannabis and its derivatives are listed as Class ‘A’ controlled drugs in the First Schedule of the Misuse of Drugs Act (MDA). The importation, possession, sale and consumption of controlled drugs or products containing controlled drugs, even in trace amounts, is an offence under the MDA.

Is CBD legal in Thailand?

Following recent legal changes, CBD is legal to purchase and consume in Thailand, provided that products contain less than 0.2% THC.

An FDA license is required for the legal importation of CBD products into Thailand.

Naturecan does not import products but instead deliver products from e-commerce sites to customers.

is cbd oil legal in thailand

Is CBD legal in Vietnam?

CBD use lies in a legal grey area in Vietnam.  There are no regulations that specify CBD products. While there are regulations regarding narcotics, CBD is not classed as a drug. However, the Law on Drug Prevention and Control, Clause 6, Article 2 lists cannabis among the illegal plants containing narcotics.

Is CBD legal in North America?

Yes. While CBD is legal in Canada and the USA, regulations regarding THC content differ in each country.

Is CBD legal in the US?

CBD is legal in all 50 states of the US; however, laws regarding CBD vary from state to state, where marijuana is legalised in some and different levels of THC in CBD products are permitted (anywhere from 0.5% to 0.2%).

Is CBD legal in Canada?

Yes, CBD is legal in Canada, regardless of the product’s THC content. However, Canada has very strict regulations regarding who is allowed to sell cannabis products. Only licensed processors and retailers can extract, produce and sell CBD.

Is CBD legal in Central America and the Caribbean?

Hemp laws are very restrictive throughout Central America. Most countries ban all cannabis products as a part of efforts against drug trafficking. In some countries, such as Belize and the Cayman Islands, CBD is legal for medical use, while in Mexico and Costa Rica, it lies in a legal grey area. Jamaica is the only country where CBD use is unrestricted.

Is CBD legal in South America?

South America ranks second in the world for CBD potential and market ‘readiness’. However, clear regulations are lacking. In most countries, CBD is only legal for medical use with a prescription. It’s completely illegal in Bolivia, Ecuador, Guyana, Suriname and Venezuela. Colombia and Uruguay are the only countries where CBD is fully legal.

Is CBD legal in Australia?

Currently the only legal way to obtain CBD in Australia is through a prescription provided only to those who need it.

Is CBD legal in New Zealand?

As in Australia, CBD can only be obtained in New Zealand if you have a prescription from a registered local doctor.

Is CBD legal in Africa?

Cannabis products, including CBD, are illegal in most African countries. In Lesotho and Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), it can only be used for medicinal purposes. South Africa is the only country which permits the use of consumer CBD, provided that products either contain a maximum daily dose of 20mg CBD with an approved health claim, or, if made from raw cannabis, that they contain no more than 0.001% THC and 0.0075% CBD.

Is CBD safe?

Yes, extremely safe! Even the normally-reserved WHO (World Health Organisation) attests that CBD has an unusually good safety profile. Currently the only FDA-approved CBD drug is Epidiolex, which is approved to treat two types of epilepsy.

Is CBD the same as medical cannabis?

Not quite. The term medical cannabis generally refers to prescription-only products that contain some amount of THC. Many cannabis products contain a certain CBD:THC ratio; ratios like 1:1, 2:1, and 5:1 are fairly common. Various ratios are thought to have distinctive health benefits. 

UK-produced CBD products, on the other hand, must contain less than 0.2% THC.

Can you drive after taking CBD?

Yes. CBD isn’t intoxicating, so you can freely drive after taking it.

CBD does not contain THC, which causes the “high” factor, and does not cause any visual impairments or affect your motor skills, so it is perfectly safe and legal to drive after taking it.

Can you travel with CBD?

Yes! It is safe to travel with CBD. Since CBD is legal in the UK, you can take CBD on domestic flights; however, if carrying it as an oil it may not be permitted in carry-on luggage.

If travelling internationally it is best to check the CBD laws of that country and proceed on that account.

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Will CBD make you fail a drug test?

Not usually. Drug tests identify tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or its metabolites, not CBD. Drug tests mainly target alcohol, amphetamines, cocaine, cannabis, etc. These tests do not screen for CBD. 

However, if the CBD product that you are consuming contains minute quantities of THC, it could theoretically show up in the results and make you fail a drug test. Some ‘point of care’ drug tests may also confuse CBD for THC, as the molecules are similar. Hemp-derived CBD products contain low levels of THC which, if legal in your country, should not be a problem and will not make you fail a drug test.

CBD alone is not illegal, so should not cause anyone to fail a drug test at work or when driving. Of course it’s very important to choose a brand that has been tested to prove it has a non-detectable level of THC, and is going through the Novel Food Licensing process. Naturecan CBD meets these requirements.

Takeaway

The takeaway from all of this is that CBD is perfectly safe and healthy to use for most of you guys! CBD oil is legal to use in the UK — it comes from a plant that has proven to be beneficial in medical treatments, and it is safe to use due to its low concentration of THC. 

THC is the product that is harmful to use, though its lower concentration in CBD products makes it safe for everyone to use them (except for individuals under 18). So if you are over 18 and you want to buy CBD oil for yourself, at Naturecan you will find fully legal and compliant CBD products.

References

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