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Health & Medicine

History of CBD Oil Legality in the UK

— April 28, 2021

CBD oil is a lifesaver for many who suffer from chronic conditions and will continue to be used in many forms around the globe. 

Throughout the world, marijuana has continued to become more accepted, and governments have legalised it in many countries. In the UK, the legality of cannabis has been a highly debated topic that continues to be controversial to some. The legality of some of the most common types of cannabis, such as CBD oil legality, has been met with much support as well as disdain.

Conservative Influence

Conservative politics have been one of the biggest challenges facing those looking to legalise marijuana, as they have been the leading party in office for several years. 

Due to decades of conservative politics, any type of cannabis legislation was difficult to pass. The latest push to legalise growing, distribution and the consumption of marijuana was in 2018 when the Labour Party and MP Norman Lamb pushed for legalisation. However, their efforts failed when parliament struck down the bill 66 to 52.

Changes in the Medicinal Cannabis Laws

CBD oil’s legality in the UK is a touchy subject for politicians, with many are torn on whether it should be legal for recreational use. CBD oil is legal for certain medicinal instances; however, it must be hemp CBD oil, as it only has a small amount of THC. The use of recreational CBD remains illegal.

Those who are proponents of marijuana hope that it could soon become a food supplement in the UK if it is grown in either the UK or continental Europe because the THC level is less than 0.02%. 

British Laws About Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in 2019

Because there are so many different types of cannabis products available on the market, various regulations are in place. Some types of hemp are legal, and some are not, such as the differentiation between hemp oil, which is legal, and hemp buds, which are illegal. Upon further examination of the law, the matter is even more confusing, as crushed hemp leaves are legal. 

This is mostly because specific parts of the plant fall into the category of “cannabis” making it illegal. 

Is CBD Oil Legal in the UK?

There are a variety of differences between the legalities of full-spectrum and isolate hemp. Isolated hemp is not legal in oil or powder form, although you can use isolated hemp in a vape. Full-spectrum CBD oil is legal because it only includes 0.02% THC; however, cold-pressed CBD oil is illegal. If you are going to purchase any of these products, it is important to look into which laws are applicable, and that you are in accordance. 

In Northern Ireland, CBD oil is available for purchase online and in specific shops. Similar to mainland UK, only oil that has 0.02% or less THC can be sold. CBD oil can also be obtained through a subscription to treat specific ailments.

You can purchase almost any type of CBD oil in Northern Ireland as long as it includes less than 0.2% THC content, it has medicinal value, and producers derived it from an industrial hemp plant.

Image by author.
Image by author.

CBD Isolate Products

Medicinal use is one of the most popular uses of marijuana. The conservative party changed course and allowed CBD isolate products for a select amount of conditions such as epilepsy, effects of chemotherapy, and MS symptoms.

Medical prescriptions became available through the National Health Service (NHS) in 2019, but, only for medical purposes. Those with debilitating conditions such as epilepsy or MS are some of the only patients prescribed. There are various strains available by prescription, such as Nabiximols (the first to be approved), Cesamet, and Nabilone. 

Full-Spectrum/Whole-Plant Hemp Oil

There is a variety of different legislation concerning the CBD and THC levels of marijuana. THC is the main substance in marijuana that gives you a high and is illegal in the UK because it is considered an illicit drug.

CBD oil is another core ingredient in the hemp plant commonly used to treat medical conditions such as chronic pain, depression, and anxiety, while not producing the same high effect. CBD is offered in either full-spectrum or isolated, both harvested from the plant differently. CBD isolate is 100% CBD without the wax and chlorophyll included. 

Meanwhile, full-spectrum or whole-plant hemp oil is curated using all of the compounds the plant has to offer, including the waxes and oils that contain THC. Though CBD products are somewhat considered legal in the UK, they must contain an extremely low level of THC content to remain in accordance with the law. 

First Medicinal Approved Product

The first medicinally approved CBD product came in 2018 when the UK agreed to administer the use of a whole-plant extract proven to treat some forms of epilepsy. Whole-plant extract is extracted from the entire plant and contains healthy phytocannabinoids that can greatly aid in certain medical conditions.

Buying CBD Products

There are various outlets where you can purchase cannabis oil online and in-person in the UK. Let’s take a look at a few of these.


There are a variety of different types of CBD oil that you can purchase on Amazon. This is a safe and secure way to shop for CBD products, as long as the contents are of legal status. Amazon bans certain types of CBD oils, and only lower-quality CBD oil will be available on Amazon. 


CBD purchased from pharmacies is strictly isolated, and does not include any types of compounds or waxes. This is because it is sold strictly for medical use only, and only when prescribed. 

Online Dispensaries

Most of the online dispensaries, like Dr. Hemp Me, only carry full-spectrum, or all the ingredients from the entire plant, such as the compounds and waxes. These plants are not as effective or as high quality as the isolate CBD, and it is important to ensure you know which type you are purchasing. 


The short and current history of CBD legalisation in the UK has shown us that the country still has some way to go before it is fully accepted.

Often, if CBD oil is being used for medicinal use, it is legal with a proper prescription; however, you should read the fine print to comply with the current laws. CBD oil is a lifesaver for many who suffer from chronic conditions and will continue to be used in many forms around the globe. 

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