Pure cannabidiol is legal, which is possibly due to the limited side effects, but that doesn't mean all CBD products are legal. Let us explain starting with the relevant laws for CBD oil (also referred to as hemp oil or cannabis oil), CBD products and cannabis.
Cannabis is a Class B controlled drug under UK laws, including Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, Misuse of Drugs regulations 2001, and Misuse of Drugs order 2015 (England, Wales and Scotland). This means that a licence is required for cultivating or possessing cannabis plants, including industrial hemp.
The cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is also considered a controlled substance. Therefore, a licence is definitely needed for cultivating cannabis sativa plants with low THC content (i.e. less than 0.2%). Different parts of the cannabis sativa plants have different amounts of THC. For example, oils derived from the fibres (which come from the stalk) and hemp seeds tend to have lower or no THC and are classed as ‘non-controlled’ substances.
However, hemp oils from the flowers and buds of the hemp plant are ‘controlled’ substances and therefore illegal in line with the overall classification of cannabis. Flowers and buds of the hemp plant often have higher concentrations of THC, hence their different treatment from fibres (from stalks) and seeds.
Therefore, it is essential that a consumer understands the contents of any CBD products bought and there should be no THC or other controlled cannabinoids, such as cannabinol (CBN). In practice, ‘no THC’ means the product should be verified by a lab that can detect up to 0.01% THC.
So, CBD itself is legal. However, the overall legality of CBD products is often considered as a grey area for those buying CBD products.