CBD Oil in the UK: [All You Need to Know Guide]

Medical facts, legal and more...


The issues surrounding medical marijuana and the legalization of CBD in the United States are pretty well known. This is not the case in the United Kingdom so you may be surprised to learn that CBD oil sold in the UK is legal, with caveats. In this CBD, we outline what CBD is, how it can help you, its exact legal status in the UK, the types of products available and the most reputable companies.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of over 100 identified compounds (called cannabinoids) in the cannabis plant. It is probably the second best known (behind tetrahydrocannabinol or THC), but it is the most abundant compound. Unlike THC which is known to get you ‘high,’ CBD is non-psychoactive which means it is even safe for kids to consume it.

Cannabinoids are agonists and bind directly to the cannabinoid receptors on your cells. These receptors are found all over the body, especially on the skin, digestive tract and also in your reproductive organs. When you consume cannabis, you are ingesting agonists that interact with different cannabinoid receptors in the body. These receptors are part of the larger endocannabinoid system (ECS).

The ECS is an enormous network of cell receptor proteins with various functions. Your ECS is involved in mood, immune function, motor control, memory, sleep, appetite, pain perception, bone development and much more. The ECS also has four primary functions: Energy balance, immune balance, stress recovery and neuroprotection. CBD interacts with the balancing system to provide users with medicinal benefits.

The CBD molecule has a similar composition to chemicals created naturally by the body known as endocannabinoids. Rather than getting bogged down by scientific details about why CBD works, let’s check out a few benefits.

CBD Oil Benefits

The rising demand for high-THC cannabis strains meant that CBD took a back seat for far too long. Legal issues surrounding THC finally ensured the development of the CBD market. Over in the United States, the case of Charlotte Figi brought CBD into the international spotlight.

Charlotte suffers from Dravet’s Syndrome, a rare condition which caused the unfortunate girl to have hundreds of seizures a week. After taking a cannabis strain with a high CBD content and practically no THC, her seizures were reduced to a couple per month. Soon, medical research found that CBD was not only useful for kids with epilepsy, but it also had a variety of uses. You can take CBD if you suffer from any of the following:

There has been a variety of medical studies which show that CBD is capable of helping patients with each of the above conditions. While it is not necessarily a ‘cure,’ CBD can significantly improve your mood and ease painful symptoms with no side effects. Crucially, an increasing number of patients are dumping their addictive prescription medication in favour of cannabidiol. However, what is its current legal status of CBD oil in the UK?

CBD in UK Laws

On October 13, 2016, the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Authority (MHRA) decided to classify CBD as a medicinal ingredient. It confirmed and updated the decision on December 30, 2016. This is a significant change to the law in the UK as it means CBD is not just a ‘food supplement’ like it is in the United States.

According to the director of inspection and enforcement at the MHRA, Gerald Heddel, the organisation decided that CBD was medicine. He said it came to that conclusion based on evidence that people are using the product in the belief it will help their medical condition.

It is a decision designed to improve the standard of CBD on the market which is potentially great news for consumers. Previously, people were forced to purchase their CBD on an unregulated and potentially dangerous market. Now, manufacturers have to prove that their CBD products meet a set level of quality, safety and effectiveness standards. However, there is some concern that the MHRA’s set of criteria is too strict which may lead to a shortage of CBD.

The decision is bad news for smaller suppliers because if manufacturers require a license to sell or else they have register CBD products as traditional herbal remedies, they will pay a small fortune. The application costs over £100,000!

It is important to note that cannabis is still illegal as it is not considered to have therapeutic value. As a result, you can be arrested and charged with possession. We hope this landmark decision is the beginning of a drive to legalise marijuana in the UK (at least for medicinal purposes), but we have to admit, such a ruling is a long way away if it ever happens at all.

Types of CBD Products Sold in the UK

CBD Hemp Oil

CBD oil is the most popular product sold in the UK. It is available in different strengths and comes in the form of oil that has been extracted from the cannabis plant via supercritical CO2 extraction. The best brands sell full spectrum CBD oil which means you benefit from a host of terpenes and legal cannabinoids. To consume, simply place a few drops beneath your tongue, hold it for a few seconds and swallow.

Alternatively, you could create an e-liquid from it and vape in the same way as you normally would with an e-cigarette.

CBD Capsules

If you don’t like the taste of oil, you can get your fill of CBD in capsule form. Simply swallow with water and reap the rewards of this amazing medicinal product.

CBD Edibles

If you have a sweet tooth, why not try a CBD edible? You can purchase gummy bears, taffy, and mints filled with premium quality CBD.

CBD Lotion & Balms

If you suffer from joint pain or chronic pain in a specific part of the body, a lotion made with CBD can provide therapeutic relief. It takes a little longer to work than oil but its effects last longer.

CBD for Pets

Believe it not; there are treats for cats and dogs filled with CBD. Why should humans be the only ones to benefit, when you can get CBD for Pets?

CBD Oil Discount

Where to Buy CBD Oil in the UK

Although the MHRA ruling should improve the standard of CBD sold in the UK, it is best to focus on reputable companies with an established reputation in the marketplace. Elixinol is a world-renowned CBD seller, and its oil has been featured in publications such as CNN, National Geographic, Newsweek, and CBS to name but four.

The company was founded by Paul Benhaim who has been involved in the industry since 1991. As well as selling CBD oil in the UK, Elixinol also offers hemp oil liposomes, Respira hemp oil, and balm.

Then there is Purekana. While PureKana does not have a British presence, it does ship internationally and sells one of the best forms of CBD oil in the world. It is a relatively new company but has already gained brand recognition around the globe. It specialises in CBD oil but also offers CBD gummies, capsules and ointment.

Final Thoughts on CBD Oil UK

The UK CBD market is far from saturated, but you must still perform due diligence when purchasing CBD oil or any other product. CBD is capable of reducing the painful symptoms of a wide range of illnesses and is a natural alternative to prescription drugs.

The MHRA ruling should improve the quality of CBD oil sold in the UK, but it has also led to an air of uncertainty. Will all sellers need a specific license? Will they be prosecuted for selling without such a license? There are numerous unanswered questions, but we hope things are made clear soon.

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CBD Oil in the UK: [All You Need to Know Guide]
December 10, 2017

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