Laws and Regulations

Is CBD Legal In The UK?

Written by Robert Hammell

Cannabis is the most commonly used drug in the UK.[1] While tolerance and acceptance is growing across the globe, the UK has not fully reached recreational legalization. The question then becomes: where does the non-intoxicating CBD fit in terms of the UK’s standards for
cannabis legality?


CBD Laws in the UK
CBD is legal in the UK, but the regulations surrounding it are complicated. Cannabis is a Class B drug in Britain, which means it is a controlled substance.[2] CBD, though, is not recognized as a controlled substance, if it is in its purest form. However, the Home Office recognizes it is difficult to produce pure CBD, so they set the legal threshold for CBD products at .2 percent THC. To help ensure the low THC content, the Home Office only will grant production licenses if certain strains are being harvests, and if the CBD oil is predominantly collected from seeds, stems and leaves. These areas typically contain lower THC content, while still being capable of producing large CBD oil yields. Obtaining a CBD license can be both costly and difficult, but it allows producers access to a £690 million market.[3] Although, a Home Office license only allows for CBD products to be used for industrial purposes. This includes food, supplements, cosmetics, and vape products.

Punishment for Violating These Regulations
There are a few other caveats to the CBD regulations in the UK that could easily trip up growers or manufacturers. CBD flowers are prohibited in all forms, even if they fall below that .2 percentage THC threshold. Additionally, if the CBD in question contains more than .2 percent THC, it can be quantified as cannabis. Here, the Home Office becomes much stricter. The punishment for cannabis is a prison term of up to 14 years and the potential for an unlimited fine.[4] This is a case by case basis, but the UK police remain claiming a 21 percent increase in cannabis seizures in 2021.[5]


Reference List

1. https:\/\/\/author\/lextox\/#author. (2018, May 8). Lextox’s Most Commonly Detected Drugs | Lextox. Lextox | Drug, Alcohol and DNA Testing Services for Family Law Cases and Child Care Proceedings. commonly-detected-drugs/

2. UK Home Office. (n.d.). Drug Licensing Factsheet- Cannabis, CBD and other cannabinoids. Retrieved December 9, 2022, from

3. Green shoots: Sowing the seeds of the new UK cannabinoid market. (2022, September 2). Association for the Cannabinoid Industry. Retrieved December 9, 2022, from

4. Drugs penalties. (2015, January 29). GOV.UK.

5. Seizures of drugs in England and Wales, financial year ending 2021. (2022, September 22). GOV.UK.

About the author

Robert Hammell