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Due to the relatively novel nature of the legal CBD industry in the UK, there is always a vast array of questions that potential users may have.
The number of questions and the people asking them has only increased in recent years, as the industry has boomed worldwide. This was largely triggered by undeniable mounting evidence of its safety, particularly pertaining to its non-psychoactive nature. These days, you will see CBD everywhere, from supermarkets, to health shops and dedicated CBD shops.
The questions raised as a result of this increased prominence are myriad. Some of the most common questions relate to the legal age for purchasing CBD:
- Do you have to be 18 to buy CBD?
- Is there a minimum age requirement for CBD?
- How old do you have to be to buy CBD?
- Do you have to be 21 to buy CBD?
- Is there a legal age limit for buying CBD?
It’s safe to say that these are questions we are regularly asked at Cannacares. The answers lie in the breakdown of CBD’s legality and how age relates to this. Firstly, let us ascertain exactly what CBD is and how it is defined.
What is CBD?
Understanding what CBD is will allow you to make a more informed choice when it comes to making your own purchase.
You may have heard of the term “hemp”. This is used to describe cannabis plants that contain less than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC as it is more commonly known. THC is the dominant psychoactive compound in cannabis, that is responsible for the ‘high’ typically depicted in popular culture.
Almost all CBD products, particularly in the UK, are derived from hemp plants and consequently are not psychoactive. While cannabis consists of over 100 different cannabinoids, 2 of which being CBD and THC, there are three main types of CBD that you should be aware of:
- CBD Isolate – CBD isolate is exactly how it sounds. Pure CBD. it contains no other cannabinoids.
- Broad Spectrum CBD – Broad spectrum CBD also contains a range of other cannabinoids, such as flavonoids and other terpenes.
- Full Spectrum CBD – Full spectrum CBD is much the same as broad spectrum CBD, but also contains trace amounts of THC. The legal THC limit in the UK is 0.2%, which is nowhere near high enough to alter the cognitive state of the user.
Is CBD legal in the UK?
CBD is indeed legal in the UK, although there a number of criteria that manufacturers must meet in order to be classified as legal.
Under the novel food law, all ingestible CBD products, such as CBD oils, capsules and gummies must be completely free of THC. However, topical CBD products such as patches, moisturisers and balms may contain up to 0.2% THC. The same applies for vapes.
As a result of the nascency of the industry, there are a number of nefarious players still to be weeded out. Many of these attempt to either sell illegal products with higher levels of THC, or simply mislabel the exact ingredients.
This is why it is crucial to request a Certificate of Analysis (CoA), particularly when buying from a manufacturer for the first time. This is an independent document curated by a third party laboratory that confirms the exact ingredients of the product. Cannacares offer CoAs on all their products upon request.
How old do you have to be to buy CBD in the UK?
In the UK, there is no legally defined age limit for buying CBD. This is something of the grey area and is typically at the behest of the manufacturer. It also depends on the type of CBD product – for example CBD vape products have an age limit of 18 years old. What we do know for certain is that:
- No prescription is required to purchase CBD in the UK
- There is no age limit for using CBD
- There is no age limit on buying CBD imposed by the UK government
Can parents buy CBD to give to their children?
Yes, parents can buy CBD in the UK to give to their children without facing any legal ramifications. As previously stated, some manufacturers will impose an age limit on their products, meaning that a parent may have to purchase on their child’s behalf.
How old do you have to be to buy CBD vape products or CBD cigarettes?
In the UK there is a blanket age limit of 18 years old for all vape products and cigarettes. As previously stated there is a legal limit of 0.2% THC in CBD vape oils.
What to look for when buying CBD products
As has been revealed throughout this article, there are a number of factors to consider when it comes to purchasing CBD. We will now proceed to highlight a few of the most crucial elements of your decision-making process.
Consider the source of CBD
As mentioned at the start of the article there are three types of CBD – CBD isolate, broad spectrum CBD and full spectrum CBD.
Each type of CBD comes with its own benefits. It is important to be aware of the potential of the entourage effect. This phenomenon states that cannabinoids and terpenes work synergistically, amplifying the therapeutic benefits of each other. This is only relevant to broad spectrum and full spectrum CBD products.
If you are drug tested at work, then it would be wise to avoid full spectrum CBD products and stick to CBD isolate products, to ensure the absence of THC.
Consider the type of CBD product you are buying
The rampant growth of the CBD industry has led to widespread innovation and a dizzying array of delivery methods on offer.
It is important to consider what you are using CBD for and what product would best suit this. For example, those wishing to use CBD for sleep would be wise to opt for CBD patches, which consistently deliver CBD across a 24-hour period.
Alternatively, if you are using CBD products for spontaneous pain relief, such as cramps, then it is recommended to choose a fast-working product, such as a CBD vape that takes effect in 2-3 minutes.
Take into account the extraction method
There is a wide range of extraction methods available when it comes to isolating CBD from the cannabis plant. However, there is no doubt that the gold standard of extraction methods is supercritical CO2 extraction. This uses pressurised carbon dioxide to extract CBD from the native plant. Although expensive, there are a number of reasons why CO2 extraction is popular:
- CO2 extraction produces a more potent end product.
- CO2 extracted CBD does not contain any unwanted ulterior substances.
- This process can be carried out at the native temperature for cannabis, meaning there is minimal degradation in relation to the end product.
Although restrictions vary by country, in the UK there is no definitive legislation pertaining to age restrictions in relation to the purchase of CBD products. There is also no need to be concerned about buying CBD for your child, as there are no legal ramifications for this. However, you must be 18 to purchase any vape products, including CBD vape products.
When it comes to buying CBD, there are a number of factors to consider, including a Certificate of Analysis, the extraction method used and the type of delivery method required.
We always recommend talking to your doctor or GP prior to first trying CBD – particularly if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.