Is CBD considered a Medicine in the UK?

Is CBD considered a Medicine in the UK?

Jul 28, 2023 Stephane Esseiva

Some CBD-based products can be classified as medication in the UK, such as Epidiolex for epilepsy. However, in most cases, CBD is not considered to be a medicine but instead a dietary supplement or wellness product.

In recent years, CBD or cannabidiol has been gaining increasing interest in the UK in the health and wellness world. This substance, extracted from cannabis, is the subject of numerous studies, and its use is gradually spreading in several countries. However, a question remains: Is CBD a medication? To answer this, we need to examine the current legislation, the effects on the body, and the potential therapeutic applications of CBD.

CBD and Medications Legislation

CBD is already utilised as a treatment in several countries. This is true in the United States and Canada, where CBD-based drugs are approved for the treatment of a variety of illnesses, including epilepsy. However, the position in the United Kingdom is more complicated.

CBD's Legal Status in the United Kingdom

CBD medicine is available through the NHS (National Health Service) in the United Kingdom. CBD can also be purchased under particular situations. A CBD-containing product must meet two major conditions in order to be marketed:

  • THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, must be less than 0.2%.
  • Hemp, the plant from which CBD is produced, must be grown from authorised cultivars.

These conditions attempt to ensure customer safety by avoiding cannabis psychoactive effects. In the United Kingdom, however, CBD can only be used as a nutritional supplement or cosmetic product, not as a pharmaceutical.

WHO's Stand on CBD

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has also studied the case of CBD and concluded that it has therapeutic potential. It also advised not classifying cannabidiol as a restricted substance in 2018 because it poses no misuse or dependence hazards.

CBD's Effects on the Body

To determine whether CBD can be regarded a drug, it is necessary to investigate its effects on the body. CBD primarily works by interacting with the endocannabinoid system, a network of receptors found throughout the human body that regulates processes such as pain, mood, appetite, and sleep.

Analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties

CBD has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. It can help alleviate pain and inflammation caused by a variety of illnesses, including arthritis and muscle discomfort. Furthermore, unlike other drugs used to relieve pain, CBD has little to no negative effects.

Effects on Anxiety and Depression

CBD has also been found in studies to be effective in treating anxiety and mood disorders by altering the transmission of neurotransmitters involved in these processes, such as serotonin. As a result, it could be utilised as a less harmful alternative to standard drugs for treating depression and anxiety.

Therapeutic Potential of CBD: Applications and Limitations

Although the use of CBD as a pharmaceutical is still in its early stages, multiple studies have already highlighted its potential to treat the following diseases or conditions:

  • Epilepsy: Clinical investigations have shown that CBD dramatically reduces the frequency of seizures in persons with treatment-resistant epilepsy.
  • Multiple Sclerosis: CBD may help with symptoms such as muscle spasms and pain associated with this condition.
  • CBD's anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective qualities may be useful in the treatment of neurodegenerative illnesses such as Parkinson's or Alzheimer's.

However, it is crucial to note that CBD study is still ongoing, and more research is needed to prove its efficacy and safety. Furthermore, while CBD has promising medicinal potential, it cannot be deemed a drug unless it has been licenced by the appropriate authorities.

CBD Consumption: Caution and Supervision

While we wait for the legal status of CBD to change and CBD-based treatments to be approved, it is prudent to use CBD-containing products with caution. This includes the following:

  • Checking product origin and quality (THC content, presence of other chemicals).
  • Observing the recommended dosages and modifying consumption to individual needs.
  • Consulting with a healthcare practitioner, especially if you are already using drugs or have a medical condition.


In conclusion, CBD has intriguing therapeutic potential that could lead to it becoming a full-fledged drug. However, existing legislation and scientific knowledge prevent it from being classified as such. Until then, it is critical to be watchful and follow the advice of healthcare specialists in order to reap the full benefits of CBD.

This article is independently written by a third party, and does not necessarily reflect the views or legal opinions of HempHash

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