Is CBD Oil Legal in the UK?
CBD Oil is one of the most popular legal health and wellness supplements in the UK. Last year, an industry report suggested that British people spent a whopping £300 million on CBD Oil alone! The legal cannabis market is now more than both Vitamin C and Vitamin D.
A key reason CBD Oil is so famous is because it is made from a species of the Cannabis plant. Often spoken about for its widely reported therapeutic benefits, CBD has taken the world by storm. Yet, Cannabis has been illegal in the UK for decades and remains so.
This begs the question, how is CBD Oil legal in the UK?
What is CBD?
To understand why CBD Oil is legal, it is important to understand what CBD Oil is and where it is derived from.
Cannabidiol, or CBD for short, is a chemical found in the Cannabis plant. There are over a hundred special cannabis chemicals, called cannabinoids and all of them have slightly different effects. CBD is psychoactive but not psychotropic. So, it interacts with receptors in the brain but does not alter the user’s cognitive abilities. Contrastingly, the other famous cannabinoid, THC is psychotropic and creates the ‘high’ effect for which cannabis has become notable.
What are the differences between Cannabis species?
There are two main species of the Cannabis plant: Sativa and Indica. Indica is most famous for its ‘high’ THC content (pardon the pun). In contrast, Sativa – also known as Hemp – has a low THC content.
In the UK and Europe, cultivators (like us) are only allowed to grow Sativa strains with a THC content of up to 0.2%. The harvested plants then undergo an extraction process (our job again) to remove all THC. Then, this CBD is formulated with a carrier oil to improve bioavailability and bottled and packaged.
It is important to buy CBD Oil that is grown in Europe. Lots of CBD brands use US grown CBD, which is often made from Cannabis Indica. These strains often have a high THC content, making it harder to completely remove from the final product.
What makes CBD Oil Legal in the UK?
CBD Oil is legal in the UK because it is not psychotropic.
If the products include THC then they are considered illegal. Both manufacturers and consumers could be in trouble with the law if they are found with a CBD Oil containing THC.
This happens a lot more than you may think.
Why is CBD Oil the preferred delivery method?
There are a multitude of different CBD products available in the UK market. They range from the ludicrous – pillows or croissants – to the more functional, CBD Oil or Skincare.
Different CBD delivery methods range in quality and use. This is due to the endocannabinoid system and way in which CBD reacts in the human body.
Our resident cannabinoid expert Prof. Saoirse O’Sullivan notes CBD absorbs more rapidly when held under the tongue. There are millions of small blood vessels in the mouth that carry the CBD straight to the bloodstream. Saoirse explains that absorption and results are much improved when held sublingually for at least 2 minutes.
What is Novel Food?
CBD Oil occupies an unusual position in the UK legally, with regards to a little known regulation called Novel Food. In 2019, the European Commission updated its ruling to classify all CBD as a Novel Food. The Commission argued that CBD had not been widely consumed as a food pre-1997.
Afterwards, a media furore followed stating CBD products would be removed from shelves in 2021, unless they complied with the regulation.
Fortunately for fans of Dragonfly CBD, we have submitted a Novel Food application – essentially a huge safety dossier – for our CBD Oils. This means that from March 2021, assuming our application is validated by the UK FSA, Dragonfly CBD will remain on shelves.