“The ‘0.2%’ reference is used solely to identify varieties which may potentially be cultivated. (2019)”
When viewing CBD products online it is easy to get the impression that the legality of each product depends only on it having low levels of THC. The reality is more complicated. To be legal in the UK CBD products must meet the following criteria:
“With the introduction of the Novel Food regime, CBD compliance is now a serious business. Novel Food is the global benchmark for food safety, so UK CBD products can now be said to be the safest in the world.”
2. Less than 1mg of controlled cannabinoids
The CBD sold here and in other UK shops is provided as a food supplement only. No medical benefits can be inferred and to do so breaks the law.
These requirements include the 3 criteria for exemption, as set out by the MDR (Medical Device Regulations). Some product types also require Novel Food authorisation from the Food Standards Agency.
CBD is legal if it contains less than 1mg of THC, THCV and CBN in the final preparation as per part C of regulation 2:
EU novel food regulations require all foods without a significant history of consumption before May 1997 to be classified as ‘novel foods’. In January 2019, the European Commission declared that they had not received enough of the required evidence and updated the Novel Food Catalogue to include CBD products.
As of February 2020, new CBD food/drink products require a Novel Food Application. Any food or drink containing CBD are considered novel foods. They require premarket authorisation, any CBD manufacturer wanting to produce CBD food or drink is required to apply.
Example of CBD Novel Foods:
Marijuana – Marijuana is a variety of cannabis that contains more than 0.2% of the compound THC. This intoxicating cannabinoid can Create a euphoric effect known as being ‘high’. This classification of the Sativa cannabis plant is illegal in the UK.
CBD as a Novel Food
CBD is a compound that comes from the Sativa cannabis plant. Here are two main classifications of cannabis plants depending on their compound contents, these are called Hemp and Marijuana.
Hemp – Hemp is a variety of cannabis that contains less than 0.2% of the compound THC. This low level of the psychotropic compound THC makes hemp safe for commercial use. Hemp has many different applications , but in this context it’s harvested for the compound CBD.
The fact CBD is non intoxicating, doesn’t produce any euphoric effects and make you ‘high’ in the same way as THC are big reasons why it is legal in the UK.
CBD is starting to gain popularity within the UK, and as more of CBD’s potential benefits are starting to come to light, the number of Brits incorporating CBD into their daily lifestyle is growing at a fast rate.