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CBD advice

How old do you have to be to take CBD legally in the UK?

by Chris Bray 22 Apr 2023
How old do you have to be to take CBD legally in the UK?
The CBD buzz has definitely made its mark on the health and wellness scene. Many claim it to be a “must-have” supplement in your daily routine, offering valuable support to our mental and physical wellbeing.

As clinical and cultural interest in CBD continues to rise, it can be hard to know exactly what the laws and regulations are surrounding cannabis-based products. Here, we clear up any confusion about any age restrictions surrounding CBD use, and whether CBD can safely be given to children. 

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol, better known as CBD, is one of over 100 naturally-occurring cannabinoids found in the Cannabis sativa plant. In the UK, CBD is completely legal to buy and sell. This is because, unlike THC – the plant’s psychoactive molecule – CBD doesn’t get you ‘high’. 

In recent years, CBD has become a hugely popular health supplement for those seeking some of the benefits of whole-plant cannabis, without the intoxicating effects. Clinical research has even found CBD to have promising therapeutic potential in numerous mental and physical health conditions.

This powerful cannabinoid is now a recognised treatment for rare forms of epilepsy. CBD also shows promise in the treatment of anxiety disorders, and there is even growing evidence to support its use in the treatment of inflammatory disorders, insomnia, chronic pain, and much more.

How does it work?

Cannabinoids, like CBD, interact with our body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). This is an intricate signalling network that helps to coordinate countless bodily functions, including our mood, memory, sleep, immune system, pain levels, and appetite – and that’s only scratching the surface.

Within the ECS are cannabinoid (CB) receptors, CB1 and CB2. Without getting into the nitty-gritty science, it is thought that CBD can have an indirect effect on these receptors. This, in turn, may enhance the signalling of our body’s natural cannabinoids, also known as endocannabinoids. 

By supporting the ECS, CBD can therefore help to regulate all of the bodily processes that this system oversees. This is why CBD is becoming an increasingly popular health supplement; it helps to keep the body in a state of balance.

Current UK CBD laws

In 2016, the UK legalised CBD for medicinal purposes. Then, in 2019, CBD was made legal to purchase and use as a food supplement, so long as the product is made using UK-approved industrial hemp and contains less than 1 mg of THC per container. 

Since THC is a controlled substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, any cannabis-based products that contain over 1 mg of THC can only be legally obtained on prescription. 

At UK CBD oils, all of our full-spectrum CBD products contain less than 0.2% THC, so there is no risk of exceeding legal limits. This is also nowhere near enough THC to have a psychoactive effect so our products won’t get you high, no matter how much you take!

One slightly grey area in CBD legislation, however, is whether there are any age restrictions for buying or using CBD. 

Are there any age restrictions for CBD?

Current UK legislation does not explicitly say whether or not people under the age of 18 can buy CBD, but here’s what we do know. 

There is no set age limit imposed by the government to either purchase or use CBD products in the UK. There is also no need for a prescription to use CBD products in the UK, so it is not against the law for children and teens to possess CBD. 

That said, some companies and manufacturers do impose their own age restrictions on their products. At UK CBD oils, our products are intended solely for consenting adults. By ordering from our site, you are certifying that you are over the age of 18. 

Is CBD safe for children?

It may not be illegal for parents to give CBD to children, but is it safe?

The World Health Organisation has declared that CBD is “generally well tolerated with a good safety profile”, but the vast majority of existing research has been conducted in adults only.

Though in 2019, CBD was approved as a treatment for both adults and children with two rare forms of epilepsy, in the form of a prescription drug known as Epidiolex. There is, therefore, growing scientific evidence to show that CBD is safe for use in children. 

One study, published in 2020, investigated the effects of varying doses of CBD on children with treatment-resistant epilepsy over 3 years. They found that CBD significantly reduced the frequency of seizures and was well-tolerated in daily doses of up to 50 mg per kilogram.

Studies have found the side effects of CBD to be rare and mild. These could include, reduced appetite, nausea, diarrhoea, or fatigue, and are typically remedied with the correct dosage. For this reason, common guidance is to start with low doses and slowly work your way up. 

There is also growing clinical evidence for using CBD to improve sleep, anxiety and behaviour in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). 

One particular study, published in 2019, found that six months of treatment with CBD-rich cannabis oil resulted in behavioural improvements in over 80% of children with ASD, with 30% of parents saying their child’s condition improved “significantly”. Although this particular cannabis oil contained 1.5% THC – a level that can only legally be obtained on prescription in the UK – these findings suggest that full-spectrum CBD may benefit children with autism.

Much more research is needed before CBD could be an approved treatment for both autism and ADHD, but many parents have shared their positive experiences in online forums about giving CBD to their children. 

Ultimately, the choice lies in the hands of the parents. If they feel that CBD would benefit their child and wish to do so, there are no legal implications for this. 

It is, however, always best to consult a doctor or medical professional before giving a child CBD, especially if they are on other medications. This is because CBD has been shown to have some mild drug interactions which could harm the liver over time. 

As a parent, the best thing you could do if considering giving CBD to your child is to make sure you are buying a pure, certified, and reviewed product. 

What to look for in a CBD product

Not all CBD is created equal. When searching for a high-quality product, there are a few important things to keep in mind.

As with any supplement, it’s important to know exactly what you’re putting in your body. Every CBD brand should disclose lab reports from an unbiased, third-party laboratory to ensure that their products contain no harmful ingredients. This also provides a reliable indication of the potency of the product. All UK CBD oil products are tested at random by third-party labs every 2 to 3 months. 

How to use CBD

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) advises consumers to not exceed a dose of 70 mg a day, but there is robust evidence to show even high doses of CBD – up to a few hundred milligrams of CBD – are well tolerated in adults.

There are countless ways to take your daily dose of CBD. Each method of administration has its benefits, depending on your needs. Here are just a handful of the sorts of products available to shop on our site:

CBD oil

Oils are one of the most popular ways to take CBD. There is a wide range of types, strengths and flavours available, some with added ingredients for your benefit. CBD oils are usually taken by placing a few drops under the tongue. This allows the product to be absorbed into the bloodstream almost instantly. 

If the taste of CBD oil isn’t for you, there are also water-soluble tinctures available. These can be added to a morning coffee or a smoothie, so a daily dose can seamlessly slot into your daily routine. 

CBD capsules

If you’re looking for a more tasteless and odourless way to take CBD oil, then capsules are the thing for you. Just like any pill, they’re easy to take and give a consistent daily dose. Though remember, the CBD needs to go through the digestion process, so it takes between 30 minutes and 2 hours to feel the effects. 

CBD edibles

Again, if you prefer a more convenient CBD dose then perhaps opt for edible products, such as hemp tea or CBD gummies. These are both great (and delicious!) ways to get your daily dose in, but be sure to keep CBD gummies out of reach of young children as they look just like sweets.  

CBD paste

CBD paste is best for those after a more potent, high-strength product. It is a whole-plant paste made from raw hemp extract that can either be applied topically (to the skin) or consumed for high-dose of CBD. 

CBD vape

Vaping is another way to rapidly get CBD into your bloodstream. Since CBD vapes are readily transportable, they can be used on the move for immediate relief. In the UK, however, it is illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to use vape products. 

CBD cosmetics

There is some evidence to suggest that CBD can help to relieve acne and irritated skin, so CBD cosmetics are growing in popularity. These include beauty products, face masks, creams, and bath products – all infused with CBD. They’re the ultimate form of self-care! 

Where UK CBD oils differ from other brands is that nearly all of our products use full-spectrum CBD, which is specifically extracted to ensure that all other major cannabis compounds are left intact. 

These compounds include cannabinoids, such as CBD, CBDA, CBG, and CBC – but negligible, and therefore legal, levels of THC. They also include valuable terpenes and flavonoids, which provide additional benefits to your health and wellbeing. When taken together, the compounds in full-spectrum CBD can generate something called the “entourage effect”.  

What is the entourage effect?

CBD can either be isolated from the cannabis plant and used on its own or alongside its “entourage”, which is made up of other cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids. 

Every botanical compound in cannabis has its value. But when taken together, they interact and complement one another to create a harmonious symphony in the body. This is known as the entourage effect. 

The theory proposed by scientists is that cannabis compounds work synergistically – meaning their combined effect is greater than the sum of its parts. There is growing evidence to support the idea that full-spectrum products, when administered in the clinic, are more effective at managing various health conditions.

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