Is CBD flower legal in the UK?
The CBD phenomenon continues to gain steam all around the world, and the UK is no exception. While it might come as a surprise to many Britons, the UK is the world’s largest exporter of medical cannabis, and England is home to GW Pharmaceuticals, the maker of the first FDA-approved CBD-based medication, Epidiolex.
For average residents in the UK who want to use CBD products, however, things can get complicated quickly. While many types of CBD products are legal in the UK, that doesn’t mean that doesn’t mean Her Majesty’s Government views all hemp products the same way. In this guide, learn the legal definition of CBD flower, and find out if it’s legal to puff on a hemp joint in the British Isles.
CBD flower is Cannabis sativa flower that is rich in cannabidiol (CBD) and low in delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Products labeled as “industrial hemp” are derived from CBD-rich hemp flower, so CBD flower can be considered the most raw or natural CBD product type on the market.
Most people smoke CBD flower, but it’s also possible to vape this type of hemp product with a dry herb vape pen or desktop vaporizer. Some users even cook CBD flower into edibles or make their own DIY topicals. The sky’s the limit when it comes to the potential uses of CBD-rich hemp flower.
In the United States, CBD products are considered to be industrial hemp when they contain less than 0.3% THC, but the UK follows the European Union’s example by setting the THC cutoff point slightly lower at 0.2%. While this policy would seemingly make compliant CBD flower legal in the UK, the actual situation is slightly more complicated.
UK Cannabis sativa law is largely based on a 50-year-old piece of legislation called the Misuse of Drugs Act. This law and similar pieces of legislation that came after it labelled cannabis as a dangerous substance with no potential medical uses.
With the UK’s new position that CBD products containing less than 0.2% THC are industrial hemp, it would make sense if this policy also applied to qualifying CBD flower products. According to the Home Office’s Jill Frankham, however, UK law considers CBD flower to be “cannabis” as defined under the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act and not industrial hemp.
We agree that this position makes very little sense. As long as CBD flower contains less than 0.2% THC, it should be legal in the UK.
The issue seems to stem from the form that CBD-rich hemp flower takes. While the Home Office has allowed processed CBD products with less than 0.2% THC to be sold in the UK, this policy does not appear to apply to unprocessed products such as CBD flower.
If it is still in plant form, the UK government considers CBD-rich hemp flower to be cannabis. As soon as it’s processed into tinctures, topicals, or any number of other product types, however, it’s industrial hemp.
Bear in mind that this policy comes from the same country that sells the most cannabis to the rest of the world while just barely getting its own medical marijuana system up and running.
- Should you buy CBD flower in the UK?
There are plenty of websites that sell CBD flower in the UK, and there are even rumors of a brick-and-mortar CBD flower shop somewhere in London. Despite the government’s draconian stance on CBD flower possession, Britons are clearly taking matters into their own hands. Should they, though, and what are the potential consequences of CBD flower possession in the UK?
First, the good news. Cannabis is now a Class B drug in the UK, which means that possessing this substance is no longer considered to be a very serious offense. In most cases, citizens of the UK caught with cannabis are issued a £90 fine. Depending on how much cannabis you’re caught with, however, you could be sent to prison for up to five years and slapped with an unlimited fine.
A court in the UK is unlikely to care how much THC your CBD-rich hemp flower contains. According to UK law, cannabis is cannabis, and you’ll have to pay the penalty if caught.
At the same time, marijuana use in the UK is on the rise, and UK law enforcement is taking an increasingly permissive stance toward policing cannabis. As long as you use CBD flower discreetly in your own home, you’re unlikely to face any consequences, but keep in mind that what you’re doing is technically illegal and could cost you at least £90 if caught.
There are plenty of legal CBD products to choose from too.