This seems fairly simple, although once you scratch the surface there are many more details to consider.
This has led to people believing they can grow their own cannabis/hemp for CBD use. It’s actually illegal to grow your own cannabis/hemp in the UK and there are a few strict regulations:
Cannabis is a class B drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, although CBD is not listed under cannabis. This has resulted in some confusion.
CBD Regulations in the UK
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.
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.
Because it’s non intoxicating, it’s legal in many countries including the UK. Although, there are some strict guidelines surrounding CBD Law:
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.
The Home Office factsheet clearly states:
A CBD product must not become a source for others to extract the THC (or any other controlled cannabinoids such as THCV and CBN). The Home Office states that in order to be exempt from the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001:
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.
2. Less than 1mg of controlled cannabinoids
CBD supplements have not been subject to the scrutiny and testing required for a UK medicine. As a result they must not be sold or promoted as having medicinal benefits.
“[T]he controlled drug in any component part [must be] packaged in such a form, or in combination with other active or inert substances in such a manner, that it cannot be recovered by readily applicable means or in a yield which constitutes a risk to health.”
“The ‘0.2%’ reference is used solely to identify varieties which may potentially be cultivated. (2019)”
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:
Growing hemp must be at under 0.2% THC but this only applies to farming hemp and not the finished products, here the max 1mg is the important item.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is not a controlled substance in the UK and is legal to possess and sell. It can be imported into the UK but products must be clearly labelled, they must have 3 rd party laboratory reports prove that they do not contain illegal levels of controlled substances.