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Is CBD Oil (and other CBD products) legal in the UK? A complete guide to CBD for UK residents

When trying to understand the differences between the terminologies (CBD, THC, hemp, cannabidiol and more), you may run into some trouble defining each. It is hard to know what is legal and what the law bans.

So, let’s answer the question ‘is CBD oil legal’ or precisely, ‘is CBD oil legal in UK?’ Here’s what you need to know about that.

In the United Kingdom, cannabis is listed under Class B drugs in the Misuse of Drugs Act of 1971. The law refers to cannabis which contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). That means it has the potential to make you high because of the psychoactive ingredients.

Is CBD legal in the UK? image of cbd oil leaf and law symbol

On the other hand, CBD comes from the hemp plant, which has a low THC content that cannot be easily removed from the plant. Therefore, when answering the question ‘is CBD legal UK’, it is not considered an illegal substance in the UK, provided specific requirements are adhered to.

We will also answer the question ‘is CBD legal in UK 2020/2021/2022’ so you know where the law stands concerning this issue.

Understanding UK CBD regulation

In all strictness, there is no explicit CBD oil UK law permitting the use of CBD. However, people have interpreted the existing laws related to cannabis plants and other novel foods to stay within the legal bounds of the UK.

Because of this creative interpretation, CBD can be sold and consumed/applied in the UK as a nutritional supplement or as a beauty/cosmetic product.

However, no one is allowed to sell it as medicine without a license from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Beginning March 2021, all consumable CBD products will have to be registered with the Food Standards Agency as a ‘novel food.’ The CBD manufacturers will have to prove the ingredients in their products and demonstrate that they are not dangerous to humans.

The goal of this is to ensure that customers get clean products that will not harm them. The law could impact the availability of CBD, as some brands may not be up to snuff. However, you'll be assured that you're getting a reliable, clean, and safe product.

Rules regarding CBD advertisement

Advertising rules can get quickly complicated. However, CBD brands need to ensure that care is taken not to make unsubstantiated medical claims (like claiming it can cure a specific condition). Platforms like Facebook and Instagram do not allow paid advertising of CBD products.

Google has, in addition to this, banned all CBD-related keywords.

However, there is no denying that CBD is going mainstream, as is its related compounds from the cannabis plant. It would appear that on the current trajectory, things could change.

The various forms of CBD

Those who are not familiar with CBD may have a hard time picking out which CBD form to use. For that reason, we are going to go through some tips that will shed more light on the forms so you can pick out which one works for your particular situation.


CBD oil is one of the most common types you’ll find sold by many providers. The extract comes from the flowers, stalks, and seeds of the hemp plant. Of all the forms, CBD oil is the most potent and often the most expensive( we recommend buying it from a UK based provider as imports may be problematic) Apart from the fatty acids, essential vitamins, protein, and nutrients, CBD is mixed with 'carrier oil' like coconut oil or hemp seed.

CBD is often absorbed best under the tongue to deliver it directly into the bloodstream. However, you can also find it in the form of capsules that can be added to food or swallowed outright.


Even though they may be derived from hemp, CBD tinctures aren’t like CBD oil. The process starts with steeping the CBD flowers or isolate in high-grade alcohol. They are then ingested under the tongue. The tincture's potency is minimal, but it lasts longer on the shelf than its counterparts. Different flavours are added to tinctures to ensure that they do not leave your tongue tasting like hemp and oil.

The rest:

CBD innovation continues to take different forms as more competition hits the market. As such, you will find CBD added to just about everything from beauty products to candles. In these alternative forms, the potency may be reduced or have imperceptible effects.

For full benefits, we recommend taking CBD in as pure a form as you can get.
Some people prefer to smoke and might be wondering, 'is CBD flower legal in UK?’ Well, the answer to that, as with many CBD products, lies in the THC content. If it is below 0.2%, it can be sold legal for smoking. In those amounts, THC is not psychoactive and will not cause the ‘high’ that terrifies parents and lawmakers.

How do I differentiate between full and broad-spectrum CBD?

Full-spectrum CBD is extracted in a way that deliberately includes most/if not all of the ingredients in the cannabis plant. That means that it could contain trace amounts of THC (the chemical that produces a high). This is the most recommended form to take because of the entourage effect, which states that when taken altogether, these chemicals produce enhanced and more benefits.

Broad-spectrum CBD refers to CBD extracts that contain other components like flavonoids and terpenes from the cannabis plant. As such, it is not 100% pure CBD. For pure CBD, opt for CBD isolate, which is purely all CBD. Let’s talk about it a bit.

CBD Isolate

In this form, CBD takes a crystalline solid or powder shape that contains 99% CBD. It is the purest form of CBD, as every other active ingredient in the cannabis plant has been removed from the extract.

The benefit of having pure CBD is knowing what is inside your mixture, and dosing becomes easy. There's also the fact that you'll be able to take it sublingually (under the tongue) or mix it with your drinks or food.

What are terpenes and flavonoids?

Terpenes refer to a group of organic compounds present in some plants, including cannabis. These terpenes dictate what the plants smell like. Some people think that they even enhance the effects of CBD in your body.

They are often extracted and added to essential oils used in aromatherapy, which help manage mood and stress levels (the entourage effect) when inhaled.

On the other hand, Flavonoids are present in various plants and determine the colour (pigmentation), including in cannabis.

They may also possess benefits of a medical nature (antioxidant, anticancer, neuroprotective, and anti-inflammatory). However, research remains to be done to confirm specific details concerning the properties and their effects.

When was CBD made legal in UK?

If you were wondering about the exact nature of the law and the stance it takes here; you might have asked, 'is CBD illegal?’ The answer lies in how the law is interpreted.

The legality of CBD is not explicit. The people who use and manufacture CBD interpret the law and stay within regulations, conditions, and guidelines to avoid any legal trouble. Since 2016, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has maintained that products with cannabidiol can be classed as medicines.

However, there are numerous laws regarding how to sell, supply, and advertise CBD as medicine. A license is required and adherence to high standards of safety, efficiency, and quality.