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Is CBD legal in UK? The CBD Oil UK law explained (2023)


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You may be wondering, is CBD legal in the UK? Here, we have a summary of all you need to know about the UK CBD oil legislation. This article is updated frequently to give you the most up-to-date information on EU & CBD Oil UK Law.

Also Read:  FSA Publish List of Approved CBD Brands that can be sold in the UK

Is CBD legal in UK?

Yes, CBD is legal in the UK. The list of official suppliers have gone through a rigorous process and any products legal to be sold in the UK are now on the FSA Novel Foods approved listing published by the FSA. Our preferred CBD Gummies and tinctures provider is Canndid which has 44 approved products on the listing. The 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, that applies to the farms growing only. To abide by CBD UK law, you now need Novel foods certification for edibles and have under 1mg THC per product, novel foods do not apply to vaping CBD or cosmetics.

The maximum level of THC or CBN (both controlled substances) allowed in the UK is 1mg per product. This will also include products made from cannabis resin, the leaves and buds/flowers of the plant,  in both paste and herbal. Edibles products must have started the application of a Novel food, listing the official company name that is responsible for the product and the brand after March 30th, 2021. in May 2022 the FSA published its latest list of approved brands to be sold in the UK,  you will need proof that you are on that list as either approved or awaiting evidence to continue to sell in the UK.  You will be on this list if you have submitted a Novel Foods application either as an independent company or under your supplier's application.

Hopefully, we have answered that question! CBD oil is legal in UK if it has a THC content below 1mg with THC being a controlled substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

Firstly, the CBD must be extracted from an industrial-grade hemp strain that’s been approved by the EU. Hemp differs from cannabis as it is naturally high in CBD and low in THC, this means that it is more likely to pass the next requirement.

For cannabidiol to be legal in the UK it must have come from cannabis grown with a THC content of no more than 0.2%. THC is the part of cannabis that can cause hallucinations, paranoia and in extreme cases even addiction. It’s because of this that the UK government also ensures that the small levels of THC present in CBD oils can not be easily separated from it. Find out more if CBD is Legal worldwide.

Can I white label an edible in the UK that is approved on Novel Foods?

No, you can not white label an approved product as your brand was not on sale in the UK in Feb 2020, which was one of the conditions to make the list. This means brands on the list have a definite advantage over new comers, something we think is likely to be considered anti-competitive and be challenged in court at some stage.

Is hemp oil legal in UK?

CBD oil is made from hemp, so when you ask “Is CBD hemp oil legal in UK?”, you’re really asking is CBD oil legal in UK, to which the answer is yes, if if meets the criteria mentioned already in this article.

Is it legal to grow CBD plants in UK?

As things currently stand, it is not legal to grow CBD plants in UK for personal use. If you wish to do so, you need special permission from the Home Office, which is quite difficult to get. Licenses for industrial hemp production can be obtained if you are considering getting into the production of CBD.

CBD Oil UK law regulations for 2022

Cannabis is listed as a Class B drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act, but CBD is not listed as a controlled substance under this act. This had lead to some people believing that they can grow their own cannabis or hemp. This is not true. It is illegal to grow your own cannabis or hemp in the UK. CBD producers in the UK must receive a licence and permission from the UK Home Office to do so.

CBD Regulation Factsheet

Similarly, to sell CBD oil you either need to be a licenced medical distributor or sell the product as a nutritional supplement. If sold this way, the CBD product must be properly labelled in accordance with The Food Supplements (England) Regulations 2003.

Are CBD capsules legal in UK?

Some people like to use capsules because they are concerned that they aren’t able to measure the correct dosage from a tincture or cream. Capsules are pre-dosed and can be discreetly consumed. They’re also a good option if you don’t like the taste of CBD oil. However, with this method, the CBD takes longer to enter the bloodstream.

Know more about White Labelling CBD Products.

Is CBD vaping legal in UK?

If you currently vape, then choosing to vape your CBD may be a smart choice. CBD e-liquids are readily available and are easy to integrate into your current lifestyle. Although, it can be trickier to consume a precise dosage compared to other methods. Vaping equipment can also be expensive to buy. Vaping is legal in the UK

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Are CBD tinctures legal in UK?

When CBD is extracted from the plant it is extremely concentrated. It’s then added to a carrier oil and packaged in small glass bottles with a dropper. This is what’s known as a tincture. Using this method, CBD enters your bloodstream quickly as drops of the oil are placed under the tongue. CBD tinctures are a food supplement and legal in the UK when within the legal guideline for cannabis-based products.

Are CBD edibles legal in the UK?

Cannabinoids edibles are normal snacks and treats that have been infused with CBD. You can buy pre-packaged cbd gummies, lollipops, cookies and brownies. CBD edibles can also be added to your favourite salad dressings, smoothies or sauces. As such CBD edibles are legal within the UK when not making any medical claims and staying within the legal guidelines.

Read our similar blog on: Is Weed Legal in UK?

Is THC oil legal in UK? What is the THC legal limit?

When considering is CBD legal in the UK, THC is the number one cannabinoid to take into account. There are two different laws surrounding THC content depending on what product is being made. Hemp products such as hemp oil, hemp seeds and the cultivation of hemp must have a THC level of 0.3% or less when growing.

This changes if the CBD has been extracted through a CO2 or solvent extraction method. If a CBD product is made through this process it is advised that it should contain no THC. This is to ensure full compliance with the law. This includes CBD oils, e-liquids, edibles and capsules. The Home Office offers two licence types for the cultivation of industrial hemp, one for a THC level above 0.2% and one for below.

With current testing methods to find is CBD legal in the UK, there is a certain rate of limit detection. Some labs offer tests with a limit detection rate of 0.1%. However, this margin of error is too high. Instead, it’s advised that more precise labs, who have a rate of limit detection of 0.01% or less should be used.

The limit of THC in a product sold on the shelves is not a percentage, instead it must simply remain below 1mg of THC in order to remain within the criminal controlled substances act limits for the UK.

Learn more about CBD Drug Tests.

CBD oil explained

CBD is a cannabinoid that’s part of the hemp and cannabis plant. Even though it comes from cannabis it is non-psychotropic and will not get you high. Another part of the cannabis plant, THC, is responsible for this. Instead, CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system in your body and can help with pains and illnesses.

How is CBD oil used?

CBD oil owes some of its mainstream success to its versatility. It can be consumed in many different ways from oils, edibles, capsules and creams. This means that people who want to use CBD can find a method that will suit their needs and lifestyle. When you ask is CBD oil legal in UK consider how you are taking it.


It is possible to smoke a flower that has high CBD levels, but this is not the recommended method. Smoking has the same drawbacks as vaping, except with the added danger of being a known carcinogenic. CBD flower we believe is not legal in the UK but is often sold online in the UK. You should as with all the above seek independent legal advice. Find out More if CBD Flower is legal in the UK.


People who are suffering from muscular pain or arthritis may want to use topical solutions but before they use any rubs, many ask themselves is CBD legal in the UK.  These CBD balms and oils can be applied directly to the afflicted area. This allows for the pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties of CBD get to work quickly. Topicals are legal in the UK when using the correct CBD additives.

With CBD now legal and very popular in the UK, it has lead to some people asking: How did we get here? You may want to know where to buy CBD.

Will CBD get you high?

CBD will not get you high. The belief that CBD products get you high is based on the fact that CBD comes from cannabis and hemp plants. Cannabis gets you high as it contains THC. THC is psychoactive and activates the CB1 receptor in the brain. This creates a feeling of euphoria and intoxication associated with being high. When you ask is CBD legal in the UK remember it is not the cannabinoid that can get you high.

CBD Fact

CBD, on the other hand, is non-psychoactive and does not have the same effects as THC. Instead of activating the CB1 receptor, CBD actually inhibits it. CBD is used for its potential health benefits in dealing with insomnia, pain, anxiety and much more.

You may be interested in our blog on: Delta 8 THC

Is CBD oil safe?

If you are using a CBD oil that has been third-party tested, lists all of its ingredients and has been bought from a reputable source, then it is widely considered to be safe. There have been no known deaths attributed to CBD and only a few minor side effects. CBD is also non-toxic and non-psychoactive.

Further confusion is created by laws surrounding THC legal limits. We’ll take a look at these in the next section.

Cannabis and CBD UK law timeline

Cannabis laws were first introduced in the UK in 1928 by the Dangerous Drugs Act. When 1967 came around the Drugs (Prevention of Misuse) Act recommended that the penalties for possessing cannabis should be reduced. The growing of cannabis, regardless of species, was restricted by The Misuse of Drugs Act of 1971. All of these must be taken into account when you consider is CBD legal in the UK.

When was CBD made legal in UK?

2001 brought with it The Misuse of Drugs Regulations. This allowed people to grow cannabis if they had a license from the Home Office and if it was only used for research purposes. Still, people ask is CBD legal in the UK for the general person.

The first cannabis-based medicine became available in the UK under prescription in 2015. This was made possible by The Misuse of Drugs (Designation). This brings us to where we are today. CBD products are legal but they must have a THC level no greater than 1mg and extracted from hemp below 0.3% THC.

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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.

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 labeled, they must have 3rd party laboratory reports prove that they do not contain illegal levels of controlled substances.

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 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.

CBD law change UK 2021 updates – FSA clamp down on UK CBD regulation

The Food Standard Agency deadline of March 31st, 2021 to the CBD industry for Novel foods applications is the key for any business looking to sell in the UK in 2021. Immediate approval is not needed but proof that the application is in the process allows business to continue.

The novel foods applications were suspended in 2020 but after the outcome of governments meetings in December, Novel Foods is now the key requirement for all business in 2021. By March 30th all CBD companies must have submitted a novel food authorization application. After this time, only products with a valid application will be allowed to remain on the market.


Emily Miles, Chief Executive of the Food Standards Agency, said:

“CBD products are widely available on the high street but are not properly authorized. The CBD industry must provide more information about the safety and contents of these products to the regulator before 31 March 2021, or the products will be taken off the shelves. In these circumstances, we find it unusual that people still ask is CBD oil legal in UK or can you buy CBD oil in UK when it is openly available in the high street.”

We need to increase consumer trust

In the year 2020, the Centre for Medical Cannabis (CMC) tested thirty CBD oils from companies in the UK and found that eleven contained less than half their advertised CBD content. A product sold on the high street for £90, contained no CBD at all.

You may be interested in our blog on: Medical Cannabis In Ireland Is Legalised For Conditions

Some products were also found to contain large amounts of THC which could make those products illegal.

This deadline by the FSA will help both consumers and the wider CBD community in raising the trust and integrity of products.

The big question in CBD UK law

In the past few years, there has been a surge in people using CBD oil. While the public may know about some of the therapeutic uses for CBD, fewer know about the laws surrounding it. In this article, we will answer the big question: Is CBD oil legal in the UK and how can I make sure my business is compliant with the laws surrounding cannabis in the United Kingdom.

Can you buy CBD oil in UK?

Yes, you can buy CBD oil in UK from many places, it’s also an incredibly fast-growing and exciting industry with lots of people considering creating their own brand and range of products. Source a reputable CBD supplier who can help you ensure labels and active ingredients remain within the limits. You will need an expert to advise on the trending products, the best use of isolates and distillates, and what levels of CBD meet customer requirements but also remain within the legal guidelines in the UK for CBD retail shops to stock. You can look into CBD wholesale UK or white label CBD either.

You may be interested in our blog on: Can you drive on CBD Legally?

Novel Foods UK

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 be enforced 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 application of the Novel food 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 clearance by the FSA to indicate you can sell till it is heard.

CBD Legal

Cosmetic products are a lower-risk area for selling CBD enhanced products from a legal perspective. 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.

CBD as a novel food?

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 15 May 1997, when the first Regulation on novel food came into force”.

For a food item to pass as a novel food it must:

  1. not be a risk to public health
  2. not be nutritionally disadvantageous when replacing a food
  3. and not mislead the customer.

The Novel Food Regulation was brought in by the EU to create laws like this one that can be applied to all members states.

What is novel food?

Under the FSA guidelines, examples of foods that fall into the novel food category are as follows. Phytosterols are used in cholesterol-reducing spreads. Foods that are traditional in other countries, Chia seeds, balboa seeds, Quinoa, etc.

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Any food processed using new methods. CBD is not a typical novel food, so the finished product’s formulation and presentation are being checked. Any food placed on the novel food list by the FSA needs to be preapproved before it can be sold.

CBD was placed on the list in January of last year and is now considered a novel food. This includes all CBD edibles and anything that can be ingested. Gummy bears, chocolates, etc.

Civilizations have used hemp and hemp derivatives for many years, and recipes have been found that date as far back as 1475 The oldest cookbook globally, there are even recipes that include the use of Hemp.

It is not so much the plant that is considered Novel, but more the methods of extraction. The process and other components that may be part of the CBD extraction process are now considered novel.

For instance, using CO2 in the extraction process contributes to CBD classification as a novel food.

Cold pressing, a more traditional extraction method, is not necessarily considered on the novel food list. CBD is not the only food to be placed on the Novel food list, and most foods are required to have certification before they go on shelves for consumers.

The idea behind certification is that it protects the consumer.

What does this mean for the CBD industry?

Those selling CBD products must have certification from the FSA and must know: Is CBD Legal in the UK or not. To get the certification, they must submit a Novel Foods Application form.

For many small businesses, this will have a considerable impact, as the process of filing a novel food application is both costly and lengthy.

Those involved in selling, manufacturing, and supplying CBD must have submitted a dossier to the FSA before March 31st, 2020.

This dossier will be an extensive application that requires European regulation checks that food has a history of safe consumption; if they don’t have that, they have to have a pre-market approval safety assessment.

Ensure that it adheres with FSA, which does a risk assessment to make sure it is suitable for shelves. Cbd is now being assessed retrospectively in many cases as the market has been thriving for some time, and FSA only added it to the Novel food list relatively recently.

New products will not be allowed onto shelves if they do not have approval, and products already on the shelves must be retrospectively approved.

You may be interested in our blog on: Can we legally ship CBD in UK?

Who needs to send an application?

The process is inclusive of anyone involved in the CBD industry. This includes manufacturers, suppliers, farmers, retailers, and generally anyone involved in bringing CBD to the market.

This process applies to all food products and is a general health and safety practice. A dossier must be sent to the FSA who will then validate the application or not.

What is a valid application mean? The European Commission will check that retailers’ dossier meets the application requirements and are in order.

Once it goes through a risk assessment, then it will either be validated or not. It will take approximately 18 months in total before the applications are cleared for each application.

If an application is denied or needs extra information, a retailer can not sell products until the application returns.

What studies need to be done?

CBD extraction, How it is grown, Degradation of products All ingredients will also need to be safe. Evidence will be expected to be shown. Scientific data Customer safety will be paramount.

History of Use, source, and country of Origin. The food needs to be safe for the consumer, and ultimately this due diligence will lay with the sellers, who will be expected to look at risk assessment.

Toxicology Is the basis of any novel food. This means that studies are carried out to examine what the food made from and how that interacts with our body and dosage.

The toxicology studies make up the bulk of the application and make it a lengthy process. Elements of the Toxicology process The components, the manufacturing process, contaminants source materials.

  • The ingredient’s stability: determines how it reacts to light, temperature, humidity, and what it is in its pure state.
  • Conditions of storage: What kind of packaging, where will the product be stored, will the packaging be airtight,
  • Composition: Will other ingredients are mixed with the main compound, how will they interact together.
  • Raw materials: How long is the shelf life, how is this assessed, how often?

The list is pretty extensive, and no stone is left unturned in the application process.

An exploration into how CBD enters the body is excreted, stored, and affects the body if it is accumulative. It is quite an intense, rigorous and time-consuming process.

The estimated time is about 18 months. For a small business, this is a huge concern. Without compliance with the Novel Food application, all products will be removed, and permission to sell shall be revoked.

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Will it affect business?

As the process is also expensive, there are several options that small business owners can explore.

Joining a consortium: The European industrial hemp association offers that people join them and send in a collective application that will be less expensive.

Join a more prominent supplier: Come under the umbrella of a larger company that are already able to assert compliance and have them as your supplier.

This, of course, may mean signing a contract to have them as your primary supplier for several years. Although it offers a solution, it may not be an ideal situation.

The lengthy application process and high costs may mean that some more prominent companies will have a bit of a monopoly on the market. It may be that those small business owners who want to explore the consortium or piggyback option, look around now, to see who they want to do business with.

On March 31st 2020 all products must be linked to an application, those which are not, will be removed from the shelves.

Due diligence is expected from all brands and the responsibility for ensuring that your products meet the standards and are compliant will fall on the brand or retailer’s shoulders.

As they will be expected to use suppliers and manufacturers, who are compliant.

Also Read:  Where to buy CBD oil in the UK?

Evidence required for products CBD extraction:

  • How it is grown,
  • Degradation of products
  • Safety of Product Scientific data
  • History of Use,
  • Source and country of Origin.

In conclusion

When you are asked is CBD legal in the UK, you can answer yes, given that it meets certain requirements from The Home Office. Regulations change quite often. It is now possible to legally buy a wide variety of CBD products in the UK. This is partly due to the fact that CBD will not get you high and is safe to use. Ensure the amount of THC is below 1mg in any product sold!

Read our similar blog on: Medical cannabis in UK

Cian Byrne

Cian is an experienced writer with a passion for the outdoors and travel. When he’s not off adventuring on his bike or exploring somewhere new, he’s usually at home editing photos from his trips or treating himself to yet another flat white at his local coffee shop.

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