Delta 8 THC in the UK: Is it Legal to Buy?

Unlike in the United States, in the United Kingdom, delta-8 THC products face multiple legal challenges before their sale and use are permitted.

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Move over delta-9 THC and CBD, there is an exciting new novel cannabinoid hitting the UK market known as delta-8 THC. With effects and benefits that sit comfortably in the middle between CBD and delta-9 THC, many are curious if delta-8 is a better fit for their needs. However, many are concerned about its legality due to its mild intoxicating effects and semi-synthetic nature. So, let’s take a look at delta-8 UK laws while learning more about the cannabinoid itself. 

Quick Reminder: What is Delta-8 THC?

With nearly identical chemical structures, comparing delta-8 to delta-9 THC is the first logical step to learning about this thrilling cannabinoid. 


 Both delta-8 and delta-9 are agonists at cannabinoid receptors, giving them many overlapping effects. But as you’re about to see, the degree you’ll feel those effects can be quite notable. As well, while both share the same side effects, they are much less common and intense with delta-8. 


 Due to having its double carbon bond on the 8th carbon chain, delta-8 has a lower potency than delta-9. How much less is hard to say due to factors such as individual sensitivity. However, users who have experience with both delta-9 THC and CBD may find that delta-8 THC’s potency falls somewhere in between the two, favoring the delta-9 side. 


The degree a cannabinoid in cannabis can help with many health issues is often intrinsically tied to their psychoactive effects. By offering a middle ground between CBD and delta-9, many find that while delta-8 causes a mild high, it’s very manageable. Delta-8 activation of CB1 receptors allows it to have therapeutic effects that some will find surpasses what CBD can do for them. 

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The Risks Associated with Delta 8 and Navigating the UK Market

Let’s address the elephant in the room! While delta-8 is legal in the United States due to a loophole in their 2018 Farm Bill, it is illegal to use or buy delta-8 in the UK

While delta-8 has fewer intoxicating effects and less pronounced side effects compared to delta-9, it will still cause a high. Even if the UK legalized intoxicating cannabinoids, delta-8 products would still likely be illegal in the UK due to their semi-synthetic nature. 

UK law currently prohibits any synthetic mind-altering substances. While delta-8 is naturally found in cannabis, it occurs in very low amounts, forcing manufacturers to use chemical methods to convert more abundant cannabinoids like CBD into delta-8’s molecular shape. Don’t let delta-8 flower trick you into thinking it’s naturally derived delta-8 and therefore less illegal. Delta-8 flower is hemp flower sprayed with semi-synthetic delta-8 cannabinoids, making it just as illegal as any other delta-8 product. 


Those interested in trying legal cannabis products like delta-8 should turn their focus to sourcing products from reputable CBD suppliers that comply with UK market regulations. While CBD may not produce the same degree of effects as delta-8, CBD’s greater affinity for CB2 receptors may make it preferable for combating issues related to immune function. 

Now, don’t get your hopes up that the UK will continue to ban delta-8 THC! Most signs around the world are pointing to fewer restrictions on cannabis plants and not more. However, unlike in the United States, delta-8 does have more roadblocks it needs to get over before it becomes legal in the UK due to its semi-synthetic nature. 

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Conclusion: Don’t Consider Buying Delta 8 in the UK

With the ability to cause a mild high while producing therapeutic effects and side effects that more closely resemble delta-9 THC vs. CBD, it’s important to become and stay informed about the laws and risks of using delta-8 THC. Currently, you are not permitted to sell, buy, or use delta-8 due to its intoxicating effects and semi-synthetic nature. Delta-8 currently falls under the same laws that restrict marijuana. Which is a Class B drug, carrying a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison for unlicensed distribution. If you have concerns regarding your use of any cannabis item, please consult legal professionals who operate in your area.

Nicholas McKenzie - Cannabis Research Specialist

Nicholas McKenzie - Cannabis Research Specialist

Nicholas has spent the last ten years teaching gardeners, businesses, and enthusiasts how to succeed in the exciting and ever-changing world of cannabis. Whether he’s in the field getting his hands dirty or in the lab studying cannabinoids and their uses, Nicholas is passionate about bringing well-researched, factual, and concise information to an industry that very much needs it.

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