EducationIs hemp tea legal in the UK?

Is hemp tea legal in the UK?

10 min read

Editorial Team

Is hemp tea legal in the UK?


Unlocking the secrets of hemp tea in the UK

Hemp tea is an infusion brewed from the flowers and leaves of the hemp plant. While hemp belongs to the cannabis sativa L. genus, it differs significantly from the common perception of "cannabis".

Although, in some cases, hemp does contain trace amounts of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) - the intoxicating compound produced in cannabis varieties, it is generally much lower in concentration compared to other cannabis varieties. This makes hemp tea a suitable and legal option for those living in the UK, as long as it is produced from hemp plants that contain less than 0.2% THC.

Due to the close relationship between hemp and cannabis, people are curious about the legality of hemp tea in the UK. To alleviate any concerns and shed light on the health advantages of this supplement, we will delve into the world of hemp, explore hemp tea, and examine the relevant UK laws currently in place.

Exploring the world of hemp tea

Although it doesn't contain THC, hemp tea contains other cannabinoids, like CBD and CBG, especially when it's made from the flowers of the hemp plant. The health benefits of CBD have been widely studied and documented, which suggests that hemp tea offers similar benefits.

Hemp Tea also contains terpenes. Terpenes are naturally occurring chemical compounds found in plants. They’re responsible for the aromas, flavours and even colours of vegetation, but emerging research also points towards their potential therapeutic benefits.

Over the past few years, medical cannabis and hemp tea have become increasingly popular as a health supplement not only here in the UK but worldwide. With the growing interest in CBD and other cannabinoids, many people are turning to hemp tea as a natural, healthy, and legal way to consume these compounds.

It is just one of the available options that offers legal CBD benefits. The cannabinoids and terpenes contained in the tea have been shown to help support heart health, alleviate chronic pain, reduce anxiety, and improve sleep.

A comprehensive guide to hemp tea benefits

Hemp tea is made from the flowers or leaves of the hemp plant. Hemp is closely related to cannabis, but has a much lower THC content. THC is the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, but thanks to the extremely low THC levels in hemp, ingesting hemp/CBD products produces zero intoxicating effects.  

Hemp tea is made by steeping the dried flowers or leaves of the hemp plant in boiling water. In most cases, the dried hemp has to be steeped in hot water for 3–5 minutes before the tea is ready to drink.

The health benefits of brewing and drinking hemp flower tea

  • It’s caffeine-free – Unlike some other types of tea, like black tea and white tea, hemp tea doesn’t contain caffeine. This means you can drink it before going to sleep, and it won’t keep you awake.
  • It may help to promote sleep – Hemp tea contains CBD. CBD has been shown to help people fall asleep and stay asleep. In fact, some studies have found that CBD may improve sleep quality for people with conditions affecting the brain, like Parkinson’s disease.
  • It may help to reduce anxiety – A number of studies have suggested that taking CBD can help to reduce levels of anxiety. One study found that participants who took 300 mg of CBD a day showed significantly reduced levels of anxiety compared to those who were given a placebo. However, it’s worth noting that hemp tea generally contains much lower levels of CBD than the doses used in clinical studies.
  • It may ease mild pain – There is evidence to suggest that CBD can help with the management of chronic pain. It’s thought that the cannabinoid elicits a pain-relieving effect by interacting with our body’s endocannabinoid system, or ECS. However, without specific studies on hemp tea, this cannot be validated.
  • It could help support a healthy heart – A 2020 study found that CBD may have vasodilatory effects in human and rat arteries. The research suggested that CBD may improve flow because it widens blood vessels. What’s more, a 2021 study found that people with high blood pressure who took CBD observed a reduction in blood pressure after three months of use. Again, because this study is not specific to hemp tea, it is difficult to say with absolute certainty what the benefits will be.

Navigating the legality of hemp tea in the United Kingdom

Hemp is a cousin of cannabis, and most of the CBD and hemp used to make the tea is derived from industrial hemp. As a result, it’s naturally low in THC and so can be sold legally in the UK. For the tea to be compliant with UK cannabis law, it has to be milled or crushed and cannot be sold as whole buds or unprocessed flowers.

UK regulations on hemp products

According to The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, it's illegal for private citizens to cultivate any part of the cannabis plant in the UK. However, hemp and CBD products are legal to buy in the UK, provided that the source plant contains less than 0.2% THC, and is limited to no more than 1 mg of THC per container.

It is possible to get a licence to grow hemp, but the process is complicated and is only available for commercial purposes.

Hemp tea is also subject to UK food standard rules and regulations. In January 2019, hemp was confirmed as a novel food product. Under novel food regulations, foods or food ingredients which do not have a history of consumption before May 1997 need to be evaluated and authorised before they can be placed on the market.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) requested manufacturers submit more information about their products and processes to further evaluate hemp and CBD products. Only products that submitted this information could remain on sale after 31st March 2021.

You can legally buy authorised hemp and CBD products in the UK. Always purchase hemp tea from reputable brands to ensure compliance with the law and check the label for relevant certification. If you have concerns about a product's compliance, contact the manufacturer or the FSA for more information.

Hemp tea vs. cannabis: the legal and health distinctions

The key difference between hemp tea and cannabis is the level of THC. While cannabis and its derived products can contain high levels of THC, hemp does not. All cannabis sativa L. cultivars that produce less than 0.2% THC are classed as hemp here in the UK.

Understanding the legal and health distinctions

The reason that the level of THC is so closely regulated is that THC is the main psychoactive component of cannabis. Ingesting or inhaling THC can have a significant effect on both the brain and body. These effects include increased heart rate, dry mouth, reddening of the eyes, reduced intraocular pressure, muscle relaxation, and a sensation of cold or hot hands and feet.

People who take exceedingly high doses of THC can also experience a range of symptoms, including anxiety, panic or, in rare cases, heavy paranoia.

Hemp tea is legal in the UK because it contains very low levels of THC. These levels are carefully controlled and regulated to ensure people who drink hemp tea don’t experience any psychoactive effects.

Where to find legal hemp tea in the UK

Hemp tea is now widely available in the UK.

You can buy hemp tea online, in health food shops, and at most farmers' markets.

Finding quality hemp tea suppliers

When buying hemp tea, look for quality hemp products grown organically.

This will ensure it doesn't contain any potentially harmful pesticides. It's also important to check that the product you're buying has been manufactured in line with UK law and has a COA (certificate of analysis) from a third-party laboratory. The COA will provide information about the product's cannabinoid content and confirm that it meets legal requirements.

FAQs: understanding hemp tea legality in the UK

Is hemp tea legal in the UK?

Yes, hemp tea is legal in the UK if it contains THC levels below 0.2%, aligning with the UK's regulations on controlled substances.

What are the benefits of hemp tea?

Hemp tea offers several benefits, including stress reduction, improved sleep, and support for the immune system, due to its CBD content.

How does hemp tea differ from cannabis?

Hemp tea is derived from the Cannabis sativa plant but contains low levels of THC compared to cannabis, making it non-psychoactive and legal.

Embracing hemp tea in the UK: conclusions and recommendations

So, is hemp flower tea legal in the UK?

The answer is yes – provided that the product contains less than 0.2% THC and is limited to no more than 1 mg of THC per container. As long as you purchase from a reputable brand, you can enjoy all the potential health benefits of hemp tea without having to worry about breaking any laws. Hemp tea has been shown to offer a range of potential health benefits, and is an easy and delicious way to add CBD to your daily routine.

If you would like to learn more about the potential benefits of hemp tea, consult with a medical professional familiar with CBD. They will be able to provide more information about dosage, potential interactions with other medications, and any other specific concerns you may have.

Releaf understands that finding a doctor who is registered to prescribe medical cannabis can be difficult. That's why we offer online consultations with our specialist doctors, as well as a unique medical cannabis card for extra protection and access to the treatment you need. If you're interested in learning more about our services or getting access to medical cannabis treatment, get in touch and one of our team members will be happy to help.

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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Editorial Team

Article written by the Releaf Editorial Team, a group of seasoned experts in cannabis healthcare, dedicated to enhancing awareness and accessibility in the field through their wealth of knowledge and experience.

Our articles are written by experts and reviewed by medical professionals or compliance specialists. Adhering to stringent sourcing guidelines, we reference peer-reviewed studies and scholarly research. View our editorial policy.

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Further reading

Is hemp cultivation legal in the UK?

In the UK today, hemp can be legally grown for commercial purposes provided the farmer or grower receives a special licence from the home office. Growers are also only able to cultivate hemp varieties that contain lower than 0.2% THC. This is because cannabis (or more specifically, cannabis plants that contain more than 0.2%THC) is still considered a class B drug.

Sam North

Hemp oil and anxiety - What are the risks & benefits?

Hemp oil is a safe dietary and wellness supplement, and you won’t feel any psychoactive effects from taking it. It contains a wide range of secondary cannabinoids and terpenes, with some hemp oils offering up to 18% CBD (cannabidiol). Hemp seed oil, on the other hand, is extracted from only the seeds of the hemp plant. It may contain trace amounts of CBD, but at such minuscule levels that it has no therapeutic effect. Hemp oil, specifically full-spectrum hemp oil containing CBD, holds promise as a safe and potential dietary additive for reducing anxiety symptoms.

Sam North

Is hemp seed oil effective for childhood eczema?

Eczema often appears in the first few months after birth and usually improves as children get older. Traditional treatments for mild cases focus on using cleansers and applying a fragrance-free moisturiser or ointment after bathing. Corticosteroids may also be used to treat inflammation and redness on the skin. Some parents prefer natural treatments over pharmaceutical options, which is where hemp seed oil can be of benefit.

Sam North