Is CBD Oil Legal in the UK and EU?

Nowadays, CBD products like CBD oils, CBD vape and CBD gummies are legal to buy in the UK and in Europe. However, CBD and the sale of CBD products are and have been the subject of much debate. The EU and UK CBD legislation has evolved considerably in recent years. In this article, we take a look at these developments.

Is CBD Oil Legal Under UK Law?

At present, it is perfectly legal to use and sell CBD products in the UK. CBD is not classified as a narcotic under the misuse of drugs act, making CBD legal in the UK. In 2018 the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared CBD to be safe and non-addictive [1]. This makes it very different from THC, which is psychoactive and can create a state often described as "high". CBD does not cause these effects. On the contrary, according to a recent study, pure CBD and products containing CBD may even have an anti-psychotic effect [2].

This is why it's important to differentiate between THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) when it comes to talking about the legal status of CBD. THC is illegal to be sold in the UK. CBD, on the other hand, is authorised in the UK because it is extracted from dried CBD flowers (hemp flowers) with a THC content not exceeding 0.2% of the hemp dry matter unit. CBD-based products (CBD oil tinctures, CBD vape oil and CBD skincare, for example) are authorised for sale in the UK as long as they comply with some regulatory criteria and are manufactured to quality standards appropriate to the product category.

Finally, scientific studies indicate that CBD has a positive effect on well-being. It may even have anti-inflammatory, anti-psychotic, anti-epileptic, anti-fibromyalgia and many other benefits [3]. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a molecule with great potential that we at Harmony believe in, especially when it comes to the effects of CBD hemp oil.


cbd oil with sunlight


CBD Laws Then and Now: CBD Products and Cannabis Oil 

To get a better understanding of the CBD industry, we have to go back to 22 August 1990. In Europe, more precisely France, a decree governed the legal status on sale, use and possession of CBD and CBD oil products, imposing 3 conditions: 

  • The plant had to be included in the list of Cannabis Sativa L. varieties approved by the European Union.
  • Only cannabis seeds and fibres could be used (not the flower).
  • The THC content of CBD products had to be less than 0.2%.

In 2014, Harmony founder Antonin Cohen launched the first CBD product in France: Kanavape. After several years of legal battle, to the relief of all CBD companies, Antonin won at the European Court of Justice against the French authorities. France had to change its regulations to authorise the marketing of CBD products made from hemp flower. As a result, the use of CBD, and therefore CBD oil, is now legal not only in France, but in all of Europe. In 2019, the Ministry of Justice indicated that the marketing of CBD-based products such as CBD oil was authorised, provided that they did not exceed the famous 0.2% THC level.

In 2020, the European Union voted to remove 'cannabis and cannabis resin' from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention, on the recommendation of the WHO. This decision is seen as a recognition of the therapeutic effects of cannabis and has paved the way for a reduction in the restrictions imposed on scientific research into CBD [4]. CBD isolate itself, whatever its source, is not listed in the schedules of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs [5].

The situation for the CBD market in the UK is very similar, with products being legal to sell and completely legal to buy as long as the THC content is less than 0.2%.


cbd oil


What is the Legal Limit of THC?

The legislation in the UK and EU is much stricter when it comes to cannabis and THC. Since THC is the psychotropic molecule in cannabis, it is not legal. To be more precise, the production, sale, consumption and transport of cannabis and its derivatives, including THC, is prohibited. Simply possessing THC-rich cannabis is punishable by criminal penalties ranging from a fine to imprisonment.

So what about full-spectrum CBD products with a trace of THC then? According to current law, products containing THC are authorised for sale provided its content does not exceed 0.2%. To make sure you're on the right side of the regulations in the UK and EU, check the certificates of analysis for the CBD product you're using! Any credible CBD brand will provide them. 

CBD Oil is legal in the UK: Why is It Targeted so Much? 

Clearly, one of the government's objectives is to combat cannabis consumption, at least when its THC concentration is high. The fact is that it's very difficult to differentiate a flower with a high CBD content or an oil that contains CBD from one with a high THC content just by looking at it, which potentially generates confusion. However, there are simple and inexpensive tests that the police could use to distinguish between such products. They are already being used in Switzerland. 

CBD and THC are part of a large family of compounds called "phytocannabinoids". This family includes also CBG, CBC, CBN and many others, which can sometimes be confusing for people unfamiliar with the subject. Add to this the many years of prohibition and bans, as well as misinformation about the 'dangers' of cannabis use, and it's easy to see why governments are so keen to target CBD, at least in legal terms.


cbd oil on seeds


CBD Products are Legal: Conclusion 

You now know that CBD oil is not a banned substance and that the benefits of CBD oil are being increasingly recognised. It's quite understandable that opinions on CBD oil may differ, particularly on the legal front, as CBD is sometimes mistakenly confused with THC. But it is a perfectly legal product, just like all the other products made from hemp flowers and leaves: cosmetics, gummies, sprays, etc.. THC is illegal in the UK.
Don't hesitate to take a look at our site to see our products and learn more about CBD and CBD oil. We hope this article has helped you understand the legislation surrounding CBD. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.



cbd oil



Portrait of Anna Falk

written by

anna falk - head of product

As the Head of Product at Harmony, Dr Anna Falk leads the development of our products and provides expert tips for your wellness. With over 10 years of experience in the research and development of natural products, her work is based on rigorous scientific studies.

Anna is an award-winning, internationally published researcher with a PhD in Organic Chemistry. She applies her expertise to develop Harmony's certified products that support your overall well-being. From research to development, she ensures that our products are of the highest quality and meet the highest standards.

We ensure our content is current and accurate with strict guidelines about sourcing that rely on governmental authority, academic institutions and peer-reviewed studies..

  • [1] WHO to source
  • [2] Iseger TA, Bossong MG. A systematic review of the antipsychotic properties of cannabidiol in humans. Schizophr Res. 2015 Mar;162(1-3):153-61. link to source
  • [3] Larsen C, Shahinas J. Dosage, Efficacy and Safety of Cannabidiol Administration in Adults: A Systematic Review of Human Trials. J Clin Med Res. 2020 Mar;12(3):129-141. link to source
  • [4] Official ECOJ to source
  • [5] Single Convention on Narcotic to source