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Cannabidiol has entered the mainstream, but effects are unclear Get all of the latest Health news from The Scotsman. Providing fresh perspective online for news across the UK

What is CBD oil and is it legal in the UK?

Cannabidiol has entered the mainstream, but effects are unclear

CBD oil can be used in various forms

CBD oil has entered the mainstream in recent years, bringing with it zealous advocates and dismissive sceptics.

Also known as Cannabidiol, CBD is found in the cannabis plant. But unlike THC – the ingredient that makes cannabis users high – CBD has no psychoactive effect.

Instead, it is used by people who want to manage conditions like chronic pain, PTSD and epilepsy. The substance is also being trialled to see if it can help with anxiety and arthritis.

CBD can now be found in a range of products in high street stores, from vape liquid to “sweets, creams and even sexual lubricants”, says ITV News.

The number of people using CBD oil, also known as cannabidiol, in the UK alone is estimated to stand at around 1.3m. As GQ magazine says, “thanks to a brand reimagining and increased medical research”, the naturally occurring compound has “gone from dangerous to desirable”.

Advocates of CBD oil say it can relieve chronic pain and inflammation, depression and insomnia, among other conditions. But others say its benefits are oversold and unproven, while many others are confused over its legal status.

Here’s what you need to know:

What is CBD oil?

Cannabis plants are made up of more than 100 different cannabinoids, chemical compounds that act on cannabinoid receptors in cells that alter neurotransmitter release in the human brain. These have different impacts on the body and are concentrated to different extents in certain parts of the plant, the BBC reports.

The most well known of the compounds are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).

In the UK, it is possible to get a prescription for oil made from CBD because it won’t get users “high”. By contrast, THC is a psychoactive chemical and is a controlled substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

Why and how is it used?

A 2017 report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) found that CBD could provide relief for a variety of debilitating conditions including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, cancer and diabetic complications, as well as general pain, anxiety and depression.

“There isn’t enough evidence to say that the oil definitely does help with these things, nor that simply cramming some in a milkshake will do the slightest bit of good, just that doctors are optimistic about their research,” says lifestyle magazine The Street.

One recent study has also now linked CBD oil to healthy weight loss. The research, published in the journal Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, linked the drug to three causes of “fat browning”, which turns the dangerous white fat associated with obesity and diabetes into hard-working brown fat cells. These actively aid weight loss by burning extra calories through thermogenesis, your body’s heat-production process.

What’s more, CBD “reduces the expression of proteins involved in creating new fat cells, and it boosts the number of mitochondria in your brown fat cells”, says Men’s Health. This could further increase their fat-stripping power, the scientists suggest.

However, it is important to note that licences for CBD oil as a medicine have not been granted yet, and manufacturers cannot make claims about their alleged medical benefits.

CBD oil can be used in a number of different ways, says health information site Verywell. “You can smoke it (typically in vape pens), take it in capsule form, use it sublingually (under the tongue), use oral sprays or drops, or apply it topically to your skin,” the site explains.

Gels and rubs aimed at athletes are available in shops, while pensioners are using the products in the hope of alleviating arthritis.

“A crystalline form of pure CBD is also available, and it’s generally taken sublingually.”

CBD is available in a range of products sold on the high street and online, including creams, oils, tinctures and edible treats such as gummy sweets. There are even CBD-infused pillowcases and yoga classes offering CBD-assisted guided meditation.

The medical effects of CBD aside, “in many cases, the industry is taking consumers for a ride”, says Mike Power in The Guardian. He cites lab tests commissioned by the think tank Centre for Medicinal Cannabis (CMC) which analysed high-street offerings and found that more than half of the most popular CBD oils sold do not contain the level of CBD promised on the label.

Yet market research by the CMC estimates that the CBD market in the UK could be worth almost £1bn a year by 2025, “equivalent in size to the current entire UK herbal supplement market”, writes Power.

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Ultimately, says ITV News, there’s a big difference between CBD you are given by a healthcare professional, and the less regulated CBD oil you can get on the high street.

CBD available in shops is often of lower quality and far lower strength than the oil used in clinical trials.

According to the British Medical Journal (BMJ), high street products contain roughly 25mg CBD, compared to the 150-1,500mg/day that users are given in clinical trials, says ITV.

But is it legal?

As Business Matters notes, there is currently “a great deal of confusion around CBD oil UK law”, with the vast majority of cannabinoids listed as controlled substances under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

However, CBD is an exception and is completely legal in the UK, “provided it has been derived from an industrial hemp strain that is EU-approved”, or comes from outside the EU.

For CBD oil to be legal in the UK, it must contain no THC. Cannabis oil, which has THC content, is not usually allowed in the UK.

There is an exemption to this rule, the BBC reports. Sativex, a 50-50 mix of THC and CBD produced in a lab, has been approved for use in the UK as a treatment for multiple sclerosis.

And specialist clinicians are allowed to prescribe other cannabis-derived medicinal products under changes to the law that came into force in November.

However, medicinal cannabis is currently unlicensed – so it can only be prescribed if a patient has a need that cannot be met by licensed medicines.

One of the arguments against the use of the medication “is that there have not been satisfactory drug trials to prove its safety and effectiveness”, reports the BBC’s Debbie Jackson.

In The Guardian, Mike Power writes: “There is now no denying the medicinal value of CBD and THC – not even by the British government, which for years maintained that lie even as it rubber-stamped the cultivation and export of the world’s largest medicinal cannabis crop. But the landmark decision in November 2018 to allow UK doctors to prescribe cannabis under extremely limited circumstances, inspired by the cases of Billy Caldwell and Alfie Dingley, whose epilepsy is improved immeasurably by medicinal cannabis products containing both THC and CBD, has left many in a limbo: knowing or believing that cannabis offers a cure, yet remaining unable to access it.”

This has resulted in a number of high-profile cases of parents taking their children out of the UK in order to access treatment.

One such parent is Julie Galloway, who left Scotland with her severely ill daughter Alexa, seven, almost 12 months ago to live in the Netherlands.

“I feel like a refugee forced to live abroad to save my child,” Galloway told the BBC. “I want to come home but I am terrified the medication will be confiscated. I am struggling to pay for it and I know this can’t go on forever.”

CBD Oil UK laws for 2022 – what Is CBD and is it legal?

After years of limited, inferior CBD products being sold in high street shops and on the internet, 2018 brought UK customers detailed laws that made the use of products infused with Cannabidiol (CBD) legal, safe, and regulated.

The legalisation of CBD products for public consumption and sale was hailed as an important milestone in the pursuit of providing healthy and natural plant-based supplements to UK customers, writes CBD RAIDERS.

Brands such as Blessed CBD have proven to be beneficial for thousands of consumers in the UK with their award winning range of CBD oils you can buy online.

However, the legislation that altered the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 to leave out CBD and other related cannabinoids as class B drugs left a great deal of grey area around the production and sale of CBD products.

In this guide, CBD RAIDERS takes a closer look at the legal status of CBD in the United Kingdom for 2022.

What is the CBD Oil UK Law?

These legal grey zones have created a lot of confusion over:

*Is CBD oil legal?

*What products can be legally sold and purchased?

*What claims can be made about CBD products?

*How can UK customers find effective CBD oils, CBD vape e-liquids, and edibles without violating the current laws?

Fortunately, we’ve gathered all the information about CBD oil UK law to help consumers understand what CBD products are legal now and what is yet to be decided.

What is CBD?

Before jumping into the laws and regulations surrounding CBD products in the UK, it is essential to understand what CBD is and how it benefits the body in its different forms.

The acronym CBD is short for Cannabidiol, one of many compounds found in cannabis and hemp plants. CBD has been shown in many research studies to have none to minimal side effects – and incredible potential benefits that work with the body’s endocannabinoid system that regulates vital functions such as:

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*nausea and vomiting

*pain sensation and perception

The use of CBD has been shown to be a safe alternative to pharmaceuticals in many clinical trials. In fact, most research has shown that CBD does not have any psychoactive effects on the user.

This means that CBD products will not get you high in the traditional sense of the term, and they are safe to use for anyone, regardless of age or medical condition.

What is the difference between Hemp CBD and CBD derived from marijuana?

The cannabis plant consists of a variety of species. Each species of cannabis plant contains varying levels of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD, amongst other cannabinoids. For example, industrial hemp plants (Cannabis Sativa L) contain high concentrations of CBD and other cannabinoids, with virtually no levels of THC.

Marijuana (Cannabis Sativa or Indica) naturally contains high amounts of THC and relatively low levels of CBD in comparison. Also known as cannabis, this is a controlled drug in the UK.

While cannabis oil can be extracted from both plants, it’s the hemp plant that contains CBD rich oil perfect for providing the many touted health and wellness benefits associated with taking CBD products and sprays.

Cannabis oil derived from marijuana plants will be high in THC content and create the euphoria often associated with smoking, eating, or vaping marijuana. This high is what still makes it an illegal substance in the UK (except for medical cannabis) and is one of the reasons that consumers have been seeking out THC-free pure CBD products.

Different Types of CBD Oils

*Broad-Spectrum CBD

This is a form of CBD that includes a variety of cannabinoids found in cannabis plants except for THC. This is the most common type of CBD product found on the UK market because it has no THC, and CBD companies do not have to worry about violating laws when manufacturing and selling broad-spectrum products.

*Full Spectrum CBD

Much like broad-spectrum CBD formulas, full-spectrum CBD is also made using all parts of the plant and undergoes a solvent or CO2 extracting method to pull all the cannabinoids and terpenes from the plant.

However, full-spectrum CBD is different because it includes all the cannabinoids and terpenes found in the plant, including THC. This means there is a minimal amount of THC in every full-spectrum product, though not enough to get you high in the same way that smoking THC rich marijuana would.

*CBD Isolate

A CBD isolate is a pure, crystalline powder made from the cannabinoid CBD. It is a highly concentrated form of Cannabidiol that can be used in e-liquids, oil tinctures, topical skin creams, and other CBD branded products. This pure isolate powder does not have any THC or other cannabinoids, so it can be added to almost any product without violating UK law.

What Does the CBD Oil UK Law Cover?

In 2018 the UK Parliament passed legislation legalizing certain cannabinoids, including CBD, CBDa, and CBD. However, other cannabinoids such as THC are still considered controlled substances and, therefore, not legal for public consumption.

When it comes to producing CBD oils, UK law dictates the following:

*CBD oil must be sourced from hemp grown outside of the UK

*CBD oil may contain no more than 1mg of THC per product or bottle

Hemp was chosen for its high concentrations of CBD and very low amount of THC. Because the law mandates that no product can contain more than 1mg of THC per product, it was found that limiting CBD product production to hemp plants rather than the THC-rich marijuana (cannabis Sativa) plants would allow for the safe and legal sale of CBD products.

In addition to the regulations regarding where CBD products must be sourced from and the legal limit of THC per product, additional regulations to the law include:

*CBD products are to be considered food supplements, not medicinal cannabis products

*CBD companies must submit a Novel Foods Application to the Food Standards Agency in order to sell CBD

*CBD products may not make any medical claims about their effects

*UK residents cannot grow CBD-rich hemp for personal use

*CBD flowers or buds are not legal for sale

These parts of the regulations are designed to ensure the safety and quality control of CBD products while also preventing false or misleading claims from being made about the effects of CBD.

Because CBD companies must submit a novel foods application in order to sell their products, this can be a long and expensive process. While some companies avoid the application submission and sell their products illegally, many CBD companies (such as Blessed CBD) have taken the time to submit their products for approval, and it’s essential to only purchase from a brand that has done so.

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The inability to make medical claims about CBD products has made it difficult for many CBD companies to tout the benefits of their products. However, many CBD companies rely on testimonials from customers about the potential medical benefits of their CBD products when it comes to:

For a trusted CBD brand in the UK market, we recommend Blessed CBD.

What’s the difference between CBD and medicinal cannabis?

Both CBD products and medicinal products made from cannabis have significant benefits for a variety of conditions. But, unfortunately, medicinal cannabis has not been given authorisation by the healthcare products regulatory agency (FSA, NHS, MHRA) for public consumption and can only be prescribed by a medical professional for a handful of conditions.

On the other hand, CBD hemp oil products that have submitted the appropriate paperwork and are in line with UK laws regarding various cannabinoid content as well as THC levels are available for purchase by anyone in the UK. CBD products are food supplements and not medicinal cannabis and, as such, do not require the express authorisation of use by a medical professional.

Recommended Legal CBD Oils to Buy in the UK

With the understanding of what CBD oil is and how it’s regulated comes the next logical question for most readers and consumers: What’s the best legal CBD oil to buy in the UK?

While there are many reputable brands that UK customers can choose to help meet their health and wellness needs, we recommend Blessed CBD and Vibes CBD.

Blessed CBD has been an award-winning company leading the way in the UK CBD industry for many years. With awards featured in Observer, Reader’s Digest, Herald Scotland, Scotsman and Worthing Herald, this CBD company is often recognised for its commitment to creating high-quality CBD products that are safe, potent, and effective.

Using organically grown hemp sourced from the USA and Europe, Blessed CBD meticulously crafts their CBD products using a supercritical CO2 extraction method considered the best in the CBD industry.

In addition to their advanced manufacturing processes, Blessed CBD uses third-party lab testing to ensure the potency and cannabinoid mixture in each batch of CBD hemp extract that goes into making their products.

With a range of CBD oil tinctures, CBD gummies, CBD isolate capsules, and CBD creams for a variety of skincare conditions, Blessed CBD has exactly what UK residents need to get full-spectrum or THC-free broad-spectrum support for a variety of chronic and acute conditions.

To make them even more impressive, Blessed CBD products are designed to fit a variety of dietary and lifestyle needs with products that are vegan, gluten-free, cruelty-free, non-GMO, and cGMP certified.

While newer to the CBD market in the UK, Vibes CBD has undoubtedly earned its spot as the number two source for high-quality CBD products. With guiding principles of sustainability, trust, and transparency, this CBD company is setting a new standard for the industry as a whole.

In addition to premium hemp extracts from the finest suppliers in Europe and North America, Vibes CBD uses advanced chromatography methods to isolate only the purest cannabinoids from their plant matter. These cannabinoids are then carefully blended into base oils that can be used in a variety of products and include organic coconut and MCT (fractionated hemp) oil.

The Vibes CBD team is confident that their premium ingredients paired with manufacturing best practices makes for one of the highest quality CBD oils on the UK market today. And they’re not afraid to back it up with all their products being third-party laboratory tested for potency and cannabinoid content.

Their range of CBD oil tinctures, edible gummies, and vitamin-enriched capsules provides first-time users and avid CBD enthusiasts an excellent way to get their daily dose of CBD at affordable prices.

Be sure to check out their website to take advantage of first-time buyer discounts and fantastic monthly specials.

The Bottom Line

While the current UK CBD law may seem restrictive in some ways, in others, these regulations ensure that UK citizens have access to safe, pure, and reliable CBD products that will help meet their health and wellness needs.

As more research is released about the benefits and benign nature of CBD, public opinion may sway government officials to loosen the regulations around CBD, making it easier for UK residents to find and purchase the highest quality CBD products available.

In the meantime, UK residents can be sure that there are some excellent brands of CBD oil to choose from that offer third-party lab testing, high-quality ingredients, and a commitment to customer satisfaction.

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