While cannabis is classed as a drug in the UK, which is largely used for recreational purposes, over the last few years more attention has been given to the medicinal uses of cannabis, and academics and researchers in the UK are now starting to realise the potential that cannabis has to help those who suffer from health conditions. You could be forgiven for being slightly confused when it comes to the UK government’s stance on cannabis, as while it is a class B drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, in 2018 the medical use of cannabis was legalised when prescribed by a doctor. Despite these contradictions in the UK law, cannabis has been a widely used drug both recreationally and industrially for many years.

To make the governmental stance on cannabis even more contradictory, while cannabis is illegal in the UK, it is still one of the world’s largest exporters of legal cannabis, as it is home to GW Pharmaceuticals, which is one of the world’s largest producers of medical cannabis. We have put together this guide of 6 things you need to know about medicinal cannabis in the UK in the hope of making the situation that little bit clearer for you.

Rule Relaxation

While cannabis is still an illegal drug in the UK, some of the laws surrounding medicinal cannabis have become more relaxed in recent years. This is largely due to a combination of both research findings, and pressure from the public. With studies from all over the world showing that cannabis for medical purposes can have a huge impact on easing the symptoms of chronic conditions, such as asthma and diabetes, the UK population has stood up for their right to get access to the something that can help them. There are advocacy groups in support of law reform surrounding the use of cannabis, including CLEAR (Cannabis Law Reform), NORML UK, and the DEA (Drug Equality Alliance).


Within the cannabis plant there are two main active ingredients, which are CBD (Cannabidiol) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). These have become the most well-known cannabinoids that the UK population is familiar with. However, it is important that you are aware of the difference between these two extracts, as while the THC is the psychoactive substance that provides individuals with the high that often comes from cannabis, the CBD element does not have this effect. This is why CBD products are available to buy on your local high street, but THC products still remain illegal.

However, you may be wondering why CBD is legal if it is a cannabinoid. This is because while most cannabinoids are included in the UK’s Misuse of Drugs Act, CBD isn’t, which explains why CBD products are easy to come by. But the term CBPM has also been coined which stands for ‘Cannabis-Based Products for Medicinal use in Humans’. CBPMs are currently unlicensed medicines, so while a doctor can prescribe them under ‘exceptional’ circumstances, they are not allowed to be advertised in the UK. Yet, GPs are not allowed to prescribe cannabis-derived medicines to patients, and instead they can only be issued by specialist doctors, such as neurologists. Which brings into question; how readily available is it?

WHO Recommendation

Earlier on this year, in January 2019, the World Health Organisation (WHO) stated to the UN that all cannabis-derived substances should be relooked at within the current international drug framework. Therefore, this influenced UK law, and if a CBD product contains a cannabinoid, such as a THC, then it will be under the Misuse of Drugs Act, unless it is classed as an ‘exempt’ product and features in the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 legislature, or if it is a medical cannabis product. Therefore, it can be difficult to know what you are allowed to buy and use in the UK, which explains why the illegal buying and selling of cannabis for medical and recreational purposes is so rife across the country.

Industrial Hemp

To make things even more complicated, industrial hemp is very often grown in the UK, and it is one of the world’s largest legal cannabis producing countries. Industrial hemp is different to other strands of cannabis and it is legal because it does not contain any, or only a small amount of THC.  However, to grow industrial hemp in the UK, which is used for clothing, and building materials, you must have a license.

High Street CBD

In recent years, as more people hear and experience the positive benefits of medical cannabis, there is a growing demand in the market. An example of this is how widely available CBD products are on the high streets in the UK, and how heavily marketed these products are. From cosmetics to CBD oil and coffee, there is a CBD version for most of the products you will find in your local shops and they have become very popular in recent years. As mentioned earlier, it is important to remember that CBD products are not psychoactive and are available to buy in stores as they do not contain the ‘high’ effect provided by THC. However, research has found that CBD products can help to relieve inflammation and pain, and ease symptoms of stress and anxiety, which is why they are such popular products within the UK today.

Medical Cannabis Seeds

Many people also don’t realise that medical cannabis seeds are available to buy in the UK, and they are totally legal. While it is illegal to grow cannabis, you can still buy get cannabis seeds UK online. However, if you want cheap cannabis seeds, but also good quality seeds, then you should use a reputable provider like Discount Cannabis Seeds, as they provide weed seeds that are both reasonably priced, and are sourced from the best seed banks.

Medical cannabis and the UK Law can be somewhat confusing, but by doing your researching and knowing what and where to buy medical cannabis products from, you can benefit from medical cannabis without breaking the law.

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