To answer the question, it is simple, CBD as a cannabinoid along with other cannabinoids are not illegal. The hemp plant boasts over 200 known cannabinoids and there are two in particular that are controlled substances. These are THC and CBN, for both a 1mg per container rule applies which equates to 0.2% in a 10ml tincture.
Therefore if you have a CBD oil that also contains THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) or CBN (Cannabinol) at levels below 0.02% then CBD is legal. Any product with these two compounds above the legal limit will make it illegal.
How do these rules effect UK cultivators?
The same rules apply at plant level, so growers need to select approved European hemp seeds that will give plants with less than 0.02% THC/CBN.
Growing hemp in the UK is legal as long as you have a licence from the Home Office and can demonstrate the end commercial purpose of the crop, e.g. extracting oil from seeds. You must discard the leaves and flowers of hemp, which is where all the CBD is contained.
So you must be wondering if the parts containing the CBD are discarded then how is CBD made in the UK? Well, CBD is not produced in the UK it can be manufactured in the UK by importing raw hemp material from abroad.
What are the implications for sellers and users of CBD products?
The same rules carry overs to the sale and use of CBD products with an additional set of criteria, from The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
The criteria that determine whether a product is legal or not must meet these rules:
- The product is not designed to administer the controlled substance
- The product cannot be used to extract the controlled substance
- The product contains no more than 1mg of controlled substance per container
Rules on labelling CBD products
he Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has not issued a medicinal licence for CBD and therefore any product cannot make any medical or therapeutic claims.
The UK commitment to align to the EU Novel Food act
Currently in the UK CBD is sold as a food supplement as it is not a medicine, however the EU governs it sales of CBD through the Novel Foods classification.
Novel Foods are recognised as any product that was not widely consumed before May 1997, within the EU.
The EU therefore gives guidance on acceptable maximum safe limits, guidelines on labelling, presentation and advertising of food supplements
The UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) recognises the EU’s CBD classification and is committed to aligning to the same compliance practices.
This could lead to how CBD in the UK is sold and marketed.