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is cbd oil illegal in the uk

Despite growing evidence to support the astounding ways in which the cannabis plant (and the CBD derived from it) interacts with and supports the human body, full legalisation of this particular wonder of nature is not even vaguely on the horizon in the UK. Yet.

And there’s more. But before we dive further into CBD legislation and regulation, let’s take a look at why and how cannabis became illegal in the first place…

A brief history of cannabis law

In 1996, California re-legalised medical marijuana and numerous other states did the same over the next 10 years. A number of other countries also relaxed cannabis laws, making way for essential trials and research to learn more about the plant and the impact CBD and over 120 other cannabinoids have on the human body. But laws surrounding CBD and cannabis use in the UK remain very tight.

It is an expensive and lengthy process, meaning sadly it will likely result in the closure of many CBD businesses who can’t afford to go through the rigorous testing.

The first partial structure of CBN (cannabinol) was discovered in the 1930s by British chemist Robert S. Cahn , leading to the full identification in 1940. Following that, in 1942 American chemist, Roger Adams, successfully identified and isolated CBD and soon after, THC. However, at this point there was no understanding of which molecules were causing which effects and more importantly, why.

The old status which no longer applies is below:

Like with most EU regulations including GDPR the data protection regulation, Novel Food Regulation EU 2015/2283 was developed to harmonise national laws across Europe. Without harmonisation, you have a diverse and complex patchwork of regulation with each Member State having their own laws. This can hinder development of the single market.

Note: In August 2019 we updated our guidance on the limit of THC from “1 mg per pack” to “No THC (recommended limit of detection: 0.01%). The change in advice was made in order to provide a ‘best practice’ to businesses which takes into account the ‘exempt product’ laws, the corresponding Home Office guidance and the fact that many labs offering CBD testing services may not reliably detect 1 mg of THC. More information is provided below.

Status of Cannabidiol and other cannabinoids:

Excluded from novel food regulations are CBD foods where the CBD is derived from cold pressed hemp seed oil or flour.

* ‘Not detected’ means no THC at 0.01% as verified by accredited ISO lab.

In fact, one company, Cannabis Pharma S.R.O, pre-empted the update to the status and submitted an application some time ago. It is currently under assessment and, according to one industry source, may get approval in March 2020.

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UK criminal law in which THC falls is not “grey” concerning controlled substances. Any business that does not take the considerable steps to satisfy themselves that its products do not contain illegal levels of controlled substances puts itself (and its directors) at risk of serious criminal charges. When asked is CBD legal in UK we can still say yes but follow the guidelines and keep within the THC limits.

The FSA in the UK is now enforced from April 1st 2021, The EU Food Standard Agency being different will follow its own processes, it has yet to be seen whether it will begin to enforce in the same timeframe. To comply in the UK you will have needed to be selling or in the process of selling CBD prior to the announcement back in Feb 2020 and have the Novel foods application in by March 30th 2020, this will allow you to sell CBD until the application has been processed and it meets the standards set out, once validated you will be able to continue to sell CBD in the UK. If the novel foods application is rejected you must remove the products from sale in the UK regardless of THC or CBD levels, unless you have a pending legal action against the decision and have been given clarification by the FSA to indicate you can sell till it is heard.

The maximum level of THC or CBN (both controlled substances) allowed in the UK is 1mg per product. This will also include cannabis resin, the leaves and buds/flowers of the plant, in both paste and herbal. Edibles products must have started a Novel foods application, listing the official company name that is responsible for the product and the brand after March 30th 2021. From 30th March 2021 you will need proof you have submitted a Novel Foods application either as a independent company or under your suppliers application.

Novel Foods UK

Cosmetic products is a lower risk area for selling CBD enhanced products from a legal persepctive. Compliance can be assured by verifying legal THC content and using CBD that has not been extracted from the flowers or buds of the plant.

The Extract has a summary of all you need to know about the UK CBD oil legislation, we will help answer the question, Is CBD legal in UK and where the UK is on the road to cannabis legalisation. Updated constantly to give you the most up to date information on CBD UK and EU laws.

The Extract has met with the best legal teams who have profound knowledge in the laws surrounding the CBD industry in the UK and Ireland. Whether you are only in the stages of developing your cannabidiol uk brand or you are a distinguished CBD brand looking for legal advice following the clampdown on CBD. It is of the utmost importance you have the correct legal advice.

UK regulatory framework in respect of the CBD and cannabis industry is complex the belief that anything is legal below 0.2% THC is a myth. You now need Novel foods certification for edibles, novel foods does not apply to vaping CBD or cosmetics.