As Business Matters notes, there is currently “a great deal of confusion around CBD oil UK law”, with the vast majority of cannabinoids listed as controlled substances under the Misuse of Drugs Act.
However, CBD is an exception and is completely legal in the UK, “provided it has been derived from an industrial hemp strain that is EU-approved”, says NetDoctor. These strains contain very little to no THC.
For CBD oil to be legal in the UK, it must contain no more than 0.2% THC, and the THC must not be easily separated from it. By contrast, cannabis oil, which has a higher THC content, is not usually allowed in the UK.
There is an exemption to this rule, the BBC reports. Sativex, a 50-50 mix of THC and CBD produced in a lab, has been approved for use in the UK as a treatment for multiple sclerosis.
And specialist clinicians are allowed to prescribe other cannabis-derived medicinal products under changes to the law that came into force in November.
However, medicinal cannabis is currently unlicensed – so it can only be prescribed if a patient has a need that cannot be met by licensed medicines.
One of the arguments against the use of the medication “is that there have not been satisfactory drug trials to prove its safety and effectiveness”, reports the BBC’s Debbie Jackson.
In The Guardian, Mike Power writes: “There is now no denying the medicinal value of CBD and THC – not even by the British government, which for years maintained that lie even as it rubber-stamped the cultivation and export of the world’s largest medicinal cannabis crop. But the landmark decision in November 2018 to allow UK doctors to prescribe cannabis under extremely limited circumstances, inspired by the cases of Billy Caldwell and Alfie Dingley, whose epilepsy is improved immeasurably by medicinal cannabis products containing both THC and CBD, has left many in a limbo: knowing or believing that cannabis offers a cure, yet remaining unable to access it.”
This has resulted in a number of high-profile cases of parents taking their children out of the UK in order to access treatment.
One such parent is Julie Galloway, who left Scotland with her severely ill daughter Alexa, seven, almost 12 months ago to live in the Netherlands.