CBD Manufacturers Guide in the UK
CBD, which stands for cannabidiol, is a naturally occurring compound in the cannabis plant. Unlike THC, CBD doesn’t provide a psychoactive effect or high. Instead, CBD has become famous for its potential health benefits, with early research on the health benefits looking promising.
CBD products are legal to buy in the United Kingdom if they meet specific criteria. For instance, CBD products must not contain more than 0.2% THC.¹ All CBD products must also receive approval from the UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA).²
CBD is one of the fastest-growing consumer products in the United Kingdom. With an expected worth of £1 billion by 2025, the U.K. is the second largest consumer cannabinoid market in the world.³
Understanding CBD Manufacturing
To understand CBD manufacturing, you must know various cannabis extracts. The cannabis content varies drastically based on extraction methods and overall composition. Here are the prominent cannabis extracts:
– Full-spectrum CBD – Containing a wide range of cannabinoids—including CBD and small THC amounts—full-spectrum is a popular extract.
– Broad-spectrum CBD – Although broad-spectrum CBD is similar to full-spectrum, the primary difference is there’s zero THC content in broad-spectrum.
– CBD isolate – If you’re seeking the purest CBD, CBD isolate is the best option because it contains 99% (or more) CBD content.
– Distillate – With higher concentrations of CBD than full-spectrum extracts, distillate is a more refined form of CBD extract.
– CBD oil – Manufacturers create CBD oil by diluting a CBD-rich extract, such as MCT oil. It’s one of the most popular options.
– CBD tinctures – Although CBD tinctures are similar to CBD oils, the primary difference is they’re alcohol-based.
Manufacturers typically use different extraction methods to create these CBD extracts. Here are the most notable extraction methods:
– CO2 extraction – One of the most efficient and versatile methods is CO2 extraction. It combines carbon dioxide (CO2) in a supercritical state (both gas and liquid) to produce high-quality cannabis extracts.
– Solvent extraction – Solvent extraction is a relatively common extraction method. It uses a liquid solvent to dissolve cannabinoids and other compounds from the plant material.
– Olive oil extraction – Another prevalent method involves olive oil as the solvent. This option is more suitable for less potent products and home use.
– Steam distillation – Producers often use steam distillation for essential oil extraction, including various hemp-derived products.
Quality control and testing are critical in the CBD industry for ensuring safety, potency, and consistency. Similarly, it guarantees legal compliance regarding THC limits.
Choosing the Right CBD Manufacturer
There are many factors to consider when selecting the most appropriate CBD manufacturer. You need a CBD manufacturer that ensures safety and high-quality CBD products. Therefore, you should consider these factors:
– Product testing and quality – Ensure the manufacturer conducts thorough testing via independent third-party labs. Look for proven Certificates of Analysis (COAs) that provide detailed information.
– Sourcing – You should also inquire into how they source their hemp. They’ll produce more suitable CBD extracts if they source their hemp from regulated environments with solid cultivation practices.
– Transparency – A reputable manufacturer should be transparent about testing methods and procedures. Avoid manufacturers who aren’t 100% transparent about their process.
– Extraction methods – Find out the extraction methods used by the manufacturer. For instance, CO2 extraction is a commonly used and safe option.
– Customer reviews – A reliable CBD manufacturer should have excellent customer reviews unless they’re a new company.
– Facilities and process – You should assess the manufacturer’s facilities and procedures. Ensure it meets your requirements and guidelines.
The more research you undergo, the better chance of securing a reliable manufacturer.
CBD Manufacturing Regulations in the UK
Although CBD regulations have decreased in recent years, there are still regulations you should know about. Let’s take a more in-depth look at the rules:
Novel Foods Regulation
The authorities consider CBD products to be novel foods in the United Kingdom. As a result, CBD products need approval from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) before they’re allowed on the market.
All companies must apply to the FSA before they can sell their products. The FSA will consider various things before its decision—including the product’s composition, manufacturing process, and intended use.
The maximum THC level allowed in CBD products in the United Kingdom is 0.2% unless it’s for medicinal purposes.
Labelling and Advertising
There are strict labelling and advertising regulations in the United Kingdom surrounding CBD products—such as precise details about the product’s content, suggested dosage, and possible health claims.
However, CBD products can’t make medicinal claims without appropriate authorization from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
CBD Product Range
The United Kingdom has a fast-growing cannabis market. In turn, there is an ever-growing list of CBD products available. Here are the most common options:
– CBD tinctures – One of the most common CBD products is CBD tinctures. Typically, these products come in bottles with a dropper for more suitable dosing.
– CBD capsules – Many people prefer CBD capsules or softgels because they offer precise, easy dosing
– CBD edibles – Another common product is CBD edibles, including gummies, snacks, and chocolates.
– CBD topicals – Common topical products, including balms, creams, and lotions, are popular for treating inflammation and skin conditions.
– CBD vape products – As the popularity of vaping increases in the United Kingdom, CBD vape products have become significantly more common.
CBD products offer various strengths, generally measured in milligrams of CBD serving. The best strength depends on different factors: your weight, individual needs, and the desired effects. The most commonly used strengths are 300mg, 500mg, and 1000mg. Here are the most popular delivery methods:
– Sublingual: People take CBD oil/tinctures sublingually by placing a few drops under their tongue. As a result, this allows for quick absorption through the blood vessels.
– Ingestion: In most cases, people ingest capsules, softgels, and edibles via the digestive system. Although they take longer to kick in, the side effects can be prolonged.
– Topical Application: CBD-infused creams, balms, and lotions are applied directly to the skin. As such, they are perfect for targeting localised areas.
– Inhalation (Vaping): Vaping involves inhaling CBD-infused vapour. It provides rapid effects but may raise concerns about lung health and safety.
Sourcing CBD Ingredients
One of the most important things to consider is how you’ll source your CBD ingredients. It can determine the quality of your CBD. You’ll also need to consider whether to source your CBD through marijuana or CBD:
– Marijuana sourcing – Marijuana-derived CBD contains considerably higher levels of THC, making it more prone to stricter regulations and checks.
– Hemp sourcing – In the United Kingdom, manufacturers derive many CBD products from hemp because it’s less regulated and contains less THC.
Another vital thing to consider is organic and sustainable CBD sourcing. For example, some CBD manufacturers source their products via organic farms to ensure sustainable methods. You can look for companies that focus on water conservation and ethical labour practices. Furthermore, you must ensure third-party lab testing of ingredients. Here’s a breakdown of the most important things to consider:
– Verification of claims: If a manufacturer has put their CBD products through third-party testing, they have verified their claims and built more trust.
– Safety: Lab testing is also essential for identifying potential contaminants, such as heavy metals, pesticides, residual solvents, and microbial contaminants.
– Regulatory compliance: A manufacturer proving third-party testing is critical for meeting U.K. regulatory compliance.
Private and White-Label Options
You’ll also need to consider whether to select private or white-label options. Private labelling involves partnering with the manufacturer who already creates CBD products. White labelling is similar to the private option, but it doesn’t allow as much customization.
The benefits of private labelling include more brand control, easier market entry, and custom formulations. However, private labelling typically requires more investment, higher market competition, and more compliance.
White labelling is fantastic if you have less investment capital and want a rapid market entry. However, white labelling provides less customization, less brand identity, and ample regulatory compliance.
To get started with private or white-label products, you’ll need to research manufacturers, evaluate products, discuss terms, and ensure regulatory compliance at all ends.
UK CBD Market Opportunities and Challenges
There are vast opportunities in the UK CBD market, especially as the industry grows this decade. As the global market for CBD grows, there’s a chance the UK will reduce its CBD restrictions.
However, to break into the market, you must identify possible customers—such as wellness seekers, those seeking natural remedies, and fitness enthusiasts. Likewise, you’ll need to analyse your competition to know their pricing, product range, and braiding.
There are many challenges in the UK CBD industry though. For example, regulations are still strict, the vast consumer market remains unsure about cannabis products, and your products must undergo robust testing.
Best Practices for Working with CBD Manufacturers
CBD manufacturers are often reasonable to deal with. That said, you must establish clear communication lines, maintain an open dialogue, and collaborate on product specifications. As such, you should maintain a smooth, enduring partnership.
Negotiating with CBD manufacturers may be challenging. You should negotiate numerous terms, including lead times, minimum order quantities, and payment terms. Failure to negotiate a fair outcome could damage your business
In addition, you should focus on quality by ensuring third-party lab testing, certificates of analysis, and adherence to regulatory standards. Disregard any manufacturer who breaches these standards—even if they offer lower costs.
There’s never been a better time for a manufacturer to get into the UK CBD market as regulations decrease and demand grows. However, it’s essential that you follow the guidelines in this article. Although there could be obstacles along the way, there’s a huge market for any CBD manufacturer looking to build their business.
1. “Consumer Cannabidiol (CBD) Products Report (Accessible Version).” n.d. GOV.UK. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/acmd-advice-on-consumer-cannabidiol-cbd-products/consumer-cannabidiol-cbd-products-report-accessible-version
2. “Cannabidiol (CBD) Guidance.” n.d. Food Standards Agency. https://www.food.gov.uk/business-guidance/cannabidiol-cbd
3. “MEDICINAL c a N N a B I S.” n.d. Accessed August 10, 2023. https://theaci.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Green-shoots-Sowing-the-seeds-of-the-new-UK-cannabis-market-ACI-_-CMC-report.pdf