CBD flowers in the UK seem to be becoming more accessible week by week, whether that be through online websites or high street stores, but the questions on everyone’s mind is are CBD Flowers actually legal?
UK / EU law surrounding CBD Products.
First things first, CBD as a whole is now accepted by the UK and all EU countries apart from Slovakia. This law enables CBD products with a THC content of less that 0.2% in the UK or 0.3% in parts of the EU to be sold legally with no issues. In the UK you will see big-name high-street stores such as Holland and Barrett selling CBD products and even advertisements becoming more popular on daytime TV.
UK Law surrounding CBD Flowers.
Expanding from the previous points, it’s clear CBD products are legal in the UK, but does this apply to CBD flowers and buds? According to the Misuse of Drugs act 1971 CBD products are allowed to contain “a trace” of THC (less than 0.2% THC). The CBD flowers otherwise known as hemp buds are all grown within strict EU guidelines and only produced from Carmagnola industrial hemp which is a UK and EU approved strain all containing the legal amount of THC.
CBD is not classified as a restricted or controlled substance under the MOD 1971, but cannabis is, this is where the confusion comes from. Cannabis plants containing high levels of THC are illegal, but CBD products containing high levels of CBD, but low limits of THC are classed as legal. According to UK law, these CBD products have to be classed as “Processed Hemp Products” in order to fall within the UK laws. But what is classed as a processed hemp product? Hemp flowers may be trimmed, cured and dried by the flower vendors before packaging for resale, which would technically be classed as being “processed”. Other CBD flower vendors within the UK sell their products as “Hemp tea” or for “souvenir or novelty purposes”, again ensuring that products are not being sold for direct human consumption or to be used in the way you would with regular cannabis.
The area surrounding CBD flowers is pretty grey. A bottle of CBD oil you can buy from big-name high-street stores such as Holland and Barrett may very well contain the exact same number of cannabinoids as a CBD flower being sold down the street, but the only difference is they are sold in different forms. There’s no question, these CBD products in whatever form they are sold are helping customers all over the world. With reports stating they are able to assist with depression, anxiety, sleep issues, arthurites, pain relief and even more serious issues such as cancer.
To answer the question are CBD flowers legal in the UK? My answer would be yes, BUT they have to be processed and marketed in such a way that adheres with UK and EU law, which includes:
- Making no medical claims
- Not selling to smoke / ingest
- Ensuring the CBD flower has been processed
- Ensuring the flower is bought from UK / EU approved farms
- Ensuring the CBD flower contains <0.2% THC
- Has no readily applicable means to remove the controlled substance (THC)
What’s the difference between CBD flower and regular cannabis?
As previously stated, regular cannabis still remains to be illegal within the UK but with the CBD flower market growing it’s important to be able to differentiate between the two.
The cannabis flower that still remains illegal in the UK consists of a high THC content, usually grown illegally within the UK or imported from popular hotspots such as the Amsterdam. THC is a controlled substance under the Misuse of Drugs act 1971 meaning any products containing a THC content greater than 0.2% whether that be in the form of cannabis plants, edibles, oils etc still remain illegal. To put this 0.2% THC in perspective if you’re asking yourself “will CBD flowers still get me high?” the answer is no. Regular street cannabis in the UK has an average reported percentage of 14% compared to CBD flower which contains a maximum of 0.2% THC. This 14% is an average of street skunk, it has now become more popular for imported “medical” weed from the USA where in some states it’s legal to be imported; these flowers can contain upwards of 25% THC.
The 0.2% THC rule was introduced in 2015 when the first cannabis-based prescription medicines became available under the health care system. Although a controlled substance, it has been found that small doses of THC when mixed with high levels of CBD can indeed provide benefits for the user. It also gives the option from UK distributors to market their products as:
- CBD Isolate (Only containing CBD).
- Broad Spectrum (Containing a broad range of cannabinoids such as CBD, CBDa, CBG but no THC)
- Full Spectrum (Containing all cannabinoids including THC; less than 0.2%)
CBD flower is a product that falls within all UK and EU guidelines of what is classified as a legal CBD product. CBD flower contains high levels of CBD but very low levels of THC (less that 0.2%). This is made possible only by farmers growing the hemp from the EU certified strain Carmagnola industrial hemp. These strains have been grown, nurtured and harvested to ensure all flower produced from them contains the legal amount of CBD and THC content which makes them exempt by definition of Regulation 2 of the MDR 2001. CBD flowers cannot be sold for consumption within the UK, just like other countries which have legalised it such as Italy and Switzerland, but they can be sold and marketed under an umbrella of different variations such as CBD Tea, Herbal Mix or for souvenir or novelty purposes.