Is CBD Legal in the United Kingdom?

CBD | CBD in UK | CBD legality in UK

CBD is legal to buy and possess in the United Kingdom, as long as the product contains less than 0.2% THC content. THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) is one of the many other cannabinoids found in the

CBD comes from the Cannabis plant species, so there are people who wonder – Is CBD legal in the United Kingdom? Let’s answer this for you.

Is CBD Legal in the UK? CBD is legal to buy, possess, and use in the United Kingdom, as long as the product contains less than 0.2% THC content.

Reputable companies who produce and sell CBD should have tested to make sure THC levels are below the legally allowed amount.

A minimal content of less than 0.2% eliminates any potential to get ‘high’ and therefore makes the product completely legal under both the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016.

THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) is one of the many other cannabinoids found in the Cannabis plant, it is the substance responsible for the ‘high’ that cannabis can give you.

Selling and growing the product is a different matter altogether.

It is illegal to grow Hemp or Cannabis (we’ll get onto the difference) no matter its THC content without permission and a license to do so granted by the Home Office.

In order to sell CBD, you have to be either a licensed medical distributor (which can cost upwards of hundreds of thousands of pounds) or sell it as a food or nutritional supplement, however, there have been situations where CBD and THC levels have not been legal, even when buying from well-known retailers, so be careful.

To sell CBD as a supplement the packaging must not make any medical claims and must be marketed as a supplement.

Exceptions to do with THC content are being made, however, due to the potential for medical treatment with the substance.

For example, the Multiple Sclerosis treating drug Sativex which is a balanced mix of both THC and CBD (which is made in a lab) has been supported and approved as usable in the UK.

With more research being done into cannabinoids every day, other exceptions could be made with the existing law.

Hemp vs Marijuana

Used for thousands of years, Hemp can be used to make textiles such as clothes, building materials, paper, and many other things.

It is a variety/classification of Cannabis that contains less than 0.3% THC content (0.2% in the UK). Because of this – with a license – the growth and sale of Hemp is entirely legal in the UK.

As Hemp is a variety of Cannabis plants, CBD can be found in the plant.

CBD does not have the psychoactive properties of THC and studies have shown that it can help with reducing the symptoms of anxiety and depression and also help in alleviating chronic pain.

Marijuana is an alternative word for Cannabis and is also a variety of Cannabis plant which contains a large amount of THC.

It is illegal across the world at the time of writing (Wikipedia has a detailed list of legality here).

But, it is currently going through a potential period of change as Canada recently fully legalized Marijuana, with many calling for their countries to do the same.

It has many medical usages and can be recreational – illegally (check the link above for clarification) – used to get ‘high’.

Research is being done every day on its medical usages, this can include: helping patients with cancer who are going through chemotherapy to regain their appetite and stop potential vomiting.

What is CBD and how does it work?

Cannabinoids are the compounds found in the Cannabis plant species. There are many of them in the plant.

The two most reputable in society currently are THC and CBD. They both share the same chemical formula but rearranged.

The difference in arrangement means that CBD does not give you the ‘high’ that THC does.

The human body actually produces its own and has its own receptors for cannabinoids. These are CB1 and CB2 receptors.

Usually found in the brain, CB1 receptors are linked with bodily functions such as coordination, movement, emotions, mood, appetite, memories and pain. Because THC attaches to these receptors, this explains why it affects functions such as appetite and coordination once consumed.

CB2 receptors are found in the immune system, they affect pain and inflammation.

Whereas THC attaches to these receptors, CBD itself does not. Instead, CBD helps the body to use more of its own cannabinoids.

These cannabinoids have an anti-inflammatory effect, they block pain signals from reaching the CB1 receptors.

As these receptors relate to memories, pain, etc, this, in turn, can affect mood, memories, etc, this explains some of the ailments which CBD has been shown to help with.

Types of CBD and their legality

There are three types of CBD:

  • Full-spectrum
  • Broad-spectrum
  • CBD isolate


It contains all of the compounds that are found in the plant they are extracted from (CBD as well as THC, flavonoids, and terpenes).

Fully legal for all types of consumption (vaping, sublingual, oral consumption, etc).


There is no THC in this type of CBD but it does contain all the other compounds (CBD, terpenes, and flavonoids).

This means it takes advantage of the ‘entourage effect’ (as does Full-spectrum) which means that the cannabinoids work better when they are present and work together. Fully legal for consumption in all popular methods.

CBD Isolate

This is CBD in its purest form, not containing any additional compounds like flavonoids or THC.

The ‘entourage effect’ will not be present here and therefore the CBD may be less effective in treatment. CBD Isolates are not legal for ingestion (only through inhalation), it can be bought as a vape juice, in oils or balms.

Deciding which type to take is down to the user. For convenience and potential for more effective treatment,

Full and Broad-spectrum CBD are good options. For fear of avoiding potential failed drug tests as, in taking CBD, there is a risk for failing drug tests because of the presence of THC, Broadspectrum and CBD isolates are the best options as they do not contain any THC.


CBD is fully legal to buy, possess and consume in the UK so long as it contains less than 0.2% THC content, that’s why it’s a biohack you should consider if it’s relevant along with other biohacking supplements.

This is guaranteed if you purchase products from reputable, trusted retailers. Backed up by the fact that growers of the Hemp plant, which CBD is taken from, must obtain a license and permission from the Home Office ensuring that the grower uses EU regulated Hemp plants which contain less than 0.2% THC content.

The product must not make any medical promises and must be sold as a supplement, not as a medicine.

In the future THC and Marijuana may become legal, just as in Canada, but for now, exceptions are made in the UK for medical purposes only.

There are different types of CBD which you can try. All are legal, only Isolates cannot be ingested other than through inhalation.

To avoid the risk of failed drug tests from the presence of THC (no matter how minimal) in CBD, Broadspectrum and Isolate are the best options.

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