Is CBD oil legal?

CBD oil is legal, according to the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016.

When they first hear about CBD oil, many people are worried about whether it is legal because of the connection to THC and illicit drugs. This concern is understandable.

Fortunately, there is a clear answer: CBD oil is completely legal in the UK.

A different strain

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a compound found in the leaves of the hemp plant, an annual, flowering herb that has been cultivated for thousands of years.

Due to a long history of selective breeding, different strains of the plant have been created for specific applications. Plants are categorised as either C. indica L. – which is grown because it produces a ‘high’ – or C. sativa L., also known as hemp, which has been cultivated to produce useful fibres.

The reason that people experience a high from C. indica L. is that it contains large concentrations of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and low concentrations of CBD. For this reason, CBD oil is extracted from the more useful hemp plant – which has very low levels of THC and very high levels of CBD.

Psychoactive vs non-psychoactive

In the UK, Parliament passed the Psychoactive Substances Act in 2016, which changed the way that the state prohibits the use of illegal drugs.

The Act states that all substances which cause a psychoactive effect are illegal, unless they are specifically exempted (e.g. alcohol, caffeine). ‘A substance produces a psychoactive effect in a person if, by stimulating or depressing the person’s central nervous system, it affects the person’s mental functioning or emotional state.’

THC, found in high concentrations in C. indica L., is a psychoactive substance and therefore illegal.

CBD does not have any psychoactive effect, so it is completely legal. This has been confirmed by the Home Office.

The right purchase

The UK government has stipulated that to sell CBD products, the manufacturer must ensure that the THC content of the product is lower than 0.2%. This means that the supplement will have no psychoactive effects.

When shopping for a CBD supplement, customers should check that the supplier is following this rule.

Outside the UK, the legality of CBD varies from country to country. If you live abroad, you should consult local sources to find out the current status of CBD and whether your supplier complies with current legislation. Customers are not recommended to take CBD products overseas without first checking its legal status in the destination country.

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