If you have done your research or have been in search of an alternative to the standardly prescribed medicine for conditions such as Alzheimer’s, cancer, obesity, nausea, and more, chances are that you have stumbled upon the magical substance called CBD or cannabidiol. An active an essential part of the cannabis plant, CBD has become a commonly discussed matter, especially in the medical fields, which it has slowly penetrated.
Although the powerful cannabinoid provides different effects to that of consuming marijuana, its potential remains a controversy among consumers and medical experts, especially from a legal perspective. The cannabis plant has gone a long way, from industrial hemp to recreational marijuana and has certainly evolved in terms of legality around the world. Today, countries such as Chile, Italy, Spain, Canada, and more, are turning a more liberal eye towards the cannabis family and are starting to legalize the plant for medical and even recreational use.
There are a number of ways in which CBD can be consumed but among the most popular methods is CBD oil. We will look into CBD oil and its legality in the UK as it is important to consider the factor of legality when deciding on a suitable alternative to standard medicine.
CBD oil explained
Before moving on to the legal side of things, let’s look at what CBD oil is and how it can be different from other CBD-related products. Millions of consumers are seeking the positive effects of CBD oil, making the product of high demand in different parts of the world. As mentioned, the cannabinoid is derived from the cannabis plant, and more specifically in its oily resin. But let’s look deeper into what is happening inside the plant itself.
The cannabinoid is located in the resin, which is mainly positioned on the flower’s clusters, or what most call the buds. The buds themselves are protected by the trichomes of the flower. The trichomes are especially important as they possess valuable oily compounds, which are often used for medical purposes, including CBD, THC, and other important terpenes. The oily resin plays the role of the protector of the plant and it can be seen that it plays a similar role in the human body, by providing antifungal, antibacterial, and antioxidant benefits.
CBD oil is produced by extracting the trichomes of the flower and this is where things get really interesting. CBD oil is not all created equal and will vary in terms of CBD concentration, THC concentration, and other factors, which may have an influence in establishing whether the product is legal in certain countries. There is a range of extraction methods to choose from, depending on the end product that the manufacturer is after. Certain extraction methods will result in an end product with more or less CBD concentration, and more importantly – different levels of THC. In addition, the cannabis plant itself has different strains or different sorts, which also provide different CBD and THC levels.
But why is this important?
The presence of THC in CBD oil
THC or tetrahydrocannabinol is another active part of the cannabis plant, which is associated with the mind-altering and high effect that marijuana consumers are after. THC is a psychoactive compound and has the ability to trigger certain responses in the brain of the consumer, which can also have a negative effect. The psycho-activity of THC makes it an unadvisable compound for children, elderly, or individuals with psychological problems. Because THC is found in the cannabis plant, it is rare that you will find a CBD product with 0% THC. Of course, the extraction methods provide assistance in separating THC from CBD but in the majority of scenarios, there will be some levels of THC found in CBD oil.
And this is certainly not something to fear. In low doses, THC has the power to stimulate CBD to work even better with the endocannabinoid receptors in the human body, enabling it to have an even better effect. Creating what we know as the “entourage effects”, the existence of numerous compounds in a product works together to form a synergy between the different elements, giving rise to an enhanced effect.
So now that we have familiarized ourselves with what goes on inside CBD oil, it’s time to move on to the product’s legality in the UK.
The legality of CBD oil in the UK
CBD oil can be extracted both from hemp and from marijuana. The main difference between the two is the levels of CBD and THC found within the different flowers. Whereas marijuana is associated with high levels of THC and lower levels of CBD, hemp usually contains more levels of CBD and is a preferred source for CBD-related products. This is an important distinction to make when discussing the legal side of CBD oil. While marijuana is strictly banned in the majority of countries today, the mentality towards hemp is somewhat different, mainly due to its industrial benefits and its low levels of THC.
When looking into the UK and its approach to the cannabis family, we can see a clear conservative mentality, which can be analyzed as a clear representation of the conservative-leaning government. Cannabis has been perceived as harmful and has remained illegal in the UK for decades. A similar approach can be seen in the USA in the 50s and 60s when weed was a forbidden plant for production and consumption. Cannabis was officially announced as illegal in the UK in 1928 and since then the attitude towards the plant has certainly shifted. Different parties have been pushing for the legalization of the herb through the years, especially concerning the saving of the natural habitats of the UK.
Nowadays, with the high demand of the plant and the existence of a vast amount of studies confirming its potential, the country is slowly adopting a more liberal approach to the cannabis especially CBD.
CBD oil is legal in the UK
Although the decision to legalize CBD oil may not have been supported by all, the product is today 100% legal in the UK. The product can be purchased on the market and can be found on high street shops and online. But remember how we said that not all CBD oil is created equal?
The UK, like other countries who have legalized the consumption of CBD and CBD-related products, has set certain requirements for the product to cover in order for it to classify as legal. For CBD oil to be legally sold and consumed, it must include less than 0.2% THC. Cultivating and manufacturing CBD is also legal and the government can even support growers by offering special licensing for the cultivation and production of industrial hemp and CBD oil extraction. This way, the government ensures that the process is controlled and carefully monitored, which is a win-win for the consumer and the producer. While the producer receives support and guidance, the consumer ensures that the quality of the CBD oil will be high.
Even if CBD oil is legal in the UK and you can purchase it from retailers, it’s worth noting that the strength of the CBD cannabinoid will not be the same in every product. In order to gain the maximum results from your CBD oil, gather as much information as possible on its origin, production process, and quality. If possible, ask for laboratory tests of the CBD oil and check its full list of ingredients.
CBD oil in the UK after Brexit
The future of CBD oil in the UK remains a question, mainly due to the ongoing dilemma of Brexit or no Brexit. Exiting the European Union would potentially lead to a change of laws in the UK, which may influence the legality of CBD oil and cannabis in general in the country. The future of the product will ultimately be left in the hands of the party, which takes power. The Conservative and Labor parties have demonstrated their individual interpretations of cannabis and it is certain that their decisions regarding cannabis will differ.
In addition, there have been speculations that in the future, CBD oil may be officially prescribed by the NHS. Although the product is legal in the UK today, the NHS does not have the power to prescribe CBD oil to patients unless it is prescribed with the ultimate aim of treating a specifically approved condition. In the future, CBD oil may be prescribed for a range of different illnesses and even the prevention of such.
If you have chosen CBD oil as an alternative remedy and a natural cure to a certain illness or a boost for your body, it is essential to consider the laws in your region to ensure that the product you are purchasing is legal and of high quality.