CBD Oil in the UK – Where To Buy, Legality, and More

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Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical compound found in plants. Specifically hemp or cannabis. CBD is non-psychoactive, unlike another popular cannabinoid THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol). THC is what makes users ‘high.’

For many years, cannabis has dominated conversations. As a result, the benefits of CBD were overlooked and only known to a few. Once a distinction was made between the two things changed. The highly compelling medicinal benefits came to light.

Clinical trials show CBD has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, neuroprotectant, anxiolytic, antidepressant, analgesic, anti-tumoral agent, and anti-psychotic properties. People are using it for chronic pain, neuropathic pain, cancer, diabetes, lupus, and osteoporosis among other conditions.

History of CBD in the UK

CBD or hemp as it was more commonly referred to at that time arrived in the UK from Asia. The British discovered that its fibers were extremely strong. Great for building and maintaining ships and making things like sailors uniform, rope, sails, and sacks for carrying the ships’ cargo.

The British empire was expanding. Ships were crucial to the expansion. This increased the demand for hemp. King Henry VIII response was to decree that for every 60 acres of farmed land, farmers had to grow a quarter acre of hemp.

An Irish physician, Dr. William O’Shaughnessy is responsible for the UK using cannabis for medicinal and therapeutic benefit. Most notably, he gave it to Queen Elizabeth I for pain relief.

Innovation, however, caused the popularity of hemp began to wane. The introduction of steamships negated then need for example of sails made of hemp. Hemp also started competing with cotton. Cotton is easier to grown and to use for textiles. Also at that time, it was more affordable to cultivate due to slave trade that provided free labor.

The decrease of cannabis for medicinal use came at the hands of the syringe. Syringes allow for medicine to enter the bloodstream directly. This became the delivery method of choice. Cannabis is not water soluble. It could therefore not be used in a syringe. In addition, cannabis started to compete with new drugs such as aspirin.

Laws On CBD In the UK

There were no cannabis laws regarding its use or cultivation in the UK until 1928.

Cannabis for recreational use was banned in September 1928 following the International Drug Conference in Geneva. Cultivation was banned in 1964. Medicinal cannabis use was banned in 1971. Drug classification was also introduced in 1971 with the Misuse of Drugs Act.

1993 saw the ban on hemp lifted with certain restrictions. 

  • Anyone wishing to grow hemp must first apply for and receive a license from the Home Office.
  • Cultivated strains cannot contain more than 0.3% THC – the psychoactive chemical found in cannabis.
  • Cultivate away from public areas.
  • EU-approved cannabis varieties only.

The Home Office tasked GW Pharmaceuticals to grow cannabis for medicinal use in 1998. Their interest q  that had extremely low levels of psychoactive effects. This was after a strong push from GW promoting the known medicinal and therapeutic properties of cannabis.

In October 2016 the United Kingdom’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) issued a statement that caused some confusion. They sent notice to current CBD sellers indicating their intention to reclassify cannabis as a medicine.

They clarified their announcement shortly thereafter. It applied only to products sold for medical use. Products needing stricter regulation to ensure that they did what they claimed to do.

That confusion prompted a number of CBD product distributors to come together and create a trade association – The Cannabis Trades Association UK(CTA UK). Their mandate is “to promote good practice, provide practical advice and ensure consumers of legal cannabis and hemp products have access to top quality information.”

Cultural Attitudes Towards CBD In the UK

Cultural attitudes towards CBD are changing. The CTA UK reports 125,000 CBD oil users in 2016. In 2017 the number was up to 250,00. They are seeing about 1000 new users each month.

This is due in part to the reclassification of CBD as a medicine. Reclassification results in increased research and the establishment of standards. The result is a higher quality product for the end user.

Best Places To Buy CBD In the UK

Quality and legally compliant CBD products are available in a number of UK stores as well as online. There is no need to incur international shipping costs or the associated hassles.

Following are some of the reputable companies selling CBD products. CBD buyers, however, should still always perform their own due diligence prior to purchasing.

Holland & Barrett

Holland & Barrett is a leading health and wellness retailer with over 145 years of experience. They have received numerous awards e.g. The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise: International Trade, 2016 Retail Week Speciality Retailer of the Year Award, Customer Service Individual of the Year 2016 just to name a few.

Holland & Barrett products are available online or in their stores. Their CBD brand is Jacob Hooy CBD Oil and is an industry top seller.

CBD Oils 

CBD Oils in an online provider of CBD products. The company, as well as their CBD brand, Love Hemp are certified by CTA UK.

Their CBD products include oils, capsules, balms, and sprays. Their hemp comes from the EU and USA. All their products are GMO-free, organic, vegan and all natural.

Love CBD

Love CBD is an online cannabis store. Its a family run business founded in 2014. They are located in Newmarket, Suffolk. They are a founding member of the CTA UK.

Love CBD makes oils, balms, and sprays. Their hemp comes from the Netherlands, Lithuania, Slovenia, and Croatia. It is free of any pesticides, herbicides, artificial fertilizers or harmful chemicals.

Hemp Botanics

Hemp Botanics is a reputable in-store and online producer and distributor of CBD products. Nick and Lisa-Marie founded the company in 2014. They have played a key role in the changing legislation regarding cannabis.

Their store is located on Portobello Road in London. They offer CBD skin care products, patches, suppositories, vapes, terpenes, capsules, soft gels, sublinguals, and concentrates. They were also the first company to import notable US grown hemp products such as Charlottes Web and the Stanley Brothers.