Are edibles legal in the UK?

Are edibles legal in the UK?


With 5 years of cannabis journalism behind her after graduating from De Montfort University and writing for cannabis publications such as The Cannavist, Lucy is a dedicated journalist passionate about cannabis education and culture.

Cannabis edibles are legal for ‘over-the-counter’ sale in the UK as long as they don’t contain more than 0.2% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. Edibles that do have more than 0.2% THC are still illegal in the UK unless they are prescribed through the medical cannabis scheme introduced in 2018.

Over the last few years, the number of cannabis-derived products available legally in the UK has skyrocketed. From teas and lotions to oils and capsules, it’s now possible to purchase a wide variety of beauty treatments and health supplements made from the cannabis plant.

Some of the most popular types of cannabis-derived products are edibles. Edibles are foods – often biscuits, gummies, chocolates or drinks – that have been infused with cannabis derivatives. Edibles are typically taken as health supplements because they contain a range of compounds, including terpenes and the cannabinoid CBD. While still a cannabinoid, CBD does not offer the same intoxicating properties as THC.

CBD, and certain terpenes, are thought to have a number of potential health benefits and are believed by many to help reduce pain and inflammation and boost the immune system.

Here, we take an in-depth look at the risks and regulations relating to cannabis edibles to find out exactly which products are legal in the UK.

What are edibles?

Edibles are food products that are infused with cannabis-derived compounds like CBD. They include

  • Gummies
  • Baked goods
  • Lollipops
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Soft drinks
  • Shakes

Preliminary research is showing that, when ingested, CBD and other cannabinoids can have a number of effects on the body and mind. From reducing anxiety and improving sleep to relieving pain and boosting the immune system, these potent compounds are credited with a range of health benefits.

Because these products are growing in popularity, there’s an increasing variety of edibles available on the market. In most cases, these edibles are sold ready to eat, giving consumers and patients an easy and convenient way to administer terpenes, CBD, and other cannabinoids.

Are edibles legal in the UK?

In regards to the consumer market, CBD edibles are legal in the UK as long as they conform to specific laws and regulations. These mainly relate to the levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) contained in the product. 

Currently, UK law states that CBD edibles may not contain more than 1mg of THC per finished product, or 0.2% THC overall. As long as CBD edibles sold in the UK meet these rules and regulations, they can be bought, sold, and consumed legally.

Are THC edibles legal?

THC edibles are not legal in the UK for over-the-counter sales. It remains illegal to buy, sell, or grow cannabis in the UK. This also applies to products that have a THC content of 0.2% or more. If you’re caught buying, selling, producing, or consuming edibles with high levels of THC, you could face a fine, a prison sentence, or both. Edibles containing unprocessed cannabis, like biscuits and cookies, are also illegal in the UK.

Medical use of edibles

In November 2018, the UK government made sweeping changes to the legality of medicinal cannabis. Finally, patients were allowed access to cannabis-derived products for therapeutic use under the supervision of a doctor. As part of this legislation, it’s now possible for some patients to access edibles containing THC. However, strict criteria must be met before these can be prescribed by an approved clinician and dispensed from a pharmacy.

It can be administered to treat people suffering from a range of conditions, including:

  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Crohn's disease
  • Epilepsy and seizures
  • Glaucoma
  • Multiple sclerosis and muscle spasms
  • Severe and chronic pain
  • Severe nausea or vomiting caused by cancer treatment

Medical cannabis is available in a number of different administration methods including capsules, liquid drops, sprays and edibles. Edibles are a popular choice, especially for patients with breathing difficulties, as they are easy to consume and won’t irritate the lungs. What’s more, ingesting cannabis can help the effects of the drug to last longer and be more powerful. This may be a real benefit to people living with chronic pain and other long-term health conditions.

Risks and precautions

Research shows that products containing CBD and other cannabis-derived compounds are generally well tolerated, with few people experiencing serious side effects. Possible mild side effects that may occur include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Diarrhoea
  • Reduced appetite
  • Drowsiness and fatigue
  • CBD can also interact with existing medications, such as blood thinners

However, when purchasing edibles, it’s essential to ensure that you buy your products from brands with a good reputation. Mislabelling and contamination have been issues in the consumer CBD industry, so make sure the manufacturer you buy from thoroughly tests its products to ensure quality and accuracy.

The medical cannabis industry is subject to far great regulatory oversight, and much more stringent controls are in place to guarantee quality and safety. In the UK, only products that have been approved by the Medical Regulatory Authority (MRA) can be prescribed for medical use. By sourcing your CBD edibles through a medical professional, you can be sure that the ingredients and potency are accurately stated.


Edible CBD products have few side effects when taken in moderation and can help to improve well-being. The potential benefits of these health supplements include pain relief, reduced inflammation, reduced anxiety, and improved sleep.

When purchasing edibles, make sure the product you buy has been tested to ensure that it contains only trace amounts of THC (0.2% or less). When it comes to medical cannabis products containing THC, you must obtain a valid prescription from an approved clinician.

It’s also important to note that cannabis edibles may take longer to have an effect than other methods of administration. Start with a small dose and wait for at least two hours before taking more. This will help you find the dosage that’s right for you. By seeking the advice of a medical professional and following government guidelines, you can ensure that you use cannabis edibles safely and legally.

Releaf understands the importance of medical cannabis in treating various medical conditions. With our tailored monthly packages, specialist consultations for medical cannabis, and a unique medical cannabis card for protection, you can access the treatment you need without worrying about the stigma.

It is important to seek medical advice before starting any new treatments. The patient advisors at Releaf are available to provide expert advice and support. Alternatively, click here to book a consultation with one of our specialist doctors.

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