Find the best CBD in London.
Cannabidiol oil became a popular product in the United Kingdom at the start of 2017 and since then London has seen a huge increase in the amount of CBD brands and products available. More recently specialist CBD shops have been popping up in all London Boroughs and providing unlimited options for CBD buyers. From oils to gummies, vapes, balms, capsules, and even flowers - you'll find every legal cannabis and hemp-based product available in London.
In this guide, we will cover some of the do's and don'ts when buying CBD in the city and some of the CBD stores and products you'll likely encounter. But first, we'll answer some commonly asked CBD questions.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of many cannabinoid compounds found in cannabis and hemp. It's the cannabinoid that has been getting most of the attention due to it's recently rediscovered health benefits. Studies show that CBD can help with anxiety, stress, depression, sleep, inflammation, recovery, and lots more promising CBD research is underway. Unlike Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) CBD oil doesn't cause a head high that's typically associated with smoking skunk or potent cannabis and because it's considered very safe, CBD oil is widely available to buy in stores in the UK and London.
Is CBD legal in London?
Yes CBD is legal to consume in the whole of the UK including the capital London.
Its popularity means it's never been easier to find CBD products on the high street and it's sold as a nutritional supplement without medical claims to follow guidelines by ASA who regulate advertisements in the CBD industry.
The only exception to legal CBD products is CBD hemp flowers. This product is often available in London CBD and vape stores and resembles cannabis buds. Typically only the flowers only contain trace amounts of THC (the part of cannabis that is known for getting the user "high") but have relatively high cannabidiol levels causing the user to feel relaxed but not intoxicated.
CBD flower is legal in most of the EU but there is a limit on the amount of THC that can be present - typically less than 0.3% THC. Switzerland has been leading the flower industry and these products are available to buy in most Swiss convenience stores.
The UK laws on CBD flowers are not as flower friendly as our European neighbors and some police forces have made raids on sellers over the past 12 months - most notably in the southeastern seaside city Brighton. Despite the uncertainty of the legality of CBD in the UK, you will still find it available to buy in-store and online as it doesn't seem to be heavily regulated. If you are visiting London we would recommend being cautious with CBD flower as police can easily mistake it for "skunk".
This is a list of legal and common products that you will find available in London:
- CBD Oils
- CBD Edible Gummies
- CBD Capsules and Pills
- CBD Hemp Tea
- CBD Balms
- CBD E Liquids
- CBD Vape Cartridges
- CBD Drinks
How do I choose the best and most trusted CBD products?
Since CBD has become so popular there has been an increasing amount of new brands coming to market with the hope of making lots of money as quickly as possible. This does help drive down the CBD price for customers and that's great but it also means that a lot of these new companies cut corners as they look to make a quick buck.
Some of this neglect of customers interest has unfortunately been proven in a study by the Association of the Cannabinoid Industry (ACI) which tested 29 CBD brand products that were available in brick and mortar London stores - they found that only 38% of the CBD oils tested were within 10% of the advertised CBD content. A similar study found that out of 84 US products 69% where incorrect!
The important takeaway here is that not all CBD products are equal and we suggest doing the following to make sure you're buying from a reputable London based company:
- Buy products from a specialist CBD store (more on this later)
- Ask for product lab results to confirm strength
- Check if the brand has verified reviews
- Buy from a brand that has been trading for over 2 years
- Ask for a referral from someone who has already used CBD
By following at least 2 of the recommendations above we believe that you'll massively increase your chance of buying a great quality CBD oil.
Different CBD types - what you need to know
There are 3 main types of CBD found in any CBD product, each has its own unique characteristics and should be understood before a purchase is made.
CBD isolate is simply the CBD compound that has been "isolated" from other cannabinoids within the cannabis or hemp plant. It looks like a white crystalised powder and is the cheapest CBD form available to manufactures. Also known as CBD crystals.
Broad Spectrum Distillate
Broad-spectrum refers to the "spectrum" of cannabinoids naturally found in cannabis. It's called broad because it contains trace amounts of all cannabinoids with one exception - THC. Broad-spectrum is a popular base product for manufacturers because it's regulation friendly in a world where many governments still class THC as an illegal substance. One benefit is consumers can take CBD oils without having to worry about the negative side effects of having too much THC. This means professional athletes can use CBD to help with training and recovery without worrying about receiving a career-ending ban from WADA. Broad-spectrum oil is about 2 times more expensive than Isolate - mostly because the THC has to be removed yet it still contains nearly all of the cannabinoids and terpenes that have been shown to work together in what's called the entourage effect and boost its therapeutic potential.
Full Spectrum Distillate
The full-spectrum distillate is the full spectrum of cannabinoids present in the cannabis plant including THC. Although THC is normally only present in small amounts it can get show up in drug tests and intoxicate users if enough is taken. That said, studies show there are beneficial therapeutic effects of THC and that may be desirable for some. THC makes it harder to make products regulation friendly as the UK asks for a max limit of 1mg THC per bottle - something that is hard for manufacturers to do consistently.
Most products found in the UK are either isolate or broad-spectrum. It's worth noting when comparing isolate and broad-spectrum that isolate won't give you the benefits of the entourage effect and is a lot cheaper to produce than broad-spectrum products.
CBD Stores London
Now we have the basics covered let's look at some of the specialist CBD stores you can find in London.
Beleaf Store - Soho
Address: 19 D'Arblay St, Soho, London W1F 8ED
The Beleaf cannabis store is nestled in the heart of Soho central London. Shoppers should allow for a 10-minute walk from one of the 3 popular central London tube stations; Oxford Circus, Tottenham Court Road, and Piccadilly Circus.
Beleaf is a subsidiary of MPX International and the store was officially opened in October 2019 and is a premium CBD retail experience with a highly trained staff that are very knowledgable about the CBD oils, edibles, skincare, vapes and capsules they sell. Not only can you buy a massive range of CBD products but you'll learn lots from the informative staff - it's an educational experience.
The store is set over 2 floors, on the entry, the ground floor is spacious, light, with pastel green and grey walls. It feels like a trip back to nature because of all the natural plants hanging from the ceiling and laid throughout the room. They have a complimentary selection of fresh fruit juices along with samples of CBD drink shots which you add to your smoothy to make a refreshing and health CBD drink to enjoy whilst you browse the store.
Beleaf keeps the majority of their CBD products on the lower ground floor and once you follow the staircase down and to the right, you'll enter the product room which has CBD products on the walls separated by product type and brand - which is a great way to experience the many different product options available.
They stock brands like Green Stem, Hemptouch, Love Hemp, Paso, and of course Kanaco. Expect to see "Holy Weed" products to which is their own swiss based cannabis oil company - they sell a range CBD oils strengths in 500mg, 1000mg, 2000mg & 3000mg.
Having personally spoken to most of the staff at Beleaf it's obvious they have spent time researching CBD and the brands they represent. This is one of the big advantages of choosing to shop at a "specialist" store as the company has sourced some of the best brands available on the market which saves buyers wasting money on low-quality CBD brands. Another bonus is you have access to trained staff that understand CBD and they will be able to guide you so you make take home the best CBD oil, vape or edible for you. They'll be able to explain some of the more subtle but important nuances of CBD products like isolate vs broad-spectrum, CBD bioavailability, and correct dosage.
The Otherside Cannabinoid Dispensary - Portobello Road
Address: 261 Portobello Rd, Notting Hill, London W11 1LR
Set on the famous Portobello road the Otherside has been one of the leading independent CBD focused shops based in west London. Shoppers can walk to the Otherside Cannabinoid Dispensary from either Notting Hill tube station (15 minutes) or Westbourne Park overground in under 10 minutes.
The Otherside London was formerly known as "Alchemy" which was the oldest head shop in London run by Cannabis legend Lee Harris. Since Lee retired, the new owner Geshe (who formerly worked in the shop) took over space and has put his personal stamp on the Otherside by leaning slightly to more cannabis-based health and wellness products and less smoking goods.
Independently owned, Geshe works closely with UK CBD brands and has hand-selected Otherside's entire cannabinoid product range. You'll find CBD drinks, gummies, chewing gum, sweets, oils, capsules, balm, flowers, pre-rolled joints, blunt papers, and much more. Geshe and his staff are very friendly, helpful and will take the time to listen to your needs and then suggest the most suitable CBD products for you. The Otherside takes the time to look at certificates of quality and lab tests to filter out any low-quality brands - they've done the hard work so you don't have too!
Look out for Pancho the shop dog who can often be seen chilling outside after his daily CBD treat!
Brands available: Otherside's signature range, Kanaco, Highkind, Synergy Extracts, The Goods, Cannaray, Graces London, LDN CBD, Cannasa Drinks, 420 Drinks, Endoca, Moxie, MYOB, Naturecan, Nirvana, Nooro Bars, Paso, Silo ccell, Trip Drinks, Tillmans Mints.
Hemp Smile - Hackney
Address: 38 Chatsworth Road. Hackney, London, E5 0LP
The owner Andy founded the Hemp Smile back in 2017 from a lock-up unit in Tottenham, his goal is to share the power of the hemp plant, help reconnect people back to a natural way of living and promote sustainable and ethical CBD and hemp products.