Is Cannabis Legal In UK?

The debate about the legalization of cannabis across various countries has been the latest talk of the town. The real question is whether this decision is favorable in several parts of the world.

When speaking about legal cannabis, it is important to recognize the world’s largest exporter, i.e., the UK, and its contribution to the legalization of cannabis.

In general, cannabis in the UK is classified into three major categories. These are either Class A, B, and C. According to the hierarchy, Class A is the most dangerous and can attract the most gruesome fines and punishments.

What Does Legalization Of Cannabis Mean?

Before understanding whether or not cannabis is legal in the United Kingdom, it is important to gain perspective about the true meaning of legalization.

In its basic sense, the legalization of cannabis refers to the legal ownership, consumption, distribution, and sale of cannabis.

Even though marijuana is primarily illegal in many countries, some countries have approved the legalization of cannabis.

On the whole, countries tend to analyze two types of marijuana classes before taking a final call. They are recreational cannabis and medical cannabis.

Recreational Cannabis

The first category of marijuana is recreational cannabis. As the name suggests, in this class, marijuana and its associates are used for recreational purposes. In other words, it is consumed for personal enjoyment instead of medical reasons.

Certain characteristics distinguish recreational marijuana from medical marijuana. Let us take a closer look at them.

Characteristics Of Recreational Cannabis

The first characteristic of recreational cannabis is that it is used occasionally. In other words, it is not a method to spend all of your time on.

In addition to the above, marijuana is often prominent in social settings such as parties, etc. It is considered a relaxation tool to escape from the hustle and bustle of modern life. 

Medical Cannabis

Medical cannabis, on the other hand, includes products of the marijuana plant that are employed to treat various health conditions and diseases.

As per researchers, medical marijuana may be able to treat epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, spasms, seizures, glaucoma, and various other diseases.

Marijuana tends to contain various cannabinoids that are similar to the chemicals in our body that are involved with memory, appetite, pain, and movement.

According to scientific research, cannabinoids may reduce anxiety, reduce inflammation, relieve pain, etc.

However, it should be noted that medical marijuana can only be prescribed by specialized doctors in areas where it is legal. You must also have valid documents that state that you have a particular condition.

Based on these norms and regulations, you may be exposed to medical marijuana.

Is Cannabis Legal In The United Kingdom?

To understand whether or not cannabis and its derivatives are legal in the United Kingdom, it is important to understand how it is used. In the UK, cannabis is used for a plethora of activities, including recreation, industrial, as well as animal feed.

Cannabis is often used in the industrial sector. Many CBD-based manufacturers often cultivate and process their own hemp.  For this, the UK government guides them by providing them with free advice. They also tend to issue licenses for importing fiber from abroad.

In terms of recreation, cannabis is used by all age groups from various socio-economic backgrounds. Some may use it as a form of vaporization, whereas others smoke it with tobacco.

As a response to the increasing public opinion about its high risk through misuse, the UK government has classified recreational cannabis and its by-products under Schedule 1 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulation 2001.

By this code of conduct, recreational cannabis is illegal to cultivate, possess, distribute or sell without any specified licenses.

 In case you are found guilty, you may be required to spend a minimum of five years in jail, as well as pay an unlimited fine.

On the other hand, if you are caught with a small amount of the drug, then you may be issued a warning or an on-the-spot fine, and this is kept in records for further study.

In general, cannabis is classified as a Class B drug as per the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act.

In the field of medicine, cannabis was legalized on November 1st, 2018. This was done after two children with epilepsy were given cannabis and recovered from their disease.

According to various regulations issued by the UK government, medical cannabis was given to registered doctors to prescribe to their patients when in need.

However, it is important to note that access to medical cannabis is currently limited to a small group of healthcare practitioners.

There are certain criteria for this decision as well. As per the NHS guidelines, medical cannabis can only be prescribed once there is sufficient evidence that there are no other working treatment options, and marijuana is the only alternative.

In the time being, the UK government plans to expand access to medical cannabis by training more medical personnel and doctors with the correct usage of medical.

In addition, cannabis-based oils are legal in the UK and can be used without a specified prescription. However, this can only be done when it is sold to the general public and does not consist of a THC level of more than 0.01%.

The last but not the least category of the UK cannabis law pertains to industrial hemp. Even though the UK has a niche industrial hemp market, it is legal to grow the cannabis plant provided you have a government license.

Politics And Cannabis

In the United Kingdom, there are mixed opinions regarding the legalization of cannabis. Some people either strongly approve of the notion, whereas others strongly disapprove of the movement.


On the whole, it is quite evident that the UK has a few different laws about cannabis. It is classified as a class B drug, and its recreational use is illegal.

However, in terms of medicine, it is legal. However, this can be prescribed by a few doctors only.

Lastly, industrial hemp can be legally grown with a legitimate license issued by the government or authoritative body of the UK.