New rules for CBD in the UK

In the past few years, more and more people use CBD products. While the public focuses on the therapeutic uses of CBD, few users know all the details about the rules for CBD.

Are all CBD products legal?

Cannabis oil itself is still illegal to possess, buy and sell in the UK. However, the law has recently recognised some CBD based products as medicine and CBD is legal. But its commerce is strictly controlled by various agencies.

Its legality depends on THC content. Thus, CBD oil products are legal in the UK if they have a THC content of below 0.02 % with THC being a controlled substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act 19711.

Also, CBD must be extracted from an industrial-grade hemp strain that’s been approved legally. Hemp is different from cannabis as it naturally contains higher concentrations of CBD and is lower in THC.

Can I grow my own cannabis?

Cannabis is listed as a Class B drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act, but CBD is not listed as a controlled substance. This is why some people may misunderstand the information and believe they can grow their own cannabis plant or hemp. This is not true. It is illegal to grow cannabis plant in the UK. To do it, one must receive a license and permission from the UK Home Office2.

What does CBD classified as a novel food mean?

The European Commission has defined a novel food as a food that had not been consumed to a significant degree by humans in the EU before May 1997, when the first regulation on novel food came into force3.

Products that contain CBD and fall under the scope of novel foods in the UK are the following:

  • CBD oils, capsules and oral sprays
  • CBD drinks (coffee, beers, water)
  • CBD food (gummies, lollipops, etc.)

Is CBD approved as a medicine?

Today two CBD-based medicines used to treat epilepsy and multiple sclerosis have been approved for use by the MHRA in the UK.

Guidance issued by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommended the substances containing CBD for several conditions4. But still, more research is needed.

What are the regulations of CBD oils in the UK?

Today in the UK, many products containing CBD oil are sold. However, there are some regulations guidelines for manufacturers to follow. They include5:

  • CBD content must be clearly labelled.
  • All manufacturer details and ingredients must be listed on the packaging.
  • No medical claims must be made about the product.

What is the legal future of CBD?

The prospects for the UK’s CBD market are strong as we notice rising demands among British consumers to try CBD products. It will lead to growth in the CBD sector in the UK, and as a result, we can expect to encounter more changes in rules related to CBD, and we will see a more regulated market.




  1. CBD oil UK law: The latest news. Business Matters. Published July 22, 2018. Accessed December 4, 2019.
  2. Is CBD Oil Legal In The UK? A Guide To The UK’s CBD Laws. The Extract. December 2019. Accessed December 4, 2019.
  3. Novel food. Food Safety – European Commission. Published October 17, 2016. Accessed December 4, 2019.
  4. Marsh S. First cannabis-based medicines approved for use on NHS. The Guardian. Published November 11, 2019. Accessed December 5, 2019.
  5. Report CBD in the UK – Exec Summary.pdf. Accessed December 4, 2019.



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