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This factsheet outlines the domestic control measures that apply to cannabis, cannabidiol (CBD) and controlled cannabinoids.

Drug licensing factsheet: cannabis, CBD and other cannabinoids

This factsheet is intended to be used by existing licensees and prospective licensees who may need to apply for a licence. They should have fully assessed any proposals they may wish to make in the context of this guidance and that provided by other regulators.

This is intended as general guidance only; it is not legal advice. Anyone in doubt should seek their own independent legal advice to ensure they are compliant with any relevant legislation.

For example, a product containing, schedule 1 substance(s) – e.g., controlled cannabinoids – could not practically be prescribed, administered, or supplied to the ‘public’ unless it is an exempt product or a CBPM.

The presence of a controlled substance in a product will ultimately determine whether and on what basis the product could be made available to the public.

Impact of differing control status overseas and regulatory status

With effect from 1 November 2018, CBPMs will be listed in Schedule 2 to the MDR 2001.

Important Note: This is intended as general guidance only; it is not legal advice. Anyone in doubt should seek their own independent legal advice to ensure they are compliant with any relevant legislation.

Home Office policy provides that licences may be issued for the cultivation of cannabis plants with a low tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content for the production of hemp fibre for industrial purposes or the obtaining of seeds which are then pressed for their oil. For both of these uses, licences are granted to enable the use of non-controlled parts of the plant (i.e. seeds and fibre/ mature stalk only). This policy is only applicable where non-controlled parts of the plant are used.

The same applies to other controlled cannabinoids.

In a study commissioned by the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis (CMC), PhytoVista Laboratories blind tested 30 products. Only 38% of the tested products contained the stated amount of CBD and 50% exceed the legal amount of controlled cannabinoids, such as THC.

CBD Product Labelling

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) in the UK accepts the EU’s classification of CBD and are committed to marketplace compliance.

The license lasts three years with all licenses expiring on 31st December of the applicable year. Each license application needs to define the commercial end-use for the crop, such as extracting oil from the seeds. The terms of the license include lawfully destroying the leaves and flowers as these are controlled parts of the plant.

For the sale of CBD products, it is again the amounts of controlled cannabinoids, such as THC, that determines whether the product is legal to sell.