Is CBD Flower Legal in UK?

CBD Flower and Plant in closeup
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Is CBD flower legal in UK?

Marijuana, cannabis and hemp are much discussed topics in today’s world. They are topics that have contrasting opinions and those which are heavily debated. While one side argues that cannabis and its counterparts should be made legal, the other side sees its legalization as a gigantic mistake.

Many countries, like Germany, Canada and Uruguay have recently legalized the use of 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 the month of November in 2018. The UK is one of the largest exporters of cannabis and it is really surprising that the British government still has a ban over its usage.

Due to the legality issues of marijuana, one of its “cousins” came into the limelight recently. Hemp plants and the products from it 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 and more popular in today’s age. It has gained popularity as a natural alternative to help with people’s wellbeing and lifestyle. It is seen to mixed with workout drinks and smoothies, as well as a lot of CBD based food supplements.

We see stores and cafes which serve only hemp based food or products, all over the world nowadays. There is a general confusion as to what it is and why is it gaining so much popularity.

Is CBD Flower Legal in UK?
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There are a lot of questions arising around it like “Is it the same as marijuana?”, “Is CBD Flower legal in UK?” and “IS CBD Flower legal in UK for medicinal purposes?”. This article will help solve your answers around CBD flowers.

IS CBD same as marijuana?

A common question is :”Is CBD Flower Legal in UK because it is not marijuana?”. CBD is an essential component of cannabis or marijuana, but it actually comes from the female hemp plants. Hemp belongs to the same family as the cannabis plant(Cannabis sativa) , but is different in physical aspects as well as effects to marijuana.

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Hemp plants are taller and have more leaves in the top of the plant. Hemp is famous for its hemp seeds, stalks and especially the hemp flower. Hemp is also referred to as industrial hemp for its various use in different industries like textile and food. It has found a lot of commercial purposes and hemp and hemp seeds are growing in demand.

Hemp plants have a a higher CBD content than cannabis plants and this is the major point of difference.

If you’re a Harry Potter enthusiast, be sure to check out: Harry Potter Museum London Guide

Can you get high from CBD flowers?

CBD flowers do not give the same level of high 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 is what gives users the high feeling and is responsible for changing moods and perception of the user.

CBD Products

There are mainly two CBD products prevalent in the market today : CBD buds and CBD oils. CBD oils are extracted from the hemp plant by various processes. CBD flowers or CBD buds available in the market are dried and processed versions of the hemp flowers picked from hemp plants.

The CBD flower

The CBD flower or CBD bud has become very popular for its medicinal property. It is known to help with different aches and pains.

The high ratio of CBD content to THC content makes sure there is no “high effect” and the intake of the product is only responsible for pain alleviation.

CBD flowers are directly clipped from the hemp plant. They are only dried and not undergone any other major processing.


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Users usually make CBD joints from flowers and smoke them. Otherwise, the CBD flowers are used in making other CBD flower products like CBD vapes, CBD oils, CBD edibles and CBD lotions.


CBD flowers are not legal in the UK even though many people believe the opposite since you cannot get high from it. 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 the UK law. Hence, we still hear no when asked “Is CBD Flower legal in UK?”


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 flower you are caught possessing.

The only legal way to be allowed possession of CBD flower 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 certain 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 fibre.

Is CBD Flower Legal in UK in the form of products?

CBD products from the hemp flower is 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. Therefore, the direct answer to the question, “Is CBD Flower legal in UK?”, is NO.

Check out the CBD Flower Laws while you’re at it.

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 amount 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 pharmaceutical drugs.

  • 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 are in possession of 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 as Class B drug according to the act and possession of CBD flower will be treated in the same way as if you are in possession of weed.

IS CBD Safe?

First thing to make sure before consuming CBD is that it adheres to all the rules and regulations to be legal in the UK. Hence, it should not contain any flower or bud of the hemp plant.

If it has a higher percentage of THC than 0.2 %, it can act as a intoxicant, that is, it can make you “high”. Even in such a case, since the CBD content is more than the content of THC, it will not have as much of an effect on you as cannabis does.

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.

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 which have shown that CBD helps with chronic pain like in the case of arthritis. It has shown to help with pain and inflammation in many cases.

There have been studies and tests which show that CBD helps a person to deal with anxiety. It can help calming nerves and reduces panic attacks due to anxiety.

Studies are ongoing to check if CBD can be used to treat addiction to controlled drugs. Drugs which are hard to let go of like heroin and tobacco are a major problem in today’s society. CBD has the ability to lower cravings for the same and help with the withdrawal process.

CBD is also said to help with Insomnia. It helps to fall asleep earlier and help you to get long continuous sleep.

What is Cannabis?

Marijuana, cannabis or the commonly known “weed” is the harvested and dried flowers of one of the three varieties of plants: Cannabis indica, Cannabis sativa and Cannabis suderalis.

Cannabis is prescribed as medical cannabis for patients with acute pain, glaucoma and so on. It is known for its calming and relaxing nature and is hence used as a recreational drug as well.

Marijuana or cannabis is the most popular drug on the planet and one could argue the safest as well.

What is Cannabis made up of?

Cannabis is made up of about 120 components known as cannabinoids.

Each cannabinoid’s function is yet unknown to experts, except two of them, cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). As mentioned before, THC is the component which causes the “high” and CBD is cannabidiol: ” the therapeutic component”.

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 affective 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 in the right way it can lead to heavy and serious problems which is why it is made illegal. Even if you are acquiring it from a place it is not illegal in, make sure to use it according to the doctor’s prescription or recommendation to prevent undesirable side effects.

CBD in Cannabis vs CBD in Hemp

As we are aware, CBD and THC are present in both Cannabis and hemp. It is the amount of CBD and THC present in each that is of great importance to us.

Cannabis contains more THC and less CBD and Hemp Contains more CBD and less THC. This is the major point of difference between the two and the reason for one being psychoactive and the other not.

Manufacturers of CBD oils and other CBD 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 are same, in order to prevent legal complications it is always safer for both manufacturers and users to prefer CBD from hemp. This also makes sure that the THC levels are as per regulations.

Hemp Farming in the UK

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Hemp has had uses dialing back to olden times to make rope, sails, clothing and much more. Hence it was a popular trend to have a hemp farm. Moreover, it was low maintenance and 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 licence to cultivate and harvest hemp and hemp products.

Another major plus in the case of hemp farming is that it is bio friendly. It is good for the environment and the soil it grows in. Hemp plants are known to absorb CO2 and helps purify the air. Moreover, hemp also absorbs chemicals and metals from the soil. Hence, it acts like a natural cleanser for the soil and the air.

Alternatives to CBD Flower

CBD oils:

CBD oil can be sold legally in the UK as long as it is intended for consumption and has an approved novel foods application.

CBD topicals and skin care are legal as long as they adhere to cosmetic and legal regulations.

CBD edibles:

CBD edible products are legal as long as they have a fully authorized novel foods certification from the Food Standard Agency. As food supplements, these products must comply with certification-required standards, such as safety studies, in order to be authorized.

The evolving status of UK cannabis law

Though it has the toughest regulations, the United Kingdom is still the most significant exporter of cannabis worldwide. Spokespersons for the government usually avoid questions like “Is CBD Flower Legal in UK?”.

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 very easily attainable for the common man and is a drug that is found in abundance in the UK. With more and more countries legalizing cannabis or marijuana, the UK government too could be pressurized 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 on its circulation. Spiking of cannabis to enhance its influence is a major issue and arguably the bigger concern than the usage of marijuana as such.

Could CBD flower be legal in the future?

There are common google searches by hemp cultivators and chronic patients, like “Is CBD Flower legal in UK?”. Unfortunately there seems no indication CBD flowers will come into legal use soon enough. With CBD products in 2018 being restricted by a 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 available in England and London, but in the black market. Several stores are attempting to sell CBD flowers under regulated marijuana laws. There are even dark web online sellers who 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 flower and CBD products coming more and more into the limelight for its health benefits, there is good probability that we could see its legalization in the recent future. 

The law is unpredictable and can change at any given time and it is possible that some day the answer to the question, “Is CBD Flower legal in UK?” will be YES . Hence, it is important that we keep ourselves updated on any news regarding CBD and CBD flowers.



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