More Calls for Increased Regulation of CBD Products

2nd July 2019

More agencies are calling for the increased regulation of CBD products in the UK. Those calling for changes include Medicinal Cannabis experts and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.

The Centre for Medicinal Cannabis, along with other agencies, have carried out the most extensive review of its kind. The report, which focused on CBD use in the UK, found some surprising results.

Part of the review was to assess the regulation of CBD products, which have seen a massive rise in popularity. Thirty oils were assessed in a certified lab, to determine their contents and quality.

The tests found that only 38% (11/29) of the oils were within 10% of the advertised CBD content. A following 38% contained less than 50% of the advertised CBD content. One of the tested oils (from a high street pharmacy, retailing at £90 per 30ml) had a 0% CBD content.

Another of the products contained 3.8% ethanol, and thus technically qualifies as an alcoholic beverage.

It was also discovered that the third-party laboratories which test CBD oils, have no shared standards. This means that oils which are available for purchase in the UK, are all held to a different quality standard. As a result, the reliability of these products is greatly undermined.

It is estimated that up to 11% of UK adults have used CBD products. Following this new evidence, it is hoped that significant changes will be made to legislation and regulations regarding CBD products.

The CMC say:

“The industry as a whole must use these results to understand the areas of weakness in producing a quality product that consumers can trust”.

Further Calls for Regulation

Experts from the medical industry, including the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, are demanding clarity on the guidelines for CBD and THC products.

RPS President and Chief Scientist, Ash Soni and Gino Martini have written to the Home Secretary, this week, to demand clarification.

The CMC report states that 45% of the tested oils were “technically illegal” in the UK, as they contained 0.04% THC. In comparison to this figure, a Home Office drug licensing fact sheet, states that Cannabis plants in the UK are permitted as long as they have a THC concentration of no more than 0.2%. However, this does not refer to the permitted concentration of a final product.

This has led to confusion, over the permitted THC levels for CBD products, as producers may apply the permitted level for cannabis plants, to CBD oils. In fact, the quoted permitted amount of a controlled substance in an “exempt product” is 1mg per container.

Jon Calder, a Research Team Lead at CannaLytica, suggests that “a proportional value (eg, x%) rather than a mass value (n mg per unit)”, would lead to less confusion.

Calls are for the Government and regulatory bodies to make this distinction more clear. If this is done, it may increase the reliability and standardised quality of CBD products in the UK.

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