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You’ve seen it on the shelves of Holland & Barrett so it seems self-evident to say CBD is legal and fully available in the UK. Well it’s a little more complex that. Here’s how it stands at the moment.
It’s true to say that new legislation has passed that allows specialist doctors (not General Practitioners) to legally prescribe medicinal cannabis (including both CBD and THC products) to patients who need it.
That legislation comes on the back of a decision by the Home Secretary Sajid Javid to relax previous legislation under the Misuse of Drugs Act.
So at first glance it looks like medicinal cannabis has indeed been rescheduled for those with verifiable medical conditions. However then comes the complexity – CBD is available on prescription but just for patients as Javid says, ‘with an exceptional clinical need.’
What that means in reality is that while UK residents can apply for medical CBD, clinicians must deem an “exceptional clinical circumstance” exists wherein “no other lawful medicinal is available that would meet the specific needs of the patient.”
So what is CBD? CBD is one of 120 cannabinoids that’s apart of the cannabis plant. You might think that it must be psychoactive because it comes from the cannabis plant however it isn’t. It can only become psychoactive when it is mixed with enough THC. The endocannabinoid system is what the CBD interacts with when it enters your body. People all over the United Kingdom are raving about the effects that they have felt on their lives after taking CBD. Both men and women take it for a range of diseases and illnesses some of which are anxiety, depression, acne and chronic pain.
So although you can see CBD oil advertised and retailing in high street stores like Holland & Barrett, there is quite a difference between the CBD supplements you find there and what’s found in the US and the Netherlands, as well as what’s found in a UK dispensary.
The simple reason CBD oils can be sold in high street stores and vaping outlets is that they are advertised as nutrition supplements rather than medicinal products and, as a result, the quality and quantity of genuine CBD varies wildly.
Back in 2016, the MHRA officially acknowledged CBD oil in terms of their therapeutic potential, but they also made it clear that anyone selling CBD oil for medicinal purposes must have the products properly licensed as a medicine.
The “loophole,” so to speak, is that sellers have NOT been advertising them for medicinal purposes, but rather as “nutritional supplements” – making certain not to link any medical conditions or health aspects with their use.
Along with that, sellers have been extracting the active CBD compound from hemp rather than marijuana, since hemp contains less than 0.2%
So given that context, in a nutshell:
One of the many reasons that CBD’s popularity has exploded in the UK is the numerous ways in which you can consume CBD oil. So matter what your preference is you should be able to find a way to take CBD that suits you perfectly. Below is a list of the most common ways people take CBD.
CBD capsules are probably the easiest way to take CBD. They are popular because they come already pre-dosed. This makes it really easy to know exactly how much CBD you are taking. They can also be discreetly consumed so that no one has to know that your taking CBD oil. Also if you don’t like the taste of CBD oil then capsules are probably the way to go.
The most common way people take CBD is through vaping. CBD e-liquids are available everywhere and come in a variety of flavours so the only problems is finding the one that you like the most. Although it can be hard to figure out the correct dosage with vaping, taking CBD this way means that it gets into your bloodstream much quicker than capsules would.
CBD is incredibly concentrated when it is extracted from the cannabis plant. Then it is mixed with a carrier oil and put into a small bottle which has a dropper attached to the lid. It enters the bloodstream pretty quickly when you drop the oil under your tongue.
CBD flower is becoming increasingly popular however it is not an amazing method of consumption. Smoking has many negatives the biggest of which is that it’s carcinogenic.
CBD topicals are a great solution to people suffering from muscular pain or arthritis. The topicals can be applied directly to to the area of the body that is hurting. This means that it quickly works to help ease your pain.
CBD edibles are a great way to take CBD. Whether it be a brownie or a CBD gummy you will know exactly how much CBD you are consuming. One of the negatives is that it will take longer for the CBD to enter your bloodstream compared to say vaping.
With CBD now legal and with many different ways to take it why shouldn’t you just go out and buy all the CBD oil you can find?
Unfortunately, the room for manoeuvre means there is some evidence of some UK sellers being accused of simply bottling up hemp seed oil – or even infused olive oil – and selling it on the high street as “CBD oil” when in fact it contains little or none of the active compound.
But if it’s a case of Caveat Emptor (Let the Buyer Beware) in a high street-context, reliability is arguably more certain from online vendors.
Companies like CiiTECH’s Provacan label have been fully compliant with the MHRA and organizations like the UK Cannabis Trade Association, and their product lines are online.
Moving on from the high street and online options, what is the actual process if you believe you fall into the category of having a genuine need? How do you go about acquiring a prescription?
First, you will have to “apply for a license under a temporary approval panel.”
Applications can be made by submitting the appropriate forms and documents which are accessible via the gov.uk website. The panel will then “consider the merits” of your individual case so as to establish whether appropriate criteria have been met.
Any specialist physician who does wish to write a prescription for the new CBD oil UK laws will have to prove that “exceptional clinical circumstances” exist, and that no other legally approved medicine has worked to treat the condition.
One of the reasons it remains difficult to find a favourable decision is that many doctors are wary of medically recommending CBD oil as they are simply not familiar enough with its range of therapeutic benefits, and indeed the body of evidence needs to be built further.
It’s not surprising then that the number of prescriptions being approved versus the volume of applications being submitted is extremely small. In time as more is known and proven scientifically, this may well change.
So in conclusion CBD oil is legal in the UK once it meets the Home Office’s requirements. So you should have no problems when buying and using CBD oil. Just be wary of low-quality products. Always look for the 3rd party test results on the labels and how much CBD is actually in the product that your buying. This is mostly due to the fact that CBD is safe to use and it won’t get you high as THC would.