CBD consumer products under the spotlight


The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) has been commissioned to provide impartial and independent scientific advice on the acceptable levels of constituent cannabinoids in cannabidiol (CBD) products (in other words, other than CBD itself) marketed as consumer products.


The commission does not extend to prescribed products/medicines. The ACMD invites all sections of society to provide written evidence with regards to this commission.


Evidence is being sought on the following questions. Written submission can provide responses to some or all of the following questions:


  1. The commission refers to the cannabinoids Δ9-THC, CBN and THCV. Are there any further phytocannabinoids that should be considered? If so, which cannabinoids and please provide evidence.
  2. At what dose would each of these cannabinoids cause a psychoactive effect in humans? Are there any potentially harmful effects at these doses?
  3. What are the conditions that precursors of cannabinoids such as Δ9-THCA-A might be transformed into controlled cannabinoids?
  4. What is the combined level of the psychoactive cannabinoids that would not produce a psychoactive effect (in other words maximum combined dose of active ingredients) given the standard use of consumer CBD products?
  5. Are you aware of any evidence of CBD products causing adverse reactions or harms which might be attributable to cannabinoid impurities? If so, please attach such evidence.
  6. For producers of CBD-containing products for supply to consumers, what certification of quality of CBD extracts from raw materials do you require or expect?
  7. For which controlled phytocannabinoids are there reference standards available or likely to become available in the near future for their use in testing?


Please note that owing to the specific focus of this ministerial commission, the ACMD will only consider information relevant to these questions. Additional information will not be considered.


If you would like to submit written evidence, please email the ACMD Secretariat by clicking here by Wednesday 21 April.


This article is being shared under the Open Government Copyright licence.


Pregnant or breastfeeding people advised against CBD products


The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is advising those who are pregnant, breastfeeding or taking any medication not to consume CBD products. Healthy adults are also advised to think carefully before taking CBD, and the FSA recommends no more than 70mg a day (about 28 drops of 5% CBD) unless under medical direction. This new precautionary advice is based on recent findings by the government’s Committee on Toxicity (COT).


In addition, has set a deadline for CBD businesses to provide more information about CBD products and their contents. It also advises vulnerable groups not to take CBD, and healthy adults to take no more than 70mg a day.


The FSA is giving the CBD industry a deadline of 31 March 2021 to submit valid novel food authorisation applications. After 31 March next year, only products which have submitted a valid application will be allowed to remain on the market. The authorisation process ensures novel foods meet legal standards, including on safety and content.


Local authorities enforce the novel food legislation. They have been advised that businesses should be able to sell their existing CBD products during this time provided they are not incorrectly labelled, are not unsafe to eat and do not contain substances that fall under drugs legislation.


Today’s announcement by the FSA on CBD extracts applies in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Novel food regulations in Scotland are covered by Food Standards Scotland.


The FSA is the Central Competent Authority for food safety, however local authorities are responsible for the day to day enforcement of food law. The FSA issues guidance to support consistency in approach, but ultimately it is for local authorities to make specific enforcement decisions based on the facts of individual cases and circumstances.


Emily Miles, Chief Executive of the Food Standards Agency, said:


“CBD products are widely available on the high street but are not properly authorised. 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.


“Also today, we are advising that CBD could be risky for vulnerable groups, and suggesting an upper limit of 70mg a day for everyone else taking the product.


“The actions that we’re taking today are a pragmatic and proportionate step in balancing the protection of public health with consumer choice. It’s now up to industry to supply this information so that the public can be reassured that CBD is safe and what it says it is.’


Professor Alan Boobis, Chair of the Committee on Toxicity, said:


“My committee has reviewed the evidence on CBD food products and found evidence there are potential adverse health effects from the consumption of these products. We are particularly concerned about pregnant or breast-feeding women and people on medication.


“We don’t know enough to be sure about such a risk but I am pleased with the sensible and pragmatic approach the FSA is taking. The committee will continue to keep these products under review in the months ahead.’



Read more by clicking here. This information is being shared under the Open Government Copywrite licence.