UK Cannabidiol Crackdown

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Cannabidiol in the UK

The UK’s booming cannabidiol industry is to be being reined in by the FSA, which has also has issued consumer safety advice relating to CBD consumption.

In the UK, CBD was confirmed as a novel food product in January last year and has appeared in a wide range of foods such as confectionery, bakery items and beverages. Between 8-11% of UK adults have tried cannabidiol in its various forms.

In 2019, alarm bells were sounded after quality issues were reported relating to CBD and THC content in products, and the presence of contaminants in some; leading to calls for greater regulation.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has given the UK CBD industry* until the end of March next year to submit valid novel food authorisation applications, so plenty of time has been granted to CBD businesses to get their houses in order. After March 2021, only those products with a valid application will be permitted to be sold.

“CBD products are widely available on the high street but are not properly authorised,” said FSA Chief Executive Emily Miles. “The CBD industry must provide more information about the safety and contents of these products to the regulator before 31 March 2021, or the products will be taken off the shelves.”

Up until the deadline, existing CBD products can be sold assuming they are correctly labeled, not unsafe to eat and don’t contain substances falling under drugs legislation.

The FSA has also advised CBD products should not be consumed by those pregnant, breastfeeding or taking any medication – and caution is advised for healthy adults.

The Agency has recommended no more than 70mg a day (which works out to around 28 drops of 5% CBD) should be consumed by a healthy adult, unless directed by a medical professional. The FSA says its advice is based on findings by the government’s Committee on Toxicity (COT), an independent scientific body that will continue to keep CBD products under review in the months ahead.

* The regulations apply in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (Scotland has its own regulations) and don’t apply to medically prescribed CBD.