Is CBD Oil Legal in the UK 2020?
At the start of the year, the FDA made some noise about regulating the CBD industry as there are too many companies who are selling CBD oils that do not comply with industry standards; whether that is that the oil contained too much THC, no CBD at all or in the form of an Isolate (some of the biggest named brands on the high street were highlighted as serial offenders).
Since this point, a little confusion seems to have arisen as to if CBD oil is legal in the UK still?
Current CBD Legality of CBD Oil
The legality of CBD oils is up for some debate. While some claim that these are set in stone, there are a few huge industry players who are not playing by these rules and seem to get away with it. Which is frustrating. To keep this simple: CBD oil is legal in the UK and has been since 2016, so long as it follows a few rules.
- Must be derived from a Sativa L strain (although there are some Indica oils on the market)
- Contain less than 0.2% THC
- Must not be made from a CBD Isolate if being consumed
- Ideally Should be 3rd Party Tested
THC, which is the main psychoactive component of Cannabis (and gives you a high) is still prohibited by the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. The authorities have set out that even full-spectrum CBD should contain more than 0.2% of THC. As you can see, each of our products has been carefully crafted to comply with legislation so our own products are completely illegal. It is partly why 3rd party testing is so important.
There is some debate in regards to THC: while full-spectrum oil is technically more effective, there may be some who move legislation to enforce that all CBD oils in the UK must be 0% THC. Although, some European countries are allowing up to 1% THC content- which would be very interesting if our government allowed this to happen! So, is CBD oil legal in the UK? And what kind? We may have to wait and find out!
There are some high THC oils that are legal in the UK- most of them are not readily available as they are prescribed by a medical professional.
Legality As a Novel Food
CBD oil is legal to be sold as a food supplement: it is partly the reason why we cannot make any medical claims about the products we sell on our website. It is therefore currently illegal to sell a CBD oil as a medicine, or as a cure for health conditions without a license (which costs a lot of money and requires a load of medical research). While there is lots of anecdotal evidence, and suggestions of CBD’s benefits online, they are yet to be tried and tested by science. While we know a lot, clinical trials need to be carried out so that we can ascertain CBD’s medical benefits.
Each of the products we sell are as food supplements to ensure that you can maintain your ECS and levels of phytocannabinoids, all of which are vitally important for your well-being!
The FSA’s statement at the start of 2020 puts into motion the enforcement of ‘Novel Food’ status of CBD. This means that all foods containing CBD (including CBD oil) will be illegal unless it has undergone a process of testing and approval. This testing process can take up to a year and a half to complete. If this were to happen in the UK, the whole CBD industry and those who rely on that income will be decimated. The UK’s FSA has set out that manufacturers must submit their applications by March 2021.
For us as a retailer, we need to keep an eye on the progress of the industry. Our supplier is applying to be given a license and supply CBD, so all fingers crossed we will be able to keep selling our fantastic CBD oils well into 2021.
For consumers, this may be a positive. It means that all of the oils on the market will comply with a high standard of production and formula. It stops the roulette that many of us need to run today to find something that is of good quality- there are more than a few companies selling products that aren’t what they seem. Sadly, you can’t even trust high street brands!
Are other kinds of CBD still legal?
Well, the FSA’s change in policy only affects products that are taken orally: which are classed as foods. CBD products like cosmetics, topicals, and vape oils are not included. We are unsure whether this will change, or there will be independent reviews of these kinds of CBD oils.
Products like CBD flower (which we think is actually fantastic) are technically not legal and cannot be sold. However, this is not fully enforced as there are still ‘hemp tea’ products still available online. This will certainly change in time