CBD supplement crackdown begins: Watchdog tells retailers to stop selling hundreds of gummies, balms and sprays
- FSA today published a list of more than 3,500 ‘credible’ CBD-infused items
- Any products not catalogued should be pulled from shelves immediately
- Cannabidiol supplements currently on the list could still turn out to be bogus
Retailers were today told to stop selling hundreds of cannabis-derived oils, gels, sprays, bakery products and drinks.
In a crackdown on the unregulated CBD market, watchdogs two years ago told all manufacturers to prove their products were safe by gaining regulatory approval.
None have yet to be given the green light since, despite being widely available in shops, cafes and online.
However, the Food Standards Agency has today published a list of more than 3,500 CBD-infused items which are deemed ‘credible’ contenders.
The regulatory body, which will police the multi-million pound market, said any products not catalogued should be pulled from shelves immediately.
It also warned that cannabidiol supplements currently on the list could still turn out to be bogus.
Food Standards Agency has today published a list of more than 3,500 CBD-infused items which are deemed ‘credible’. Pictured: i-Cann CBD oil which is on the list
The regulatory body, which will police the multi-million pound market, said any products not catalogued should be pulled from shelves immediately Pictured: Taylor Mammon’s CBD roll-on which is also on the list
WHAT IS CBD OIL?
CBD oil is a legal cannabinoid that can be sold in the UK.
CBD contains less than 0.2 per cent of the psychoactive substance THC.
Although the oil has been thought to have some medicinal properties, including relieving inflammation, pain and anxiety, there is no conclusive science.
Suppliers in England and Wales have to obtain a licence to sell CBD as a medicine.
Manufacturers are able to avoid the strict regulation by selling it as a food supplement – ignoring the lengthy process of gaining a medicinal licence.
CBD products comes in many forms, the most popular being an oil – which users spray under their tongue – or gel tablets which melt slowly in the mouth.
Government advisers at the MHRA found that CBD has a ‘restoring, correcting or modifying’ effect on humans.
Cannabis oil, which is different to CBD oil because it contains THC – the compound that gives users a ‘high’ – is illegal under UK laws.
Billy Caldwell, from Castlederg, Northern Ireland, made headlines last April when he became the first Briton to be prescribed it on the NHS.
Cannabis oil, which reportedly has no side effects, influences the release and uptake of ‘feel good’ chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin.
Emily Miles, chief executive of the FSA, said: ‘We have created the public list to help local authorities and retailers prioritise products to be removed from sale.
‘If a product is not on the list, it should be removed from sale because it is not attached to a credible application to us for market authorisation.
‘But being on the list means that the application is credible and the FSA has, or is shortly expecting to receive, significant scientific evidence from the applicant with which to judge safety.’
She added: ‘I want to emphasise that the FSA is not endorsing products on the public list.
‘Inclusion on the list is no guarantee that they will be authorised as they have not yet been fully assessed for safety.
‘But we have taken the step of publishing the list so that local authorities, retailers and consumers can make informed judgments about what they stock and buy.’
Ms Miles said the FSA, non-ministerial government department responsible for protecting public health in relation to food in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, was gradually bringing the ‘growing market into compliance with the law’.
High street CBD supplements — sold in stores such as Boots and Holland and Barrett — are not classed as medicines but foods.
As such, they can’t be sold with any health claims. But advocates say the compound can be used to help people who struggle with their sleep, anxiety and pain.
Yet they are popular, with sales reaching £690million last year, £164 million more than industry expectations.
Some oils cost almost £100 a bottle and customers can be charged up to £12 for eight pieces of CBD chewing gum.
In 2020 the FSA announced CBD manufacturers had to submit ‘novel food’ status applications, including content analysis and scientific safety data.
The deadline for businesses to submit their products was March 31, 2021, with all applications now fully processed.
Minutes from the FSA’s chief executive report in December said ‘the quality of applications was lower than we anticipated’.
The FSA continues to advise consumers ‘think carefully’ before taking CBD products. It says healthy adults shouldn’t take more than 70mg a day.
It also recommends people in vulnerable groups, including pregnant and breastfeeding women and those taking medication, do not use it unless under medical direction.
Some scientific studies suggested CBD could affect the liver if taken at higher doses, although there had been very few studies, the FSA said.