Marijuana, Cannabis, CBD, and Hemp are popular topics today. There are a lot of questions around CBD, like: “Is it the same as marijuana?”, “Is CBD flower legal in the UK?” and “Is CBD flower legal in the UK for medicinal purposes?”. While one side argues that Cannabis and its counterparts should be legalized, the other side sees its legalization as a gigantic mistake.
Many countries, like Germany, Canada and Uruguay, have recently legalized weed or marijuana. Moreover, many US states have also recently made it legal to use the infamous plant.
In the UK, the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes was made legal in November 2018. The UK is one of the largest exporters of Cannabis, and it is shocking that the British government still has a ban on its usage.
Due to the legality issues of marijuana, one of its “cousins” came into the limelight recently. Hemp plants and the products from them started getting hugely popular. It was also found that the hemp flower (CBD Flower) was more effective in pain relief and did not distort one’s senses as much as marijuana did.
CBD, or cannabidiol, has become more popular in today’s age. It has gained popularity as a natural alternative to help with people’s well-being and lifestyle. It is seen to be mixed with workout drinks, smoothies, and many CBD-based food supplements.
1. Is CBD the Same as Marijuana?
A common question is: “Is CBD Flower Legal in the UK because it is not marijuana?”. CBD is an essential component of Cannabis or marijuana, but it comes from the female hemp plants. Hemp belongs to the same family as the cannabis plant (Cannabis sativa) but is different in physical aspects and effects from marijuana.
Hemp plants are taller and have more leaves on the top. They are famous for their hemp seeds, stalks and especially the hemp flower. Hemp is also called industrial Hemp for its various uses in industries like textile and food. It has found many commercial purposes, and hemp and hemp seeds are growing in demand.
Hemp plants have a higher CBD content than cannabis plants, which is the central point of difference.
2. Can You Get High from CBD Flowers?
CBD flowers do not give the same high level as Cannabis, as cannabidiol is the “non-psychoactive” compound. This compound is responsible for the therapeutic benefits.
The CBD flower also has a lower percentage of THC, but the THC limits are less than 0.2% THC. THC content in Cannabis gives users a high feeling and is responsible for changing moods and perceptions of the user.
3. CBD Products
Two CBD products are prevalent in the market today: CBD buds and CBD oils. CBD oils are extracted from the hemp plant by various processes. CBD flowers or buds available in the market are dried and processed versions of the hemp flowers picked from hemp plants.
The CBD flower, or CBD bud, has become very popular for its medicinal properties. It is known to help with different aches and pains.
The high CBD to THC content ratio ensures no “high effect,” and the product intake is only responsible for pain alleviation. CBD flowers are directly clipped from the hemp plant. They are only dried and have not undergone any other central processing.
Users usually make CBD joints from flowers and smoke them. Otherwise, CBD flowers make other CBD flower products like CBD vapes, oils, CBD edibles, and CBD lotions.
4. Is CBD Flower Legal in the UK as of 2022?
Although many people believe the opposite, CBD flowers are illegal in the UK since you cannot get high from them. They are defined as “cannabis” in the UK Misuse of Drugs Act in 1971, regardless of the amount of THC. Hence, it is illegal to buy CBD flowers in the UK according to UK law.
If you are caught in possession of CBD flowers(buds), you may serve up to five years in prison, depending on the amount of CBD flowers you are caught possessing. The only legal way to possess CBD flowers is by having a CBD license. This is a bit confusing as, in the UK, CBD products are permitted as long as they adhere to specific regulations.
Industrial hemp cultivation is permitted, and CBD products can be produced and sold as long as they have a THC content of less than 0.2 THC % (legal THC limit) and are made from plant stalks, seeds, or hemp fiber.
CBD products from the hemp flower are illegal in the UK according to the UK CBD flower laws. It has the same guidelines as the UK cannabis laws. Purchase of CBD oil is legal in the UK, as long as the CBD oil is made from recognized hemp strains and the THC and CBN have been eliminated. Check out the CBD flower laws while you’re at it.
5. Criteria for CBD to be Legal in the UK
It is due to its non-psychoactive and non-intoxicating nature that CBD does not have the same number of rules and guidelines as Cannabis (marijuana or weed). The criteria for CBD to be legal in the UK to be used for food supplements are:
- CBD cannot be offered for sale as a pharmaceutical drug.
- The amount of THC, THCV, or CBN in the container must be less than 1mg.
- The product’s packaging cannot make it simple to distinguish the regulated cannabinoids from other cannabinoids (THC, THCV and CBN).
- Novel Foods authorization is required for CBD capsules, gummies, oils, pastes, and other edibles.
As it is a controlled substance, even if you have a CBD product with a small amount of CBD flower, it is illegal, and you will be guilty under the Misuse of Drugs Regulations. Cannabis is a Class B drug according to the act, and possession of CBD flower will be treated the same way as if you possess weed.
5.1. Is CBD Safe?
If it has a higher percentage of THC than 0.2%, it can act as an intoxicant, making you “high.” Even in such a case, since CBD is more than THC content, it will not affect you as much as Cannabis.
There have been some notable side effects to taking CBD products. CBD intake can increase the level of blood thinning. Other side effects include irritability, nausea, tiredness and fatigue.
5.2. Health Benefits of CBD
As mentioned before, CBD is known for its therapeutic purposes and hence has a lot of health benefits as well.
There have been studies and tests which show that CBD helps a person deal with anxiety. It can help calm nerves and reduce panic attacks due to stress.
Studies are ongoing to check if CBD can be used to treat addiction to controlled drugs. Drugs that are hard to let go of, like heroin and tobacco, are a significant problem in today’s society. CBD can lower cravings for the same and help with the withdrawal process.
CBD is also said to help with insomnia. It helps you to fall asleep earlier and gives you long, continuous sleep.
5.3. Effects of Cannabis
Cannabis has both positive and negative effects if used.
The desirable effects are:
- change in perception
- relaxation and calmness
- heightened senses
- increase in appetite
- found to be effective in relieving nerve pain
The undesirable effects of Cannabis are:
- respiratory problems as it is usually smoked
- addiction to smoking
- memory loss in the long run
- paranoia on a bad trip of the drug
- coordination and delayed reaction issues
Although Cannabis has its plus points, if not taken correctly, it can lead to heavy and severe problems, which is why it is made illegal. Even if you are acquiring it from a place where it is not unlawful, use it according to the doctor’s prescription or recommendation to prevent undesirable side effects.
6. CBD in Cannabis Versus CBD in Hemp
Cannabis contains more THC and less CBD, and Hemp Contains more CBD and less THC. This is the central difference between the two and the reason for one being psychoactive and the other not.
Manufacturers of CBD oils and other products prefer to extract CBD from hemp plants. They have to be careful not to pluck the hemp flowers as it is illegal in the UK.
Even though the CBD extracted from both plants is identical, it is always safer for manufacturers and users to prefer CBD from Hemp to prevent legal complications. This also makes sure that the THC levels are as per regulations.
7. Hemp Farming in the UK
Hemp has been used dialling back to olden times to make rope, sails, clothing and much more. Hence, it was a popular trend to have a hemp farm. Moreover, low maintenance required little water and could grow almost everywhere.
The presence of THC is why hemp farming has been controlled, and farmers require a hemp cultivation license to cultivate and harvest hemp and hemp products.
Another major plus in the case of hemp farming is its bio-friendliness. It is suitable for the environment and the soil it grows in. Hemp plants are known to absorb CO2 and help purify the air. Moreover, Hemp also absorbs chemicals and metals from the ground. Hence, it acts like a natural soil and air cleaner.
8. The Evolving Status of UK Cannabis Law
Though it has the most burdensome regulations, the United Kingdom is still the most significant exporter of Cannabis worldwide.
A government may be considered hypocritical if it grows Tonnes of Cannabis each year without any plans to cut back on production and at the same time makes it illegal to keep it illegal.
Even with it being illegal, Cannabis is easily attainable for the commoner and is a drug found in abundance in the UK. With more and more countries legalizing Cannabis or marijuana, the UK government could be pressured to do the same.
If they do legalize it, it would ensure that there is no spiking of the drug, and there would be more of an understanding of its circulation. Spiking of Cannabis to enhance its influence is a significant issue and arguably the more prominent concern than the usage of marijuana as such.
9. Could CBD Flowers Be Legal in the Future?
Unfortunately, there seems to be no indication CBD flowers will come into legal use soon enough. With CBD products in 2018 being restricted by stricter regulation and pending novel food certification, the UK appears not on the path towards legalization as seen in the USA.
You might even find CBD flowers in England and London but in the black market. Several stores are attempting to sell CBD flowers under regulated marijuana laws. Even dark web online sellers make a living out of selling CBD flowers.
With pressure mounting on the UK government over the legalization of the cannabis plant or weed and a majority of the population supporting the usage of weed, legalization of the CBD flower is also something that simultaneously would happen if marijuana gets legalized.
Moreover, with CBD flowers and CBD products coming more and more into the limelight for their health benefits, we may see their legalization shortly.