CBD is derived from a kind of cannabis, hence its other name, cannabidiol. Over recent years, increased medical research has turned CBD and cannabis from something to be feared to something that needs to be studied more, and perhaps embraced.
But because it’s derived from a kind of cannabis, lots of people are still unsure as to whether CBD is legal and safe to use. So, here’s everything you need to know about CBD oil, and whether it’s legal or not.
Good news: CBD oil is legal in the UK. The active compound, CBD, is not a restricted substance in the UK, unlike THC or CBN. You can consume as much (or as little) as you like, and it’s not against the law to either possess or sell it. That’s because CBD (cannabidiol) won’t get you ‘high’, or affect your body in any similar way. It’s THC which is regulated. It’s considered a psychoactive chemical and a controlled substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
The trouble is, that in order to be sold legally, CBD products and companies must meet certain criteria.
In order to meet British guidelines, CBD oil has to have undetectable levels of THC, or <0.05%. Such a low concentration means that you can’t use CBD oil for the same purpose as recreational cannabis or marijuana, i.e. it can’t get you ‘high’.
In order to prove that the oil doesn’t have a higher concentration, the supplier must be able to display lab certificates for their products. These lab certificates prove that the oil is free of any restricted substances and contains the right amount of CBD. This is a similar process to other foodstuffs, which need to be able to prove that the ingredients in their products are safe for human consumption.
Any THC that is in the CBD oil also has to be difficult to extract. When sold as it usually is, the THC is mixed in with the rest of the oil in tiny traces. To extract it you would need to follow difficult industrial processes. The government, therefore, consider it legal.
But if the 0.2% THC were somehow very easy to extract, then the government consider it likely that you would try to extract it and use it recreationally. This is a grey area, as what exactly is considered ‘easy’ isn’t clear. People and the industry both would benefit from clearer rules.
Full-spectrum CBD oil is Hempura’s most natural product after using the solvent extraction process to create an extract from hemp. Essentially, minor processing occurs, or is added to or taken away from the product once it’s made—it’s all-natural.
All that’s left is the full natural extract. That means there will be a small amount of THC. Other cannabinoids present in full-spectrum oils include CBD, CBC, CBDA, CBDV, CBG, CBGV, CBT and CBV at undetectable levels. These are all-natural plant products that give full-spectrum CBD oil its potency.
It’s typically dark in colour and has a strong scent reminiscent of cannabis. That’s because the chemicals that give cannabis its smell (terpenes) are still present in the oil after extraction. These oils are legal in the UK, but make sure you buy from a legitimate supplier like Hempura.
Broad-spectrum CBD oil is extracted from the same hemp as other CBD products. However, it goes through a process called winterisation before it is then filtered. Hempura offer broad spectrum pure refined extracts that have undergone this treatment, during which certain other hemp constituents are removed too. This leaves behind a pure golden oil which is essentially as pure as you can get. It’s called ‘broad spectrum’ oil because some of the chemical compounds are removed, while full-spectrum oil contains them all.
Whilst every effort is made to remove the THC from our broad-spectrum extracts during the refinement process, there is potential for tiny contaminant levels to remain due to being manufactured from cannabis sativa hemp material. This is similar to warnings on other foodstuffs that state trace amounts of egg, milk or nuts may be contained in the product. These trace amounts are small enough that the product can be termed ‘zero-THC’
The UK government haven’t yet made clear whether legal cannabis-based products are allowed on flights. Products like these were only legalised recently, so much of the law has to catch up to reflect their new legal status. You, therefore, may have a positive or negative experience, depending entirely on the customs officer you deal with.
However, taking CBD oil through U.K. customs—whether you’re flying out, or flying back—isn’t a good idea. There are two reasons why.
This is understandably confusing for consumers. It’s sold in high street shops and from reputable online retailers, which gives CBD oil a veneer of normality. It’s therefore highly confusing that some places can arrest you for possessing it.
If you are planning on taking CBD with you on holiday, do your research beforehand starting with the airline. If you’re not sure, don’t take it with you.
If you want to legally buy CBD oil, it’s actually not that hard. You can buy it either from an online store or from a real-world store. However, wherever you buy it from, there are a number of things you have to check first.
Can You Buy CBD Oil in a Shop?
With CBD oil’s growing popularity, it is increasingly being sold in real-world shops. This is a significant change given the public’s former attitude towards cannabis products generally.
However, there are good reasons to choose an online store over a real-world shop. If buying cannabis-related products would be embarrassing for you, doing so online is the better route.
Not only that, but you have far more choice online that you may not get in a shop. Whether you want a full-spectrum or broad-spectrum oil, big or small bottles, liquid oil or supplements, it’s all available here.
Finally, an online CBD shop has a vested interest in only selling the highest quality product. Without quality, online stores like ours would be forced out by the competition. High street stores sell many products and don’t live or die on any one of them.
When you buy CBD oil from a real store or an online shop, the bottle will state how much THC it contains. This may be expressed as a percentage, by weight, or both.
It’s the percentage that you have to pay attention to. Any higher than 0.2% and you can’t legally buy the product. That would indicate that it may not have been derived from hemp, but other, high-THC cannabis plants. The product would, therefore, be illegal either to sell or to buy.
All good CBD oil manufacturers will specify how much THC is in their product. They know that if they sold high-THC oils, they wouldn’t be allowed to continue creating products.
It’s entirely conceivable that you might mix up CBD oil and cannabis oil. But there’s a big difference. CBD oil is obtained from industrial hemp. While this plant is in the same family as the cannabis plant used to grow recreational marijuana, it’s not the same. Industrial hemp naturally has far lower levels of THC.
Therefore, if you buy cannabis oil, it’s likely to contain more THC as a percentage than you’re legally allowed to buy. So, if it’s not marketed as ‘CBD oil’, don’t buy it.
If the company that’s selling CBD products is advertising it for medical purposes, it has to have a license under the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). This has been the case since 2016. Licenses for CBD oil as medicine have not yet been granted, although that hasn’t stopped many sellers from selling it as a supposed wonder product.
The reason why this is the case is that it’s easy for an unscrupulous company to make all sorts of medicinal claims that might not be true. The MHRA regulations prevent that from happening and are used against any company that misleadingly sells medical products. So, if your supplier is making all kinds of fantastical claims about CBD’s capability to cure everything under the sun, they aren’t doing so legally.