What Do I Need to Sell CBD in the UK?

In recent years, the market for CBD products has surged globally, with the United Kingdom being no exception. The increasing popularity of CBD, derived from the cannabis plant but lacking the psychoactive effects of THC, has led many entrepreneurs to consider entering the CBD market. However, navigating the legal landscape surrounding CBD sales can be complex. If you're considering selling CBD in the UK, it's essential to understand the regulations and requirements involved. So, let's delve into what you need to know to successfully enter the UK CBD market.

Understanding the Legal Framework

The legal status of CBD in the UK is determined by the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 and the Novel Food Regulations. CBD is not considered a controlled substance as long as it meets certain criteria:

  • THC Content: CBD products must contain no more than 0.2% THC (the psychoactive compound found in cannabis). Products with higher THC content are illegal in the UK.
  • Novel Food Status: As of January 2021, CBD extracts and isolates are classified as novel foods by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). This means that businesses wishing to sell CBD products must apply for authorization, providing evidence of their safety and efficacy.

Licensing and Compliance

To sell CBD products legally in the UK, businesses must adhere to several regulatory requirements:

  • Obtain a Novel Food License: As mentioned earlier, CBD products are classified as novel foods, and obtaining a Novel Food License is crucial for compliance. This involves submitting an application to the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and providing evidence of product safety and quality.
  • Lab Testing: CBD products must undergo rigorous testing to ensure they comply with regulations regarding THC content and overall product safety. This often involves third-party testing by accredited laboratories.
  • Labeling Requirements: Proper labeling is essential for CBD products. Labels must include accurate information about the product's CBD content, THC content, ingredients, and usage instructions. Misleading or inaccurate labeling can result in legal consequences.

Setting Up Your Business

In addition to regulatory compliance, there are practical considerations when setting up a CBD business in the UK:

  • Supplier Selection: Choose reputable suppliers who can provide high-quality CBD extracts or products. Ensure that your suppliers comply with relevant regulations and provide documentation to support the quality and legality of their products.
  • Retail Location: If you plan to sell CBD products through a physical retail location, consider zoning laws and local regulations that may apply. Alternatively, selling online can offer broader reach but requires compliance with e-commerce regulations.
  • Marketing and Advertising: Be mindful of regulations governing the marketing and advertising of CBD products. Avoid making unsubstantiated health claims and ensure that your marketing materials comply with advertising standards.


Selling CBD in the UK can be a lucrative venture, but it requires careful navigation of legal and regulatory requirements. By understanding the legal framework, obtaining necessary licenses, and ensuring compliance with labelling and testing standards, you can establish a successful CBD business in the UK. Additionally, staying informed about evolving regulations and industry best practices is crucial for long-term success in this rapidly growing market.

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