Is It Legal To Grow CBD Plant In The UK

Is It Legal To Grow CBD Plant In The UK

Is It Legal To Grow CBD Plant In The UK

Do you know the UK CBD market is valued at £1bn by 2025?

And over 11% of the UK population have tried CBD.

The knowledge of CBD’s benefit on many ailments is spreading like wildfire. This is the major factor pushing the UK CBD market to rapid growth. With this high market projection, it’s only fair that smart farmers are growing CBD plants already.

But is it legal to grow CBD plants in the UK?

As far back as 1533 growing CBD plants were part of the economic activities in the UK. It was used for making sails, nets, ropes and was in such high demand that King Henry viii made it compulsory for farmers to dedicate some acres of their farmland for hemp farming.

Decades later, the CBD plant has met strict farming restrictions. Placing it in the class B category under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

Even though the industrial hemp strain contains only trace amounts of THC, it’s still a controlled substance under UK laws. Primarily because of its relationship with marijuana.

This article explains everything about the legality of growing CBD plants.

Is it legal to grow CBD plants in the UK

Marijuana is from the cannabis plant. It has a small amount of CBD and more THC. Hemp is also from cannabis and has a high amount of  CBD with traces of THC.

CBD- Cannabidiol is one of the over 100 botanical compounds found in cannabis now well known for its potential health and wellness properties. And has been approved for use as food supplements.

So, is it legal to grow CBD plants in the UK?

Yes, you can grow CBD -industrial hemp plants in the UK but only with a licence. Still, certain strict regulations could discourage you from growing CBD plants.

While hemp is approved for growing in the UK, only the seed and stalk of the plant can be harvested and used. It’s still against the law to harvest, process or sell the leaves and flowers- the part of the plant where the CBD is concentrated and where we get CBD oil from.

This resource-rich, profitable,  untapped part of the CBD plant is forcing businesses to source raw materials from America and other EU countries where CBD farming is legal.

The UK law requires that the leaves and flowers be destroyed after the seeds and stalk of the plant has been harvested.

What is required to grow CBD plants in the UK

The CBD oil and related products we enjoy today are mainly gotten from the flowers and leaves of the hemp plant. The seed and stalk are also very useful but not for the therapeutic purposes that are drawing many to this miracle plant today. 

However, if you’re still interested in growing CBD plants, here is what’s required of you.

To farm CBD plants in the UK  you have to apply for a ‘controlled drug licence’ from the home office. This licence permits you to grow ‘industrial hemp’ only, using seeds that have a maximum of 0.2% THC. Not just that, getting a licence requires you to meet certain criteria before you can be approved.

According to the information on the home office page, you need to:

  1. Register on the controlled drug licensing  system where you’ll get a username and password for your application
  1. provide your details and contact
  1. Provide details about the farming space you’re using- acre size and location. which must not be close to a public access area. Your discretion is required when choosing a location
  1. You and any partner you have must get a disclosure barring service (DBS) check from the home office approved company. checks done in any other company will not be accepted 
  1. Provide details about the seed you intend to plant-which must be one that meets the EU approval in terms of THC level and variety.

When you submit these details in your application you’ll wait to get a confirmation mail before making payment. The fees are:

New growers coming into the business – £580

for renewal of licence -£326

If a compliance visit is needed- £1371. But it happens only on rare occasions. 

Other regulations to meet

If you’re able to meet these criteria successfully, you’ll have a high chance of getting a licence to legally farm CBD plants in the UK. but that’s not all, after getting licenced there are regulations you have to follow faithfully to avoid your licence being revoked and that is:

  • You have to inform the local authority in the area where your farm is located
  • Licence is only valid for three growing seasons before a renewal is needed however, farmers are obligated to submit an “Annual Licence Review Statement” at the beginning of the second and third year of your licence
  • If you’re relocating your farming location, you must inform the licensing office for some changes to be made.

Following these regulations strictly could give you better luck when you need to renew your licence again.

Is there a profitable market for CBD plants

The CBD plant is still profitable to grow despite the tight regulations surrounding it. This market is currently estimated at £300m, surpassing the vitamin c market currently standing at £119m. And with many people trying CBD products now, surely there’s some sort of profit for CBD business owners.

Although the seed and stalk is the only current part of the plant approved for harvest which is used for making textiles, biofuel and other industrial products. hemp seed oil is also made from the harvested seed and has a big market already.

 It’s used as a carrier oil for diluting CBD oil, for beauty and skincare products and cooking. so you can still profit from these markets.

Also, because it’s a relatively easy plant to grow, you won’t be spending so much money on cultivation. One good aspect is, it takes only four months to grow, supports the restoration of damaged soil and soil regeneration and is also resistant to pests and weeds. So you’ll save up on that.

Best of all, with government plans to lower c02 emissions in a few years, hemp may be the best plant to grow for this reason. because it draws carbon from the atmosphere, cleansing the air. Hemp products are 100% biodegradable too.

This means in the coming years regulations concerning growing CBD plants may become more flexible.

Q and A

Q. Can I grow CBD plants for personal use in my home garden?

No, you can’t grow CBD plants in the garden of your home. Unfortunately, the licence is only being issued for commercial purposes. Individuals are not allowed to grow hemp plants no matter the quantity they want to grow

Q. What if I start growing the CBD plant while waiting for my licence?

Your licence must be issued before you can start growing your CBD plant.

Although your licence has been approved before you can make payment, that doesn’t mean you have been licensed. Until you have your licence in your hand, growing before then will be illegal and means you’re growing without authorization, which can get you into legal trouble. 

Q. Is industrial hemp different from other hemp plants?

There are no different types of hemp. It’s either hemp or marijuana which are both species of the Cannabis sativa plant.  

Hemp is called “industrial hemp” because of its low Tetrahydrocannabinol- THC not more than 0.2%, the psychoactive ingredient in Cannabis. but has a high content of Cannabidiol-CBD. It also has very strong fibres, that’s why it’s recommended for industrial use.


The UK CBD market is growing rapidly. With a market value of £300m and over 11% of the UK population having used CBD products, interested individuals and businesses are asking the big question….

Is it legal to grow CBD plants in the UK?

Though CBD products are legal for sale as a supplement, growing CBD plants requires a licence from the home office.

Getting licenced involves a strict process yet, farmers are only allowed to harvest the stalk and seeds of the plant. It is still illegal to harvest and process the leaves and flowers which contain cannabidiol and the oil used for therapeutic purposes today.

With a promising future market in the UK, worth £1m by 2025, numerous natural properties and health benefits, and a positive environmental impact, many growers and CBD business owners are hopeful for a fairer policy in the coming years. 

CBD’s ability to clean the atmosphere of carbon matches global plans to cut down on Co2 emissions. Hopefully, this will help drive regulations in favour of harvesting CBD plants fully.


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