Other relevant regulations and governing bodies
As established, the selling of CBD products is legal (provided no controlled substances are included). However, there are other governing bodies that have rules relevant to the UK CBD industry, which are definitely worth knowing. These include:
- Cosmetic products – all cosmetics products and topicals should have a Cosmetic Product Safety Report (CPSR) and CBD cosmetics are no different
- Vape products – these need to comply with the United Kingdom's non-nicotine e-liquid regulations
- Food products or dietary supplements – CBD foods (such as gummies) and supplements are considered to be ‘Novel Foods’ (the name given by the European Commission to any products on the market that were not regularly consumed by humans in the EU before 1997) and should have authorisation in line with the regulation.
On the last point regarding Novel Foods, if these CBD food supplements were manufactured after the 13 February 2020 they should have received a Novel Food authorisation (CBD foods on the market before this date should seek retrospective authorisation). Although this is an EU regulation, the UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) has decided to enforce this for the UK even after leaving the European Union.
A special mention should be made for CBD teas. These are legal if they comply with the rules set out above. However, some teas are labelled ‘CBD tea’ but made from hemp flowers or buds, which strictly speaking are illegal. Interestingly, one of the concerns regarding flowers and buds being used as teas relates to the fact that boiling THC can increase its potency. Something worth bearing in mind when consuming CBD teas!
Lastly, the latest statement from the MHRA (the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) regarding CBD is that “individuals using cannabidiol (CBD) products to treat or manage the symptoms of medical conditions should discuss their treatment with their doctor”. Importantly, the MHRA indicates that unless a product is a licensed medicinal product, it should not make any medical claims (e.g. that it can cure, restore, heal, etc) on the packaging.
It is essential that a consumer understands the contents of any CBD products bought - there should be no THC. In practice, ‘no THC’ means the product should be verified by a lab that is accredited with a limit on detection of 0.01%.
Brexit and CBD
Yeah... we need to talk about Brexit. But don't worry, it's actually positive and only a brief note to watch this space in relation to the UK CBD market. As it happens, many of the rules around CBD products are derived from EU regulations (e.g. the one regarding the EU's Novel Food regulation noted above).
The UK leaving the EU formally and finally means that there is scope for changes in future and CBD companies will adapt accordingly. One interesting dynamic to watch from the UK's perspective is whether or not we de-link from the direction increasingly being signalled in European Commission, which is increased regulation of CBD. In fact, there is talk of the EU classifying CBD as a narcotic, which won't apply automatically the UK now we've left the EU.